Now We Have Heard For Ourselves

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JUDGES 21:1-25 | RUTH 1:1-22 | JOHN 4:4-42 | PSALM 105:1-15 | PROVERBS 14:25

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Following the horrific events of the Levite and his concubine, and the resulting in-fighting between all of Israel against the tribe of Benjamin (who had committed the atrocities with the Levite), the eleven tribes come together to reflect on what all this means to the future of the people of Israel. 

They take an oath to not give their daughters in marriage to any man from the tribe of Benjamin because they believe that this would be appropriate punishment, and yet they are remorseful of this decision as they then begin to wonder about the fate of their brothers and how it is that they might propagate.

Well, someone soon comes up with an ingenious plan to find wives for the young men of the tribe of Benjamin, and in a scene that reads like a story out of a comic-book, we learn of how these young men grab the young girls from the other tribes, and while the girls and their families do not protest this, it is a solution to their problem of not breaking their oath of not giving their daughters in marriage still holds true.  Their daughters willfully went to be wedded to these young men, you see, they were not given in marriage!

Well, in the end, all’s well and ends well, and we come to the end of the book of Judges.  There were evidently thirteen judges of Israel that have had their stories recorded here, Samson being the last one.

We now enter the beautiful book of Ruth.  Ruth is a fine example of a loving daughter-in-law.  When her mother-in-law tells her to go back to her own mother’s house since her son, i.e., Ruth’s husband has died, and she, Naomi, the mother-in-law is preparing to return to her native Bethlehem, Ruth insists on accompanying her. 

And so, she says to her mother-in-law:  Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

Turning now to our reading in the gospel of John, we find the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  Jesus says to this young woman—who expresses great surprise at his request for water from the hand of a Samaritan“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 

He goes on to tell her:  Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

How puzzled this young woman must have been.  And yet, she simply asks for this water that Jesus is speaking of.  And imagine her reaction and great surprise when this is the exchange that transpires between them:

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

And so, she runs back to her townsfolk to tell them of this man called Jesus who has just told her that he is indeed the Messiah.  And because of her faith and initiative to share her good news with others, the text tells us that many others also believe.  In fact, Jesus is entreated by these very Samaritans to tarry with them for a couple of days—which he does. 

And the people say to this young woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Turning now to our Psalm for the day, we find that this is yet another great psalm of praise in which David recounts the great hand of the Almighty, the God of his fathers, who has led them through the ages.  David’s words of praise are ones that we ourselves can utter with confidence even as we can proclaim the goodness of God:

1 Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
   make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
   tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
4 Look to the LORD and his strength;
   seek his face always.

Finally, the one verse from Proverbs, is clear in its very matter-of-fact statement:

25 A truthful witness saves lives,
    but a false witness is a traitor.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

7 thoughts on “Now We Have Heard For Ourselves

  1. With apologies to Samson, I’m kind of happy to leave Judges for the engaging story of Ruth. The words that you quote, Ruth’s response to Naomi, are some of the most beautiful in all of scripture. Even though they are words of a daughter-in-law to mother-in-law they so wonderfully capture the biblical sense of complete, devoted love that this text would be perfect for weddings or marriage anniversary celebrations. Thanks for sharing, as always.

    1. Ha ha Samson would understand macho man that he was! Yes, the book of Ruth is a beautiful testament to the great love and devotion possible in human beings toward one another just as Christ has loved his bride, the church.

  2. Continuing on the Ruth theme, and the Cana theme from last week, I was reading that wells, in the biblical mindset, are associated with marriage. Isaac, Jacob, Moses (and others?) met their wives at wells. This story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well would bring to mind those connotations. Because of that, it’s often been interpreted with the marriage imagery from Isaiah and elsewhere of the bridegroom (Jesus) meeting the bride (the woman representing all of humanity, all of us). The time of day – around noon – also contrasts with the story of Nicodemus. He came to Jesus at night, in darkness, but Jesus comes out to this well, to the woman, at the brightest time of day, in the light. And yet Nicodemus was considered righteous and respectable, in the thinking of the time, and this woman was on the margins, an outcast, in several different ways. Many levels of parallels and contrasts in John’s gospel.

    1. Great observations and insights about the theme of the well. The well is a symbol of life itself, and it is interesting that Jesus proposes eternal life even whilst people are looking for the sustenance of terrestrial life. Thank you again, for the parallels that you observe and present across passages. God bless you richly in the reading, reflection, and sharing of his word.

  3. I was so hoping you’d read these outstanding comments as well. 😄 Still, these passages from Ruth and John in particular do more than enough standing on their own. Wonderful reading!

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