An early threat to biblical teaching about the person and work of Jesus was the heresy that His human nature was not real; He only appeared to be human. This belief claimed that the muck and frailty of humanity would be unfitting for Christ’s divine nature. Ignatius, a Christian bishop in the region of Antioch during the early part of the second century, warned: “Those who say that the passion is a sham are themselves a sham.”
This heresy was forming when the apostle John wrote his Gospel. He took pains to demonstrate that Jesus possessed both a human nature and a divine nature. Today’s passage provides supporting evidence for the humanity of Christ: Jesus sat down by Jacob’s well because He was tired from the journey (v. 6). This humanity is an asset, not a liability. Because Jesus shares our humanity, He understands our weakness and need. Humanity enabled Jesus to suffer and die for our sin and to serve as our faithful High Priest (Heb. 2:14).
We also see Jesus’ sympathy as He patiently debated with a woman in Samaria. The Samaritans descended from foreigners who intermarried with Israelites when the Assyrians forcibly relocated them in the eighth century B.C. They had their own place of worship (Mount Gerizim) and their own version of the Pentateuch. Jews considered Samaritans to be mixed-race with mixed-up religion and did not normally associate with them (v. 9).
Jesus ignored this tradition of hostility. He treated this woman compassionately, speaking truthfully to her about her past choices and her present beliefs. Christ’s weariness at the well demonstrated His humanity. But His remarkable knowledge of this woman’s past, her inner thoughts, and the condition of her heart provided proof of His divinity.