Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
But He needed to go through Samaria.
So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
[John 4:1-6 NKJV]
When we lived in Ireland, Milady and I were trying to get from Dublin to Powerscourt House to set up for a wedding. We wanted to find the southbound carriageway of the M50 – the Dublin city bypass – which would take us there. Coming out of the city we were diligently following the roadsigns for the M50 south, until they suddenly stopped at a crucial point and we found ourselves heading away from the motorway onto a small back road to a place called Lost.
Lost is very like Amach — directions to which can be found on every motorway in Ireland, until I realised that Amach was the Irish for 'exit'.
Gill suggested that we ask for directions and stopped to ask a local pedestrian the way to the southbound carriageway of the M50. “I'm going there meself,” says he. Plainly a lie as he was walking and appeared to be ‘a little the worse for drink’; but letting that pass, we asked how he would get there as we'd had considerable difficulty. “You're right there,” was the reply. “It's a problem, but if it were me, I'd go north and turn round.” You cannot fault logic like that.
In a sense this is what Jesus did here. He set out for Galilee, but later on in the chapter He appears in Jerusalem, which seems to have been his destination after all. He went north to Galilee before going south to Jerusalem. However, Jesus needed to go through Samaria — the most direct route from Judea to Galilee, but every step that Jesus took was purposed to teach us something about Kingdom life.
Jesus wanted to avoid the Pharisees, and representing as they do, an adherance to religious form — which seeks to stop Jesus’ work in us before it properly begins — they are the very antithesis of walking in the Spirit; thus He leads us away, leaving all form and religiousness behind us to find Samaria (from a root meaning to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect).
In Samaria we go through the keeping and guarding by the Holy Spirit, because we can have spiritual eyes to see Jesus clearly, discerning the way ahead.
But as we shall see, Jesus also had an appointment to keep.
To be continually worrying—“Does God want me to say this or do that?” is to be in an infirm condition. There is no light of the knowledge of the glory of God in that, it means I am a self-conscious spiritual prig.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART