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Misunderstanding Jesus II: Misunderstanding the Man and His Means

 ·   ·  ☕ 7 min read  ·  ✍️ Odunayo Rotimi


Key Text: John 4:1-17.
Key Character: Jesus.
The Samaritan: A woman who misunderstood Jesus.

👀: Check here for part 1.


The bible is flooded with various stories of many who misunderstood Jesus during His earthly ministry. Some were ignorant; they misunderstood Him because they were uninformed or lacked understanding of the matter at hand. Others still, wilfully. The elites of the Jewish clan and Judas were the examples of the latter. At the same time, a host of other individuals with whom Jesus had a one-on-one interaction are examples of the former.

Once misunderstood, three things happened. First, it gave rise to the opposition, led to down-out unbelief in people who otherwise would have believed in Jesus’ teaching, or there arose massive attempt to persecute Jesus. Sinning willfully, as we know, has no forgiveness. So, a host of Jewish leaders, Herod and Judas, died in their sins. In contrast, Jesus took pains, both on the cross and in speaking engagement, to clarify Himself, thereby rescuing those who ignorantly misunderstood Him from the pitfall of unbelief.

Therefore, our discussion in this series will focus on those who misunderstood Him ignorantly. This doing, we may soar above their ignorance into a longing to have an excellent discernment of Christ Jesus for an exciting walk in this world that willfully opposes Him.

Who misunderstood Jesus?

The Samaritan woman

She said to Him, “Sir, You have no bucket, and the well is deep; where then do You get this living water.” - Jn. 4:11
In her ignorance, the Samaritan woman only knew the only source of well attributed to a person’s personal effort. These wells are earth holes in which pure natural water is preserved. The most historically significant of such well to her was Jacob’s well. But, on the contrary, Jacob’s river today may become an Assyrian General’s pond tomorrow should there be an incursion into Isreal. Moreover, a well interests no war general – only local chiefs struggle for well naming.

The maximum Jesus could have attained in her imagination was this superstar who could lift heavy water containers. A superhero in popular comics, who would invite a city to drink at the laudation of His exploits. So she asked, “You have no bucket, and the well is deep; where will You get this living water?” Additionally, she compared Jesus’ height of heroism to Jacobs’. She questioned, “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us this the well and drank of it himself and his cattle.” She spoke about the Man who had no means. She also talked about the community of drinkers. But Jesus, not minding that responded with the constancy of access of those who choose to drink.

Jesus answered her, saying, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again.” Why? The well is on the outskirt of Samaria, and no one can have neither the energy nor container enough to empty out this well. There is a physical distance between the well and the thirsty. Jesus continued, in contrast, “But the whoever drinks of the water I shall give him shall never be thirsty…” One shall not be thirsty because this water is spiritually accessed. Therefore, it is right by the thirsty in time of thirst. Like David, he need not call for the well at Jerusalem and cause his men to risk their life traversing a deadly terrain before the thirst is quenched. Only come! Come where? Anywhere, for Jesus is everywhere.

Secondly, everyone who drinks the water shall never thirst again because all other water sources never satisfy anyone. The world substitutes one form of pleasure for another, like this woman, replaced one man, whom she was fed up with or vice versa, with another. But everyone who tastes Jesus immediately loses taste for all other forms of water. They find Jesus as the real one for whom their soul really thirsted. They find Him satisfying their longing. And in this doing, all other sources they have ever fed or drank from, searching for satisfaction, become to them like mud and husks, respectively. For some, it is travelling wild this summer substituted by camping in adultery the next, and wild sex parties the one after. But when they taste Jesus, their appetite for such effaces and Jesus becomes the longing of their soul. Just in passing, where does your satisfaction come from. If anywhere outside Christ, check it; are you delighted?! Despite your laborious efforts, is it not a progression from one feeling of disappointment to emptiness and dovetailing in depression?

It is observable that she misunderstood the Man and His means. Have most so-called Christians not misunderstood Jesus and His ways of doing things too? Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” Almost all bible commentary agree that the life projected here by Jesus is eternal. Yet, has this not been the anchor scripture with which dastardly and hungry, money-monger pastors advocate their prosperity sermons!? Sadly, you might have chewed their chords. They might have helped you, through their ignorance or wilful insistence, misunderstand God.

“One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses,” said Jesus. The fountain of wisdom would have been corrupt if Christ could make cheap fallacious statements. Or How can Jesus say, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly”? And further say, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”? After which, He gave His life as a “ransom for many.” He should have given us more possessions instead. Or establish a robust world economic system before exiting the earth. If that was what was missing, Jesus would have done it. Because wherever food was lacking, He provided food; wherever health was failing, He issued a sound one. Where sight was bereft, He made it available.

Though weakly, I wish to help you if you want to be helped. It’s eternal life, the life of the Father in men, which Adam threw away in the garden of Eden that is missing. It is the whole source of man’s problem. Whatever ill you attribute to this source would not make you sinful. Jesus gave Himself as the ransom for many. He paid to buy back this life so He could live in men and within men. So do not fall for the gimmicks. Any life whose leaping is not towards God but towards Mammon, who’s never saying, enough to lust; Enough of love for money and the earthly accompanies; is hell-bound. And it really is no matter how respected those who preach and defend health- and wealth-dominated messages and not Christ-like perfection tilted sermons are.

Dear friend, if you are confused about this or any other biblical theme, oh, call to the Master! Then, if you are sincere, He will bear you through by not only explaining to you. But by issuing you with this life also.

The disciples

Of all men, Jesus was found on the side of the weakest, the oppressed, and the sincere. In certain instances, for example, the teachings of Jesus and where He was headed in dialogue were clearly understood by the Pharisees. They were renowned and vastly learned in the scriptures. Jesus even said at some point that they were good astrologers. Except for the sermon on the mount taught to the disciples in plane language, there was hardly any other sermon that Jesus didn’t have to repeat himself twice. One during the sermon as a parable, the second as an explanation to the disciples when in private sessions.

The disciples were the ones who misunderstood Jesus the most. In fact, this was already portrayed by how Jesus remarked them when things of heaven were declared to them. God revealed it to babes (children) and not the wise and the nobles of this world. As babes, they misunderstood Jesus a lot. As such, they became our very palpable representatives, with whose experience in misunderstanding spiritual things we could relate…

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Odunayo Rotimi
Odunayo Rotimi