Chiasms, Irony, and Misdirection in John 4

Last night, I once again had the pleasure to lead the sermon discussion at Solomon’s Porch.  It’s impossible to recount all of the wonderful, beautiful, insightful comments by so many people over two different worship gatherings, but here are a few thoughts.  (And if you’re so inclined, I streamed the 7pm sermon discussion from my phone and you can watch the archive of it at Ustream (warning: it’s over an hour long).)

The passage was John 4: 4-42, in which Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well at noon.  Here are some of the insights that I and others brought to this passage:

Nathan Clair mentioned on Facebook how important it seems that John juxtaposes this pericope with the one just before.  In that chapter, Nicodemus, a knowledgable Jew in good-standing, comes under dark-of-night to question Jesus.  Even with Jesus explaining and explaining, Nic doesn’t seem to get it.

Meanwhile, a Samaritan woman who is, both ethnically and theologically abhorrent to Jews, gets what Jesus is about.  Not at first, for course, but over the course of the chiastic dialogue in Act One of this passage.  Here’s how I diagrammed the passage last night: [Read more…]