19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
Jesus made the stark reality of the woman’s immoral life apparent. It was now time for her to face reality, but she introduced a maneuver in an attempt to divert Jesus away from her fundamental issue. No diversionary tactic will deter Jesus from telling the truth.
The woman said to Him,
The woman responded to Jesus’ extraordinary understanding of her situation.
“Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
This outcast conceded that Jesus might be a “prophet.” To her, He was more than a common rabbi. He was no ordinary person. She was impressed by Jesus. She stopped her charade and tacitly admitted who she truly was.
Our fathers [Samaritan ancestors] worshiped on this mountain,
Upon finding that Jesus knew of her immoral life, the woman tried to change the subject from her personal life to religious differences between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Samaritan temple was older than the one in Jerusalem. The woman tried to quickly move the conversation from her personal life to a current religious dispute between the Jews and Samaritans. She wanted to steer the conversation from the unpleasant topic of her immorality to another subject. Her whole procedure was a big distraction.
“This mountain” was Mount Gerizim, visible from Jacob’s well. Gerizim was the holy mountain for the Samaritans. The issue of the proper place of worship between the Samaritans and Jews was the leading point of contention between them. It was an age-old problem.
and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
The woman introduced a red herring into her conversation with Jesus. She wanted to draw Jesus into a doctrinal controversy.
Religious argument does not win people to Christ.
To avoid talk of salvation, people will want to argue religion. They wish to argue religion, but they will not allow it to change their lives.
People today argue over which church or denomination they should worship in. We need to turn our attention to something much greater than the place of worship. Our focus should be on the person and work of Christ.
Some with whom we share the gospel will attempt to drop the subject of their sin and how they violated God. However, we must remember it is not our feeble words that win people. It is the work of the Holy Spirit on their hearts that does this.