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"Upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?" — John 4:27

That is, immediately upon the conversation, and just as he had said unto her, I that speak unto thee am the Messiah.

Thus their return broke off the conference, and the woman was probably grieved to see the disciples so near at hand. Our most interesting interviews in this world are often and soon interrupted. It is sweet to hold converse with our fellow-Christians and with ministers; and it is far sweeter still to hold communion with the Saviour. There are moments in the sanctuary and the closet, when we can say,

"While such a scene of sacred joys
Our raptur'd eyes and souls employs,
Here we could sit, and gaze away
A long, an everlasting day."

But not only our sinful distractions, but our lawful connexions, and businesses, and cares, invade and disperse our enjoyments, and make us long after a state where these interruptions will be no more. Now we have visions, or at best but visits; then we shall be for ever with the Lord/

The disciples were astonished, and the cause of their marvelling was, that "he talked with the woman." Had they an apprehension that she was a woman of ill-character? And, like the Pharisees, did they suppose that it was incompatible with the sanctity of the Messiah to hold any intercourse with persons of infamous reputation? This is not probable. She was a stranger to them. Our Lord indeed knew her, but it was by his divine prerogative, and as yet he had no opportunity to speak of her to his disciples.

It is more likely that their wonder arose from seeing him in close and friendly conversation with a woman of Samaria, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. The rancour excluded even the common civilities of life. At present the disciples seemed not aware of their Lord's design to extend favour to the Gentiles, and were but little acquainted with the nature of his kingdom, "where there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus."

Again, women have not always been properly regarded. If they contribute to their own degradation, they must blame themselves. It has often been asked, why the conversation of even wise men, is, with women, always vain and trifling? We do not entirely admit the fact. If, however, there be truth in the supposition, the cause is to be found in females themselves; they must be pleased with such discourse, for men will naturally accommodate themselves to their taste; and it is their interest to do so. Let women rise and vindicate their sex — many are now doing so; let them show that they consider themselves, and wish to be considered, as rational as well as animal creatures; and as companions as well as playthings and toys, and articles of sense and dress. But at this period the sex were treated, and are so still in the East, as a kind of beings inferior to men. Now the disciples knowing that Jesus never trifled in conversation, but always spoke superiorly and divinely, were amazed to find him discoursing on deep and important subjects with a poor menial woman, judged incapable of understanding them.

The meanness of the persons to whom he manifested himself always scandalized flesh and blood. Have, it was asked, any of the rulers believed on him? But this people, who know not the law, are cursed. Yet it was his glory that the poor had the Gospel preached unto them, and that the common people heard him gladly. When he rejoiced in spirit, he said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes." And his Apostle follows in the same strain: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence."

But we here see the diffidence and submission of the disciples. "Yet no man said. What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?" Confidence in his greatness and rectitude awed them into silence. Whence we recommend two things. First, let us observe the words of Solomon: "If thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth." A good man should make conscience of the state of his mind, as well as of his speech; but what we cannot always prevent in thought, we may restrain in expression. Words are worse than thoughts: they add to them; they show more of the dominion of evil; they are more injurious to others, and betray ourselves more into difficulties. In a multitude of words there wanteth not sin. Therefore let us resolve to take heed to our ways, that we sin not with our tongue. David prayed, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth keep the door of my lips."

Secondly, as the reverence of the disciples induced them not to question the propriety of our Lord's conduct, though for the present they could not understand it, so should we act towards him. He is not bound to give account of any of his matters; and he often requires us to walk by faith, and not by sight. But we know that his work is perfect; his ways are judgment. Let us never charge him foolishly, but acquiesce in the most mysterious of his dispensations; assured that he has reasons for them which at present satisfy him, and will satisfy us when they are finished and explained. What we know not now, we shall know hereafter. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right!" "Just and true are all thy ways, O thou King of saints."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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