When contrasting these two conversations we see the whole point of the gospel in a nutshell. Jesus came to preach the good news that He was the Messiah, the Light of the World, the Living Water, the Son of God, and that through believing in Him all men could enter into the Kingdom of God (eternal life). First He preached it to the Jews, and more specifically to the leaders and teachers of the Law – those men who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of God’s people. Nicodemus was the representative of that group. When Jesus gave His message to Nicodemus it just didn’t make sense. Nicodemus was stuck in a literal, concrete, black and white mode and could not latch on to the spiritual depth of Jesus’ message. Thus, Israel rejected the Word and their Messiah.
In Samaria, of all places, things were different. The woman at the well represents all things vile and unclean to the Jewish leaders. Not only was she a Samaritan, considered to be half-bred dogs, and not only was she a woman, considered to be second-class citizens and the reason sin first entered the world, but she was also sexually immoral and unclean, she had been married several times and was now shacking up with a man. If there was anyone in the world that a “good” Jewish rabbi would have avoided like the plague, it would have been this woman. That didn’t stop Jesus. He lays out the deep mysteries of the Spiritual Kingdom He was revealing to the world to this “wretched” woman in the same way He spelled it out to Nicodemus. The results were drastically different. This woman didn’t reject Jesus, she accepted His message and then went running into town inviting everyone to come and meet the Messiah. That day a Samaritan town experienced the grace of God and entered into the Kingdom of God.
In many ways these two conversations mirror the parable of the wedding feast. The king invited the people you would expect to be invited, but they didn’t come. So, the king invited the poor, sick, and outcast and filled his banquet table with guests. The question for us is whether we are more comfortable associating with the Nicodemus’ or the Samaritan women? As followers of Christ, it is our job to be the Kingdom of God in the world and to shine the light of Jesus authentically into the lives of the kind of people Jesus would have shined it to. Where is your light shining right now?