“After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.” (John 4:43-45).
What does it mean when something is referred to as “superficial?” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines this adverb as (1) relating to or located near the surface; (2) lying on and not penetrating below the surface; (3) concerned with only the obvious or the apparent; (4) presenting only an appearance without substance or significance.
What does this word have to do with today’s particular text from the Gospel of John? Only that vs. 43-45 serve not only as a transition from vs. 1-42 but also as a contrast. John points out the contrast between the fervent and passionate faith in Jesus exhibited by the Samaritans with the superficial faith of the Jewish Galileans. While the Samaritans were culturally condemned because of their interracial heritage, they displayed a truer faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord than most pure bloodline Jews.
John describes Jesus as now venturing back to Galilee. Located there is His hometown of Nazareth. John inserts the comment that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown. John is explaining that not only the people of Nazareth in particular (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:24) rejected Jesus but also the Galilean region in general. The Galileans’ welcoming of Jesus was more than likely superficial based upon their need to see signs and wonders (I Corinthians 1:22-25) in order to believe. Their reception of Jesus was mostly out of curiosity to see some miracle like those done in Judea and Jerusalem. See John 2:23-25.
One writer posed the following question: “What is the foundation of your faith? The signs and wonders recorded in Scripture can help confirm our faith, but they are by themselves no sure foundation for faith. We know, in fact, that many people saw Jesus do great signs and yet never believed. Our faith must be grounded in the promises of God. When we are convinced of His trustworthiness, our faith will persevere.”
Not only must our faith in Jesus Christ be grounded in the promises of God but also in the character of God who makes the promises. 2 Peter 1:2-4 says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
May your faith in the Lord be rooted not in superficiality of style but rather in the substance of Scripture.
Soli deo Gloria!