“You never believe unless you see signs and wonders” (Jn 4:48).
There are two stories told back to back in the Gospel according to John. When stories are told like this in the Bible the author is usually trying to tell us something, especially when the content seems to be similar.
One account is the woman at the well (Jn 4:1-26). In this story Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at a drinking well and he asks her for a drink of water. Now this was culturally taboo; a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan woman. This just didn’t happen. The Samaritan woman even says, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus, however, was not interested in cultural norms, Jesus was interested in expressing love and truth through relationship. Jesus engages the woman in a tough conversation in which he is able to reveal his saving power to her.
In the next account Jesus heals a government official’s son (Jn. 4:43-54). A man approaches Jesus because he had heard of all the miracles and wonders that he had done (Jesus’ first miracle - turning water into wine - was actually done in the same city) and his son was very sick. The man begged Jesus to heal his son to which Jesus responded, “You never believe unless you see signs and wonders.”
I think what the author is trying to get at here is that some of us rely on the signs and wonders as the foundation of our faith and relationship with God more than we look for a relationship with God. Are we searching for the miracles or are we searching for the Miracle Maker? This is the question we must ask ourselves at the end of these two stories. Sure, both people got to experience Christ… but I think that the woman at the well got more insight into the person of Jesus Christ and his saving power, whereas the government official only got insight into what Jesus could do for him.
I would argue that the real miracle that happened between these two stories was not that Jesus went on to heal that man’s son but that he, a good Jewish man, would speak life into a Samaritan woman… and it was not only that, but Jesus led the hurting Samaritan woman to truth and love through relationship.
Are we searching for God’s next miracle in our life? Or are we trying to be the next miracle in someone else’s life?