John 4:27 (Propriety)


Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” (John 4:27)

Read: Joshua 15:20 – 17:18

Relate: Have you ever known someone who gets so hung up on propriety that they completely miss the point? Have you ever been that person? A couple decades back human videos were all the rage in Christian circles. In fact, the very reason Carmen and Ray Boltz existed as musicians was for the sole purpose of supplying youth groups more fodder with which to create and perform more human videos. (Speaking of “propriety”, am I even allowed to say Ray Boltz’s name anymore?) I remember a time when one of the best drama groups I have ever seen did probably one of the best human videos I have ever seen. This wasn’t your typical simple melodramatic act out the words and try to stay with the beat affairs. This was artistic. It was dramatic. It was worthy of being used outside the four confining walls of Christian subculture. Good thing too because the music they did this act to was Korn. Now those of you reading who have not given a shocked and enraged gasp when reading that, it is probably because you are so entrenched in our Christian subculture that you don’t even know who Korn is. They are the devil’s music. At least that is what the president of the Bible college we all attended wanted to make sure we understood. In case we weren’t aware he said point blank with no loopholes we might get around that no follower of Jesus would use such evil music in this way. No good Christian would associate with Korn.

No good Christian should associate with a Samaritan woman either. Apparently somebody needed to tell Jesus that He wasn’t being very Christlike in His associations. He is hurting His witness. Just think how many among the Jewish crowds will pack up their bags and huff away if word of this gets out. Talking to a woman in private? Not just a woman… this is a Samaritan woman! Somebody needs to put a stop to it. If He continues down this road we might next find Him hugging lepers or having dinner with tax collectors. Oh yah, sorry Levi, forgot about that.

React: Do we let our propriety interfere with the grace of God? In our Christianized subculture have we defined sin in such a way that we are potentially limiting the move of God through us? Jesus was sinless. This is an historical fact, but this was also the exact opposite of the view many Pharisees had of Him. He healed, He harvested on the Sabbath. He openly violated over and over again cleanliness and purity laws. He was a drunkard and a glutton. (So they claimed) Have we created similar rules and laws within our own culture that a true follower of Jesus would care little about? Reaching the lost, like that Samaritan woman, was far more important to Jesus than maintaining propriety before those who called themselves disciples of Jesus.


Dear God, help me to never let my cultural biases interfere with the advancement of Your Kingdom. Don’t let my limited understanding of what is good stand against Your working out the greatest. Be the Lord even over my petty rules. Let Your grace always triumph over the legalism I wasn’t even aware I was harboring. 

11 thoughts on “John 4:27 (Propriety)

  1. We can be better humans and Christians by simply remembering to love people. All people. No matter what. No rules, no judgment, no propriety. Love Chris Tomlin AND Korn.

  2. I love this. As often happens when I read your posts, I cried with joy and relief. I have definitely become overly concerned with propriety. This post–the music–is so liberating, I love it, where did you find this?

  3. Reblogged this on Gods Small Ones and commented:
    Yes I am definitely becoming overly concerned with propriety. I don’t know how much it’s my British parents and how much its the area, but this post is so liberating–listen to the song, it’s outrageous!

  4. To simply ask ourselves, are we behaving like Christ or like Pharisees; in our interactions with others? That would help keep us in perspective. The sanctimonious Christian is the most unlike Christ, yet they believe they are encouraging the kingdom when they’re actually repelling people away from it. The world is full of them. But let us who know and encountered the MERCY and GRACE of Christ, go out and love others to life!

  5. Pingback: Propriety | The Crusty Old Sailor Speaks

  6. This is exactly why “Christians” are despised by so many. We don’t act like Jesus. I think many are afraid to associate with “those people” because of the enticement of sin or hard hearts or the stupid idea that having fun with “sinners” is wrong. Sad! Stupid! Silly!

  7. Great post! The scripture that came to my mind is 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NKJV) – “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

    Now, I’m no master interpreter of scripture, and the context of the verse indicates that Paul may have been talking more specifically about food, but I think it can apply to other things as well. For instance, when I was in darkness, I developed quite a taste for aggressive metal music. Now that I’m trying to walk as a disciple of the King of Kings, I still sometimes find myself listening to a song or two out of the old collection. Heresy! Throw the stuff out, most would say! Granted, I can attest that it isn’t really edifying my spirit, but by the same token is it sin separating me from YHWH? Some of those songs are written by lost people seeking a loving Father, who are angry about the rough things life and Satan has done to them (albeit the songwriters may be unaware of the spiritual contest involved in their life).

    Anyway, I’m not seeking to justify my occasional vice – and I hope I can one day acquire a taste for praise and worship music – but your post prompted this response. Thanks!

  8. Before we can bring the saving Gospel to someone we need to build a relationship. Too often Christians want to have an impact in the world but fear interacting with the world in any meaningful relation-building way. Many Christians forget that we have all fallen short of the glory of God and they would rather divide the world into the saved and unsaved (clean and unclean?) or see people as just another tick mark to put on their “Saved Souls” score sheet. As faithful followers of Christ we must be willing to be genuine, go where we are needed and not fear touching the unclean. Thanks for the post and for making this point. God bless.

  9. Pingback: John 4:27 (Propriety) | The Mountaineering Medievalist

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