Yeshua’s heart for the nations

According to Romans 9, the Jews are “the people of the promise.” The covenants, the law, the patriarchs, the seed that produced Messiah Yeshua — all of these belong to Israel.

But, what about the nations? What about those who are not born Israelites?

Let’s look at two passages in Scripture to find out what Yeshua’s heart and plan is for the nations. The first passage comes from Genesis 24. In this chapter, Abraham’s chief servant takes perhaps the most important oath of his life — the oath to find a wife for his master’s son, Isaac.

On his journey towards Nahor, where the family of Abraham’s father had moved, the servant prays a solemn prayer to the LORD. It was something like this, “Oh LORD of my master, Abraham, grant me success on my journey. May the young woman who gives me a drink and who offers to water my camels be the one whom you have chosen for my master’s son, Isaac, as a bride.”

If you don’t know how the story goes, a beautiful, young woman named Rebekah comes to the spring as Abraham’s servant was there. She gives the servant a drink and offers to water the 10 camels he has with him. Needless to say, she becomes Isaac’s bride and thus married into every promise that God had spoken over Abraham and his descendants.

The second passage comes from the New Testament. In John 4 Yeshua speaks with a woman at a well near Sychar. The woman, a Samaritan, approaches the well around the sixth hour of the day. Yeshua, sitting at the well, asks her for a drink of water. She responds saying, “‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask me for a drink, a woman of Samaria?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

Before I keep going, I need to explain how Samaritans were viewed by Jews in 1st century Israel. They were viewed as “half-breeds.” The Samaritans were the descendants of the 10 northern tribes of Israel who were conquered during the Assyrian captivity[1] between 740-722 BCE. The Assyrians took away the identity of each people group they “conquered” by uprooting and moving them to Samaria and intermixing them with all the other peoples and nations which they had also overthrown. No culture and no heritage equal no identity. Thus, the Samaritans are a picture of “the nations.”

Continuing with the passage, Yeshua ignores the Samaritan’s question and tells her of the water He offers; water that becomes a spring welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).

He tells her to go get her husband, knowing full well that she has married multiple times and has no current husband. She hurries to her town, though, and tells the people of a man at the well. Many come out to listen to Him.

Yeshua remains with these people for two days, letting them “drink” (so to speak) of Himself as He stays with them.

So, what do these passages have in common? And what does it have to do with the nations?

I believe that both are stories of a marriage proposal. Rebekah meets Abraham’s servant at a well and is asked for a drink of water. And though Rebekah didn’t know it, her “giving of water” was the sign of being the future bride of Isaac. Likewise, Yeshua asks the Samaritan for a drink. And though He wasn’t given a drink by her, Yeshua offers her a drink of water from a spring that would well up to eternal life (with Him). He offers and spends two days giving others in her town “water,” just as Rebekah spent extra time giving water to the camels.

Yeshua offers her a drink of water from a spring that would well up to eternal life (with Him).

Rebekah offers to give the patriarch’s servant a drink and becomes the bride of Isaac. The Samaritan woman represents the nations, and though she doesn’t offer Yeshua water, He steps in and plays both roles offering the same sign from Genesis 24 to the nations. John 4 makes it clear that Yeshua’s heart for the nations is that they become part of His bride. The nations do not replace Israel, but they do have the opportunity to be grafted in as part of the bride.

The only question left to ask is this: Will you drink?

[1] Assyrian captivity — the story of how the Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the kings of Assyria can be found in 1 Chronicles and 2 Kings.

This article originally appeared on FIRM and is reposted with permission.