Wednesday, February 8, 2012

John 4:19-26 revisited

I want to revisit the last part of the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, because this story is so poignant. Even when the woman confessed that she had been living a life of sin, she was not quite ready to deal with the personal issue. She was only comfortable with a general religious discussion:

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” (John 4:19-20)

But Jesus made it clear that it is not WHERE you worship that matters. It’s not the special building, temple, or cathedral that counts. It’s WHOM and HOW you worship that God cares about.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (vs.23-24)

The woman was finally beginning to get it, for she realized that she needed to be looking for the promised Messiah. And Jesus boldly claimed, “I who speak to you am he.” (vs.26)  Imagine her thoughts! The very One that she had been taught to wait for was standing right in front of her, a miserable sinner, a lowly woman! She had come to the well alone in the heat of the day to avoid the scorn of other women, and found the Messiah, the Savior of the world, waiting for her! She had spent her life trying to fill the void in her spirit by seeking her worth from multiple men, yet she had remained empty. In fact, I’m certain that void grew bigger with every futile relationship. While the people of this village probably judged her, Jesus LOVED her. He had come out of His way just to meet her!

I love this story! When we consider the lack of value given to women in general in those times, it is so wonderful to see Jesus treat her with dignity and compassion. He did not harangue her to repent, he just very gently showed her the reality of her life. Then He offered her hope in Himself, the Living Water. While His message is always the same - we need to be born spiritually from the inside out by His Spirit - that message is always personally delivered to each of us in a way that opens our hearts to receive Him.

What a personal God! How He loves us! How did He come to you? I’d love to hear your stories!

Next time, we will see the results of this encounter.


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