Posted by Chris Sayburn on 11 September 2017


Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

1 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:1-13

John 4 is another example of God’s “embarrassing” grace.

The woman at the well, socially, spiritually, culturally, and morally bankrupt, (so much so she had to get water at the hottest point of the day, everyone else would have gone at night), is purposely sought out by Jesus. Why? Tozer, in his book “Worship and the missing Jewel” reflects, ‘Why did Christ come… The answer to all these questions is, in order that he might make worshippers out of rebels…’ Rebels to true worshippers - this is God’s heart. Christ came to save sinners…. (1 Timothy 1:15-16). This is what He does! He came for her, He came for you. He came for me.

Jesus, in love, (love is both support and challenge) confronts the lady who has had multiple husbands and the guy she’s with now is not one of them! The lady changes the conversation quickly (some scholars argue to shirk away from let’s face it from a solid “#awkward” moment) and she turns the subject to “worship". In summary, she is asking ‘does true worship take place in that temple on one mountain (Jews), or the temple on other mountain (Samaritans)? Jesus replies ‘a time is coming…and has now come…to worship the Father in Spirit and truth.‘

Jesus is saying true worship of the Father takes place HERE, in and through HIM. Stop focusing on the mountains, look HERE. I am He. (v26). We are to worship in Spirit (both s & S) and truth; Worship in the Spirit, through the Son, to the glory of the Father, all times, all places. It’s also important to note that it’s both Spirit and Truth. Spirit, (in the Spirit and with our spirit), heart and emotion not just “truth” - intellectual head knowledge. Truth, deep understanding, not just “Spiritual highs”. Mature worship is both. Spirit and truth. When it comes to our gathered worship Paul encourages the church, I will worship with my spirit but I will also worship with my understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15).

Amongst other things, true worship is a gift that satisfies. (See the parallel of imagery used in Jeremiah 2:13). She came for water but Jesus wanted to show her she had a deeper thirst, a spiritual one, one only He can satisfy.  One final challenge is from Richard Foster. True worship leads to transformation. It’s a beautiful thing that the bucket the lady was so concerned about is cast aside as she runs to tell her village about her grace encounter where she received living water that would never run dry. She has a renewed focus and commission. Foster says “to worship is to change”. 

God wants to pour out his embarrassing grace on you today, stop looking to other things to satisfy.  Come before the Father, through Christ in the power of the Spirit and bring your worship, Spirit and Truth, in all aspects of your life. This is true worship.

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