Read John 4
We continue our journey through John’s gospel. Earlier this week, we looked at an encounter between Jesus and a woman who met him at a well in Sychar, Samaria.
In the course of this interesting discussion between the One who brought living water and a very cagey woman who tried to change the focus of the discussion from herself to religious topics, thinking that would allow her to discontinue examination of her life, we get a message for her time and ours.
True worship has less to do with geography and more to do with being genuine. God wants those who worship in spirit and truth.
As we consider our present geography, celebrate the fact that you can worship just as much where you are right now as when you were sitting in one of these pews.
Also of note, this is the first place that we see Jesus professing himself as the Christ.
Jesus went from living water to food that his disciples didn’t know about. His food was to do his Father’s will and finish the mission that he had been given.
My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
Think about the second part of that statement. We often pray Thy will be done, but how often do we ask for strength to see this through?
Paul would put it this way. Let me let go of what is behind me and press on towards the goal. That was after he discounted his previous religious standing—and he had great religious credentials—and desired to just do the work of his Lord.
Not only today do we say, Thy will be done, but tomorrow and the next day and the next. How long must we do this? Until we hear the words, Well done good and faithful servant. We too must finish the work that we have been given by our Lord.
The fourth chapter continues with the woman who encountered Jesus testifying as to that encounter. Some believed upon her testimony. Many went to see Jesus and then believed. She left behind her water jar and aversion to meeting with the “righteous” people and boldly shared her encounter with the Lord.
The people of Sychar invited Jesus to stay with them and he did for two days. Many more believed and some revealed their very human nature even after recognizing the Savior of the world.
They told the woman that they might have believed her at first but now they believe because they met Jesus themselves.
When I tell this story to my grandchildren, I want to say that the Savior of the world came to Sychar, I met him, and I believed. I’m going to leave out the part about how the testimony of some floozy first led me to believe.
What I ask you to remember is how an encounter with Jesus changed this woman who came to the well in Sychar, probably coming at noon to avoid the shame of being with the other women, and she boldly proclaimed the One whom she met at the well. This could be the Christ!
Now it’s on to Galilee. Jesus headed back to where he turned water into wine. Few witnessed this but surely the news had spread. Some had been to Jerusalem and knew of what he did during the Passover Feast. You might say that there was a buzz about him coming back.
Jesus advised his disciples that the saying that a prophet has no honor in his own country was a valid one, but for now, he was welcomed.
A man had come from Capernaum, a city where perhaps Jesus even had a house, and asked Jesus to heal his son.
Jesus was a little terse at first. He admonished the people that they sought miracles more that belief. It was if they just wanted the broken stuff in their lives repaired without mending the brokenness of their lives.
Jesus did not deny the man’s request to heal his son, but he found the trip to Capernaum unnecessary. He simply said: Your son will live.
The man took Jesus at his word and headed home. There is a lesson in faith in his actions, but what came next defined the miracle.
While he headed home, he met some of his servants. They
told him that his son would live. He asked them when he got better and it was the exact time that Jesus had told him his son would live. The man who accepted Jesus at his word believed in Jesus as did his household.
This is the second miracle that we see in John’s gospel. It was not performed before many but many would hear of it. Only a few servants would know that Jesus had turned water into wine but many would hear of it.
Many in Samaria came to believe, but it’s Samaria. What self-respecting Jew would listen to accounts from Samaria?
Jesus would soon head back to Jerusalem and perform more miracles. He was gathering a following. In just a couple chapters, Jesus would begin the first of his I Am statements in this gospel. Jesus would heal a paralytic and feed a multitude, but he would also lose followers because his teachings were difficult.
Peter said that Paul was sometimes hard to understand. Compared to what Jesus was about to teach, understanding Paul was a walk in the park.
For now, meditate upon these things from the fourth chapter of John’s gospel.
When it comes to worship, geography matters less than genuineness. Let your worship be in spirit and in truth wherever you are.
Let doing the will of our Father in heaven be our real sustenance. Enjoy your lunch, but be sustained by the word of God.
Don’t be cagey, dancing around the parts of your life that you would like to hide from the Lord. You can’t do it. Nothing is hidden from God. Let God’s truth call you into the light where you can kick every dark thing to the curb. Don’t be like the woman at the well.
Be like the woman at the well when it comes to sharing good news. Don’t let your past get in your way. Don’t let shame hold you back. The world may still try to keep you down, but you have good news for that lost world and should share it with the same boldness that the woman who met Jesus at the well had.
Have faith like the man from Capernaum. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Believe and do not doubt!