The Gospel of John – Worship Anywhere

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“Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.” John 4:21

Jesus’ answer was that the day of rivalries was coming to an end; and the time was on the way when men would find God everywhere. It had been Zephaniah’s vision that men shall worship God anywhere. “The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; People shall worship Him, Each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations. (Zephaniah 2:11). It was Malachi’s dream that in every place incense would be offered as a pure offering to the name of God. “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,” Says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11) Jesus’ answer to the woman was that she did not need to go anywhere special to find God, neither to Mount Gerizim nor to Mount Zion. She did not need to offer sacrifice in some special place; true worship finds God in every place. We can worship God any place and any time because of the Cross of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Worship is the adoration, the lifting up of the redeemed spirit toward God in contemplation of His holy perfection. God’s houses of worship are places where we can come and escape the world. God’s houses of worship must be a place of love, a place where people can come and feel that they are loved unconditionally. His houses of worship can be anything from a mighty cathedral to someone’s home and all in between. Any place where we can find God’s presence and His Spirit is a house of worship.

The Gospel of John – Worship

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“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” John 4:19-20

Prophecy is criticism based on hope. She could see that Jesus was a prophet and that He was telling her all that she had done. A prophet points out to a person or a nation what is wrong; but he does so not to push them into despair but to point the way to cure and to amendment and to rightness of life. So Jesus began by revealing to this woman her own sinful state; but goes on to tell her of the true worship in which our souls can meet God. The woman’s question to Jesus about where should we worship God was her wanting to know how she could obtain this living water. The Samaritans adjusted history to suit themselves. They taught that it was on Mount Gerizim that Abraham had been willing to sacrifice Isaac; they taught that it was there that Melchizedek had appeared to Abraham; they declared that it was on Mount Gerizim that Moses had first entered an altar and sacrificed to God when the people entered the promised land, although in fact it was on Mount Ebal.

What was in her mind was this. She was saying to herself: “I am a sinner before God; I must offer to God an offering for my sin; I must take that offering to the house of God to put myself right with him; where am I going to take it?” To her, as to all her contemporaries, the only cure for sin was sacrifice. Her great problem was, where was that sacrifice to be made? By this time she is not arguing about the respective merits of the Temple on Mount Gerizim and the Temple on Mount Zion. All she wants to know is: Where can I find God? She wanted to worship God.

The Gospel of John – Jesus Knows it All

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“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” John 4:17-18

This woman is finally coming to the point that she is starting to understand what is happening. As Jesus always does, He knew the truth before He asked the question. Image her shame when she realized He knew all about her sin. We try to hide things from God thinking that He does not know our heart, but God knows it all. So we need to just go ahead and confess our sins to Him and get it over with. Certainly she would have preferred to keep it hidden. She had not lied to Him, but she hadn’t told the whole truth, either. It is as if Jesus said, “All right, if you’re not going to confess your sin, I’m going to confront you by telling you what it is.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:13-15) You can fool the people about what master you serve, but you cannot fool God. He knows all about you and about your heart.

The Gospel of John – Facing Her Sin

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“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.” John 4:15-16

We see the woman wanted the water that Jesus was offering, but she wanted it on her terms. She wanted water so she would never have to come to this well again. This is the water that most of us want. We want water that will make life easier. We want Jesus to come into our lives and we never have to do anything again. The problem is if we are to come to Jesus, we must see that we are sinners. “She was suddenly compelled to face herself and the looseness and immorality and total inadequacy of her life. There are two revelations in Christianity: the revelation of God and the revelation of ourselves. No man ever really sees himself until he sees himself in the presence of Christ; and then he is appalled at the sight. There is another way of putting it–Christianity begins with a sense of sin. It begins with the sudden realization that life as we are living it will not do. We awake to ourselves and we awake to our need of God.” (William Barclay) There were two issues that needed to be addressed, first, her sin and His identity. She needed to realize who this man was that had started this conversation with her. She needed to see that this man was the answer to what was wrong in her life. She needed to change her life and repent of her sins. You cannot live for Jesus and continue in sin.

The Gospel of John – The River of Life

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“Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13-14

“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-3) What a promise! This is the promise that God has given everyone that serves Him. It is the promise that is now because the Kingdom of God is now. All we have to do is accept this gift from God and this river will flow through us and into the nation. This is the River of Life!

The Gospel of John – Worldly Thinking

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“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” John 4:11-12

The woman still did not understand the gift that Jesus was about to give her. She was still thinking worldly. She was thinking about literal water and she could not understand how Jesus was going to obtain this water. The well was deep and Jesus had no bucket or rope. This sounds just like most of us today. God tells us that He has something for us to do. We look around and try to find the rope and the bucket. I know that this is my problem. Many years ago God told me that my ministry was to write for Him. I could not understand how in the world this was going to happen. I fought it for years telling God that if He wanted me to write, I needed a rope and a bucket. Many times He told me that if He called me to a ministry, He had the rope and the bucket and this was not my problem it was His. If He wanted me to write, He would make a way for me to write and for people to read what I wrote. I just needed to realize that Jesus was greater than Jacob. The water that Jesus offers is the water that allows us to move forward for God. When we can stop thinking worldly and allow God to control our lives, we don’t need a rope and a bucket. We only need Jesus and He will supply all that we need.

“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” (Jeremiah 2:13)

The Gospel of John – Facing the Truth

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“Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10

I have written a book “Healing of the Wounded Spirit.” This book is about facing the truth. It is about allowing God to help you face the truth of what is happening in your life and start the healing that God wants you to experience. If we cannot face the truth in our lives, we cannot move forward for God. In the conversation with Nicodemus and with the Samaritan woman, we see Jesus leading the conversation so that both will see the truth about what they need to change in their lives. Nicodemus needed to see that religion was not the answer and that he must be born again if he was to have eternal life. The Samaritan woman needed to stop sinning and move forward for God. At first, they did not understand. Jesus needed to move the conversation forward so they could be open to the truth. The Lord wants us to accept ourselves as we are, rotten and unchanged, then let Him express His goodness and righteousness in us through His Holy Spirit. “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” (1 Peter 2:4-5) This is the truth that we all must face that we are sinners saved by grace. Then God will give us the living water that flows from the throne of God.

The Gospel of John – Atmosphere

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“The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” John 4:9

Atmosphere: The pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or creative work. The mood or feeling that exists in a place affects the people who are there. Jesus knew how to create an atmosphere. He asked the woman for a drink of water and this completely changed the atmosphere. This could have been an atmosphere of stress or at least an atmosphere of two uncomfortable people. Instead there was a conversation started. It was a time of sharing and a time of healing. Every time we meet people, we create an atmosphere. Sometimes it is consciously, at other times it is subconsciously. Sometimes the atmosphere is hostile and at other times it is a loving and open atmosphere. Jesus always create an atmosphere of openness and loving. This was not what the woman was expecting. When we begin to realize that our words, attitudes and actions are literally producing an atmosphere, perhaps we will be more conscious of the ripple effect of our being. We aren’t just creating words; we are creating an atmosphere. When Jesus looked at this woman, He saw possibility and a new beginning.

The Gospel of John – A Drink of Water

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“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” John 4:7

Jesus asked this woman for a simple thing. A drink of water. Most Jews would not have even spoken to this woman. She was a Samaritan and she was not of very high moral character as we can see later in this story. Jesus was our example of how we are to act in our relationships with other people. I was raised in the south. In the south we always speak to strangers we meet. We are always friendly no matter who the person is or how they look. This is what I love about the south and living in the country; most people are not strangers for long. It seems that when I go to the store or to the post office, I can always find someone to talk to. It is amazing how much you can learn about a person just by saying hello. This may even start a friendship or it may brighten someone’s day. I know that I can be down and then someone speaks and smiles at me and it changes how I feel. Just by asking for a drink of water it changed this woman’s life forever. We know that she returned to her village and told others about Jesus. We just don’t know how many lives were changed just because Jesus asked this woman for a drink of water. Remember this the next time you meet a stranger.

The Gospel of John – Jesus became Human

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“He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.” John 4:4-6

We see John showing us that even if Jesus was the Son of God, He was also just as much human as He was divine. This had to be if Jesus was our redemption from sin. “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” (Hebrews 2:14) As a man, He came as a substitute to die for mankind’s sin. He was not half man and half God, but totally man and totally God united in one Person. Jesus is the most unique person in the universe. He came as a man so that He would feel and experience everything that we experience. He had the same emotions that we have and His body experienced the same physical pain that we have. He was weary, just as we get weary. Jesus had been on a long trip and he was weary and needed a drink. So He sat down at Jacob’s well. “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) As you think about Jesus, remember what He did for you and me.