Please begin today by reading: John 4:4-26
The story of the “Woman at the Well” gives us a beautiful picture of the way Jesus pursues us. There are exciting spiritual truths we will unpack each day this week.
First, let’s start with the fact that Jesus “needed to go through Samaria” (v. 4). According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, the Greek verb for needed means “it is necessary.” Were there alternate routes to take? Absolutely, and most pious Jews would take the longer route around Samaria. There was a deep distrust and distain for the Samaritans they called “half-breeds.” As the lowest class of society, they did not make the cut during the Babylonian capture, thus were left behind. They intermarried with non-Jewish people. The Jews saw them as a despised race having no claim on their God.
The road through Samaria was the shortest route from Jerusalem to Galilee, but it wasn’t the shortcut that drove Jesus. He knew there were people in Samaria who needed to hear what He had to say.
Jesus arrives at the well at noon. The sun is high, He is thirsty, and He displays His humanity as well as His divinity when He engages a lonely Samaritan woman. Most women collected water during the cool of the morning and it was a social event. This woman was alone in the middle of the day, shunned and isolated.
Jesus breaks the social rules of His day in three significant ways as He engages with this outcast. First, being a Jewish man and speaking kindly to a Samaritan, He asks for a drink of water. Jews especially didn’t share vessels for food or drink with Samaritans. Second, Jesus, a Rabbi, spoke to a woman in public. Rabbis in those days did not speak to their own wives or daughters in public! Third, Jesus associated with this woman who was an outcast within her own people and had a poor reputation and moral standing.
Even with those glaring three strikes, Jesus connects with this woman, letting her know that she is loved and known. No social or religious barrier, societal rules or expectations hindered Jesus from reaching out and sharing truth with this broken woman. It was for encounters such as this that Jesus came here.
Jesus shows us that all people are valuable to God, and He desires that we demonstrate love to everyone, including our enemies. Who said being a disciple of Jesus was easy?
Be alert this week for who God places in your path. Will you be ready to show love, respect and kindness in Jesus’ name.
Please begin today by reading: John 4:7-26
Jesus broke through social and religious barriers in the story of the “Woman at the Well.” He loves us … and it has nothing to do with our worth, but everything to do with God’s character. In this passage, John shows us the absolute impartiality of the Gospel message, which is extended to all. Regardless of our gender, ethnicity, culture, social standing, or upbringing, the job we hold where we live right now in the world—none of it matters to God. He is only after our hearts abandoned to Him alone.
Dr. Bob Utley, retired professor and author, explains in his sermon on the Woman at the Well says, “Jesus went to the well and met the Samaritan woman to say to the world: ‘You matter, I care, I see you, and I love you.’” He made women matter. He modeled for His disciples how to show respect and speak to a woman, even one who was not worthy in their eyes.
The woman, slow to let her defenses down as she talked with Jesus, dodged His questions with her questions, diverting the conversation. With His divine wisdom and perseverance, Jesus steered her to salvation.
In Ephesians 2:8 we read: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” God loves us, pursues us, draws us to Himself … in spite of our mistakes, sins, and broken lives.
As believers in Christ, we are members of one body, the Church. All other barriers fade away, as this one defining trait matters above all else. We have common ground in Christ.
It is important to pray for the union of the Church throughout the world, as we are bound to other brothers and sisters in Christ. Bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth means that even now people from every tribe, nation, and tongue come to know God.
Glenkirk partners with African Enterprise (AE), and their teams are living out this great commission. Working with African nations and local churches to bring peace, AE brings the Good News of Jesus and hope to college students, prisoners in local jails, street children, and commercial sex workers. They are teaching people the Gospel one-on-one just as Jesus did with the woman at the well.
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ, how can you partner with other Christians to build the kingdom, bridge a gap, serve a need, start a ministry, build on common ground?
Please begin today by reading: John 4:10-14
Have you ever watched a cross country meet or a marathon? The runners are extremely thirsty as they cross the finish line. Once they catch their breath, a sip of water is not sufficient. They drink as quickly as possible, water flowing across their faces, pouring it on their heads and necks. Nothing tastes as good as refreshing water to a parched mouth.
Jesus speaks of Living Water welling up to eternal life as He talks with the woman at Jacob’s Well. He says that whoever drinks of the water that He gives will never thirst. Jacob’s Well was not a natural spring, one that bubbled up from the ground, seeming alive. Rather it was a dug well filled up by rain water. Jesus used this picture of the need for water, especially at noon time, for the spiritual need and longing all of us have built into our souls.
The water Jesus was talking about was spiritual. Jesus says in John 4:10 that this living water is a gift of God. (Living Water=Holy Spirit in Greek) The Greek word for gift is used only in this Gospel and emphasizes God’s grace through Christ. Jesus gave life and gave it freely. The cross reference here is John 10:28: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Jesus compared the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to “streams of living water” in John 7:38: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Jesus did not say that He was the living water, but that He would give her the water and she would never thirst again.
In Timothy Keller’s sermon “Changed Lives,” he shared that Jesus was saying: “I have something your soul needs as profoundly as your body needs water. As satisfying as water is to a parched mouth, [so] is eternal life through the Spirit’s power, the assurance of God’s love, pardon, presence and grace.”
If you have experienced Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, you know that soul satisfaction. It’s like rainwater on dry land or a cold drink on a hot day. Jesus is our indescribable gift and He promises to satisfy our God-created inner thirst.
Do you feel saturated with the Spirit, connected to God, filled with the Word? Or do you feel more like a desert with distance between you and the Lord? If the latter is true, make a course correction now.
Please begin today by reading: John 4:13-15
“It is common for people to try to satisfy their God-created inner thirst through many things, or through anything except for what Jesus gives. People are thirsty—they want, they long, they search, they reach; but only what Jesus gives satisfies to the deepest levels of man’s soul and spirit.” (David Gusik)
God placed inside of each of us a spiritual need for Him that only He can supply—the living water He promised. What if you drank of the living water and were satisfied, saved and restored? Then through time, you’ve found yourself thirsty and empty again. Maybe you don’t feel that God hears your prayers or you can’t sense His presence? What then?
Ask the Spirit for a fresh filling and focus your attention on your relationship with the Lord. As disciples of Jesus, we are to stay in relationship with Him. You may ask, “Jesus said that I will never be thirsty again, so why do we need a fresh filling of the Spirit?”
An important verse in understanding the filling of the Holy Spirit is John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—” Here Jesus promised that the Spirit would indwell believers and that indwelling would be permanent. “It is important to distinguish the indwelling from the filling of the Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit is not for a select few believers, but for all believers.” (gotquestions.org) The Holy Spirit is given at the moment of salvation and as a down payment for future glorification in Christ (Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30).
The Spirit can be grieved and His activity within us can be quenched. When we allow this to happen, we do not experience the fullness of the Spirit’s working and His power in and through us. To be filled with the Spirit implies freedom for Him to guide us and occupy every part of our lives.
“Sin is what hinders the filling of the Holy Spirit, and obedience to God is how the filling of the Spirit is maintained. … Obeying God’s commands allows the Spirit freedom to work within us. … When we sin, we should immediately confess it to God and renew our commitment to being Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.” (gotquestions.org)
Are you allowing something other than the Spirit to quench your thirst? If so, confess this and ask God to make you thirsty each day for time with Him in prayer and the Word.
Please begin today by reading: John 4:21-24
Jesus Himself is the replacement for all holy places of worship. He said that God is spirit and true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. What does this look like? Paul explains this in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
In view of God’s mercy—all the blessings God has given to us that we don’t deserve—we have His peace, strength, grace, protection, provision, promises, and so much more to be thankful for. Out of that gratitude, we praise and worship our God, who is worthy.
Our bodies are to be a living sacrifice—our heart, mind, thoughts, words, actions, all parts of us. How do we present ourselves as living sacrifices pleasing to God with all our brokenness and sins? By the renewing of our minds. We ask God for His truth, not what the world says. We spend time in the presence of God in prayer and in the Word.
We can then worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds. When we worship properly, our heart and attitude are right before God. Worshiping out of obligation is displeasing to God. He can see through the hypocrisy—just as He was displeased with Cain’s gift brought out of obligation, while Abel brought his finest offering out of faith and admiration for God.
True worship centers on God. He is our focus. This can include praising God for His creation. Praying, reading God’s Word, singing, participating in communion, serving others, loving people in Jesus’ name—all are forms of worship. Worship can be done in private or in a church setting. True worship is felt within and then expressed outwardly. There are times that I am so moved by the Spirit during worship, overcome by my gratitude toward God’s goodness, that “I worship out of my eyes!”—tears stream down my cheeks. As my heart overflows, so do my eyes.
The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to God and His Word. To make this possible, we must be in close relationship with our Lord and know His Word—not just head knowledge, but a transforming life. This honors and glorifies God.
How will you prepare your heart and mind for worshiping in “spirit and truth” this Sunday?
- James Strong, L.L.D., S.T.D. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010).
- W. E. Vine. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003).
- Bob Utley. Sermon on “The Woman at the Well,” Lakeside Baptist Church, Dallas, January 4, 2010: https://archive.org/details/TheWomanAtTheWelljohn41-42
- David Guzik. “A Samaritan Woman and a Nobleman Meet Jesus,” Study Guide for John 4: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Jhn/Jhn-4.cfm?a=1001007
- Quote from gotquestions.org: https://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-filled.html
- Timothy Keller. Sermon on “Changed Lives,” Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, March 8, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPPvNOj9tuA