Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/24/16 – 577 – Jesus & the Woman at the Well
This is where we left Jesus and his new student yesterday:
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. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Even after she heard Jesus talk about the living water that took away thirst forever, the Samaritan woman was thinking in material terms. She took the word ‘water’ to mean the liquid that she had to draw from the community well every day. Jesus’ response was to steer her thinking toward the spiritual.
The current way of the culture was for the Jews to look down on the Samaritans as somehow being a lesser people – a people of mixed (and therefore contaminated) blood. The only proper place to worship Yahweh was at the temple in Jerusalem. This was not just a tradition, it came straight from Moses:
Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name—there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord. 12 And there rejoice before the Lord your God—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns who have no allotment or inheritance of their own. 13 Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. 14 Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you.
The problem was that the temple was off limits to Samaritans. Probably for that reason, the Samaritans came to believe that they should worship on what was probably Mount Gerizem, the mountain where it was believed that Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac.
I wonder what she thought when Jesus basically told her ‘pretty soon it won’t matter’. In fact – the time has already come! “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.”
Before she has a chance to ask, He gave the answer to the big question – why? “God is spirit.”
Why is it that when we think of ourselves as being created in the image of God, we so often think (again) of a physical image, as though God were a physical humanoid being with 2 arms, 2 legs, a torso and a head? If God is a spirit, wouldn’t it make more sense that we are created in His spiritual image rather than a physical one? And if that is true, doesn’t it also follow that our spirit would be the part of our being that is truly important?
What Jesus was saying is that it’s time to stop focusing on the physical, the material world and start fixing our gaze on the spiritual realms – the kingdom of God. And the ‘truth’ part? Simple.
There is just no way to fake it. We cannot sneak into heaven, or get in on a technicality. We cannot simply pay lip service to a God who knows our heart, and expect Him to be satisfied. Either we truly love Him, or we don’t. Either we mean what we say and do in worship of Him, or we don’t.
Let’s pray today that when God examines our hearts, He will find it pleasing and pure, and our love for Him true.