John 4:35-38

Not everyone is called to be an evangelist within the Church. However, all of us are called to share the Gospel, to be able to gently defend our faith, and to be able to testify to God’s work in our lives. Just because I am not individually called to be an evangelist does not excuse me from the responsibility of sharing the Gospel. 

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” – John 4:35-38, ESV

My primary calling is to work with children and youth. At the youngest levels, we don’t see children who understand the Gospel message and desire to respond to Jesus’ call. So often times I am one of the ones who labor but don’t participate in the harvest, the metaphor Jesus uses. However, if I am part of the Kingdom of God, I should be ready and willing if that’s my particular role for a certain individual. That’s God’s expectation of me and for all of those who love Him. 

While God will not let anyone He intends to save get away, we don’t know who they will be. Therefore, our responsibility is to sacrificially love everyone who we come across in whatever way is appropriate and sharing the Gospel with those whom we can. Regardless of our spiritual gifts, our primary roles within the Church, and anything else we’d like to cite, we must recognize that there are people around us who are ready to respond to God’s call on their lives. And we may be the folks God wants to use to reach those people. 

Piggy-backing on what we looked at yesterday, our individual needs are often secondary to reaching out with the Gospel and meeting others’ spiritual needs. Definitely our individual desires are secondary. Therefore, we must be willing to open our eyes and see the fields ripe for harvest and take up the task of completing it. 

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John 4:30-34

In the Church, we talk about the body and blood of Jesus whenever we take Communion/Eucharist/Lord’s Supper. It’s supposed to be a time when we examine ourselves and confess and repent of the sin we find in ourselves and then partake of a ceremony where we identify with Jesus and His sacrifice. We often equate food and drink to spiritual things. Jesus often did so as well to draw a contrast between the physical and the spiritual. 

They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. – John 4:30-34, ESV

The disciples were urging Jesus to eat. This only makes sense, since it was lunch time, they had journeyed all morning, and the reason the disciples weren’t with Jesus was because they went into town to get food. However, just as He did with the Samaritan woman, Jesus used the opportunity as a teaching moment. He was working to get His disciples to understand that spiritual matters were more important than physical ones. This is why He referenced food and said He had food to eat that they didn’t know about. He had an appetite to do the will of the Father. 

Jesus knew the Samaritans witnessed to by the woman were on their way. Their spiritual nourishment was more important than His physical one. He would continue along this vein, something we will look at tomorrow, but let’s just focus on this initial response to His disciples for today. It speaks to our own priorities. 

It’s easy to focus on our own physical priorities. It’s easy to look at our own needs. However, Jesus’ example was to put aside His physical ones for the spiritual needs of others. This makes sense at a logical level, because He was demonstrating a self-sacrificing love towards the Samaritans. It needs to hit us at a heart-level, however, because we are to repeat His example whenever and wherever we can. 

This is something I struggle with, as do many whom I know. We allow ourselves to be ruled by the tyranny of the immediate, by the squeakiest wheel, or whatever metaphor you want to use. Because of this, we close our ears and eyes off from noticing the spiritual needs of others and therefore we fail to engage our hands and feet for Christ. The good news is that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, to see for us, to spur us on, but that means our ears can’t be closed to Him, either. It also means we have to have the courage to respond. 

As the Church, we must put the spiritual needs of others over our own physical needs. We need help in this. God provides that help, if we will but take it. This allows us to participate in the sacrificing love which God asks of us. And this allows us to be more like our Savior. Let us embrace this example and be the people God calls us to be!

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John 4:27-29

The disciples were surprised at what they saw. Jesus was talking with a Samaritan woman, breaking several social taboos. Yet, they remained silent. I’m sure God had something to do with that that. Meanwhile, leaving Jesus temporarily, the woman was anything but silent. 

Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” – John 4:27-29, ESV

Likely she was at the well at noon instead of the early morning because she wanted to avoid social contact. After all, she wasn’t thought well of considering she had married multiple men and the man she was currently with wasn’t married to her. Yet, despite the probable scorn and derision, she went to tell the village about Jesus. She invited them to see Jesus. 

We often find reasons not to share our faith. We point to our past and say we aren’t acceptable messengers. However, God’s forgiveness of our past is a powerful message to testify to. Maybe, we are introverts who say it’s too painful to share. While the pain is real, it isn’t too painful. Certainly it’s no painful than what this woman potentially faced. 

We must share. Jesus was tired. He was weary. He was thirsty. He could have cited all these reasons to just rest and not reach out to the woman. He didn’t use those reasons. He reached out. He committed Himself. And as a result, there was a breakthrough. 

Given both the woman’s and Jesus’ actions despite their conditions, we have a responsibility to do the same. Any reasons we present aren’t reasons; they are excuses. We cannot hold back on sharing. We must tell the good news of Jesus Christ. 

Note also how both shared. Jesus approached her kindly. She went back to the village excitedly. This wasn’t a time to beat people up for doing things wrongly. It wasn’t a moment to establish moral superiority. Rather, each took the opportunity to present their news in a gentle way. We are reminded in Scripture that this the appropriate means. So let us share, but let us share gently, of the good news of Jesus Christ. 

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John 4:25-26

Jesus left no doubt as to who He was. Despite being clear multiple times throughout the Gospel accounts, Jesus words about Himself went misunderstood. Those who followed Him had an advantage we don’t. They walked with Him and saw Him and His miracles. Therefore it’s not surprising when someone hears about Jesus today and doesn’t believe. 

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming he who is called Christ. When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” – John 4:25-26, ESV

Here is one example of Jesus making a claim to who He was. Now, He did this to the Samaritan woman and not in the presence of His disciples. However, He did so in their presence multiple times as well. He did not hide who He was. Jesus made a hard claim to being the Messiah, the one who would save His people. 

This is why some Christian apologists will say that the Biblical accounts don’t support the idea that Jesus was merely a great man or even “just” a prophet. And this is why they will also say that if you don’t accept His claim about Himself, you must either classify Him a madman or a liar. They are correct on both points. 

Jesus, based on the rest of the testimony of Scripture, was who He said He was. He was Messiah, the Christ, God’s Anointed. He came to save us from our sins. He came to teach us and help us better understand how to love, worship, and serve God. Jesus was and is God. 

Jesus’ ministry to the woman and to the Samaritans was just getting started. He did have more to tell them. We don’t have what all He said or did. We are blessed to have the important points recorded for us in God’s Holy Word, and not just the interaction with the Samaritans, but many more situations. In addition, we have the revealed Word which God has shared to us through His prophets. It is a waiting resource for us to tap. Let us endeavor to do so!

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John 4:20-24

A church building is just a building. In the United States, churches are located in every type of building. For instance, some churches find themselves in storefronts located in strip malls. It is more and more apparent in today’s world that the building isn’t the church. 

Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:20-24, ESV

Jesus had engaged the Samaritan woman on spiritual matters. She realized He was more than a normal man. He knew one of the sticking points between Jews and Samaritans is where they worshipped God. However, it is the woman who brought up where. 

When she did, look at Jesus’ response. There would come a time (and it wasn’t too much longer historically speaking) when God was not worshipped in either place. Her focus was on a place. She wasn’t the only one guilty of this mistaken notion. This was a prevailing attitude of both Jews and Samaritans at the time. However, the Scriptures (“what we know”), which is what Jesus was referring to when He spoke about salvation coming from the Jews, doesn’t present that the only place to worship God is in a specially designated spot. God’s people worshipped Him in many different places. There was no room for added on rules and regulations (“what you do not know”), something both Samaritans and Jews were guilty of. 

Truth be told, it’s an implicit attitude among many folks in congregations today. We place too much emphasis on our church buildings. But God can and should be worshipped anywhere. God should be exalted wherever we are. We don’t need a special building. 

Are you focused on spiritual things? Are you devoted to the truth of the Bible? Are your thoughts and actions guided by both? When both of these are true in a believer’s thoughts and deeds, that is an act of worship. This is what God is seeking from us. This is what God is expecting. 

This isn’t to say that church buildings aren’t important. They provide a place for believers to worship together. We are commanded to meet with fellow believers, to edify and equip each other, and to worship God corporately. So don’t read Jesus’ words to mean you can skip coming together with other Christians. That’s not His point. Scripture doesn’t support that argument. We are to gather together. 

Will you worship in spirit and in truth? Will you seek to let your actions represent such worship? Are you willing to be the type of worshipper God is looking for? We can be. We should be. Let us be. 

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John 4:16-19

Sometime into my adult years, my parents revealed an important truth to me: while I was growing up, I wasn’t as good at not getting caught as I thought I was. A lot of the things my parents didn’t point out that they knew about were situations where they felt the best learning I could get was from the natural consequences that would result. Thus, they let me continue without letting me know that they were aware. They kept an eye on me, making sure I wouldn’t get too far into whatever it is I was doing, but they let me make my own mistakes. 

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. – John 4:16-19, ESV

God is our spiritual Father if we belong to Jesus. Regardless of our eternal situation, the Bible describes God as all-knowing. He is. Everything we do, good and bad, God knows about. We don’t fool God. We may fool ourselves, but God knows. And God often let’s us make our own mistakes. 

Such was the case with the Samaritan woman. He knew her past. As we have looked at, her past did not prevent her from receiving the gift of grace, God’s forgiveness and eternal salvation. However, Jesus needed to punch through her thinking of created things, of regular water, to get her to examine the spiritual. Therefore, He told her to do something that for her was impossible because of her current sinfulness. When she responded that she couldn’t, He revealed to her that He knew both her past and her present. This got her attention. Realizing there was no earthly way Jesus could have done by some knowledge, she called him a prophet. 

Of course, we know Him to be much more: the Son of God. However, He had gotten her to a point where He could speak to her about spiritual things. He also was able to get her to confront a major sin problem that had been present for a long time. That’s something God does with us. He gets us to deal with sins that have lingered in our lives, so that we may confess them and repent of them and get them out of our lives. 

God knows when we sin. Much of the time, He doesn’t immediately stop us because it is important we learn from the consequences. Some might say it’s an example of how God doesn’t care. Actually, it’s an example of the opposite. He is allowing us to learn in the best way for us at that moment. Then, when the time is right, He will bring up that sin and help us to work through breaking free of it. This is what He did with the Samaritan woman. How great and loving a God we adore! He is the greatest parent of all!

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John 4:13-15

Have you ever gotten a gift for someone that you knew was something they had wanted for a long time? Do you remember the surprise and happiness they showed when they received your gift?

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” – John 4:13-15, ESV

The Samaritan woman asked about the water from Jacob’s well. She asked if Jesus was greater than Jacob. Of course, she had no idea who Jesus was. Jesus responded by telling her that God was offering living water, which we know to be the Holy Spirit, and He then continued the metaphor to help her understand just how great a gift God was offering. 

God was and is offering eternal life. This is the core of the Gospel. We can only receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. It is a gift. We can’t earn it. The Holy Spirit is the mark God places upon us. The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee. Once we have it, we will never want for eternal life again. It’s not like regular water. We drink, but eventually we will grow thirsty again. Then we need more water. The Holy Spirit isn’t like that. We don’t need Him to fill us over and over again. After all, God doesn’t run out. 

Naturally, when she heard about water which would quench her thirst permanently, the Samaritan woman wanted it. She was most likely thinking in terms of water and physical thirst. She probably didn’t get the metaphor. She would, Jesus would make sure of it, but even when she thought Jesus’ offer was only physical, He was still offering a gift beyond compare. 

With the benefit of hindsight we know what He meant. We know He was talking about spiritual things. And this gift has been offered up to each of us. If we belong to Jesus, we have this gift. To us, it should be more precious than anything else. After all, everything else pales in comparison to the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life. Certainly everything physical does. Let us rejoice for the gift which God has prepared for us!

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