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Leaving the Waterpot

Scripture

John 4:27-30, 39

27 At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”

Observation

Jesus speaking to us compels us to speak about Him

Application

The imagery in this passage is great. I love how God uses physical things in a true story to represent the spiritual realities as well. The disgraced woman with no standing with anyone, leaves her waterpot to go tell all those same people who see her as disgraced, the man she has encountered. The waterpot represents the way she met her thirst. One of the ways she met her thirst for love and acceptance was through illicit relationships with men. She doesn’t need the “waterpot” anymore because Jesus’ presence in her has become a spring of water inside her. She is able to slake her thirst anytime. And now she has no fear of the people who see her as disgraced. If the one to whom she should feel disgrace from has accepted her, then why would this woman fear man anymore?

Speaking to other’s about Jesus… I often feel condemned in this area. I know I don’t speak about Christ as much as I should. Should..Ought to.. Those words have their place in talking about our response to Christ. We do have an obligation. There is scripture to support that thought. Romans 8:12-13 comes to mind. “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh  — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Obligation means an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment. Imagine if someone commented to me about all the ways i should fulfill my duties as a wife. If their counsel was to remind me that I was legally and morally responsible to do those things, anyone would see the deficiency in that counsel. In a relationship, do you honor someone when you only speak about duty and obligation towards them? Could that ever be described as worship? Remember, He saves us to be true worshipers. 

If we find in us a weakness to be silent about Him, the correct action is to go back to Him and have Him speak to us. When we are reminded who He is who speaks to us, and when we remember who we are, sinners graciously and freely accepted, we will be compelled to speak.

Prayer

Father, speak to us. Remind us who you are and who we are. We desire for others to know your magnificent character and your abundant mercy.

And Now Is

Scripture

John 4:22-26

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit , and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

Observation

Jesus saves us for worship

Application

I love it when people speak plainly. I am a “get to the point” kind of person. My hubby will often start telling a story and it seems to me he will take way too long to get to the main point. I start getting antsy when he does this. I am ready for the point of the story. Jesus has said the phrase “An hour is coming” twice…but then this second time, he adds “and now is”. Whoa… Now is… It’s time for Him to reveal himself. All of human history is culminating in this one man, Jesus.

“I who speak to you am He”. He is the Messiah; the Word made flesh. He is the One spoken of in Genesis. “He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Jesus can’t be anymore direct than this.

Jesus is the Messiah. But, there is more He reveals. If you want to ever ask a clarifying question of someone and what they believe about Jesus, ask them why He saves us. Jesus gives the answer. The Father is seeking worshipers. How are rebels turned into worshipers? Something new has to be born. He told Nicodemus he must be born again. The first born of all creation was born on this day we celebrate. The Son of God, begotten of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made. Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; Wow…when you really see…you worship. You have become a true worshiper.

Prayer

Father, thank you seems a little weak… but it is all I have. Gratitude. Overflowing gratitude for Jesus. You didn’t have to send Him for me, but I thank you that it was your good pleasure to give me the kingdom and transform me into a true worshiper.

The Coming Hour

Scripture

John 4:19-21

The woman said to Him, “Sir , I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her,”Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 

Observation

Everyone has an appointed judgment hour.

Application

The elephant in the room…judgment hour. How often I am scared to go there with people. Jesus is not because He knows the stakes and He knows that all whom the Father gives him will come to him. Jesus says in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”  Jesus looks into this woman’s future apart from saving belief, and sees judgment that leads to eternal separation. There is NO place she will worship the Father apart from a spiritual rebirth (living water). Religion has never cut it. There is nothing you can do right on this earth to worship the Father. It’s stunning really…and offensive to people. There is NO way to please the Father by my own doing. For thirty years I thought that I really wasn’t that bad and I thought I was a Christian. I had NO idea that my definition of “being a good person” was fatally different than God’s. I have a friend of the family right now who lies in a hospice bed marking hours until she meets God face to face. She is not without some hope. The question is whether or not it is true Hope. She has spent her life being religious. Maybe she really has tasted the living water. It is possible. But I have enough doubt that there is no reason I shouldn’t tell her about the good news one more time.

Prayer

Father, as long as we have breath, we have an opportunity to turn in repentance and faith. Remind us that we live among a people with false hope. Give us courage today to speak of the One Blessed True Hope.

Call Your Husband

Scripture

John 4:15-18

15 The woman said* to Him, “Sir , give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16 He said* to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said* to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”

Observation

Jesus doesn’t ignore sin

Application

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the brokenness in our world? i have looked at the news this morning and two things came before me. The first was the death of Claire Davis, the 17 year old high school senior in Colorado, shot last week in the school shooting. The second was the death of Ronnie Smith, the young husband and father, shot while running in the streets of Libya. I read those news stories and grieve for a moment, but two families have been rocked beyond all comprehension. Both deaths were incredibly senseless and evil beyond words. I am horrified when I see manifestations of evil like that, but I am strangely comfortable with the sin that remains in me. I have to see that the taproot that expressed itself in those horrific crimes is the same taproot for every sin, no matter how small I think it is. Sin is awful. Sin hurts people and dishonors God. There are two outcomes of sin: either a person bears the wrath of God for eternity in hell or Jesus’ takes your place, bearing the wrath of God for you. Those two outcomes tell you what God thinks about sin. We are often like the woman. We want what Jesus promises because it sounds like it will meet our needs and make our life better.  But if we are unwilling to deal with our sin, He will expose that duplicitous heart. He fully knows how awful sin is, even if we are blind to it. It’s His kindness to lead her to repentance. He will do the same for you. Is there any sin in your life you are holding onto? Be honest with God. Talk to Him. Lay it down. It’s not worth it. “Go, call your husband and come here”.

Prayer

Father, thank you that my sin does not put you off. Thank you for sending Jesus to take my punishment and bear Your wrath. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who lives inside me who puts to death the sin that still remains. Give me courage to walk in obedience to you for your great name’s sake.

A Deep Well

Scripture

John 4:11-14

11 She said* to Him, “Sir , You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Observation

Jesus refreshes the deep places in our hearts

Application

When Jesus told this woman that if she would have asked him he would have given her living water, she only looked at him with her limited understanding. She has no spiritual sight yet. All she can think of is the physical world. She knows getting water requires a bucket and she saw he had no bucket, so no way to get water. She also tells him the well is deep. As I was thinking on why she said that, I came up with two possible reasons. One, she could be commenting on the fact that a stranger might not know that the water coming from the well was cold and refreshing because of its depth. In other words, maybe she is saying to him, “You’re offering me something better than what I can get here? Who are you to make that offer and how will you do it?” Another possible reason she might have commented on the well being deep is to tell Jesus that it won’t be easy to retrieve the water. But we know something beyond the physical is going on here. The woman is speaking of the physical realities of thirst and water, but Jesus is speaking of the spiritual realities of desire and satisfaction.

How well do you know yourself? It’s safe to say that you know yourself better than any other living person on earth, but there is One who knows more. Someone created you. You can only see what you can see. There are some things in us so deep that only the Lord who made us can help us see them and then meet the need. Some desires are deep within us. He is deeper still. We realize the woman doesn’t understand spiritual realities yet, but don’t we do the same thing even when we do have spiritual sight? Don’t we look with our physical eyes, and question how he will deliver on the staggering promises in the Scriptures? We wonder, “Is what He’s offering really better than what I can manufacture in my own strength by following my own way?” And deep wells are hard to get to. It takes effort…and really…who has the energy? The Good News really is good. He knows what you need even when you don’t and He meets needs you can’t meet.  He is the living water. His presence is enough. … He bids us to come and drink the water without price. Slow down today and meet with Him.

Prayer

Lord, we desperately need you. We don’t even know how much we need you. Draw us to yourself today. Fill us with your overwhelming goodness. Help us see You. Thank you for promising that you will never leave us or forsake us.

Take the Gift

Scripture

John 4:7-10

7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

Observation

Jesus is the giver, not you.

Application

Neediness. Who wants to be needy? It feels much better to be in control and having no needs you can’t meet yourself. But, no matter what financial or emotional or physical state you find yourself in, there is an unalterable truth to our universe: You ARE needy. We are needy 100% of the time. We are dependent creatures. We need air, food, water, shelter, clothes, love, hope…it’s an endless list of neediness. This passage is so awesome because Jesus starts with a picture of his own human neediness. He was weary from his journey. He was thirsty. He really was fully human. He entered our humanity so that he could be a sympathetic high priest. No matter what you are facing today, Jesus experienced the same aching reality of humanity. Now the focus of the story shifts to the appointed person in His appointed plan. The woman comes to this place in time in desperate need, but she doesn’t realize it fully. I love that Jesus is the instigator in this entire story. He comes to the well at the right time. He engages in conversation with the woman. She doesn’t seek Him out. She doesn’t even know she needs what He’s got. That’s our Savior…He came to seek and save the lost. He is seeking you right now. You need Him. He is the gift He’s offering. His living presence inside you exchanging His life for your death. Make the exchange. Surrender to Him.

Prayer

Father, I confess that I desperately need you. Your word says the one who comes to you will certainly not be cast out. You are a good and faithful and sympathetic high priest. I can trust you to give me what  I desperately need. You see my inner place and my brokenness. You are not put off by the ugliness. You came to heal the broken places and set them right. Thank you that you do not get weary of me. Renew my spirit today. Cause me to walk in your commands.

John 4:1-6
Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. 4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He came* to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; 6 and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Observation:
Jesus had a very definite plan with very definite timing with very definite people.

Interpretation:
Seeing the word “Therefore”, makes you realize that the text is telling us this story based on reasons previously communicated. The prior chapter has told us two significant stories. The first is Jesus revealing to Nicodemus that eternal life comes through a second birth, not through the first physical birth. The second story is John revealing that Jesus’ ministry is more important than his own. Namely, that Jesus will remove the wrath of God from us. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” So, with that backdrop, Jesus knew the time was right for Him to reveal specifically and directly that He was the promised Messiah.

Samaria is a country of outcasts and full of impurity to the Jewish religious order. The name of the town mentioned, Sychar, actually means town of the tombs…or town of the dead. It is full of Jewish history as the place Jacob gave Joseph and where Joseph actually was buried when his sons carried his body from Egypt back to Israel. So here, in the town of the dead, with the actual dead body of the first “savior” of Israel, Jesus will reveal himself to be the real Savior. Joseph had saved Israel through suffering. He was thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into jail, and then exalted to a position of influence to save his nation from famine. Joseph famously says to his brothers as he forgives them, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. “ Gen 50:20

Jesus comes to dead people and brings life with Him.

Application:
Wherever you find yourself at this moment in time, it is no accident. God has a perfect plan with perfect timing. When you are in the middle of something you don’t like or something that doesn’t feel good, it is easy to feel like it is just a big mess up. It’s not. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing. He knows ALL things. God is working all things… ALL things… to reveal Himself. We have been called for this moment in time to go to a far away place because God has a definite plan for a definite group of people. He’s doing a work in us and through us to reveal Himself to specific people in Ecuador. We don’t know all the details. We never will on this side of heaven. All we know is to be faithful in the moments He gives us. Rest in His plan. Rest in His timing. Repent of any lack of trust in Him. He is all-wise and all-good.

Not Hopeless Enough

It seems I start every blog post with a comment on how long it has been since I last blogged. This time, it has been over a year since the last entry. That’s impressive. =) I’m sure there have been people checking here everyday to see if today was the day that I would write. =) Well…I think this is the last time I will do that (comment on my infrequent blogging, not actually write.) I am going to accept that I am hopeless about blogging regularly. Since I only write to process thoughts anyway I should only need to apologize to myself.

Anyway…back to the original thought…I was walking last night and thinking about hope. For the most part, we are hope-filled creatures. If we started enumerating all the ways we have hope, most people would have numerous things to list. However, we all have bouts of hopelessness in our lives. Something isn’t going like we want and we struggle to keep hope. It’s easy to get myopic about the one thing in our lives that isn’t going well. The thought I had while walking was that maybe hopelessness is a good thing. Maybe I am not hopeless enough. I know… a strange thought.

Let’s see if I can make a case for my thought. Everyone has hope. To be sure, not everyone has the same amount of hope and not everyone has hope in the same things. But, I believe that once you cease to have hope in anything, you are not much longer for this world. Let me list a few things in which people have hope: enough money, people you love, a roof over your head, food to fuel your body, time, ability, normal life, entertainment, electricity, a good night’s rest, Jesus, health, productive work, good relationships, clothes that make you feel attractive, a car, a good credit history, the right body weight, the right candidate to get elected. There is only one thing on that list that you can bank on 100% of the time. One thing. One person, actually. You know who it is.

If you are not a follower of Jesus, you don’t have even one reason to have hope. You are experiencing God’s grace and mercy every second of every day. Every gift could be taken tomorrow, including your life, and God would have done you no wrong. Everything happening in your life (the good and the bad) is designed to drive you to Him… to acknowledge His supremacy in everything, so that you can know Him, so that you can thank Him. Everyone is on a journey to face Him. One day everyone WILL face Him. In this life, until you submit to Him and bow to Him as the King instead of yourself, you are taking what is His as your own. That’s theft and if we had a person in our lives that did that to us over and over again, they wouldn’t be in our lives very long. But… do not fear. God is good and forgiving. What He demands of us, He provides. He offers you Jesus. Your sin for His righteousness. He never did anything wrong. He gave up His life willingly to pay the penalty that God demands for sin. The Father poured out his wrath for sin on Jesus. Jesus paid the penalty for sin for anyone that trusts Him. He rose from the dead to prove that He was who He said He was and that He did what He said He would do. His perfect righteousness can be yours for the asking. You can’t beat that deal.

If you are already a follower of Jesus, you DO have a reason to hope. You have something rock solid to bank on everyday. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He will provide for your needs. He continues to forgive your sin. While I was walking I kept thinking how often I transfer this hope I have in Jesus into that gift list I listed earlier. If I am really honest, it’s the gift list giving me hope. I know… because if something goes away, I have a tendency to lose hope. Those aren’t good sources of hope. They are gifts, to be sure, but just that. They should produce thankfulness and reminders everyday of how good God is, but they aren’t good indicators of how much He loves me. The only thing that infallibly tells me how much I am loved is Jesus’ death for me.  If I turn the gifts into a hope source…they fail… and they all fail eventually. Using gifts as hope is idolatry. and an idol is just something we turn to for help other than God. So…maybe I am not hopeless enough. I’ve only got one reason to have hope… but, thankfully, it is a VERY good source of hope. When my false hopes fail, it drives me to the one good source of hope. Anything is good when it drives me to Jesus.

No King

Scripture:

Judges 21:25 – In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

Observation:

We need God to be our king.

Application:

The stories in the book of Judges are awful. Really… you start wondering why God would include them in His book. The one that really stood out this morning was the story of the raped concubine. I’ll save you the recap… you can read it if you want … Judges 19… Suffice it to say that no one comes off looking good in this story. No one. Not even God. The story leaves you wondering why God is not judging this awful sin… and there is plenty of sin to go around: the Levite, the concubine, the father of the concubine, the old man who offered his home, the men of Gibeah… it goes on and on. Why do I say that God doesn’t even look good? He is silent on a lot of the sin. He judges some of it, but not all of it. Finally… at the end of the book… one of the phrases that is said at the beginning of chapter 18 and 19 is explained. The phrase is, “In those days Israel had no king.” God explains it with the last sentence in Judges. He says, “everyone did as he saw fit.” For most people, doing whatever you want to do sounds like freedom. The stories in the book of Judges show the folly of that thought. Whatever we see fit, when our thoughts are not shaped by God’s holiness, is evil. Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds. These stories are supposed to shock us. They are supposed to show us what a life not surrendered to the holiness of God looks like. It isn’t pretty.

One of the beautiful things about reading through the Bible in 90 days is that I am reading more Bible than I usually read in a single sitting. It caused me to read the story of Ruth and Boaz immediately following all that disgusting stuff from Judges. The story of Ruth and Boaz is a beautiful Old Testament picture of what Jesus will do for us on the cross. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. He is our Boaz. It was also a beautiful reminder that God is not silent on our sin. He has not missed one single act of rebellion. He has punished it thoroughly on the cross. For those who trust in Jesus, He has taken the punishment we deserve. He was crushed for our iniquity. Praise God, Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. Praise Him.

Prayer:

Thank you, Father, for the sacrifice you gave to pay for my sin. Thank you that you have not treated me as I deserve, but instead have lavished grace and mercy on me. Help me point people to the only source of grace and mercy that exists… your Son, Jesus.

 

Scripture

Numbers 27:12-17

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.”  (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin). Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

Observation

We should care about God’s people like He cares for them

Application

Sometime back God showed me something I hadn’t really seen before. I was studying the passage where Moses makes his huge mistake and God tells him he will not be allowed to enter the promised land. You remember the story… the people are grumbling because they don’t have water (see previous entry on what God thinks about that)… and Moses gets instruction from God to speak to the rock to provide water for His people. Moses instead strikes the rock with his staff, and water gushes forth. But God tells Moses that because he didn’t treat Him as holy in front of His people, he will not get to bring his people into the land.

At first glance, this seems a little harsh of God. Moses wasn’t perfectly obedient, to be sure. But it seems harsh of God to deny him entrance to the promised land just because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded. Keep in mind also that in times previous God had asked him to strike the rock to bring water. What God showed me about this incident was that God was not bringing those consequences merely for disobedience to revealed commands (although He could and be perfectly just), but because Moses had an attitude of contempt for God’s people. Moses was sick to death of the Israelites complaining, and he struck the rock out of anger and contempt and disdain. God didn’t like that attitude… and he judged it. We don’t get to be the judge over God’s people. That is His role, and He doesn’t like it when we try to take His place.

So… this passage this morning really was eye opening for me. God brings up Moses’ biggest failure (if you don’t count murdering the Egyptian), and Moses responds by asking God to appoint a man to shepherd the people. God’s chastisement of Moses had done its job. Moses’ heart now was functioning correctly.  He cares about what God cares about.

Prayer

Father, help me to see when I have an attitude of disdain for your people. Who am I to have that kind of attitude? Forgive me when I have been quick to be exasperated. Help me see that the God they need is the same God I need daily.