NOW WOMAN, GO AND GET YOUR HUSBAND (John 4:16-26 MSG)
In today’s lesson, we pick up the story of the Samaritan woman who by chance met Jesus at the well. After Jesus had offered her to drink the living water, Jesus abruptly shifted the subject from his living water to her style of living. The woman perceived her need for living water at one level. Jesus knew that her need was far deeper, so he turned the conversation to reveal his knowledge of her personal life, and her sin of adultery. So here is what Jesus told the woman to do. He said, “Woman go and get your husband.” Jesus wanted to make this woman see her sin and her need for forgiveness and then offer her the living water, salvation. She must have realized that this was not a man who could be fooled, for she answered transparently, 17-18“I have no husband,” she said.” “That is nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You have had five husbands, and the man you are living with now is not even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.” The woman spoke the truth without any explanation.
Although he confronted the woman’s sinful life, Jesus managed to affirm her truthfulness. He did not accuse or excuse; he simply described her life so that she could draw some clear conclusions about the mess in which she was living. The conclusions we reach without knowing the facts will usually err in one of two directions: We will accuse others and raise their defenses, or we will excuse others and enable their denial. We see in Jesus communication with this woman that when faced with an accepting confrontation, people will often respond positively. When we speak to others about themselves, we must limit our words to what we know.
Now the woman’s dandruff begins to rise and she says to Jesus, 19-20“Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”
The woman acknowledged the truthfulness of Jesus remarks about her life. At the same time, she recognized that he must be a prophet who had the power to “see” the hidden past as well as the future. The theme of people “seeing” Jesus appears several times in John (especially in chapter 9). The persons Jesus encountered saw him many different ways, but he consistently directed their attention to recognize him for who he really was, their Savior.
Many commentators have Pointe out that the woman may have been purposely attempting to avert any further disclosure of her personal, sinful life by shifting the conversation to religion. Notice how Jesus responded to her change of direction. He was not presenting a system or a gospel outline; he was having a conversation with someone who needed the living water. Jesus made no attempt to turn the discussion back to her lifestyle; rather, he entered into a dialogue about the true place of worship. Jesus kept the woman’s interest by demonstrating his willingness to let her direct the discussion.
The unspoken question is, if you are a prophet, who’s right? The Samaritans had set up a place for worship on Mount Gerizim, basing their authority to do so on Deuteronomy 11:26-29; 27:1-8; the Jews had followed David in making Jerusalem the center of Jewish worship. The split had come in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 4:1-2; Nehemiah 4:1-2) when the Samaritans had offered to help rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem but had been rebuffed. So there was an ongoing debate between the two groups as to who was correct. The Scriptures authenticated Jerusalem as the place of worship. However the Samaritan woman wanted to hear what a Jewish prophet had to say about this.
Jesus said to her, 21-23“Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
We know that both the Jews and the Samaritans were convinced the correct way to worship God depended on a particular geographical location. But Jesus pointed to a new realm, not at Mount Gerizim or in Jerusalem, but in the Spirit of God. He also knew that the Temple in Jerusalem soon would be destroyed. The first readers of John would have known this as a historical fact because it would have already happened!
Jesus then told her this, 23-24“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” The new worship is already here among Jesus followers (including both Jews and Samaritans who are united in Christ), although the end of worship in the Temple or on Mount Gerizim is still future, is coming. Jesus announced that a new time had come, a time in which true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. True worshipers are to be recognized by the way they worship. After making the place of worship and order of worship secondary to our spiritual relationship with God. Jesus defined real worship. According to him, worship would take on two new aspects: It would be in spirit and in truth.
The expressin “in spirit” refers to the human spirit, the immaterial, inner being in each person, the God-breathed entity that corresponds to the nature of God himself, who is Spirit. Using the terms of Jesus conversation, worship involves the person’s awareness of that personal “spring of living water” that God has planted in him or her. God indwells believers that is where true worship takes place. Our body can be anywhere, yet worship occurs as our attention and praise are turned toward God. We need to consciously focus on God when we are in a house of worship because we easily assume that our presence in church is all that we need in order to worship. We can usually remember how long the worship service lasted, but can we remember exactly when we actually worshiped the Lord?
The phrase in truth means “in a true way or “with genuineness.” This would speak to all people, Jews, Samaritans, and even Gentiles; all need to worship God by recognizing God’s character and nature as well as our common need for him. We worship in truth because we worship what is true.
25The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
26“I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”
Now let me close with this final thought for each one of you who have taken the time to read this entire lesson and the many lessons we teach here daily, “Think globally, and work locally. Looking beyond ourselves in the real and on line world, to reach out to others who might be in need, for we all are truly our Brothers Keeper, salvation is FREE for the asking. Take a moment wherever you may be, and ask the Lord to come into your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and if you have spoken these few simple words in truth, you are saved, and now have eternal life. May the grace of God abide in you now and forever, in Jesus name, Amen.
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May God continue to bless each one of you. Today I minister to you from a position of peace, power, purpose and prosperity in Jesus name. I remain Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.