Reading from John 4
"Sir," the woman said, "I see you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
The woman said, "I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When He comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus declared. "I who speak to you am He."
The woman was amazed at Jesus' ability to know her. How could this man, this Jewish rabbi, know her life, and ultimately her thoughts and intentions? She took the opportunity of the conversation to voice her opinion not only of him, but of their differences in belief and worship. She recognizes that he must be a prophet, as he knew about her life, but she defends her belief system, ultimately saying that the Messiah will come and that then He can sort out all the controversy.
It strikes me that at times we attempt to defend our own belief systems, morals, ideas, and attitudes in the face of what the Bible might be saying, or if the slightest hint of conviction comes on us we wave it away, with an attitude of "Yes, But...".
I know that I did that myself most of my adult life. I would read the Scriptures, and if it was something I didn't understand, or didn't particularly agree with, I would find myself making excuses, and avoiding the Truth that was staring me in the face, shut the book, turn off the voice inside of me and morph into "Scarlett O'Hara". Oh, fiddle de de. I'll think of that another day, not today. Today I will do what I want, think what I want, and believe what I want!
Jesus then says in so many words, woman, you are worshiping someone you don't even know, you are fooling yourself, and even though you may have good intentions, good intentions are not enough. You have to have the Truth.
I have talked with many people who are loaded with good intentions. People who are kind hearted, do good deeds, love other people, say they are "spiritual", but don't have a clue concerning the Truth. And the Truth is this: Jesus, and that Jesus is God's Son, sent here to redeem us from our sin. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and there is no way to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)
We have to know the Truth, and we won't find it in the latest Blockbuster movie or book, TV infomercial, or on Oprah.(I do watch Oprah, I just don't look to her for my spiritual guidance) The Truth is the Word of God, plain and simple, and if what you are hearing does not line up with the Bible, I'm sorry, it's just not the Truth.
You may not agree with me, but there are so many "things" out there; so many ideologies, philosophies, trends, and super-duper sales pitches that I've had to be very particular about what I expose myself to. If I read the latest bestseller self help book on the NY Times list, it needs to line up with what the Word of God says, otherwise I won't let it in my heart. I know this sounds somewhat narrowminded, OK alot narrowminded, but I have a hard enough time keeping my thoughts in line with God, without someone getting in there and confusing me. And confusion causes doubt. And then you are on a slippery slope.
I'm sure there are people who would read this and immediately exit, but that's how I feel. That's my way of staying "on track", and it works for me. Am I against hearing other people's ideas or opinions? No, I'm just careful about what I allow in my heart.
So we know about worshiping in "Truth". What about worshiping in "spirit"? In the Old Testament times we know the Holy Spirit "came upon" individuals, but He did not "indwell" a believer in the everpresent way He does at this time. (Since Jesus death on the cross and his resurrection) Jesus said he would "go away" so that we might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(John 14) Now upon our salvation experience He comes to indwell us and take up residence in our heart (spirit). In doing this we now receive the mind, heart, and thoughts of God, Himself. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
If we seek Him, He will give us guidance and direction for our everyday life. Now we can worship, not only in Truth, like the Old Testament believers, but also in spirit, as the Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit. We know the Truth of the Word of God, and we are also blessed and motivated by God's own Holy Spirit. That's real worship. Not one or the other, but the combination. That is my great desire...to be a True Worshiper.
So we find in verses John 39-42 that the woman went back to town and spread the word that Messiah was there among them, and that many in that area came to see and hear Jesus and ultimately believed in Him because of her testimony.
So my Life Lesson through this has been: Be open to meeting God in my daily life, let Him speak to me about the Truth, let me not be afraid to "come clean" before Him, and then to go share my experience with others.
Glad you're with me on the journey.
Our older daughter and her husband, from St. Louis, and my brother and sister-in-law from Texas will be here this week for several days. We'll be spending some wonderful quality time with them, so I'll post next week. Not sure where we will be reading, I'm excited to see where this is going. God has really blessed me this last week in studying this Samaritan woman. Hope you know her a little better because of this. My ultimate goal is to know Jesus a little better... everyday.
Have a wonderful rest of the week and I'll be back probably Tuesday. Be sure and check back in though, in the comment section. We have back and forth commenting, that I will be checking, which I really enjoy.