ALL-CHURCH FOCUS 2018 DEVOTIONAL

Aug 28th, Day #10 - John 4:1-45

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"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." – John 4:24


What is truly going on inside of me when I am worshiping God? 


What is truly going on in my life before I come to worship? 


How could bringing the truth of my whole self to God change the way I experience Him working in my life? 


How might it help others become curious about God?


Game On


Read John 4:1-45


Today’s passage is the perfect example of Jesus’ acceptance and love for everyone. He does not see and judge as we do. His love is unconditional. No matter your past, your background, or your circumstances, Jesus does not see as we do.


I did not grow up in a Christian family (very far from it) and for many years did not want to know Jesus because of my shame for the many terrible things I had done. Then, as my eyes were opened to who Jesus is, I realized that He loved me and was calling me to Himself. My curiosity was piqued as He welcomed me into His loving arms. This is what Jesus offers: living water for our thirsty souls. When this happens, Jesus is central and important and everything. All life points to Him and is about Him.


Now my challenge is to keep daily life from getting in the way of keeping Christ central in my life and telling others of what He has done for me. We all face this same challenge. Have you tasted this living water? How are you helping others become curious about the new kind of life Jesus offers?

yOUR MOVE

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 4:1-45


Scripture: Write down the verse or phrases God keeps bringing your eyes back to in today’s passage and why that could be.

 

Observation: What do you notice about the woman’s demeanor towards Jesus at the beginning of their conversation in today’s passage? Toward the middle? End? Why do you think that was?

 

Application: Here we see this woman letting Jesus into those hard-to-reach areas of her heart: pain, shame, regret, hiding, covering, etc. What area of your own life is Jesus wanting to reach?

 

Prayer:  Invite Jesus into that area of your life where you are thirsting for living water. It could be an area in which you are seeking fulfillment, forgiveness, hope, longing, etc. Sit at the well with Jesus and allow Him to love you and speak to you.

Bonus Round

The lady prominently featured in this passage is ethnically and religiously identified as a Samaritan. This meant she was from the region of Samaria.


While the term "Samaria" was first identified with the city founded by Omri, it soon became associated with the entire region surrounding the city, the tribal territory of Manasseh and Ephraim. Finally, the name "Samaria" became synonymous with the entire Northern Kingdom (I Kings 13:32; Jer. 31 :5). After the Assyrian conquest Samaria began to shrink in size. By NT times it became identified with the central region of Palestine, with Galilee to the north and Judea to the south.

 

The name "Samaritans" originally was identified with the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 17:29). When the Assyrians conquered Israel and exiled 27,290 Israelites, a "remnant of Israel" remained in the land. Assyrian captives from distant places also settled there (2 Kings 17:24). This led to the intermarriage of some, though not all, Jews with Gentiles and to widespread worship of foreign gods. By the time the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem, Ezra and Nehemiah refused to let the Samaritans share in the experience (Ezra 4: 1-3; Neh. 4:7). The old antagonism between Israel to the north and Judah to the south intensified the quarrel. The Jewish inhabitants of Samaria identified Mount Gerizim as the chosen place of God and the only center of worship, calling it the "navel of the earth" because of a tradition that Adam sacrificed there. Their Scriptures were limited to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Moses was regarded as the only prophet and intercessor in the final judgment. They also believed that 6,000 years after creation, a Restorer would arise and would live on earth for 110 years.

 

By Jesus’ day, relations were greatly strained (Luke 9:52-54; I 0:25-37; 17:11-19; John 8:48). The animosity was so great that the Jews bypassed Samaria as they traveled between Galilee and Judea. They went an extra distance through the barren land of Perea on the eastern side of the Jordan to avoid going through Samaria. Yet Jesus rebuked His disciples for their hostility to the Samaritans (Luke 9:55-56), healed a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:16), honored a Samaritan for his neighborliness (Luke I 0:30- 37), praised a Samaritan for his gratitude (Luke 17: 11-18}, asked a drink of a Samaritan woman (John 4:7), and preached to the Samaritans (John 4:40-42). Then in Acts 1:8 Jesus challenged His disciples to witness in Samaria. Philip, a deacon, opened a mission in Samaria (Acts 8:5).

 

A small Samaritan community continues to this day to follow the traditional worship near Shechem.

 

*This resource an excerpt from The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), page 1436-1437. Article by Donald R. Potts.