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Finding Jesus

While having dinner with a pastor in Orlando, I asked how he came to know Jesus. He said his father left Puerto Rico for Orlando over twenty years ago looking for work. After a couple of days, he saw a tent in an auto dealer’s parking lot. He entered and discovered a church service occurring. He experienced Jesus, decided to follow Him, and went back to Puerto Rico to tell his family. Afterwards they moved to Orlando and started attending church. Today his mom visits people in prison, his dad counsels people in faith-based financial planning, and all the children are involved in ministry throughout Florida.

A genuine experience with Jesus changes everything. Unwholesome things do not appeal as they once did. And like the Samaritan woman at a well, salvation causes a person to tell family and friends about Jesus.

Photo Credit: iko (cc)

Photo Credit: iko (cc)

John 4:27

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?”

Jesus and Women

No rabbi would have entered into a conversation with a woman. One of their sayings was, “A man shall not talk with a woman in the street, not even with his own wife, and especially not with another woman, on account of what men may say.” Yet out of respect the disciples do not even question Him.

Jesus interacted with women on several occasions. He frequently mentioned men and women in His parables. He even elevated their position on more than one occasion (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus was continually modeling to the disciples the equality of genders in the Kingdom of God.

John 4:28-30

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?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.

Worship in Witness

The Samaritan woman came to a well to fetch water but found Jesus. She left her water jar behind and told others about Him. Her sincerity generated curiosity, motivating others to come and meet Him.

A Change of Plans

A real encounter with Jesus changes the trajectory of a person’s day and ultimately their entire life.

The challenge

Pursue a genuine encounter with Jesus. Be open to a change of plans. Bring others to Him.

How has Jesus changed the direction of your life? Share your comments below.

True Worship

Jerusalem is a city of religion. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism consider the city sacred. Pilgrims come from around the world to journey where Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham walked. They seek spiritual experiences in religious locations.

While speaking with a Samaritan woman Jesus reveals genuine worship is not dependent on places or things. God actively seeks true worshippers, those willing to worship “in spirit and truth,” those with a sincere and honest approach to God. Are you a true worshiper?

worshipJohn 4:20

“So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

A holy mountain

The Samaritan woman tried to move the conversation away from her many husbands to an even more controversial topic: Which mountain is holy?

There was a bitter division between Jews and Samaritans over rival claims about the genuine place of worship, Jerusalem or Gerizim? Samaritans read only the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Old Testament — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Within these books Mount Gerizim is given importance. Abraham and Jacob set up altars on the mountain and later, after Israel took possession of the land, it became the hillside of blessing.

Jews, however, included other Scripture that helped define Jerusalem as their holy place (2 Chron. 6:6, 7:12; Ps. 78:68).

John 4:21-24

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The nature of worship

Jesus did not wish to be drawn into the debate. Location does not matter. His concern is the nature of worship. Worship inaugurated by Jesus is not tied to any place considered sacred.

Worship is an issue of “spirit and truth.”

God is actively seeking true worshipers – those who maintain a complete sincerity in their approach to God. True worshipers do so in spirit, as defined by emotion, intellect and will. They also worship in truth, through their speech, actions, and thoughts. God is ceaselessly active as the life-giving Spirit and is worthy of all worship.

But how does one worship? In the sanctuary God has prepared, the arena of life, He makes a person’s whole life worship. Faith communities come together weekly to engage a person’s emotions, intellect and will, but worship of God extends far beyond this brief corporate encounter. Genuine worship is spiritual. It is not dependent on places and things. A person’s daily work, words, actions, thoughts…their whole life is worship.

John 4:25-26

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”

The Messiah revealed

The woman does not dispute Jesus’ comment and understands the Messiah will fulfill all that was spoken.

On this occasion Jesus admits being the Messiah. He safely uses the term in a region away from Jewish political circles. His confession is a beautiful invitation to “come unto Me.”

More than the Messiah

Jesus was more than a Jew or Samaritan could comprehend at the time.

He is the Answer to the undeniable sin problem.”

The challenge

Genuinely worship God in spirit and truth! Sincerely come to Him and dedicate your life to His will. He is worthy of worship.

What does being a true worshiper mean to you? Share your comments below.