Let’s continue in this pivotal conversation with the Samaritan woman. As the title suggests, there are two main areas in which today’s passage can teach us some lessons.
The first is in witnessing, by which I mean sharing the Good News with someone who’s lost. I’ve done this with lots of people over the years, and do you know what the number one obstacle is? It’s not some logical flaw which they find in the Bible. About 99% of the time the main problem is distractions, both from the Enemy and from the person who needs Christ. I’ve been witnessing to someone, and suddenly, out of the blue, just when we’re getting to some very important truths, the phone rings. They apologize, answer it, and lo and behold it’s some long-lost cousin from out-of-state who suddenly--by sheer coincidence--decided to call right at that moment. Of course, I don’t believe in coincidences: I'm convinced this is the work of our Enemy. Once you start confronting someone with their need for Jesus, you’ll definitely get his attention, since you’re invading his territory and trying to steal some of his property.
The other distractions I’ve seen come from the person himself, which we see today. Jesus casually asked her to go get her husband so he can join into this conversation. Of course, he knew quite well that she was a five-time divorcee and was currently shacking up with another man. As soon as Jesus brought this up, what did she do? You can almost hear the alarm bells going off in her head: CHANGE THE SUBJECT! CHANGE THE SUBJECT! Suddenly she wants to steer the conversation A) from the sin in her life and how much she'd screwed up to B) some theological controversy which had absolutely nothing to do with what they had been talking about.
I’ve seen this dozens of times. You know you’ve started to hit home when they suddenly want to talk about the Pygmies in Africa or who was Cain’s wife. Or a personal favorite of mine: hypocrisy in the church. My answer when they bring up red herrings like these: “You know that’s a very interesting question. I tell you what, why don’t we tackle that after we’ve talked about the main issue. I promise you, when someone stands before God on Judgment Day, the subject won’t Cain’s wife or those hypocrites. The subject will be their personal sin and what they did with Jesus Christ. After we finish talking about that, I'd be happy to talk about any other questions you have."
Let’s turn from that to worship. Jesus indulged her theological question, since he could use it to steer the conversation back to the subject at hand: Her broken relationship with God. But I think it sheds light on the heart of God like nothing else in Scripture. What does God look for, what does he desire? Worshippers, people who declare the “worth-ship” of himself. We exist to declare how wonderful he is, both to his ears and to other people as well. And what type of worshippers is he seeking out? Incredible singers? Skillful musical players? No. He’s looking for people who will worship him "in spirit and in truth." He wants people to declare who he is (praise) and what’s he’s done (thanksgiving) from our heart, not just with our lips. The geographical location matters not at all to him. What matters is that we’re completely “tuned in” to his presence (see here if you don't get the reference). Are you worshiping him in spirit and in truth?
Father God, you are worthy of all praise, honor, glory, and thanksgiving. I want to be that type of worshipper, not just on Sunday morning but every waking moment. I’m nowhere near that standard, but by your grace I want to start in that direction. Please.
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