worship is spiritual not geographical

Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.” ... The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
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?” [John 4:16-20 ESV]

Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well continues.
She begins to sense that there is something special about the man she is talking to.
He gets her attention as he speaks to her about the man who she is living with.

She immediately switches the subject to something religious yet the Lord turns it spiritual.
Jesus informs her that worship is spiritual not geographical.
We today would be wise to hear his words - it is not about where we worship.

It is not about the physical but about the spiritual.

The life of this simple woman is absolutely turned upside down when Jesus tells her who he is.
Can you sense the amazement that she must have been feeling?
The hope of all creation had appeared to her and she could not contain her excitement.

Her religious experience was turned inside out by the presence of the Ancient of Days.

Such is the evidence of all of history.
Peoples of all genders, ages and ethnicity have been radically changed by an encounter with God.
It is our spiritual heritage. I want such change.

Come Lord Jesus. I am thirsty. I need a drink from your life giving well.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

spiritual thirst

Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” ... The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” ... Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” ... Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” [John 4:7-15 ESV]

My first reaction to this story is how a simple request can evolve into something greater.
Does the depth of the conversation simply not blow you away?
Jesus takes something so simple as a drink of water and turns it into something so profound.

He turns something ordinary into something special.

I think that is the way of the Spirit in our lives as well.
Small things can take on profound meaning.
An encouraging word or an act of kindness can have lasting consequences.

Simple conversations can become so profound.

Can anyone doubt that Jesus believed that he was the Messiah?
Could a mere man proclaim that he is the giver of living water?
The identity of Christ is so evident in this reading.

And who would not drink of this eternal well?

I have found this to be true - I have sensed this living water in my own life.
Such is the difference between the Samaritan woman's religion and what Jesus offers.
The water he gives produces more than religious zeal - his water gives spiritual life.

I am thirsty Lord. Fill me with your living water.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

spiritual influence

“No one can have anything unless God gives it. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ ... He must become more important while I become less important.” He who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly matters, but he who comes from heaven is above all. He tells what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his message. But whoever accepts his message confirms by this that God is truthful. [John 3:27-33 NLT]

This passage is a fitting follow-up to the conversation that Jesus had with the Pharisee. In these verses John the Baptist affirms the things that Jesus told Nicodemus. Consider these points that John makes as he shares with his disciples and others:
  • Spiritual wisdom is a gift from heaven. A person who understands this is able to receive it because they have placed themselves in a place of humility.
  • We are not God or the Messiah. It is a needed lesson in humility for many with an over-inflated ego. Humility is a necessity, not an option, for a follower of Christ.
  • We are humble fore-runners. Like John it is our job to proclaim the good news about Jesus telling all that God loves them and wants all to know him.
  • We are friends of God who rejoice greatly at his voice. When we read the scriptures we rejoice over his words. Our relationship with God is a joy filled one.
  • His influence must increase in our lives. When we are born again we begin as spiritual infants and grow into mature children of God as we walk humbly before Him.
I love it how John ends this passage saying the same thing that Jesus told Nicodemus about eternal life. When I think of John I think of someone who had such a clear and humble understanding of his role in life and such an amazing insight into God.

Like John, I pray Lord that your influence would grow stronger in my life.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.