Text: John 4:1-42
Event(s): Jesus leaves for Galilee; Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well; Jesus returns to Galilee
John 4:1-38 This is one of the most beautiful stories of reconciliation that exists. Samaritans were the outcast of Israel; avoided, ignored and looked down upon. Jesus broke through all lines of division that existed to reach her: gender lines, cultural boundaries, religious constraints that had existed as well as ethnic tensions.
John 4:23-24 “in spirit and truth” To worship from our spirit points to the source of where our worship stems from. Worship may be evidenced outwardly, through raising of hands or singing, but the source of true worship comes from within. Truth speaks to reality, to sincerity of heart. True worship is all about Him, not us. God is seeking those who will worship Him in this way. I can’t help but recall 2 Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him…” (NLT)
John 4:32 “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” It was in a season of prayer and fasting that I caught a glimpse of what this meant. Spiritual nourishment controls the appetite of the flesh.
John 4:34 “to do…and to finish…” We have a tendency to only celebrate when we “finish” the work we have been given, or the goal we have set out to accomplish, but we must also learn to celebrate progress along the way. The fact that we are “doing” should be as equally rewarding as “finishing”.
Today’s Takeaway: What big goals do you have set before you? What are you aiming for, or what mountains are you facing that you are trying to overcome this year? Do you have any big projects you’ve set out to tackle? Learning to celebrate progress gives us steam to finish all the way to the end, and progress has to be defined as whatever the next step is.
I used to get really frustrated with this. If I was setting out to work on something new, even though I’m a planner and enjoy the planning process, I wouldn’t celebrate progress unless I had actually started the work on the project itself. But over time, I’ve learned to celebrate each step. Sometimes, it’s taking time to plan. Sometimes, it’s making a phone call, or researching. And then sometimes, it’s taking the chisel out and actually starting to shape the project itself. Zechariah 4:10 reminds us to not despise (think little of) small beginnings. Whatever lies ahead, focus on the next step, whether it’s a big step or a small step, and take joy in completing it. To do…and to finish whatever God has given you to do will bring a great deal of satisfaction.
Additional (optional) reading: Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 4:14 Chronologically, these verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke take place right before Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. An important event taking place: John the Baptist is imprisoned.