Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oct 24: John 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is John 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • As we continue in John’s gospel, we travel with Jesus to the region of Samaria. This area was between Jerusalem and Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. The Well of Jacob, 100 feet deep and nine feet in diameter, is one of the few places in the life of Jesus that can be identified with certainty and precision. Archeological excavations at the summit of Mount Gerizim have uncovered the remains of an ancient Samaritan temple.
  • As Jesus takes the time to interact with a Samaritan woman, he is radically bridging cultural differences:
  • When heading north from Jerusalem, most Jews would travel days out of their way to avoid the region of Samaria. Jesus, on the other hand, spends two whole days hanging out with the people in Samaria.
  • Most Jews wouldn’t associate with women other than their wives. Jesus had an intensely personal conversation with a woman who was considered immoral.
  • Jews and Samaritans worshipped in similar fashions but in very different places, which led both groups to despise each another (sort of like a gang rivalry?!). Jesus offered a "new" worship that was unrestrained by geography. Instead of going to a temple Jesus’ followers would be the temple because God’s Spirit and truth lived inside them.
  • After stopping in Samaria, John says that Jesus headed north back to the region of Galilee. Upon arrival, he heals a man’s son without ever coming in contact with the boy (!).

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus didn’t let cultural barriers keep him from his mission. He came to save people from perishing and to give them eternal life. Although Jews were his primary audience, we can tell his mission was for everyone regardless of culture. If Jesus accepted the woman at the well, whom society greatly despised, he will also accept you.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • She was hiding her rough marriage life. What are you hiding from Jesus? Even though she was probably ashamed to admit certain things to Jesus, she was also courageous. And that courage to admit truth resulted in God’s blessing for her whole town. 
  • What things are you ashamed to admit to Jesus? Muster courage to confess these things and then get support from someone else you trust. Don’t let anything keep you from Jesus. He gave everything for us and offers a relationship with God and eternal life.