True Fulfillment

April 15, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Posted in John | 1 Comment
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“He told me all that ever I did.” This was the testimony of the Samaritan woman (John 4:39) who met Jesus at Jacob’s well, and the conversation went from drawing and drinking water to a brief survey of the woman’s somewhat scandalous sexual history. But did Jesus really tell her that He knew “ALL” the things that she “EVER” did? How long would such a recitation have taken? How long would it take for someone tell your whole life story? How much would they have to say to convince you that they knew enough about you to know who you really were and what you were really about? Intellectually, we are able to affirm the doctrine of Jesus’s omniscience, so, by default, He must know everything we’ve ever done, said, and even thought. But how sobering is it to think that He might start describing our past aloud to us, to our face? The Samaritan woman revealed something about her own mindset when she said, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did…” (John 4:29).

Her whole identity in her mind was her sinful past. This is not necessarily a correct way of thinking even for a lost sinner. We are all more than our past actions, but it does have an element of reality to it, in that, before we met Christ, we were in bondage to our decisions, which were made in bondage to our sinful natures. In Christ, of course, believers certainly shouldn’t think this way. Our identity in Christ is both new and greater.

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?

John 4:31-33

Have you ever been the victim of the kind of misunderstanding that results when you and the person to whom you are speaking think you are talking about the same thing but are actually talking about completely different subjects? There is a classic preacher’s joke that utilizes this theme, and in which a lady is writing to inquire about a “BC,” which, to her, stands for “bathroom commode,” while the letter’s recipient thinks she’s asking about a local “Baptist church.” You can read it by clieking here if you like.

This device is used fairly frequently in the Gospel of John to advance the dialogue between Jesus and His listeners. In Chapter 3 the spiritual “new birth” is confused with natural birth, and, earlier in this same account of the Samaritan woman, the “living water” of eternal life is confused with water drawn from a literal earthly well. Here, Jesus’s disciples wonder how he can be “full” when He hasn’t eaten any actual food. The narrative is moved forward through this misunderstanding in the dialogue, and, once again, it is a misunderstanding between the material and the spiritual.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 4:34

This was what “filled Jesus up.” The more He served the Father and accomplished His will, the more satisfied and fulfilled He grew. One of the reasons that we, as Christians, sometimes feel so empty inside is that we have too much material or earthly-minded “junk food” filling us up superficially. Consider Jesus, who was filled with the purpose of God more so than worldly concerns. Which type of “meat” do you prefer? What nourishes your soul and your spirit? Your home, your friends, your family? A trip to Disney? Your hobbies? Or is it ministering in Christ’s name? Sharing the Gospel? Helping believers to grow? Reading your Bible? Doing the will of our Heavenly Father is where we should find our true satisfaction and spiritual nourishment in life.

The Woman at the Well Who Well Said

March 27, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Posted in John | 4 Comments
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If you’ve ever been a fan of old-school Western television shows or movies, you are probably familiar with the bigotry and prejudice that allegedly existed in the Old West against “half-breeds,” a pejorative term for the offspring of Anglo-Saxon people and Native Americans (who were known as “Indians,” but often pronounced as “Injuns” onscreen). These so-called half-breeds were often despised, shunned, or mistreated for no fault of their own. The half-breeds of Jesus’s day were called Samaritans. They were the descendants of the offspring of the settlers who came in to occupy the lands of the northern tribes of Israel after they were conquered by the Assyrians, and the Jewish people who remained there and intermarried with them. To say that the Jewish people in 1st Century Judea disliked them would be an understatement, but, of course, the love of Jesus transcended (and still does transcend today) the prejudices which exist between people of different ethnicities. Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman in John Chapter 4.

Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

John 4:16

Jesus turned the conversation in a direction that would lead to conviction. This is not usually difficult to do in evangelism although it can be uncomfortable. Jesus was not indicating that talking to women about spiritual matters was a waste of time. He was not misogynistic or chauvinistic. He knew that the request to meet her husband would lead her to a place of confession.

The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

John 4:17-18

The fact that she had five husbands probably meant that she had been divorced five times, although some of them may have died instead. Jesus apparently considered the second – fifth husbands to still be “husbands,” though, and the sixth man – merely a live-in sexual partner – was not a “husband.”

At this point in the conversation the woman did what many people to whom you are witnessing concerning the Gospel will want to do when the conversation gets too heated or personal for their liking: she changed the subject to religious worship preferences.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

John 4:19-20

Jesus responded using the same form of address that He used for Mary His mother at the wedding in Cana – a respectful but formal “Woman” – but He did not ignore her provocation.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:21-24

The Jewish religion was the correct and true revelation under the Old Covenant, but in Christ the importance of the earthly location of formal worship would be abolished. God must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. He is not a “material” being, limited to meeting with His people only on one mountain at a time, or only in one building, one country, or one place.

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

John 4:25-26 (emphasis added)

The Samaritan name for their expected “Messiah” was the Taheb, and they believed that, when he appeared, he would function primarily as a teacher. Jesus often discouraged His identification as the Messiah when He was ministering among Jewish people because of the political and military baggage associated with it in their minds. However, among the Samaritans He allowed and encouraged the affirmation that He was the Savior prophesied, typified, and foreshadowed in the Pentateuch, and He even used a form of the “I AM” statements generally recognized as prevalent in the Gospel of John.

Won’t Hold Water

March 6, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Jeremiah | 5 Comments
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When we say that something “won’t hold water,” we mean that someone has expressed an idea or opinion, or proposed a plan of action, that, upon closer scrutiny, is faulty, and lacks the consistency or integrity to be relied upon.

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:13

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day, the Lord’s people committed two evils. First, they ignored the God Who had chosen them. They had forsaken Him Who was the Fountain of living waters. How it must grieve God to see us deliberately disobey Him! However, it’s just as bad to act like He’s not even there, as though we are participating in a sort of practical atheism.

The second evil was that they tried to try to hew out cisterns (troughs or little pools) as places to hold their blessings by their own machinations, without regard to God’s plan or purposes. These were broken cisterns. They were not going to be able to hold the living water. Our self-made or self-righteous attempts to replace our reliance on God will not hold anything worth having. They will become sad little puddles – stagnant and muddy, full of parasites – and they will make us sick.

What did Jesus say to the woman at the well? “Drink this water and you’ll just get thirsty again. But I AM the Living Water – drink of the Lord and you’ll never be thirsty again.”

More often than not, our own ideas, plans, and desires “won’t hold water.” Living water doesn’t have to be “held,” because it transforms the drinker.

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