Week 5: John 4 True Worshipers

Monday: Jesus himself did not baptize

Read John 4:1-6, 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

In our world, and even in the church, we are prone to tribalism that leads to division and disunity. Even in the early church we see that people wanted to divide based on their favorite apostles or “influencers.” This leads Paul to declare strangely that he is glad he only baptized a few people in Corinth. He’s glad because it means there are less people stoking division in his name or being a part of the Paul party in Corinth that shouldn’t even exist.

This informs John’s remark about Jesus not baptizing. Can you imagine if Jesus baptized? How prideful could a person become if they had been baptized by Jesus himself!

Take a moment to consider the tribalism in your life. Are there people in your life that you are following with zeal that should only be reserved for Jesus. It’s great to have spiritual heroes (like maybe even the person who baptized you) but in the battle for unity over division, even great people can cause us to stumble.

Tuesday: Give me a drink

Read John 4:7-15, Exodus 17:1-3, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Matthew 5:6, Revelation 22:17

We are made to thirst. This is true physically as we need water to live. This is also true spiritually as thirst speaks to our deepest desires. Sometimes we hunger and thirst for things that will truly quench our thirst and fill us up. Other times we thirst after the spiritual equivalent of monster energy drinks or Bud Light that end up putting us in a worse place.

For context, Israel had a very dry climate and access to water was extremely important. In many ways, our world is also an arid desert. It’s not easy for us to quench our thirst in a lasting or true way. What things have you been trying to quench your thirst with? Are you being satisfied and filled up or are you left even more spiritually dehydrated? What would it look like to take Jesus up on his offer of living water?

Wednesday: The sad history of Samaria

Read John 4:16-26, 1 Kings 12, 2 Kings 17:6-41

We are probably most familiar with Samaria through the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) in which Luke illustrates the division between Samaria and the Jews because Jesus shockingly uses a Samaritan as a hero and example in a story. The Samaritans should remind us of the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Israel was founded on division and idol worship. After Solomon’s death his son’s harshness sparked a revolt by the 10 northern tribes. This division was solidified by the building of idols in the familiar form of golden calves at the northern and southern borders of Israel to keep people from going out of the country to Judah and the Jerusalem temple. In 722 BC, the brutal Assyrian empire conquered, exiled and repopulated the northern kingdom with the people who would become the Samaritans. Jesus’ statement that the woman at the well has had 5 husbands and the one she has now is not her husband echoes Samaria’s history of being repopulated and intermarried with 5 nations and then being ruled uncomfortably by Rome in Jesus’ time.

Unfortunately, the roots of division and idolatry run so deep that you can see ripples of it from the fall and resettlement of Israel all the way to the ministry of Jesus. Take a moment to look at the fruit of division and idolatry in your life. Our story will mirror Israel/Samaria if we also fall into tribalism and the false worship that often accompanies it.

Thursday: Come and see (again)

Read John 4:27-30, John 1:38-39, John 1:46, Galatians 3:26-29

The woman runs back to town with a familiar call on her lips: “come, see…” Anyone who meets Jesus with an open heart just wants more people to meet Jesus. Even the disciples might be starting to understand this. They are shocked to find Jesus talking to a woman. But they hold their tongues. In this chapter Jesus breaks barriers. He’s in Samaria. He talks to a Samaritan and even uses their utensils (the bucket). On top of this, he speaks with a woman. Even she is shocked.

Jesus wants ALL PEOPLE to come and see. Today, people can’t come and see Jesus in the flesh like the apostles and the woman at the well did. Instead they see Jesus through us. What kind of image are you casting for Jesus? When people spend time with you or speak with you do they want to come and see more Jesus? What kinds of barriers and social stigma are keeping you from sharing with all people so that all my come and see how amazing Jesus is?

Friday: White for the harvest

Read John 4:31-38, Matthew 13

The phrase “white for the harvest” is interesting. The fields of wheat, when they were ready, would glow white in the sun. Jesus spoke about the harvest often. In Matthew 13, each of the parables has something to do with a harvest. The parable of the sower tells the power of God’s word when planted in a fertile heart. The parable of the weeds explains why we still live in a world filled with evil (and tells us God’s plan). The treasure and the pearl are harvests of a sort that describe the priceless value reaped by a relationship with God. The parable of the net paints a picture of the kingdom of God. The point is unmistakable: God desires a harvest from his people.

Interestingly, the very next story in the chapter and the only non-parable is Jesus’ trip to his hometown. He’s rejected because they believe that they know him. This is why meeting Jesus again for the first time is so important. God has a miraculous harvest in store for each of us. The fields are white! But our false ideas about Jesus can keep us from reaping what God has sown.

Saturday: This is indeed the Savior of the world

Read John 4:39-45, Mark 9:14-29

There is a progression here that we will see again as we read through John. The woman is at first skeptical about even talking to Jesus. She calls him a Jew and that’s all he was to her. As the conversation continues, she calls him ‘sir’ or ‘lord.’ Next she realizes that he is a prophet and finally she sees that he is the messiah (savior). Not only does she experience this progression toward faith, but her entire village goes out to see Jesus. They begin by believing her testimony but then after hearing his word, they believe for themselves.

The word of God is so powerful. Even just the gospel of John has the power to change lives. But we need to be patient and see that everyone is in a different place in their faith journey. Have you ever taken inventory of where your friends and family might be on the road to faith? So many people in our lives believe but at the same time need help overcoming unbelief. Go ahead and write down a few names of people that God has put on your heart to reach out to. Pray and then write down where they might be in their journey. Ask God to give you the words and deeds to bring them closer to proclaiming along with these Samaritans that, “we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer!”


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