One of my favorite stories of the New Testament is the story of Jesus encountering the Samaritan woman at the well. Their conversation has become a key chapter on the subject of worship. It highlights God’s heart regarding the subject of worship. But there are other key concepts that I would like to highlight as well.
Going “through” Samaria
Neither Jesus nor his disciples ever intended to go “to” Samaria. The text clearly says they left Judea to go to Galilee. There is no mention of Samaria, no expectations for his disciples or any of his followers that Samaria would be the next stop along the way. Samaritans were Gentiles, and the time of the Gentiles had not yet begun. Remember Jesus came only to the lost sheep of Israel, (Matt. 15:24) they were still under the Old Testament law of Moses.
Jesus’ stop in this unlikely place called Samaria, is not outside of the realm of the amazing plan God has for His creation – and his unlikely stops are always out of love and compassion. Jesus does much the same with us as we journey to the destination we believe we are headed for. He comes along side us to shake our world and challenge us; always with the goal to make us stronger and wiser for the journey. Don’t resist an unexpected visit from Jesus. Be flexible.
A radical approach
Fact: Jewish people of that time did not speak to Samaritans and much less would a Jewish man speak to a Samaritan woman – it would be unheard of. The Samaritan woman herself was astounded when Jesus, tired from traveling in the noon heat (no air conditioned donkey rides here) asked her for a drink from the well she was drawing water from. The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) (John 4:9)
Jesus is no stranger to doing things “a little out of the ordinary.” Spitting on dirt to make a mud mask to heal a man’s blind eyes. That’s not ordinary. Or healing multiplied sick, the crippled, paralytics, the deaf, leprosy, quieting a storm, and feeding thousands from a boy’s lunch. When we think of our lives and story, perhaps we too may be inclined to think “why would a holy God come to rescue me?” Jesus will bypass traditional barriers, cultural limitations and certainly human comprehension to save just one, I am thankful that one day I was that “one.”
Worship, like living water, will quench our thirst
The conversation between Jesus and the woman culminated in the most important passage in the New Testament and perhaps the entire Bible about worship. Verses 23 and 24 reveal the key to effective worship, worship that is done in Spirit and in truth, meaning that nothing is hidden from the Father. Notice that in verse 23, the Father is not seeking for “worship”, He is seeking for “worshippers” who will worship in Spirit and in truth. God has cherubim and seraphim worshipping Him day and night, but He longs for us, His creation, to worship Him because He longs for relationship. When we worship Him in Spirit, with no pretense or hidden agendas but simply out of love and not because we want something from Him, He has the ability to quench all other desires, hunger and thirst, because nothing compares to His presence, none barred. How thirsty are we for living water? Thirsty enough not to allow our fleshly desires to get in the way of our pursuit of God? I want to be that kind of worshipper.
Our thirst and God’s presence
Moving through this story, the woman’s encounter with Jesus revolutionized her existence forever. When the disciples returned they were shocked to see him interacting with a Samaritan woman. They urged Jesus to eat – but He was not hungry – food was not what Jesus needed. His stop in Samaria had eternal significance for the people of that village, He knew it all along and He stopped there for that purpose.
The woman returns to her village and tells everyone about her encounter with this man, whom she now believes to be the Messiah. The people of Sychar in turn, urge Jesus to stay and He ends up staying for 2 more days. The account started with Jesus and his disciples going through Samaria to get to Galilee, but they end up staying two days to impart life and living water. These people were thirsty for truth and Jesus, being the author and giver of truth and life, was able to do in 48 hours what we could never do in our life span.
OUR THIRST PLACES A DEMAND
ON GOD’S PRESENCE
The thirst and desire of the villagers of Sychar, placed an unusual demand on the presence of Jesus, to where He stayed two days to minister to them. The name Sychar, interestingly, means “drunken.” The people of the drunken village changed the course of their history by placing a demand on the presence of Jesus. We all understand that drunkenness causes confusion that hinders the reception of truth, but Jesus stayed there to dispel their confusion and allow them to receive the life He alone could give. His presence brings clarity and His words are life.
We may feel like we are not worthy of His presence, in fact we will never be worthy of His presence, however, our level of thirst for God’s presence has a direct correlation with the release of His presence. How badly do we desire God’s presence. It is up to us, our desire and level of commitment to experience His presence. I desire it more than ever. and am convinced that His presence is the catalyst for real change not just in my life, but our generation and our society.
As Jesus said in John 4:14, whoever drinks the living water He gives, will never thirst again.
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.