05.5 John – What is the most important thing you can do today?

As a follower of Jesus Christ, hopefully the answer to that question is to spread the good news to others.  You can do that in many different settings and situations.  It doesn’t need to be done in a church or on a mission trip, it can be done where you work, eat, live.  It can be done with words, but also with service, through interactions or even in quiet prayer.

But, being honest, how many days of this past week could you say that was your big rock for the day?  To use the Stephen Covey analogy, we may call that the big rock, but then we first fill our lives with little rocks, the little details of life of laundry, cooking, work, etc.  If the big rock happens to fit in, great, but many days go by and it just didn’t fit.

Obviously, there isn’t anything wrong with laundry, cooking or work.  There isn’t anything wrong with most of the day-to-day things we do.  The thing that is wrong is when we get so much in a rut or a mistaken priority, that they become the things that prevent us from sharing and caring for others.

I think this is one of the key messages of the woman at the well.  She came for water.  She needed water.  She got water every day.  But when Jesus presented her with the opportunity to share, she left the water jug behind and rushed off to share.

Are you willing to interrupt your day to help and serve?  Which directs your life, your todo list or Matthew 28:19?  Is your living water acting like it is alive, or do you keep it all bottled up so you can just get some stuff done?

My Answers:

11.
a.
She came for water, she drew water, she left the water.  Her mind was no longer on the water in her jar or the well.  Once having tasted the truth, she didn’t turn immediately back to the physical, but was compelled to tell others.

b.
she went and told others and they came to him – she heard and was saved

12.
a. Jewish men didn’t chat with unchaperoned women, b. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans
He was above both of these social norms

13.
I know, yet I still don’t ask for living water each day

05.4 John – In Spirit AND Truth

Jesus tells the woman at the well that “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

To me, one of the most important words in that sentence is the word AND.

There are many that seek the spirit.  They want joy, peace, love.  They want good feelings.  They want euphoria.  They don’t care about the truth.  Truth, words, study, those all are weights that bring down the spirit they seek, in their eyes.  Let’s just all get along.  Live and let live.  All paths lead to God.  Love wins.  All are God’s children regardless of what they believe.

There are also many that seek the truth, but they begin that search by rejection of the spirit.  They are the scientists and skeptics who seek physical proof alone.  They begin their theorem with the rejection of God and the bible because, well, just because.  With that possibility rejected outright, they then construct a new tower of theory and “fact”.  But all are incomplete and all insufficient.  Take evolution.  First, there must be a complete rejection of the creation story.  Second, it does not withstand the question of “and what was before that?” because it is an incomplete theory.

But these are not the worshipers that God seeks.  These are people who follow in the tradition of the Samaritans.  They may “worship” God, but it is a God AND worship.  God and myself.  God and my own logic.  God and the almighty dollar.  God and science.  God and what makes me feel good.  God and whatever I want to do.  God and how I identify myself in this world.  God and my own world view.

But our God is a jealous God.  He desires only a personal and complete relationship with you.  Exclusively.  No other Gods.  No God AND, only in the Spirit AND in truth.

My Answers:

8.
There is worship of lies and theorems instead of the truth.  Most of the theories can only stand up at all by first absolutely denying the word of God as a possibility

9.
He said “We” of the Jews.  Jesus did not separate Himself from the promise God gave to Abraham, He endorsed it and came to fulfill the covenant and return the “children of God” to the state before original sin.

10.
In Spirit and in the Truth.  By coming to God first in prayer and repentance, not casually, but with intention and resolve and respect, humility and trust.

05.3 John – Relationship focused

When we think of the things of the world that we thirst for, most of them are lonely.  The vices of this world, whether power or lust or greed are largely self-serving, self-gratifying, self-indulging.

The wrongs we do, but in these vices and in our efforts to grasp them, often leads us to hide.  We do not want to face those we step on.  We don’t want to be with others that we consider ourselves better than or above.  We, too often, want to only be served.

But, that is one of the reasons that these things never fulfill.

We were created for relationship.  One of man’s first desires, recognized and ordained by God, was for a partner relationship between Adam and Eve.  Our coming in to being was an act of relationship with God as He breathed life into us.  We find that our entire beings, all the way down to our body chemistry, interact with other people.

The woman at the well came from many broken relationships.  We don’t know if her past was marred by divorce or death?  We only know that the man she currently was with was not a husband and she came to the well totally alone in the middle of the day.  But Jesus, the least likely person in the world to which she might have a relationship, sought one with her.  He sought to drink with her, to talk with her, to share with her, and to give her the gift of eternal life with Him.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Everyone who drinks this water will thirst again, whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst

b.
The Word of God, the gift of Salvation sealed on the inside by the Holy Spirit

c.
The vices of the world, temptations to sin and then to hide

7.
a.
She asked Jesus for the water, but still equated it only with the physical (so I don’t have to keep coming here)

b.
By inviting me into a relationship with Him. By reminding me that He is Lord – the one who exercises ownership of everything and who provides food, shelter and work

05.2 John – Mountaintop or Weeds?

John’s account of Jesus’ encounters with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman (whom I will refer to as Sam), provide bookends to the spectrum of those who approach Jesus.  While they have many similarities, as archetypes, they couldn’t stand farther apart.  Male/female, judge/judged, night/day, scholar/worker, Jew/Samaritan.  But, in the course of their life, either from direct action or consequence, they both have an encounter with Jesus.  Both of these individuals live in the weeds of day-to-day life.  Whether it be the minutia of the law of the tediousness of retrieving water, their focus is on their day-to-day work.  Both also have very specific definitions of how things work in the world, particularly in regard to relationships between people and God.

While Jesus does engage them where they are, His focus is not their focus.  They are in the weeds.  They are in the arguments of differences.  They are in the weeds of power and peoples’ judgments of other people.

But Jesus starts at the mountaintop, not in the weeds.  With Nic, He starts with being born again into eternal life.  With Sam, He talks about gifts and fulfillment to never thirst again and true worship.  With both he speaks truth, about where they are now, but with a focus on where they can go.

How about in your life?  As you study these passages and reflect on your own life, are you in the weeds or are you keeping an eye on the mountaintop?  It is easy to feel lost, to lose joy, to become afraid and worried and concerned, if we live heads-down in the weeds.  But, if we start each day’s journey with a reminder of the eternal gifts that await us, it brings fresh power and joy.

This is also the same way we should address those we evangelize.  Do you find yourself in denominational arguments, or discussions over minute details of belief in the Lord?  Or, do you focus on the big gift and each of our desire for fulfillment, joy, relationship and eternal life?

My Answers:

3.
If you knew the gift of God, If you knew who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water – I seek the gift of God in prayer, in scripture and in trusting in Him each day, both to provide for me and my family, to help me grow in holiness and to show me how I can serve Him and His Kingdom

4.
a.
Both Nic and the Sam were solidly fixed in the physical world and missed the spiritual message.  Nic saw a Rabbi, Sam saw a Jew (someone who acts superior).  Nic came at night, Sam in mid day.  Nic sought something from Jesus, Sam didn’t want anything to do with Jesus.  Nic praised Jesus, Sam’s words had attitude/scorn.
Jesus did not respond in kind but spoke to them with a gift/offer at no cost.  He focused not on the physical, but the eternal.

b.
Do not start at their arguments but at the gift from God.  It is about spirit, not physical.  When their soul not their hangups.

5.
a.
They worshiped the Lord AND other gods.  They worked against the rebuilding of the temple

b.
Language impatience.  Lack of cultural understanding (TLPN)