A Voice in the
"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (vs23-24)
Back in the time when Jesus walked in Israel, to utter the word "Samaritan" was every bit as vitriolic a racial slur as for a racially bigoted person today to use the "N-----" word about someone who is a Negro (which, by the way, is a legitimate word meaning "black"), of African ethnic descent. For a Jew to go into Samaria was many times worse, in the Jewish mentality, than for a bigoted white person to go into Harlem or any other place where the population is predominantly Black. Thus, when Jesus "needed to go through Samaria" (vs4), it was like Him having travelled all over, and then, specifically diverting His travels through a ghetto, where the upper crust "nice" people just didn't go, and stopping to rest where the gang members were used to hanging out.
And once there, along comes a 'working girl'. Of course, since the disciples had run off to buy food, Jesus was alone. Just Jesus and this women, alone, together by the water well. I wonder if anybody was spying on them through their windows, and gossiping and whispering? Notice that when the disciples get back from shopping, it says, "they marveled that He talked with a woman" (vs27) but didn't have the courage to ask after Him as to "what is He doing?" But then, Jesus was also known, and condemned, for eating with other "tax collectors and sinners". (Mt9:11) So, He is obviously not too worried about His own 'reputation'.
Because... He is talking with the woman about "spirit and truth". The people can gossip all they want to, because shortly, they will understand what has just been happening.
We all know about the discussion about drawing water, and Jesus promising "a fountain of water springing up into eternal life". (vs14) Later in the book Jesus will be inviting people to come to Him and "drink". (ch7) So, we won't cover that right now.
However, the woman obviously isn't understanding Jesus' words about the "fountain of water" symbolizing "eternal life". Her mindset is stuck on the water pot she has come to fill, and how to drop the bucket into the well to draw up water to fill her pot; so that she doesn't have to continue hearing the whispers of everybody when they see her coming to the well in the heat of the day, so she doesn't have to endure the taunts of the other non-harlot women. After all... how many of 'their' husbands has she been with?
So, Jesus gets right to the point. Remember about Jesus, that He is that "two-edged sword" that pierces into the "soul and spirit" and "is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". (Heb4:12) So Jesus hits her at the core of her soul. The reason she is at the well at high-noon, in the unbearable heat when everybody else is in the shade of their homes, is because of her life of sin. She has to "sneak around" in broad daylight, to avoid other people. Even though she lives the life she does, she does so in shame.
Let's take a little diversion here a minute. Let's speak of this "shame" that 'working-girls' experience. Hollywood and TV glorify the pimp and street girl "professions". However, it is -NOT- a life of glory. These girls are -NOT- "happy" doing what they do. Many of them do it because they think it's the only way to make ends meet. Years ago I got to know one of them at a regular (electronics assembly) job. At first, I learned a lot about her "profession" from overhearing her conversations with the girl next to her, whose husband/boyfriend was a pimp. And then, she finally, after she knew I had been hearing everything they'd been talking about for a couple of weeks (I had been quietly minding my own business, working), turned to me to get my 'reaction' to it all. My whole decorum would have told her that I was of a different world from hers. From that point on, we had many conversations. And you know, in spite of the bravado they emoted, when you actually take the time to speak with them, and get into their souls, they are TERRIBLY UNHAPPY people! And, how can they not be! They continually give themselves to be abused in all sorts of ways. And if we consider the matter of the "life is in the blood", as they receive the soul/[nephesh] of all these people; how can they help -but- to have all sorts of personality disorders, emotional problems; and to try to ease their pain, as in the case with this one I knew, drug addictions. She had a nice shiny Camaro. But she was unhappy... and in-and-out of jail for her drug problems.
This is the kind of person Jesus is addressing, and He says, "Go call your husband." (vs16)
"I have no husband."
Exactly! Because you've been with many men, and the one you're spending time with now isn't really your husband, either. (vs17-18)
Whoa! You're a prophet!! As she, in a few minutes, is going to be proclaiming to all her male acquaintances, "see a Man who told me everything that I ever did. Is this not the Christ?" In other words, He knows what I've been doing; He knows what we've been doing; if He knew about me, He knows all about you guys, too! (vs28-29)
But... we're getting ahead of ourselves, here.
Call your husband. I don't have a husband. You spoke truth when you said you don't have a husband. Oooo! This is uncomfortable. Let's change the subject. Get into a more philosophical/religious discussion. After all, if this Man is a prophet, let's talk about "religion". After all, that's what her life consisted of. Learn what the man she is with is interested in, and converse with him about 'his' interests. But in this case, if we can talk about "religion", it gets us away from the truth of my own sin. And if nothing else, I can 'feel' just a little bit "holy" while I am having such a discussion, and can forget about my own depravity. Yes, this Man knows my 'tainted' past, but if I can show Him I know a little about "religion", too... See? I'm not really so bad, after all..!
This is what today's "[c]hristianity" is proclaiming. Yes, you may have a 'tainted' past. Not "utterly dreadfully sinful nature you were born in". But God accepts you "just as you are". Yes, you have these sins, but come right on in to the church... it doesn't matter. After all, Jesus grovelled around in the dirt and ate with sinners, too.
Well, not quite! This was Israel's condemnation. "Behold, you trust in lying words that are of no benefit. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know; and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen [it], says Jehovah." (Jer7:8-11)
No, Jesus did not "grovel" with the sinners. Yes, He ate with them. But He did not partake of their sin with them. He came "to seek and to save that which was lost". (Lk19:10) If you are to rescue somebody out of the muck and mire, you need to get close enough, and reach down into the mire to pull them out.
So, now, as Jesus is about to rescue this women, He leaves off with the chit chat. If one is being rescued from a mud pit, there is a bit of extreme physical activity to either get a rope/harness around the person and pull (likely with some discomfort involved), or for the rescuer to be dropped down at the end of a rope, who goes about to grab the victim, and exert force to pull them out.
Woman, you haven't the slightest clue as to what you are talking about! (vs21-22) You're talking about all this "religious" stuff, but you are wrong. Her argument (look it up and read it) was something on the order of what people argue today. Look at all these different faiths... don't they 'all' equally get to Heaven? (vs20) And Jesus says, essentially, there is but ONE WAY to get there. "..salvation is of the Jews". (vs22) God is the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel". (1Ki18:36) Jesus was born a "Jew" to provide redemption for the world; a "light to the nations/gentiles". (Is49:6) No one comes to the Father, except through Christ. (Jn14:6) There is no other means of salvation, than Jesus Christ. (Acts4:12)
And now, Jesus gets down to the nitty gritty. Paul in Romans proclaims that a True Believer is one who is so "of the heart". (Rom2:28-29)
True worship of God does not come about from religion, and all the 'paths' people take. But true worship of the Most High is "in spirit and truth". (vs23-24)
The woman's personal life has been exposed. Her conceptions of "religion" have been dashed. But this Man is saying things differently than anything else she's ever heard. Everybody else merely 'speculates' about things, giving their own perceptions and ideas. But what is "truth"? That's the question Pilate asked, "What is truth?" (Jn18:38) Well, this 'Man' has shown that He knows the -truth- about my innermost dark secrets. And He speaks about worship with authority, as though He truly -knows- what He is talking about. But there is one thing left to this consideration of worship. The Messiah. "When He comes, He will make known all things to us" (vs25)
"I AM! the one speaking to you" (vs26)
THAT'S IT!!! Her own preconception of what the Messiah 'would be' when He 'would come' was her answer. She knew that people philosophized 'about' God. But she also knew that the True Messiah, would be the very 'embodiment' of Truth. (Jn14:6) That He would -know- the truth. Now, this man she's been talking to says, "I AM". Unlike the pharisees who would pick up stones to try to kill Jesus when He made similar statements to them (Jn8:58-59), this woman considers how He has just revealed her innermost darkest secrets, and what is the basis of her proclaiming Him to be the Christ? "..He told me everything that I ever did..." (vs29)
"The secret things belong to Jehovah our God..." (De29:29) It is "God in heaven who reveals secrets" (Dan2:28) And it was this very fact that got Nebuchadnezzar's attention, "Your God truly is a God of gods and a Lord of kings, and a Revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret." (Dan2:47)
This Man, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, knew things about this woman that nobody else did. And on the basis of that knowledge, this same Man says, that worship comes from the same place. This is what He meant when He said the water He offers becomes "in" him a fountain of water.
Worship of God is not ritual. It is the -HEART-. If a person is full of sin, and performs rituals, that is not 'true' worship, because this God of gods knows the true heart. Worship of God comes from the spirit of man. That is a place where ritual has no connection. That is a place where the confrontation is just God and man, face-to-face. When Adam had sinned, he ran to hide, because He could not face God. But when a person is in Christ, having been known down to the core being of our "soul and spirit" (Heb4:12), having had our life opened completely up, laid bare, a naked before Him (vs13); it is ONLY THEN that we can "COME BOLDLY to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need." (vs16)
When we speak of Repentance, I often speak to people when they query various things about salvation, about "meeting Jesus". Have you met Him? Have you heard Him? And some question "how does one hear His voice?" And they then become worried that we might be speaking of visions and charismatic deceptions..."hearing voices", as in a trance.
No! This woman of Samaria did not have a vision. Jesus met her, and opened up her heart to herself. -THIS- is what I mean whenever I communicate with people at this level. If you have met Jesus, He has opened up your heart to yourself. You have consequently seen yourself as He sees you. That's "truth". You are no longer hiding behind ritual and repeat-after-me prayers. Those "prayers" have nothing to do with genuine Salvation. Such a prayer is not the result of having truly 'met' Jesus and having had your heart laid bare and naked, with all its filthy shame exposed. When such a thing happens, there is no repeat-after-me prayer that is adequate! Take heed to this! Take it to heart! I've been there; I know whereof I speak. This is truth.
When you meet Jesus in this fashion, and repent before Him, you receive His Holy Spirit. Now, this 'meeting' may not necessarily involve words. There are things for which words are simply not adequate. That's why the Holy Spirit is 'already' at work during the repentance, interceding on our behalf "with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom8:26b) When this happens, you "know" it. There is no question as to your salvation. It is at a level deeper than mere human interaction can presume to understand. It is the Holy Spirit who "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God". (Rom8:16)
This is why charismania is so popular. These people have never actually met the Lord, and refuse to humble themselves before Almighty God in order to meet Him. But they want some experience either "on this mountain" or "in Jerusalem" (vs20) to be able to say they know God. You know, there is quite an industry of people who get baptized in the Jordan River or Sea of Galilee, just so they can say they did it 'there'. They come away "feeling" extra specially blessed for the experience; thinking that having done it closer to the actual place where Jesus walked, makes their salvation more sure, or more real.
True Salvation is -NONE- of all those things! Hear this clearly! Salvation is -NOT- the going forward, praying a repeat-after-me prayer, filling out some website form to 'register' your 'committment' or 'decision', or any of the other dozens of things people get conned into, or manufacture to do for themselves. If you have not been met 'by' the Lord, as this woman of Samaria was, you are not saved. Notice that Jesus "needed" to 'go' through Samaria. (vs4) He knew that she was the field "already white for harvest". (vs35) He "needed" to go meet her, so she could be saved.
We are never saved by our own "decision" to do so. There is no person who has decided "I want to follow Jesus...how can I do so?" No! "All we like sheep" are going our own way. (Is53:6) But it is -JESUS- Who comes along to "seek and to save" the lost. (Lk19:10) He has "foreknown" us from the "foundation of the world" (Rom8:29, Eph1:4), and so "when the fulness of time" comes for each of us, as He has been drawing us, God sends His Son (Gal4:4, Jn6:44) to meet with us, just as Jesus did with the woman of Samaria. And then, all we can do is respond to His call in repentance and contrition, and receive Jesus as the "Water of Life".
When that happens, then we can truly worship God. "..for the Father seeks such to worship Him." (vs23)