The Living Water of God

pic-1“Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.” John 4:28-30 ESV. The entire story of the living water is found in John 4:1-45.

Jesus travelled through Samaria as he journeyed from Judea to Galilee. Jews normally would have taken a different route just to avoid the Samaritans. But Jesus takes the less travelled path. He meets a gentile woman at a well. Jesus teaches her about the living water of God. Who was this woman? She was a Samaritan who had been married 5 times. She was now living with a man she wasn’t even married. The Samaritan woman was living an earthly life, a life of sin. She questioned Jesus about the living water, struggling to comprehend. Christ offered her a new way of living. Would the Samaritan woman take this journey? Did she abandon her past? Did she have the faith to follow Jesus?

How does this apply to our lives? Are we living in sin? Are we drinking water from our own jar, or are we drinking the living water of God? The Samaritan woman’s story can teach us how to obtain God’s living water.

LEAVE YOUR WATER JAR BEHIND!

The disciples return as Jesus is still talking to the woman. John 4:27 describes the return: “Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” Something about their arrival prompts the woman to leave. Perhaps it was because the disciples didn’t speak to her. Maybe she was too excited to stay. She might have needed to go off and think. Regardless, she leaves.

The Samaritan woman makes a crucial decision as she leaves. She leaves her water jar behind. No more of the earthly, temporal water. No more life of the flesh. She wants something new. She doesn’t understand fully what she is turning toward, but she is tired of the past.

Isn’t that the case for so many of us? We are tired of sin. We are tired of the dark. We have tried everything we know, because that is human nature. We want to depend on ourselves. I know I only found Christ when I was at the bottom of the abyss. I turned to God because I simply didn’t know what else to try. That is the story of the Samaritan woman. That is the story of so many of us.

The disciples with Jesus may not have known what to do with the Samaritan woman, but God did. And he doesn’t expect us to understand the plan. But God does need us to set down our water jar.

COME SEE A MAN!

The Samaritan woman returned to town. She wanted the rest of the town to meet ‘the man’. She testified even though she is not sure that this man is Christ. She knew her life would never be the same. We do not need to be “experts” in God to talk about Him. We can share our experiences. The woman simply told the people in town that Jesus knew all about her past. That was her experience with Jesus- and it worthy of telling others about. If we experience the glory of God it should be exciting. We shouldn’t be able to wait to tell others about Christ. Should anyone be deprived of life with God. Romans 10:14 reminds us, How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” We are the someone who needs to preach?

The Samaritan woman also told the town people about her past. Part of evangelizing is telling people our testimony. We need to tell others about our past so they can see how God has changed our present. We are forgiven. There is no need to remain stuck in the guilt of our former life, we are no longer that person. The apostle Paul speaks of this transformation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul goes on to tell us of our responsibility to evangelize, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20. Our conversion to being a new creature in Christ qualifies us to speak. We are the witness.

RETURN TO CHRIST

After the Samaritan woman told others about Jesus they went back to see Him. Not in a year, a month, a day, or even a few hours. They return to Christ right away. They are hungry to learn more. John speaks about their return: “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42. The villagers don’t just say for an hour. They spend two days just listening to Jesus. Today’s typical Christian attends church once a month and thinks any service that last over any hour is too long. Do we have this hospitality? If we want to learn more about God we must spend time with him. Reading the bible, going to church, praying, and attending bible studies should be important to us if we want to become more spiritually mature.

The villagers also invited this Jew to stay with them, even though the Samaritans despised the Jews (Just as the Jews despised the Samaritans ). Being with God is not always comfortable. It will force us to go to new places. We will meet new, different people. We will also start hearing things that will challenge everything we believed in. But only in our discomfort will we grow in Christ. As we grow two things will happen. We will become uncomfortable with our past. And will become at peace with our present.

The townspeople initially came because of the persuasion of the woman. But an amazing thing happens. They stay because of Christ’s word. It doesn’t matter how we get to God. When we stay with the Lord we continue to transform. We grow in faith. We develop a relationship with Christ. We learn to love as God loves us. And we are given the blueprint for living for God. No more jars of that old water. Amen.

God Bless,

Mark

 

 

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The Word of God

Psalm 33 praises the word of God. What is the word of the Lord? How is it different than our words? Can we even comprehend the word of God?

“For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” Psalm 33:4-9.

pic-35Psalm 33 is a hymn praising the Lord. There are different areas of praise pointed out. Psalm 33 praises the word of God. What is the word of the Lord? How is it different than our words? Can we even comprehend the word of God? Psalm 33 defines the concept of God’s word with descriptors such as love, righteousness, being upright, steadfast, creation, the breathe of God, storehouses, standing firm, commandment, fear and awe. If we understand the word of God, our praise will change for the better. The Word of God can be discussed in categories: God’s creation, our obedience, and our reverence for the Lord.

CREATION

The word of God starts with God’s creation. The first sentence in Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.” The new testament reaffirms this in John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” It is promised. It requires faith. If we need something God will provide it. We do not create. Everything comes from God. But why? Those who struggle to believe miss the key of creation…God loves us! This is recognized in Psalm 33, “…the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.” When we see God’s love, we can see and have faith in creation. Because God’s love is His word, he is committed, faithful, to us.

The awesome magnificence of God’s creation is also praised in Psalm 33. The heavens and earth? God’s creation. The bird soaring, the birth of a child, the color of leaves in the fall, the skyscraper, are all His doing. Just say it, God did it! God also created the new Heaven, which is described in Revelation 21 and 22. What does God say from His throne in heaven? “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:6. Things we see, things we don’t see, things valued, things overlooked, are all from the glory and grace of our Lord.

Psalm 33 also talks of a storehouse. The creation of God is never done. Jehovah Jireh- God provides. In God’s time, everything we need is revealed. An example? Missionaries have built new schools in third world countries. The bricks and mortar will be there, God will provide. The safety of those building the school is promised by the armor of God [Ephesians 6:10-20]. The teachers that will be needed have already been blessed with their abilities by God. The students are thirsting for education, and God provided. The path is made before we ever get there. This allows us to live in the present and concentrate on serving the Lord. This also allows for God’s vision to guide creation. Paul tells us why this is so important in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”

OBEDIENCE

pic34Obedience to God requires a physical, mental and spiritual commitment. The physical commitment may sound simple, but we need to do the work. That missionary school will never come to fruition if we never lay the bricks. The teachers may have been gifted by God, but they must crack the books, study and acquire the knowledge and wisdom their profession requires. Students must show up to class, pay attention to the lessons, and do the homework. The school be awesome, if we do the work.

The mental and spiritual commitment to God requires a heart change. We need to think about God before we think about self. We need to live for HIM. God’s word will help us achieve being at one God. We can listen to God conversationally through prayer. We can read his written word. We can converse in small groups, absorbing God’s word as a community in Christ. And we can worship as one, connecting with God as one. These methods of listening to God’s word make us more like God, imitators of His love (Ephesians 5:1). This results in a mental and spiritual commitment to God. Go0d asks us to be upright and righteous. We cannot do the right things for the right reasons without the mental and spiritual commitment to God.

REVERENCE

“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9[a]. This is how Jesus told us to pray. In reverence. let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!” Psalm 33:8. But how does this impact God’s word. We listen to HIM the same way we listened to our fathers and mothers when we were young. We hung on their words, never doubting what we were told. We would never think of talking back, we lived with a respectful fear. And that is how we need to listen to God…with awesome fear. Everything he tells us is true, HE is incapable of lying. We are not to question God. When you ask someone what the Book of Job is about, most will tell you it is a story of the restoration of Job. But it is also about the reverence of God. In chapter 38 God answers Job’s question of why:  I [God] will question you, and you make it known to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!” God is in charge. His word is absolute and we are accountable to Him.

We need to respect everything God says and does, for it perfect and far better than our words. To deviate from His word is certain to bring failure and evil into our lives. Too often we try to do everything our way, and only seek God’s sage words when we fail. It is much easier to look at the map, God’s path, before we are lost. And God’s word is the map to that narrow path.

SUMMARY

pic37Praising the word of God is something we need to do daily. God’s creation, which is magnificent and beyond our comprehension, needs to be embraced. Our obedience allows God’s creation to bear fruit in our lives. And we should never forget to fear our loving Father, whose word is before us.

God Bless,

Mark

 

 

 

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God is real! We need to take the time to get to know HIM. We need to praise HIM. And finally we need to love Him. And we do this by serving Him and loving each other.

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