Focus – John 4:1-26
What exactly is God up to? Right now, what is He doing? Have you ever thought about this question? We tend to think that God is in heaven, sitting on a rocking chair, listening to harp music. But God is active to pursue His purpose and mission. What is that mission?
Jesus shows us what that mission is all about in this story. Jesus had to travel from Judea to Galilee. This is a trek of about 75 miles, if you took the short route. But nobody, I mean nobody took the short route. The reason, the Samaritans. Jews did not, on any level, by any means associate with Samaritans.
To understand this, you must know their history. About 700 years before Jesus, part of Israel was conquered by the Assyrian empire. The Assyrians moved in and intermarried with the Hebrews living in this area. Now, all of the people living in Samaria were half-breeds (I use this term because that is how they were viewed by the Jewish people), part Hebrew, part Gentile. And there was hatred between Jews and Samaritans that is worse than any racism in our world. They despised each other, to the point that Jews traveling from Galilee to Judea would cross the Jordan river and make their trip almost twice as long just to avoid going through Samaria where they might encounter Samaritans.
But notice Jesus. Verse four says that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” He was driven by a different mission and purpose than other Jews. He was about His Father’s business, and that included an appointment with a woman who had never met Jesus before. This woman was divorced multiple times and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. She was a rejected member of society, and lived with great shame and guilt. And she was “one of them”, the despised Samaritans. Not to Jesus. He saw her as a person with a need, and used water to show her how He could meet that need. In doing so, this woman came to the central question, worship.
“You worship in Jerusalem, but we worship on this mountain. Who is right?” The woman asked Jesus. Jesus answer is interesting. He basically said, it’s not where you worship, or the way you worship that is important. What is important is who you worship and how your life reflects that worship. “Those who worship will worship in Spirit and in truth.” In Spirit, meaning worship that is led by the Holy Spirit. In truth, meaning that worship is of the one true God as revealed in the Bible.
So what is God up to? He is seeking worshippers, from all nations and ethnic groups. People who will choose to exalt God and His Son Jesus Christ. People from every point on this planet with one common trait, their faith in Jesus Christ. Worshippers who have been changed by the Gospel. Jesus had to go through Samaria, because God was seeking Samaritan worshippers who would worship Him in Spirit and truth. And God is still seeking out worshippers. He wants to use you in this task. Are you willing?