Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Bible Passages to Help Us Understand John Chapter 4

13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Jesus was in Sychar, which is in Samaria. He was resting at Jacob's well and asked a woman for a drink of water. The woman was confused because Jesus was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jews wouldn't share the same cups and bowls as Samaritans. Jesus metaphorically offers her a "life giving water." She then asks him if he thinks he is greater than Jacob the prophet. Jacob built the well they were at. Jesus replied with this passage. People who drink from the well of Jacob will become thirsty again. But Jesus offers us salvation. Through this salvation all our needs are met, and we will never be spiritually thirsty again. This salvation, this water that Jesus gives us freely will well up inside of us and bring us eternal life. We are reminded that once we receive the gift of salvation from Jesus it ought to overflow within us!

21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

The woman Jesus was speaking with asked him why the Jews says everyone ought to worship in Jerusalem, when Samaritans believe they must worship on a nearby mountain. We learn that we may worship God wherever we are in the world. We learn that during and after the time of Jesus, God then started to receive the worship he truly wanted, which was in spirit and in truth. What does this mean: worship in spirit and in truth? Well Jesus tells us that God is the spirit. So when we worship we ought to have the holy spirit active in the forefront of our minds. Worshiping in truth refers to the individual being in the word of God mentally, and repentant of their sins.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

Jesus while speaking to the woman asked her to call her husband. Jesus did this to test her, and she passed the test. She confessed to him that she didn't have a husband. Jesus then told her about her life, and how she had been with many husbands and was with a man now that wasn't her husband. Jesus did this for two reasons I believe. He did this to test the woman and see if she would be honest. He also did this so should would believe that he was the messiah. Jesus had to perform many miracles and wonders to get people to even believe in him! After hearing this the woman testified to the people in Sychar that Jesus was the messiah and many came to believe.

34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Several of the disciples returned to find Jesus speaking to the woman at the well. They offered him food but Jesus told them that he had food they knew nothing about. The disciples were confused, had someone given him food? In fact Jesus was using parables to communicate his message. Jesus tells his disciples that the fields are ripe for harvest. We could probably assume that John the Baptist had at least a small part in preparing the way for Jesus. The sower is Jesus himself, and the reaper is the people of Israel. Jesus sows eternal life for all. We see that eternal life is a free gift, and that all we have to do is accept the bounty of it.

48 "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
This is an interesting passage at the end of chapter four. A roman officer came to Jesus and asked him to heal his son who was sick. Jesus spoke this to him. Jesus then told the man that his son would live. Later the man learned that his son became well the very hour that Jesus spoke those words. But why did Jesus say this to the officer? We don't really know for sure. It could have been that Jesus was speaking his frustration at people only coming to believe because of seeing wonders and miracles. I don't think so though, personally. Jesus didn't whine or complain. He wasn't mean or condescending. Jesus loved and does love us. It is interesting to note though, that the Roman officer trusted Jesus at his word and left without seeing the miracle. He was only later informed that at that hour his son returned to health. And because of this him and his family came to believe. It's open to interpretation.