Summary: The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well is one of the high points of John’s gospel. Included in this conversation is a priceless revelation concerning true worship.
Text: Scripture Reading: John 4:3-30, 39-42
The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well is one of the high points of John’s gospel. Included in this conversation is a priceless revelation concerning true worship.
Jesus was concerned about a certain village of people that needed salva¬tion.
The people were a despised group — Samaritans, half- breed Jews. They were rejected by society, both Jewish and Gentile. But they were not rejected by Jesus!
They needed him, so "he had to go through Samaria" (John 4:4 NIV) . Most Jews travelled around that region, but Jesus felt compelled to go there.
How can we reach a village with salvation?
One way would be for someone to be saved who could witness to the rest. This is the method Jesus chose.
Although this was a casual contact, it was not an accident.
This woman, so frustrated in seeking true love, and immoral in conduct, came to the com¬munity well at high noon.
No doubt she was lonely and empty. Certainly she did not dream that a miracle was about to happen — and to her!
This encounter did not take place in a hushed, sacred setting, but in Samaria of all places, and to a woman whose life was jaded with moral sin!
But then, this is the glory and beauty of God’s truth: It knows no limit of time or place or person.
It is revealed to those who are ready to receive it, whoever they are and wherever they are.
So by God’s Spirit the truth was revealed to this Samaritan woman.
Actually, she tried to change the subject as Jesus began to probe deeply into her life.
The popular evasive question in her day seemed to have been, "Where is the proper place to worship—in Jerusalem or on this sacred mountain in Samaria?"
Jesus did not ignore the question.
He used it as a springboard from which to reveal to her the real definition of worship, the pattern for all true worship.
Jesus spoke about manmade worship and then Jesus told the woman about a God-centred worship.
I. First of all, Jesus spoke about manmade worship.
Three basic weaknesses of manmade worship are revealed in Jesus’ words to the woman.
Manmade worship is artificial.
It is the result of people adding a little here and taking away a little there until they have turned the Scriptures into a monstrosity.
This is what the Samaritans had done in their insistence that true worship must be conducted on Mount Gerizim
They had adjusted history to suit themselves by insisting that it was on this mountain that Abraham had been willing to sacrifice Isaac, and that it was here that Abraham had paid tithes to Melchizedek.
Further¬more, they tampered with the Scriptures themselves when they taught that it was on this mountain that Moses first built an altar and sacrificed to God in preparation for the entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 27:4 clearly states that it was Mount Ebal, not Mount Gerizim.
Every cult has done this same thing in twisting and distorting the Scriptures.
A contrived gospel is a false gospel and will lead people to destruction.
Not only is manmade worship artificial; it is also ignorant of the truth.
Jesus said to this woman there in John 4:22, ’You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship”
The Samaritans accepted only the Pentateuch.
They rejected all of the great messages of the prophets and all of the beauty and inspiration of the Psalms.
They had a partial revelation of the truth,
and a fuller revelation was available to them,
but they would not accept it.
They chose to remain in spiritual darkness.
There is no excuse today for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to be igno¬rant of what they believe or of the basic teachings of God’s Word.
There was a time when people were ignorant of spiritual things because they did not have the full revelation of God.
But that time is no more;
Jesus has come and has revealed God’s true nature to us.
We have the com¬pleted Word of God
with the ministry of the Holy Spirit available to inter¬pret it to us.
So manmade worship is artificial and ignorant of the truth it is also superstitious.
The Samaritans had adulterated the pure worship of Jehovah by recognizing the pagan gods of the foreigners who had come to dwell among them.
They had mixed in with their worship of Jehovah all of the superstitions of the pagans.
You know, many Christians have allowed superstition to become a basic part of their worship.
Some will attend church, not out of a genuine sense of need,
nor out of any real desire to meet God in a worship experience, but because they are afraid not to!