While hiking through the Shenandoah Mountains when I was 12, I came upon a ledge overlooking an awe-inspiring vista. As I sat on that ledge, I had an overwhelming awareness of God’s presence. The physical world revealed characteristics of the spiritual world and of God’s nature, and it awakened a spiritual thirst in me. In that moment, God used the physical realm to guide me to spiritual longing; although, it would be years before Jesus dealt with the broken areas of my life so that I could accept the spiritual truth he offered.
In the previous passage, Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman where he led her from her physical need for water to her spiritual need for the living water he offered. Before he gave her that life-giving water, he addressed the brokenness in her life.
- When has something in the physical world made you aware of the spiritual world and of your own brokenness?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 4:16-26 (ESV)
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What did Jesus ask the Samaritan woman to do (vs. 16)? Considering that Jesus knew the woman did not have a husband and that this would be a painful topic, why might he have asked her this question?
- In verse 20, the woman made a statement that included an implied question. What was her question? Where did Jesus say true worship took place (what phrase did he repeat regarding true worship in verses 23 and 24)?
- Who is the basis for this type of worship? What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?
- Who did Jesus claim to be in verse 26? What authority did this give Jesus to address the woman’s brokenness and to define true worship?
- What area of brokenness in your life is Jesus asking you to address? What would it look like for you to give this to God and to worship him in spirit and truth today?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus wanted the Samaritan woman to understand that her greatest needs were spiritual, not physical, but first he dealt with the brokenness in her life. After Jesus exposed her pain, the Samaritan woman tried to turn the conversation back to the physical world—asking where worship should take place—and Jesus, again, moved the conversation to the spiritual realm, explaining that true worship was not about a place of worship but about the spiritual nature of the one being worshipped. In the same way, Jesus meets us in our broken places, freeing us to receive the living water he offers and to worship God wholeheartedly.
- Thank God for revealing your need for him, and take time to worship him wholeheartedly.