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"Woman at the Well" painting by J. Kirk Richards

Today: Proverbs 11:9-18; John 4:1-26; Judges 1; Judges 2:1-5

John 4

“I am He, the One speaking to you.” John 4:26

Pay special attention to the red letters. If you are reading a ‘red letter edition’ of the Bible, then all of Jesus’ words are in red. Those are the words I pay most attention to, the words that Jesus actually spoke. Jesus Himself told us everything we really need to know during the short time He walked on this earth. This story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well contains so many red letter truth bombs!

Jesus explained to her that He offers us living water that will become in us “a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” (v.14) Now is the time, now that Jesus has come, is the time that “true worshipers…worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (v.24)

THIS is the change that was activated by Jesus’ arrival.¬†Before Jesus came, the Jews worshipped God in an actual physical location. That is why the woman at the well remarks that “Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where we must worship.” (v.20) She wasn’t wrong. God Himself had set the system in place for the people to come to Him in the physical temple in Jerusalem.

But Jesus’ coming changed all of that. Now people who worship God are able to worship Him anywhere. They no longer needed to travel to Jerusalem to meet with God. As spirit, God can inhabit everywhere all of the time. God’s presence is no constantly with those who worship Him “in spirit and truth.” (v.24)

And just what exactly is this ‘truth?’ We find out in Jesus’ biggest truth bomb of them all. The woman mentions the Messiah “(he who is called Christ)” who will “declare all things to us.” (v.25)

And “Jesus said to her, ‘I am He, the One speaking to you.'” (v.26)

BOOM

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Jesus was just a good teacher… or that He never claimed to be the Messiah. He most certainly did claim to be the Messiah, on multiple occasions, including this most interesting conversation with the woman at the well.

Judges 1

Judges just drops us right into the battle! Many readers cringe at the bloodshed but remember that today all of the Old Testament accounts can be read as an extended parable from which we learn how God works in the spiritual realm today. The Promised Land represents God’s presence. Acquiring God’s presence in our lives requires a process of discovering and removing the old inhabitants from our lives — our sins, worldly attitudes, wrong thinking, destructive habits, etc. Just as the Israelites slowly worked their way through the physical land, conquering and driving out the previous inhabitants, so too must we journey through our own lives, with the help of the Holy Spirit’s direction, seeking to remove all of our old inhabitants.

This process is called ‘sanctification’ which means to make holy, set apart as sacred, consecrate, to purify, to free from sin. God led the Israelites on a conquest to sanctify the Promised Land. We are called to a Promised Land as well through the process of working with the Holy Spirit toward our own sanctification.

God had commanded the Israelites to completely rid the land of all the people living there. Every time they failed to do this, they paid some sort of penalty…. This is true for us as well. Any bad things we don’t work to remove from our lives will “become like thorns in your sides, and … will be a snare for you.”

Sanctification is one of the most important components of the Christian life. But many churches have forgotten or just stopped teaching about it. As a result, many church goers today have no concept of this most important process of sanctification. Our church has in many ways become just like the Israelites who did not drive out all of the inhabitants of the land. Instead they made covenants with the other peoples, adopted their practices and worshiped their gods. Much of the Christian church today has done exactly this. We have made covenants with the world and with our own sinful natures by overlooking, adopting, and practicing the world’s wickedness.