What Jesus Did! 'Conflict over Place' — John 4:19-20

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The woman said, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship."
— John 4:19-20
Illustration of John 4:19-20 — The woman said, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship."

Key Thought

Over the long years of religious history, so much conflict has revolved around worship and the place of worship. Even today, so much of the conflict found in Christian groups resolves around the central issues of worship—the place, the content, and the method. We can dismiss this woman's question about the importance and place of worship as a dodge of Jesus' probing of her soul. Jesus doesn't do that. He hears her question and answers her in words that we, too, must carefully consider. (And we will do that tomorrow!) What Jesus said is simple, powerful, short, and revolutionary. Let's not miss his answer to the woman. But even more, let's notice that here is a woman broken by life, not in an acceptable place spiritually with her marriage, and an outcast in the community. Yet this woman has deep yearnings to know the truth of God. Who is like that in your world? Who have we missed because we didn't think they had any serious questions because they didn't seem very religious? What do you think Jesus would have to say about that?

Today's Prayer

Holy God Almighty, speak to my heart and teach me about true worship that brings you delight as I listen to Jesus' words to this woman. Like her, I too, come to you thirsty and longing to draw near and find my life's joy in you. And Father, please open wide my heart to others, especially others I might not think have a real spiritual interest because their lives are such a mess. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more followers than John. (But really Jesus himself did not baptize people. His followers baptized people for him.) Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard about him. So Jesus left Judea and went back to Galilee. On the way to Galilee Jesus had to go through the country of Samaria. In Samaria Jesus came to the town called Sychar. This town is near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. Jesus was tired from his long trip. So Jesus sat down beside the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to that well to get some water. Jesus said to her, "Please give me a drink of water." (This happened while Jesus' followers went to town to buy some food.) The Samaritan woman answered, "I am surprised that you ask me for a drink! You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman!" (Jews are not friends with Samaritans. ) Jesus answered, "You don't know about the thing God gives. And you don't know who I am that asked you for a drink. If you knew these things, you would have asked me and I would have given you living water." The woman said, "Sir, where will you get that living water? The well is very deep, and you have nothing to get water with. Are you greater than Jacob our father ? Jacob is the one that gave us this well. He drank from it himself. Also, his sons and all his animals drank water from this well." Jesus answered, "Every person that drinks this water will be thirsty again. But the person that drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. That water I give will become like a spring of water flowing inside that person. That water will bring that person life forever." The woman said to Jesus, "Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty again. And I will not have to come back here to get more water." Jesus told her, "Go get your husband and come back here." The woman answered, "But I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right to say you have no husband. Reallyyou have had five husbands. But the man you live with now is not your husband. You told me the truth." The woman said, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship." Jesus said, "Believe me, woman! The time is coming when you will not have to be in Jerusalem or on that mountain to worship the Father (God). You Samaritans worship something that you don't understand. We Jews understand what we worship. Salvation comes from the Jews. The time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. That time is now here. And those are the kind of people the Father wants to be his worshipers. God is spirit. So the people that worship God must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said, "I know that the Messiah is coming." (Messiah is the One called Christ. ) "When the Messiah comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus said, "That person is talking to you now. I am {the Messiah}."

John 4:1-26

Related Scripture Readings

Because of Christ we now have peace. Christ made us both (Jews and non-Jews) one people. The Jews and the non-Jews were separated like there was a wall between them. They hated each other. But Christ broke down that wall of hate by {giving} his own body. The Jewish law had many commands and rules. But Christ ended that law. Christ's purpose was to make the two groups of people (Jews and non-Jews) become one new people in him. By doing this Christ would make peace. Through the cross Christ ended the hate between the two groups. And after the two groups became one body, Christ wanted to bring them both back to God. Christ did this with his death on the cross. Christ came and preached peace to you people (non-Jews) who were far away {from God}. And he preached peace to the people (Jews) who were near {to God}. Yes, through Christ we all have the right to come to the Father in one Spirit.

Ephesians 2:14-18

"But the Most High (God) does not live in houses that men build with their hands. This is what the prophet writes: {'The Lord says,} Heaven is my throne. The earth is a place to rest my feet. What kind of house can you build for me? There is no place where I need to rest! Remember, I made all these things!'"

Acts 7:48-50

Jesus went to the area of Caesarea Philippi. Jesus said to his followers, "I am the Son of Man. Who do the people say I am?" The followers answered, "Some people say you are John the Baptizer. Other people say you are Elijah. And some people say that you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets. " Then Jesus said to his followers, "And who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Matthew 16:13-16

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.