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

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

"Sir," the woman [at Jacob's well said to Jesus], "you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?"
— John 4:19-20 NLT

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 revolves around the central issues of worship — the place, the content, and the method. We can dismiss this woman's question about the importance of the place of worship as a dodge of Jesus' probing of her soul, but Jesus doesn't dismiss the question. He hears her question and answers her in words that we, too, must carefully consider. As we will see in the devotionals for the next three days, what Jesus says is simple, powerful, short, and revolutionary. [1] Let's not miss his answer to the woman. But also, let's be certain to notice that here is a woman broken by life, not in an acceptable place spiritually, [2] 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 since they didn't seem very religious? What do you think Jesus would have to say about that?

[1] John 4:21-24.
[2] She was living with a man to whom she was not married (John 4:17-18).

Today's Prayer

Holy God Almighty, speak to my heart as I listen to Jesus' words to this woman in this section of John's Gospel and teach me about true worship that brings you delight. 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 those I think might not have a real spiritual interest because their lives are such a mess. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ephesians 2:14-18
  • Acts 7:48-50
  • Matthew 16:13-16


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Illustration of John 4:19-20 NLT — "Sir,"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.