CAUTION: I am about to make you read 42 verses. Yes, I want you to read them all. I promise, you will survive.
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria (John 4 ESV)
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
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.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
I’ve heard countless sermons over the course of my life on John 4, but for some reason I have never fully understood what it means to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. I’ve heard some say that to worship in truth means to worship in a sincere heart, but that was never enough for me. I knew there was something more to that verse, but I couldn’t figure out what it was until a couple days ago.
To understand the importance of the revelation I am about to explain to you, you have to understand a few things about me. I have lived the last three years as a child of the great divorce. I’m not talking about my parents (they’re still together). I am speaking of the same divorce that R.T. Kendell speaks of in the movie Holy Ghost (it’s on Netflix by the way). Kendell talks about two extremes in the Christian faith, both very right in their thinking and both very wrong in their thinking. One side emphasizes the following and leading of Holy Spirit and the other emphasizes correct doctrine and teaching of the word. This is not to say that the ‘spirit side’ completely rejects the word or that the ‘word side’ completely rejects the spirit, but rather more emphasis is put on one and the other is neglected.
Both sides are completely correct in their pursuits, but there are flaws in their practice. I have been a member of two charismatic churches in my lifetime and I have seen Holy Spirit do AMAZING things. I’ve watched prophets tell people their life stories without knowing them. I’ve seen and partaken in miracles: the deaf ears open, cancer disappearing and more. I’ve seen visions and dreamed dreams. I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences for anything and I truly believe that they were of the Lord.
However, I have also seen people do things that were completely unbiblical and run the risk of being heretical under the guise of ‘being led’. I know prophets who prophesy more than they read the word. I’ve had so many people give contrasting prophesies over my future husband that it could turn me against getting married forever. I’ve seen great displays of emotion from people whose lives hardly line up with the word of God and they will be called a great man or woman of God simply because they seem to be more immersed in the supernatural. The group Beautiful Eulogy described it best in their song “Symbols and Signs”:
Yep, are you the kind
That’s completely consumed
By symbols and signs?
If you are that’s fine
But don’t you find it interesting
How most of the time
Your self-interpreting seems to coincide
With what’s deep inside
Your heart’s desires
Seems rather convenient, doesn’t it?
I’m not saying that God can’t do it
Not saying that God won’t do it
That might very well be the case!
I’m simply making an observation of how much weight you place on it
What seems to be at stake and how much of your faith is actually banking on it
And how much of your mysticism is mixed with your religious philosophic system
Sometimes what we believe to be true from our supernatural pursuits is actually a fluke
A series of events that’s used to distract you from the truth
But, I’ll give you a sign that’s obvious
One of the most supernatural acts is that God through his Word has actually revealed everything pertaining to life in Godliness
There’s this idea that an individual
Is somehow more spiritual
If he sees these signs and symbols
And takes what’s normally invisible
And makes it simple
But I say the mark of a mature man
Is the one who reads God’s Word and understands
And allows that to govern his decisions and his prospective plans
If you are trying to hear from God and your main goal isn’t to read the bible more, then you have a problem. If you ask for guidance and consult interpreters of dreams before searching out what the very WORD OF GOD says or praying to God asking him to give you wisdom through his word, then you are misguided. I’m not saying God can’t give you dreams to shed light on a situation, but did it ever occur to you that the majority of dreams that had to be interpreted in the bible were those of evil kings? Dreams of godly men were usually straightforward and were used as warnings. You must “submit every symbol and sign to the authority of the scripture”. Your experience means close to nothing if it doesn’t line up with the word of God. Not to mention the fact that the heart, above all things is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). That is why we must know the Word and let it transform our hearts and minds so we do not deceive ourselves.
Considering this is a long blog post and is about to get longer, I won’t quote all of Psalm 119, but you should read it. It talks about how God’s word and commandments give us life, teach us wisdom and direct our paths. I cannot stress enough the importance of the Word. It deserves it’s own blog post, but instead I’ll just give you a link to verses that prove that the Word is of utmost importance and cannot be neglected (http://dailyverses.net/the-word ).
Now to the address the other misguided parent. For 3 years, I have also been friends with the most reformed people I have ever met in my life and it’s been amazing! I have fallen in love with the word of God and sound doctrine, I have listened to teaching that has stirred my affections and passions for God. I have binged Matt Chandler sermons and Francis Chan sermons, my life was truly changed after reading “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper. I can’t help but admit that I have felt stronger and closer to God after hearing any one of these preachers speak than I have spending 30 minutes in a fire/prayer tunnel or listening to soaking worship music or sitting in a prophetic prayer session.
I have a lot of compassion for this side. They have probably seen the heretical things that I have seen and they want to run as far away from that as possible, but they completely shut their hearts to the working and leading of the Spirit. As a result, they miss out on a lot. Because not everyone is healed when we lay on hands, they say, “Why even try?”. But I say, if only one person gets healed out of 50, then there is still a chance worth taking. Let us not forget that you can know the word cover to cover, but if you don’t put it into action then you are deceiving yourself (James 1:22). The Word says in Mark 16:17-18 King James Version (KJV),
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Now I know there are those doctrines which teach that this prophecy was for the apostles only, but if that were true then why would Paul say this to a leader of a church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4 ESV):
16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
If there be any discrepancy about what Paul meant by “power”, for what it is worth, here is the ESV study note for verse 19:
“Apparently, Paul expected a confrontation in which the power of the Holy Spirit would manifest some kind of disciplinary force against those who were harming the church.”
You can talk the talk, but where is your power? We know what God’s will is because he told us: “Thy kingdom come. Thy WILL be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” His will is heaven on Earth and we are ambassadors of the kingdom. This job requires the leading, working and manifestation of Holy Spirit. There is not one part of the Trinity that is more important than the other-they are one. Just as you cannot separate my soul from my own body, you cannot separate the Holy Spirit from Jesus and the Father. I urge you, just as you have earnestly sought to know the Father and the Son, seek to know Holy Spirit. I realize that there are countless arguments and counterarguments to be had in my description of the kingdom of God, however, in the best interest of the reader, we will not address those counterarguments.
Sincerely, I only wish for you to seek it out for yourself and to be open-minded when it comes to the Spirit of God. I encourage you to do a study on the Spirit. Watch what he does, how he operates and the reward of following the leading of the Spirit.
By now, if you haven’t stopped reading because you were offended, you are probably wondering what all of this has to do with John 4. Jesus himself was confronting a great divorce when he talked to the Samaritan woman. You see, the Jews and the Samaritans disagreed on the right way to worship God and as a result they had no dealings with one another. They were both wrong and stubborn. The Samaritans weren’t worshiping in the right way and they also had incorporated false gods into their practice. On the other hand, the Pharisees were so oppressive and legalistic in their practice of the law that they had missed the whole point of the law (love).
Jesus said that true worshipers would worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. We need both the manifestations of the Spirit and sound doctrine. Furthermore, these are the keys to bringing in the harvest. The fields are white! Let us not tarry any longer, arguing like the Samaritans and the Jews.
Jesus himself used both Spirit and Truth (his word) to minister to the Samaritans. Without the Spirit, Jesus could not have told the women her past (a little thing we charismatics like to call a “word of knowledge”). This supernatural event changed her life and caused a spark in the whole town. Later many more believed because of Jesus’ WORD (v 41).
In conclusion, we are CHRISTians. We are called to be like Christ and imitate his actions on Earth- ALL of his actions. I hope that this post encourages you to fall in love with the word of God and to pursue being led by the Holy Spirit even into the supernatural. I believe we, as the church, have been acting as a bipolar and dysfunctional bride. We need each other and that means we must lay down our pride and admit that we are wrong sometimes. I have had to do that many, many times. I’ve played for both teams and struck out on both. Then I realized that the two teams must become one in order to win the game (namely the harvest).