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Worship in Spirit and Truth -- Jesus' encounter in John 4:1-42

When we believe in Jesus, we have to let go of what we believed before.

Bible Study Ideas and Commentary for John 4:1-42

In this beloved encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, we finally see the full picture of Jesus that John has been painting: Jesus, the Savior of the World. Jesus overcomes religious, cultural, and social barriers (and the woman's own ostracism) to help her let go of her past and fully trust in Him for salvation.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth. (4:24)

There is so much to cover in this passage. I recommend spending as much time as possible on the Bible study itself. Perhaps this would be the Sunday to go out to lunch together after church to continue your fellowship and chit-chat!

Getting Started: Things to Think About

"Chance Encounters"

This week's passage highlights the power of God to put two people in the same place at the same time for the purpose of giving them a chance to talk about Jesus together. Every Christian has encounters like that (although we don't always see them for what they are, nor do we always take God up on the opportunity). What's a time you "randomly" encountered someone, and it turned into a gospel conversation or a ministry opportunity?

Scarcity vs. Abundance

This fear is in the background of a lot of the discussion in John. People don't want to share their blessings with others because they fear there won't be enough left for them to indulge in. This week, the fear actually drives the story. We're in a desert at a well. A woman is here in the heat of the day because she has been ostracized by her people. She's been kicked out by five husbands and the man she lives with now won't marry her. She fears she is on the brink of not having enough to survive. Though we won't focus on them in this lesson, the disciples have gone into town to get food they need. We will find out that while in town, they weren't generous with anyone about anything, let alone their knowledge of Jesus.

And Jesus is talking about living water that never runs dry.

What are the things that prevent us from being generous with our material wealth, our message of the gospel, or our time and energy?


Where We Are in John

We have 6 months in John, about one session per chapter. It will be obvious that we couldn't cover all of chapter 4 in one session, which means that we have to skip some things.

By now, you should have caught on that John the author's purpose in these first chapters is to tell his audience who Jesus is.

John 1: Jesus is the Word of God and the Lamb of God

John the author leans into John the Baptist's testimony about Jesus -- Jesus is the Chosen Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The first men to follow Jesus realize He is even more than that -- Jesus is the Son of God.

John 2: The First Signs

John the author focuses on two encounters that demonstrate who Jesus is -- Jesus turns water into wine (2:1-11), and Jesus confronts the merchants in the temple (2:12-25). Turning water into wine would be powerful enough as a miracle, but the second event proves that Jesus didn't come to perform parlor tricks, He came to transform people.

John 3: Confused People Try to Understand Jesus

We covered the first part of the chapter last week -- Jesus explains that the Jewish leaders have misunderstood everything significant about God's plan for His people (and the world). The rest of the chapter (3:22-36) reveals that it's not just the Jewish leaders who misunderstood Jesus, it's also John the Baptist's followers.

There's an extremely powerful lesson here that I'm sad we can't spend a week unpacking:

Following Jesus means that we must set aside what we think is best and right. All that matters is the truth of Jesus.

See how this has played out in our context:

  • (3:1-21) The Jewish leaders believe that their understanding of the Old Testament is sufficient and reject any suggestion that they might have it wrong.

  • (3:22-36) John the Baptist's followers, in their loyal support of John, get jealous of Jesus' growing popularity and wonder why they can't just stick with John.

  • (4:1-42) This Week: A Samaritan woman challenges Jesus that the religion she has inherited from her ancestors should be good enough.

Here's the important takeaway: of those three groups, only the Samaritans (the "enemies" of the Jews) wholeheartedly embraced the truth of Jesus as better than what they had grown up believing.

Yes, over time, members of every group acknowledged the superiority of Jesus, but the point remains -- how hard it is for people to give up their inherited religion for God's true religion!

[Aside about the world "religion". This word usually has a negative connotation, and it's easy to understand why. "Religion" is the word we use to describe our organized attempts to express and build our relationship with God (however a person understands the word "God"). When we make up a religion of our own, we create incredible problems. But John the author uses his Gospel to explain that Jesus came down from heaven to give us a true religion. In other words, there is a right way for people to relate to God, a true religion. Over the centuries, Christians have created traditions and rituals to express that right relationship with God. That is the "Christian religion". And as long as it is rooted in the truth of God's Word revealed to us, then fine. But when it's not, we have to learn to let it go. That's what this week's passage is about -- "true worshipers".]

Here are three incredible words from John the Baptist to his followers:

  • "No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven." (3:27)

  • "He must increase, but I must decrease.” (3:30)

  • "For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure." (3:34)

When you put it that way, shouldn't we be falling all over ourselves to set aside our personal beliefs and wholeheartedly jump into what Jesus taught?

And thus that leads to this week's passage --

John 4: Samaritans Accept That Jesus Speaks a "Better" Truth

John's Gospel is filled with encounters of people listening to Jesus, being confused by Him, and ultimately coming to a point of decision -- will they believe Jesus, or will they cling to the truths they believed before? Over and over again, we will be surprised by the people who do believe (like this week).

Here's this week's Visual Bible -

This Week's Immediate Context

As is their MO right now, Lifeway throws us into the middle of an event. Here's what you need to know. There are so many maps to choose from (because everybody loves this passage). I chuckle at how heavy-handed this map is, but it's also pretty easy to follow.

Not only have John the Baptist's followers noticed that Jesus has gained a significant following, but so have the Jewish leaders who are already upset with Jesus.

So, Jesus decides to return to Galilee. Instead of taking the "usual" road from Jerusalem to Galilee (along the Jordan; although, some Jews would travel up the coast), Jesus went straight through Samaria. He had a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman (an unnamed woman -- she represents every non-Jew). More on this below.

John the author highlights the presence of "Jacob's Well". This is Jacob-Jacob, patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel-Jacob, Jacob who had his name changed by God to "Israel"-Jacob. He is a big deal.

If John the Baptist's followers were having a hard time accepting that Jesus was greater than John, how do you think that Jacob the Patriarch's "followers" would consider Jesus?

John the author says that Jesus was tired. One, this explains why Jesus stopped here in the first place. But two, this gives us so much to think about!

  • Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, but He is also a man who gets tired.

  • But even when He is tired, Jesus is "on mission".

  • Jesus is prepared for a "chance encounter" at all times.

John the author also tells us that Jesus' disciples had gone into the village to get food, explaining why Jesus was left alone to talk to this woman. This was by design, of course, because Jesus was always on mission. (Did He have inside information about this village? Or was this just an expression of His omniscience? The Bible doesn't say.) He sent His disciples away for a reason.

  • Perhaps there was enough lingering prejudice among his disciples against the Samaritans that they would have said something rude to ruin the encounter. Perhaps they needed to see the earnestness of the Samaritans to realize that their mission would extend even to this group of people.

  • Perhaps the woman would have been made extremely uncomfortable by a large group of men. Nowhere are we told that this woman is a prostitute, only that she has had many husbands. This is probably more reflective of the sexist culture she lived in than anything -- she was an object to be used and discarded by men.

  • Definitely not is there anything sexual between Jesus and this woman, as some writers have tried to insist (they point to how Abraham's servant met Rebekah at a well (Gen 24), as well as Jacob meeting Rachel (Gen 29)). But it reminds us that any time a man has a private conversation with a woman, rumors start.


This Week's Little Idea: The Samaritans

I'm calling this a "little idea" because we've talked about the Samaritans a number of times in our discussion of the fall and resettlement of the northern kingdom of Israel.

The Jews who returned from exile in Babylon looked with disdain and contempt on the people who lived in what was the northern kingdom of Israel. They considered them half-breeds with a bastardized religion. They had an attitude that no child of God should ever have about any other person.

Most Jews did everything they could to avoid Samaria. They didn't want to sully themselves by interacting with such low people.

Well, Jesus had other ideas.

Importantly, we are taken right to the extreme scenario -- a woman, and not just any woman but a woman with a reputation (which is why she has come to the well by herself in the heat of the day). Maybe a Jew could grudgingly accept the honor of a Samaritan like the respectable man in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, but what about a woman who is known for her regrettable (and likely sinful) station in life?


This Week's Big Idea: "Spirit and Truth"

I've been kinda dreading this passage. In seminary, I took a worship class based on this week's passage (specifically 4:19-24). An. Entire. Class. How in the world can I do justice to this rich topic in a few paragraphs? Well, here we are and I still don't know.

The verse that gets our attention is verse 23:

But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him.

We will see how this fits into the context as we go, but I want to say a few things here that we can keep in mind for any inevitable discussion about "right worship".

First, there is a right kind of worship, and there is a right kind of worshiper. Both are governed by the phrase "Spirit and truth".

Second, the right kind of worshiper is the more fundamental concern. In other words, the wrong kind of worshiper can never offer the right kind of worship.

Third, "Spirit and truth" covers a single concept -- these are not characteristics that we can study independently of the other.

Fourth, "Spirit" most certainly refers to the Holy Spirit, based on how John the author has already used this word and will use it again.

So, what are we supposed to do with this? Most importantly, taken in light of the conversation Jesus just had about being "born again/born anew/born of Spirit", this means that the most important part of right worship is being right with God (salvation that is provided by the Son and "activated" in the Spirit). There is no right ritual that a non-Christian can perform to score points with God.

But close behind is the connection between the Spirit and this idea of "truth". John the author focuses on "truth" more than anyone else. Some famous verses might come to mind here:

  • the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (1:17)

  • You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (8:32)

  • I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (14:6)

  • When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. (16:13)

  • Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (17:17)

Jesus is truth and brings truth; the Spirit guides into truth; God's Word (the message of Jesus that we now read in the Bible) is truth.

All of these things are tied together: the Word of God (Jesus), the Word of God (the Bible), and the Spirit of God. There is no disagreement between them. There is no tension between them.

What does that mean when it comes to worship? Like I said, I spent an entire semester in a class trying to answer this question. The conclusions were simple (even if the applications were not):

  • Worship leadership must come from a Christian (this includes the songwriter and anybody and everybody who participates in leading a service). (This led into a long discussion about whether a non-Christian could sing with the choir or play in the band. We concluded "yes" but only if that person were being evangelized.)

  • Everything said/preached/prayed/sung in a service must clearly line up with the teachings of the Bible. This is not just about the content of the Bible but also the intent. Many songs and sermons quote the Bible without attempting to understand it. Worship leaders must always be seeking truth/learning truth.

  • Jesus intentionally does not give a list of approved/unapproved actions or rituals in worship (any more than the Psalmists notated the music). True worship can be contextual and cultural and look/feel very different around the world (or even in your own community). But it must always be rooted in "Spirit and truth".

Anyone in that class would be extremely disappointed in how much I simplified our lively discussions, but cut me some slack!

The question for you to consider before your Sunday morning discussion (to help keep discussion on track, perhaps for those group members who have never thought about it and simply assumed that their tradition rituals are the only ones God approves) is this: how would you apply the idea of "Spirit and truth" to your church's "usual" worship service?

If you're like us (in the Baptist/Free Church tradition), your service probably focuses on a sermon, and there are songs, prayers, maybe a Scripture reading, announcements, etc. That's a common worship service paradigm, but it's far from the only one. How would you apply "Spirit and truth" to that framework?


Part 1: Thirst Quenched? (John 4:11-15)

I'm going to start in verse 10, because goodness gracious.

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.”
11 “Sir,” said the woman, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.”
13 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.”
15 “Sir,” the woman said to him, “give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”

Hopefully you've picked up on this pattern of people misunderstanding and underestimating Jesus. Generally, it's from listening to Jesus with an unspiritual (literal) ear. The Jewish leaders heard "tear this temple down" and dismissed Jesus as a lunatic. Nicodemus heard "you must be born again" and didn't know what to do with that. This woman heard "living water" and couldn't get past the bucket in her hand.

Like everyone else, the woman mocks Jesus for what she can't understand.

About this well -- churches have been built (and destroyed) on the traditional site of Jacob's Well since the 300s. Here's a description from 1866: "...a narrow opening, just wide enough to allow the body of a man to pass through with arms uplifted, and this narrow neck, which is about 4 ft. long, opens into the well itself, which is cylindrically shaped, and opens about 7 ft. 6 in. in diameter. The well and upper part of the well are built of masonry, and the well appears to have been sunk through a mixture of alluvial soil and limestone fragments, till a compact bed of mountain limestone was reached, having horizontal strata which could be easily worked; and the interior of the well presents the appearance of having been lined throughout with rough masonry."

According to Wikipedia (and why would they lie about this?), the depth of the well was 135 feet in 1935.

Because the woman assumes that by "living water" Jesus is talking about actual water, she is quite confused. First, He asked her for water, right? But now He's offering water to her? Second, He has nothing with which to get water, so what gives?

But note that she remains respectful -- even here she calls Him "sir" (which is the word for "lord"). No "listen, pal, you don't even have a bucket." That respect leads into a very meaningful observation on her part about the patriarch Jacob and his well.

  • Pointing to Jacob highlights the common heritage of the Jews and the Samaritans. The traditional prejudice between the groups (which she has already mentioned) doesn't have to be that way -- they have the same roots.

  • Pointing to the purpose of the well keeps the discussion focused on real needs, as in "Jacob gave us something to survive in this desert -- what are you doing to help us?"

Jesus responds by correcting her notion of "real needs". Yes, water is necessary for life, but there is more to life than water. Remember these words?

Matt 4:2 After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? ... 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you."

John the author has already conditioned as readers to consider that "living water" means something more than "water". In fact, he's planted the seeds for us to draw this parallel:

Living water : Water :: Eternal life : life

If we knew the Old Testament prophets, we would already be looking out for this:

  • For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves—cracked cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer 2:13)

  • How priceless your faithful love is, God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They are filled from the abundance of your house. You let them drink from your refreshing stream. For the wellspring of life is with you. By means of your light we see light. (Ps 36:7-9)

  • I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. (Ezek 36:25-27)

  • Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost! Why do you spend silver on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? (Isa 55:1-2)

[Note: Samaritans only accepted the Torah, so this woman might not have known that Jesus was alluding to a very clear teaching of God in the Old Testament.]

Based on what we've read, what do you think "living water" is? (No references to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, please.)

Here's my favorite description of "living water", also written by John the author:

They will no longer hunger; they will no longer thirst; the sun will no longer strike them, nor will any scorching heat. For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; he will guide them to springs of the waters of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev 7:16-17)

Just as water meets a fundamental bodily need, Jesus' living water meets our fundamental spiritual need. The body cannot survive without water; the soul cannot survive without living water. And only Jesus can provide it.

And here's the real key to this passage -- Jesus will provide it, even to a Samaritan outcast.

By verse 15, the woman has softened her tone on Jesus. She isn't quite sure what to make of Him, but what He says sounds appealing. Especially since she is standing in front of an actual well with an actual bucket to meet her physical thirst.

One discussion you might have here (if you have saved the time): How might you take common objects or locations and turn them into a gospel presentation?

  • Bus stop

  • Supermarket

  • Football game

  • Wristwatch

  • Bench

  • Gas station

Jesus took a woman's real need and pointed it to an even real-er need.


Part 2: Sin Exposed (John 4:16-20)

16 “Go call your husband,” he told her, “and come back here.” 17 “I don’t have a husband,” she answered. “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said. 18 “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus can tell that she's ready to take this conversation to the next level (even if she doesn't think she is), and so He does.

Don't get too hung up on the nature of the question. Jesus' point is very simple: woman, you know that your physical thirst is not the real problem in your life. Jesus is God. He knows this woman's heart. He knows where to push. You need to be very circumspect before taking a gospel conversation into something this personal. The way Jesus does it is not shameful or accusatory. He's simply helping her confront her life situation.

The woman shies away from it at first; this is clearly an uncomfortable subject for her. This is why I strongly believe that this woman is not a prostitute. She is a victim of a male-dominated culture. For whatever reason, a husband discards her, and then another one picks her up. She has very little say in the matter. And now her situation is so dire that the man she is living with won't even marry her. She has no support from the women in the village -- that's why she has come to the well by herself. For all intents and purposes, she is an outcast.

But she is an outcast who cares about spiritual matters. Yes, verse 19 is a redirect, but I don't think it's insincere. If you were talking to somebody, and it became clear that they were "in the know", what question would you ask?

For example, a number of years ago, I sat in a plane next to somebody who worked with Elon Musk in an AI startup. Yes, we talked about spiritual matters, but I couldn't help but ask "should we be worried about AI superintelligence?" As we talked, it just became very clear that this guy was extremely knowledgeable about artificial intelligence. Hey, I've watched T2; I wanted to know. (Note: he said it was too early to know.)

This woman had such a question burning inside of her. Sure, she was happy to take the attention off of herself, but this was a sincere question, a question that had separated Jews from Samaritans for generations.

Samaritans believed that Abraham met Melchizedek on Mt. Gerazim, that Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Gerazim, and that Moses gave the people a blessing on Mt. Gerazim. Because they only recognized the Torah, they had no scriptures pointing them to Jerusalem. Therefore, they assumed that Mt. Gerazim was God's established location for worship.

Because they rejected Kings/Chronicles/Prophets, the Samaritans had zero common ground with the Jews to resolve this disagreement. This would be similar to the hard lines between Christians and Mormons, Christians and Muslims, Christians and hardcore Catholics -- some common roots, but woefully divergent trees. That didn't stop Jesus.


Part 3: True Worship (John 4:21-24)

21 Jesus told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

Jesus does three things here:

  1. He reorients the discussion from Jewish and Samaritan preoccupation

  2. He clarifies that the Jews do have the fuller counsel of God

  3. He declares that salvation does not belong to any one people group

I tried to hit on a lot of this above, so I won't repeat that now. Everybody -- Jews and Samaritans alike -- was going to have to give up a lot of "pet beliefs" if they were to become Christians. BUT, the Jews were right about their fuller counsel of God. Jesus quoted from all over the Old Testament, and His favorite sources were the Psalms and the Prophets.

That second point would have rankled this woman, but Jesus couldn't dance around it indefinitely. Today's world seems to prioritize avoiding (or ignoring) confrontational truths. But Jesus owned the truth and declared it -- this woman's eternal life depended on her letting go of the half-truths she had learned for the whole truth of Jesus Christ.

Both the Samaritan woman and Jesus used "we" and "you" in their "tribal" forms. Neither could ignore the situation they were in in which Jews and Samaritans hated one another and mistrusted one another. Jesus owned this, as well, and He pointed past it to a better future in which the worshipers of God would no longer be known by their human tribes but by their identity in Christ. Our identity as Christian supersedes any earthly identity -- a country, a culture, an ethnicity, a religion/denomination, whatever. We are Christians, and what ties us together is infinitely greater than what drives us apart.


Part 4: True Faith (John 4:25-26)

25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Jesus told her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”

The crux, the fulcrum of this new world is the Messiah. He ties us together. He gives us an identity (and not just in name). He makes us right with God. The Samaritan woman knew that. She just didn't know who He was.

John the author added "Christ" in the parentheses for his non-Jewish readers who may not have heard the Hebrew term "Messiah". Humorously, today the situation is reversed -- many people understand what a "Messiah" is, but they assume that "Christ" is Jesus' last name.

The Old Testament concept of Messiah was much more fully developed after the Torah, so this woman's understanding would have been rather thin. Lucky for her, she had the actual Messiah there to tell her more about Himself!

Those skeptics who have tried to make Jesus uncertain about His identity have clearly not read the Gospel of John.

If you launched into a discussion about "proper worship", just make sure to wrap it back into Jesus. "What" we do doesn't mean a lick if we don't have the right Object and the right Means.


Closing Thoughts: The Rest of the Story

Shockingly, Lifeway skips the rest of the story -- the part of the story that evangelistic Baptists like "best". Like I said -- there's just no way to cover all of John in 6 months.

But this is my article, so I can encourage you to read a few more verses:

27 Just then his disciples arrived, and they were amazed that he was talking with a woman. Yet no one said, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They left the town and made their way to him.
31 In the meantime the disciples kept urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 33 The disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” 34 “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus told them. 35 “Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, and then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, because they are ready for harvest. 36 The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap what you didn’t labor for; others have labored, and you have benefited from their labor.”
39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything 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 Many more believed because of what he said. 42 And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, since we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

Now, even Jesus' own disciples have fallen into the trap of underestimating Jesus! Jesus talks about food, and they immediately speculate where He got it! Come on, guys.

Then Jesus tells them to look out on the fields that were ripe for harvest -- fields they hadn't worked in. But when they looked out, what do you think they saw? They saw the people of the town coming to Jesus -- not because any of the disciples had done any evangelizing in the town! But because this woman did that work. But now, they would be blessed to be a part of the process of telling the people more about Jesus (and listening to Jesus tell more about Himself). This is (and should be) a favorite passage of anyone who realizes the number of lost people who live in this world but still has hope that the Spirit of God continues to work in and through the gospel message.

In this situation, Jesus could have been overwhelmed by the obstacles. Religious divide. Cultural divide. Not to mention the darkness and sorrow inside the woman's own heart! And what did Jesus do? Shine a light directly on all of it. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Come and See / Go and Tell

I also hope everyone notices this part of the story -- see how Jesus has spoken to the "seeker". He doesn't literally say "come and see" to her, but everything He says is an open invitation. And when she leaves Him she runs to her village to invite them all to come and see Jesus.

But what does He say to His disciples? "Look at the fields" -- essentially, He is telling His disciples that their job is to "go and tell" all of these people about Him.

Once you have "come and seen", your new responsibility is to "go and tell".

Enjoy this passage! Please save a few minutes for the verses to follow!


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