Monday, September 24, 2007

Here I am

Jesus is beginning a conversation with a woman from Samaria. I found it interesting to follow the pattern of Revelation.

In John 4:13 & 14 Jesus says this; "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Perhaps Jesus first priority was to allow her to become aware of the true source of life (as apposed to her sinfulness, which he doesn’t avoid, but addresses later on)

In verse 15, The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

Immediately her desire changed, because she sensed something greater.
And her initial response was one of sacrifice; you sense within her a desire to sacrifice whatever she needs to in order to get to what Jesus is proposing, that she wants it more than what she finds herself doing everyday. And what was she doing? She was laboring every day to gather the most precious source of life – so that life would be sustained in her and in her village. But she was drawing a natural substance to sustain a sinful life which Jesus subtly points out in his next instruction;

He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." (v16)
It’s at this point (and I think important to say – not until this point) that Jesus allows her to become aware of her sin. Perhaps the application for us, when seeking to save the world would be this; we must always desire to introduce Jesus before we seek to point out someone’s sinfulness. Even Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17-18). If we look to the pattern of Isaiah 6, when anyone finds themselves in the presence of God, an awareness of their own sinfulness will take care of itself. Perhaps as the church we subconsciously feel better about ourselves when someone else’s sin is revealed – because it somehow increases our holiness. We develop a ‘separated’ mentality. Yes a separateness from sin is good, but not a separateness from the sinner (or the Samaritan). You can’t separate the holiness of God from his act of salvation. He didn’t incarnate to engage in our sinfulness, but he came to reveal himself. The conviction of the Holy Spirit in us takes care of the rest.

Verse 19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.
I found it interesting to note that the Samaritans response to Jesus pointing to her sin (at this point) was not bad. She didn’t say, ‘how dare you point that out’, ‘who do you think you are bringing up my sinful past…’ But she said this, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.’
I don’t think she was doubting her sinfulness…just her focus was more on Jesus and even her original purpose – for she’s the one who brings up the subject of worship! Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." (v20)

Jesus next response opens the door for the greatest of revelations – his desire for relationship. ‘we worship what we do know’ (v22)

Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (v21-24)

Perhaps when we’re introduced to our sin before we’re introduced to Jesus, the nature of our relationship with God continues to follow that pattern. We expect that God’s next move is to point out our next floor. But I think that’s backwards. I think God’s only desire is to reveal himself. Here I am.
When God said to Adam and Eve ‘where are you’ (Gen 3:9), perhaps he was really saying…Here I am. In your sinfulness…I’m still here. Perhaps you’ve left me but I haven’t left you. What's the response he's looking for?

Here I am.

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