Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: John 4:1-26 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Why do we go back to this text so often? Why is this narrative something that draws us into its orbit again and again? What is it about this particular story that seems to compel us to dwell on this interaction between Jesus and the woman?
It is easy to see something as very clear here; Jesus cared for everyone, and the way that He cared for them was to let them know that they could be part of the Kingdom. We also see what it means to be transformed by Jesus. The woman went from being an outcast in her town to someone the townspeople listened to and believed. The things she said to them about Jesus brought them out of their houses and into the public square to meet Him.
This story brings out a few ideas:
Jesus was no respecter of persons or propriety. There were many reasons He should not have spoken to the woman, and He ignored them all. Jesus always showed us that people were more important than policy. This is often hard for us to understand, as we like the way policy organizes people. But Jesus never seemed interested in organizing; He seemed more interested in relationships. And we know that relationships are rarely organized or neat and tidy. Jesus lived and seemed to thrive in the messiness of relationships. Maybe that is a place where we should be living as well.
Worship is not what we think it is. Worship seems to transcend process and is duly fixed on the object of that worship. Rather than finding identity in the way we worship, the how of worship, we need to find our identity in the what and who of our worship. When we do this, we realize that even though we are different, we are very much the same in our focus on Jesus, the only one worth worshipping.
There are many more points we can take out of this text, but these are perhaps a good starting point. Why does this story remain so present in our lives? We are all searching, like the woman, for identity and for a Savior. This is a story that reminds us we all become the same when we worship the same Jesus as she did. The Kingdom of Heaven transcends our processes of worship and identity and gives us a new family, community, and focus.
Recalibrate: Have you ever been guilty of finding identity in the way or day that you worship? How does a focus on Jesus change that?
Respond: Next time you go to church, take a moment at the “well” to re-introduce yourself to this God that you are going to worship.
Research: Read this short blog about this interaction.
Remember: “God is spirit. Those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, ICB).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
Show your little one how you can fog up a mirror with your breath. Draw a love heart on the mirror and say “I love you with every breath”. See if your little one can do the same with their breath. Know that Jesus breathes life and love into those people who say “Yes, Jesus” to Him, no matter what their age. Show with every breath how you live love. Your little one will watch and learn and love.
We started the week by trying to go for a run while holding our breath. Today I want you to go for a run again but do not hold your breath this time. How far did you get? You are made to move! Your body parts work together to do cool stuff. God made you to do good things. We worship Him when we do those things with a thankful heart. We say, “Thank you, Jesus” for showing us how to use our heart and our head to live love wherever we are.
Can you remember the first time you heard stories about Jesus? What were those stories? Have the stories you’ve heard helped you in your knowledge of Jesus? I recently asked members of a youth group to each share their favorite story of Jesus and the reason this story is their favorite. I then asked them to share how this story has changed their lives. It’s interesting, because in the story this week the Samaritan woman says, “I have heard stories of the Messiah—a Messiah that is coming—and when He comes He’s going to help us make sense of things.” Jesus responded to her by saying, “I am the Messiah!” I often wonder if the stories I have read and heard are just that—stories. When will these stories become reality? When have you had a story of Jesus become so close to you that you feel like you encountered Jesus? What was that experience like? How did you respond? Worship is a state in which one acknowledges who Jesus is and then responds to that knowledge. Young man and young woman of God, in this theme of New Humanity, we are given a glimpse of the transformation a young woman and young man of God go through when their knowledge of Jesus takes root in their lives and changes them from the inside out—just like what happens to the Samaritan woman. From the head to the heart—to action! Worship lived out in a human life. So now share one story of Jesus that has made the biggest impact on your life? Why that story? Are you a better person for knowing this story? How so?
What does this story have to do with the sermon series called The New Humanity? Well, I think it has everything to do with it. The best part of this story for me is the fact that the Samaritan woman went to draw water and Verse 28 tells us she left her water jar at the well in her excitement to tell others about her encounter with Jesus. That imagery of literally putting down the original goal, in this case the jar, demonstrates very effectively what can happen when we encounter Jesus. The woman came for water and left with none; however, she left with so much more. She became new. You may actually let go of what you were doing and follow Him. Are you ready to be new?
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.