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Jesus knew she was not ready for the gift He offered ~ first, she needed to understand her need and recognize her Savior ~ He said, “go get your husband and come back here” John 4:16

she quickly answered, “I have no husband,” hoping Jesus would not ask any more questions ~ Jesus went on ~ “you are right to say you have no husband ~ really you have had five husbands, and the man you live with now is not your husband ~ you told the truth John 4:17, 18

the woman must have stepped back as she trembled ~ how could this stranger know all the dark secrets of her life?  would He condemn her next?  her mind flashed back to scenes where others had judged her and to the future when God would judge her ~ she did not deny the truth ~ but she did try to change the subject ~ with real respect, she said, “Sir, you must be a prophet” then she tried to steer Him into a religious argument ~ “our ancestors worshipped here on this mountain ~ but you Jews say that all people must worship in Jerusalem” 

patiently, Jesus listened ~ He knew the history of her question ~ Samaria had once been a part of Israel, but because the people there refused to follow God’s way, the country had been overrun by another nation ~ over many generations, those Jews mingled with the people of that heathen nation and picked up some of their religious’ custom of worshipping idols ~

when the Jews rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem in the days of Ezra, the Samaritans wanted to help ~ the Jews refused to accept them or their help ~ this was when the hatred between the two nations began ~ the Samaritans eventually built their own temple on Mount Gerizim ~ there they followed the same rituals and sacrifices as those in Jerusalem ~ although they did not completely abandon idol worship ~

the Samaritans seemed to be cursed ~ their country suffered one disaster after another ~ as enemy nation invaded and destroyed their temple ~ still, the people held on to their traditions and their worship rituals ~ they refused to believe that the Jewish temple was the house of God or that the Jewish religion was better than theirs ~ Jesus said, “believe me, woman ~ the time is coming when neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain will you actually worship the Father ~ you Samaritans worship something you do not understand ~ we understand what we worship, because salvation comes from the Jews” John 4:21, 22

He had shown He had no hate for the Samaritans ~ now Jesus wanted her to give up her hatred of the Jews ~ she had to recognize that the Jews had the Holy Scriptures that held the truth about God and the promise of a coming Saviour ~ He wanted to raise her thinking past the arguments of where and how worship should be conducted ~ Jesus said, “the time is coming when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and that time is here already” John 4:23 

people do not reach heaven by searching for a holy mountain or a sacred temple in which to worship ~ to serve God, we must be reborn by the Holy Spirit ~ true worship means joyfully obeying His laws because the Holy Spirit has changed us ~ whenever people reach out to God, the Holy Spirit works to show them God’s love ~

the woman was impressed with Jesus ~ no one had ever said such things to her ~ remembering the sins of her past had made her aware again of how much was missing from her life ~ this conversation had made her realize that she had a desperate need for God’s love in her life ~ even though Jesus knew the dark secrets of her life, she could still feel His friendship, His love for her ~ His purity condemned her sins, but He did not condemn her ~ an amazing thought came to her mind ~ could this Person be the Promised One, the Messiah? “I know the Messiah is coming,” she said ~ “and when He is here, He will explain everything to us”

Jesus said, “I am He ~ I, the One talking to you” John 4:26 

as she heard the words, the hope  in her heart turned to faith, she never doubted Him ~ the Holy Spirit had been working with her and now she was ready to learn and understand more about Scripture, about God’s love, His mission as the Messiah ~ Jesus’ living water flooded her heart ~

the plain, outright claim Jesus made to the woman could not have been said to the arrogant Jews ~ He had to be much more careful when He spoke to them ~ because of her faith, Jesus could tell her much more than the Jews were ready to accept ~ He knew she would use everything He said to explain to others about the Messiah ~ about His love for the entire human race ~ 


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