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The Lord Knows Everything

John 4:16-19
He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. (NIVUK)

Jesus was talking alone with a Samaritan woman, in the middle of the day when the tradition was to shelter indoors from the heat, by a well (John 4:4-6).  This woman had come to collect water.  Perhaps the absence of other people was socially easier as her personal life was considered scandalous in those days.  Jesus had asked her to draw water for Him out of the well, but then the conversation moved to Him offering her water that would give her eternal life.  The woman really had no idea what He was talking about, except that the prospect of not having the daily chore of collecting water seemed good to her (John 4:7-15).

Then, Jesus seemed to abruptly switch the conversation as He focussed on her private life.  By asking her to call her husband (a proper way of relating in those days), Jesus precipitated an exposé of her marital relationships.  When she said that she had no husband, Jesus proceeded to tell her the details of her marriage and divorce history; and that she was currently living with a man who was not her husband.  For a stranger to know so much about her was clearly a surprise to her, and she was forced to accept that Jesus knew what only God could know (John 4:28-30).

As she started to wonder about who Jesus was, she correctly assumed that the man she was speaking with must know the mind of God.  But surprisingly, He did not reprove her for her lifestyle.  However, His penetrating assessment of her life, which could never have been known by a stranger, cut deep down into her heart.  The man who was speaking to her knew everything about her, but she did not know who He was.  This awareness troubled her greatly and later she said to people in her town “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah (Christ)?” (John 4:29).

Although we like to style the way we present ourselves to people, in order that they may think well of us, the uncomfortable fact is that God knows absolutely everything.  But that only remains uncomfortable if we want to continue pretending and do not want Him to love us and change us.  Whenever people read the Bible with an open heart, God will not only reveal something of Himself to them, but also show them what they are like (James 1:22-25).  It is all part of the process of conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11).  When people become aware that God knows more than they want Him to know - they may be defensive or even struggle internally to push Him away.  However, they are always left with the awareness that God continues to know and until we ask Him to deal with it, the issue remains outstanding.  It is foolish to rationalise such thoughts and dismiss them.  God is speaking in order to do business with you and your friends.

All-knowing God. I am very glad that You do know everything, even the worst about me - because I know that You can and do forgive those who repent of their sins, and You comfort those who are filled with shame. I am sorry for resisting Your knowledge of me and for humanly comforting my friends who are under conviction of sin. Please help me to trust in Your mercy and grace. May I allow Your all-seeing eye to identify whatever needs to be dealt with, in order that I may enjoy a transparent relationship with You, and encourage my friends to do the same. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams