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The Centre of True Worship

John 4:20-26

The Samaritan woman was highly articulate and spiritually aware.  Despite her complicated personal circumstances (John 4:17-18), she wanted to understand how to worship the Lord.  She was confused by the different religious interpretations of the Samaritans and the Jews.  However, because Jesus knew all about her, she believed that He could help her.  She started by asking where God wanted people to worship Him.  Jesus responded that the location was neither Mount Gerizim in Samaria (where the blessings of the covenant were recited in Joshua’s day (Deuteronomy 11:29; Joshua 8:33)) nor Mount

Questions with Difficult Answers

John 4:27-30

Sometimes we do not ask a question because we fear getting an answer we cannot handle.  The disciples were confused enough that their Master had demanded that they walk through religiously tarnished Samaria (John 4:4), and then that they had no option other than to buy food at the local 'unclean' market (John 4:8).  So, when they returned and found Jesus alone with a Samaritan woman, they could not think of any good reason why He was talking with her.  They were out of their depth and kept their questions to themselves.

A Spiritual Appetite

John 4:31-34

The disciples returned from their shopping trip in Sychar (John 4:8), with food for all of them.  But the response of Jesus took them by surprise, when He said that He already had food to eat.  Had Jesus really got His own food?   And if so, how?  But Jesus was talking about a different sort of food to satisfy a different hunger.

Harvest Time

John 4:35-38

It is very important to do the right thing, but it is vital to do it at the right time.  The time to harvest crops is perhaps the biggest decision a farmer will make.  Too early, and the produce will not be mature, and the yield will be reduced.  Too late, and it may rot or be taken by animals and birds.  Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that His arrival on earth marked the beginning of God's spiritual harvest.  However, they had no sense of urgency, assuming it was enough to teach and do miracles.  But Jesus wanted to teach them that their future role for Him was to reap souls for

From Hearing to Faith

John 4:39-42

The woman at the well was convinced about Jesus, because He revealed all her past secrets (John 4:16-19).  She knew that she was known through and through - by a man who should have had no knowledge of her life (Psalm 139:1-4).  Such awareness is usually frightening to a woman whose vulnerability had been exposed.  But she had such an excited peace in her heart because it was obvious that the stranger cared about her, respected her and wanted God’s best for her (Jeremiah 29:11-12).

From Disgrace to Dishonour

John 4:43-45

Religiously, for a rabbi to choose to spend two days in Samaria was a disgrace.  Allowing Samaritans to entertain a Jew was like eating pork: making Jesus and His disciples ceremonially unclean.  Such a person should be ashamed of himself.  But Jesus was not seeking praise from people.  He was not on an ego-led publicity tour.  He simply wanted the disciples to see that as people believed in Him, as the Saviour of the world, they were changed ... no matter their gender, race or religious background (John 4:42).

Moving in Faith

John 4:46-50

This royal official came to Jesus because nobody else could solve his problem.  Despite his money and influence, his sick son was close to death.  In desperation, the man travelled over twenty miles from Capernaum to Cana hoping that Jesus could save his boy.  It was not a private consultation because the arrival of this dignitary caused quite a stir in the little village, and they all turned out to see and hear what would happen.

Faith Confirmed

John 4:51-54

The interval between praying and receiving God's answer provides an important test of our relationship with Him.  The royal official, whose son was dying, travelled a long way to ask Jesus for help.  Although his son was still over twenty miles away, the man believed the words of Jesus, "‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live’" (John 4:50).  His obedience, in leaving Cana and returning to Capernaum before he saw the miracle, was the evidence of his faith.

The Desire To Be Made Whole

John 5:1-6

This episode in Jesus' ministry took place in Jerusalem.  The pool of Bethesda (its name meant ’House of Provision’) was originally a watering place for sheep outside the city walls, but had been built up to become a sanatorium or hospice where many chronically ill people were brought.  They had shelter from the hot sunny days and cold nights in the alcoves between the supporting columns, and many would have family who visited to provide personal care.  

No-one to Help

John 5:7-9a

He had been unwell for thirty-eight years, unable to walk and with no-one to help (John 5:1-5).  Like many of the disabled people lying around the pool of Bethesda, he thought that if he was the first to get into the water when the underground spring bubbled up, he might be healed.  But someone always got into the water before him. His only hope was the supposed ‘curative power’ of the water, but he could never see himself being healed.