Prepare to Listen. Before reading, be still then pray: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Prayerfully Read John 4:19-26
19The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ 21Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ 25The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ 26Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’
I’ve often heard preachers claim that the woman engaged in an argument about worship with Jesus to avoid facing the truth about herself (Jesus had let her know he knew her background, see vv 16-18). But, and more likely, this was the first time a man was willing to teach her the faith and answer her questions. She was hungry to learn and learn she did. This unnamed Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, who’d mocked his claim to give her living water, who’d stayed to argue and learn from Jesus was the first to hear Jesus confess, ‘I am he [meaning Messiah], the one who is speaking to you.’ Not even his disciples had heard him make this confession. I wonder what she thought about his claim? Jesus was a most unlikely Messiah, not at all what she’d been taught to expect. But then, Jesus is an unlikely Messiah. We, after 2000 years of history and Bible teaching, still struggle to identify Jesus and thus mistakenly put our trust in men and women who are false messiahs, thinking they’re God’s Chosen One. The Samaritan woman discovered the true Jesus because she persisted in his presence, listening to him and engaging him in conversation.
To hear and see Jesus truly we too need to spend time alone in his presence, speaking honestly to him and listening to his replies. Consider where and when you can take time out to do this during Lent. And certainly this coronavirus has forced many of us into such places.
Respond to Jesus
Lord, may I too hear you say, ‘I am he,’ and live with that assurance today. As our world struggles with this pandemic, may we who believe in you rest in the sureness of who you are and your power to heal and save. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world knowing Jesus alone is your Redeemer and God’s Messiah.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.