DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PURITY
In John 4 Jesus is passing through the region of Samaria and stops at a well, tired and thirsty. He encounters a woman there around noontime.
Samaritans and Jews had no dealings with each other because Samaritans were half-jew, half-gentile and worshiped in their own temple with their own religious system. Samaritans were certain that what they believed was the truth, since they had their own copy of the Torah and their own temple of worship.
Their own copy of the Torah?
Their own religious belief system?
There was an issue among the Jews and Samaritans as to where the proper place of worship was to be, as Jews believed it was Jerusalem at the Temple Mount of Moriah and Samaritans believed it was Mt. Gerizim, from the time that Joshua conquered Canaan. Obviously Jesus was not accepted in the city, because of the hatred between the 2 groups, so his disciples went in to buy food while he rested at the well outside the city. Jesus, the prophet had plans of his own that day.
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) John 4:9
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”John 4:10
Let's not forget that the reason she was there at mid-day was because of her reputation. All the other women drew water early in the morning. Her status as an adulterer and loose woman was less than acceptable to other Samaritans, but that did not bother Jesus as he was at the well to give her pure and living water not the other way around.
"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 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.” John 4:13-18
Jesus the Prophet speaks truth. Watch as Jesus reveals the mixture in her life.
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
It wasn't only the Samaritans that were facing the dilemma of change, every culture was being introduced to a new and living way, and this was their cultures opportunity. Even the Jews were being faced with the change to the status quo that Jesus was introducing. No longer was his presence contained to temples in certain places but was now being made available personally to all who would believe on his name. Fullness and power was coming in the days ahead as the Holy Spirit would be poured out on ALL FLESH. The Holy Spirit is PURE LIFE, and it is his life that Jesus was introducing the woman to that day.
PURE: unmixed with any other matter; not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material; free of contaminants
Notice that the woman at the well was considered an adulterer, and yet Jesus was offering her the opportunity to experience the pure and living water of Holy Spirit. God's not looking for perfection in you, he is the perfecter, he is looking for you to be honest with yourself and with where you are spiritually.
Last week I shared with you about the purity that we as the followers of Jesus must seek to embody, as we violently oppose a cultural system whose practices and beliefs are perverse. That purity is found only in living a life surrendered to Holy Spirit. Jesus in this passage is speaking with a woman whose ancestors had mixture in their beliefs. The mixture that was in the Samaritan culture and belief system clouded their minds and hearts and kept them from seeing and experiencing truth. Are we not faced with the same dilemma in our culture?
Like the Samaritans, what do you hold as truth that has mixture in it, contaminating your thoughts and beliefs about God or your lifestyle choices?
Are you serving the God of culture or of your family line or are you adhering to the truth of the scriptures which reveal the truth of who God is- without mixture.
What's holding you back from living a pure life by Holy Spirit? Do you fear it will require changes you're not ready to accept?
These are honest questions you must ask yourself. Culture has a way of getting into us without us even knowing it and even growing up in your family of origin could have you thinking a way about God that is possibly not the truth found in scripture. Samaritans thought they were right with God, but they had mixture in their lives that needed pointing out. Jesus told her -you serve a God you do not know. This is exactly why God told the children of Israel over and over not to mix with unbelieving cultures or marry (covenant) with people of unlike faith because of the mixture it would bring to them. We must adhere to this same wisdom, so we aren't deceived either.
Who are you in relationship with that is clouding your judgments, search this out with Holy Spirit and with those you trust in the faith?
What are you refusing to see because you want to be in relationship with someone?
Did Jesus not say that true family was those who did the will of his Father in Heaven?
Or are you unwilling to admit that the mixture in your life is of your own choosing?
Where do you fall in these questions today? Jesus was at the well that day giving her the option to drink eternal life and he is by Holy Spirit doing the same to each of us today. Sometimes it is when someone points things out to us, that we now are faced with the choice to experience real change. Why do we fear change, when the it is the truth that makes us free?
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-32
Prophet Jesus pointed out her mixture to her-who is pointing out yours? Legitimate children of God have a place at the family table as they submit in son-ship. One of the roles of prophets is to help us get positioned in truth, as true heirs of righteousness. Jesus the Prophet did that with the woman at the well. Yes Jesus loved her, but didn't leave her in the same condition of mixture and sin that he found her in. He gave her an opportunity to sit at the table by drinking pure and living water. As he spoke, his words cleaned her up. And those same words cleaned the rest of those who came out to hear his pure message.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:39
It wasn't the fact that he pointed out her sin, it was the fact that he cleansed her as she received the truth about her spiritual condition. Jesus never shames us but does tell us what is impure so we can receive his power to change. Jesus brought light, truth and purity to a region and culture that was plagued with spiritual impurities. Don't push away the people God sends to point out the mixture in your life. When pure vessels of God speak to us, the words they speak by Holy Spirit cleanses us, bringing light to once darkened places.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:1-2
In this time when God is reforming the way we see family, allow God to prune back everything that needs pruning in your life. This pruning will involve different things to each of us, but we must allow him to remove everything that has brought mixture to us. We must make sure that our beliefs of Jesus are from our own pure, personal well encounters and not from our family lines or even from those we attend church with. We can't know Jesus because grandma had an encounter with him or just because we hear the pastor talk about him Sunday after Sunday. We must know him, purely for ourselves.
You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:22-23 Message