Sabbath, April 4, 2009
“Our Redeemer thirsts for recognition. He hungers for the sympathy and love of those whom He has purchased with His own blood. He longs with inexpressible desire that they should come to Him and have life. As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning of intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 191.
ASKING FOR A KINDNESS
1. Traveling from Judea to Galilee, through what region did Jesus pass? Where did He stop to rest in the warm noon hour?
John 4:1-6 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
“On the way to Galilee Jesus passed through Samaria. It was noon when He reached the beautiful Vale of Shechem. At the opening of this valley was Jacob’s well. Wearied with His journey, He sat down here to rest while His disciples went to buy food’.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 183.
2. What did Jesus request of the woman who came to Jacob’s well? Why did this appear strange to her?
John 4:7-9 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
“The Jews and the Samaritans were bitter enemies, and as far as possible avoided all dealing with each other…. A Jew would not borrow from a Samaritan, nor receive a kindness, not even a morsel of bread or a cup of water. The disciples, in buying food, were acting in harmony with the custom of their nation. But beyond this they did not go. To ask a favor of the Samaritans, or in any way seek to benefit them, did not enter into the thought of even Christ’s disciples.
“The hatred between Jews and Samaritans prevented the woman from offering a kindness to Jesus; but the Saviour was seeking to find the key to this heart, and with the tact born of divine love, He asked, not offered, a favor.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 183.
THE GIFT OF GOD
3. Like the Samaritan woman, what do we often overlook? Can our spiritual thirst be quenched at the world’s fountains?
John 4:10-12 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
“She saw before her only a thirsty traveler, wayworn and dusty…. She was looking backward to the fathers, forward to the Messiah’s coming, while the Hope of the fathers, the Messiah Himself, was beside her, and she knew Him not. How many thirsting souls are today close by the living fountain, yet looking far away for the wellsprings of life!” –The Desire of Ages, p. 184.
4. What very special gift does the Lord want to give to everyone who is thirsty for His blessings?
John 4:1-6When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
“He who seeks to quench his thirst at the fountains of this world will drink only to thirst again. Everywhere men are unsatisfied. They long for something to supply the need of the soul. Only One can meet that want. The need of the world, ‘The Desire of all nations,’ is Christ. The divine grace which He alone can impart, is as living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul.
“Jesus did not convey the idea that merely one draft of the water of life would suffice the receiver. He who tastes of the love of Christ will continually long for more; but he seeks for nothing else. The riches, honors, and pleasures of the world do not attract him. The constant cry of his heart is, More of Thee. And He who reveals to the soul its necessity is waiting to satisfy its hunger and thirst. Every human resource and dependence will fail. The cisterns will be emptied, the pools become dry; but our Redeemer is an inexhaustible fountain. We may drink, and drink again, and ever find a fresh supply. He in whom Christ dwells has within himself the fountain of blessing,–’a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ From this source he may draw strength and grace sufficient for all his needs.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 187.
WORSHIPERS WHOM GOD IS SEEKING
5. What realization struck this woman as Jesus spoke to her heart?
John 4:16-19 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
“Jesus now abruptly turned the conversation. Before this soul could receive the gift He longed to bestow, she must be brought to recognize her sin and her Saviour…. The listener trembled. A mysterious hand was turning the pages of her life history, bringing to view that which she had hoped to keep forever hidden. Who was He that could read the secrets of her life? There came to her thoughts of eternity, of the future Judgment, when all that is now hidden shall be revealed. In its light, conscience was awakened.
“She could deny nothing; but she tried to evade all mention of a subject so unwelcome. With deep reverence, she said, ‘Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet.’ Then, hoping to silence conviction, she turned to points of religious controversy. If this was a prophet, surely He could give her instruction concerning these matters that had been so long disputed.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 187, 188.
6. Does God accept us because we worship in a beautiful temple like the one in Jerusalem or the one on Mount Gerizim? Who are the true worshipers? Whom can God accept? How does this relate to each of us?
John 4:20-24 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
(see Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.).
“The Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. Here they worshiped in accordance with the Mosaic ritual, though they did not wholly renounce idolatry. But disasters attended them, their temple was destroyed by their enemies, and they seemed to be under a curse; yet they still clung to their traditions and their forms of worship.
“Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple are men brought into communion with heaven…. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 188, 189.
A GREAT REVELATION
7. Which great revelation did Jesus give this woman? Abandoning her original errand, what joyful news did she become eager to share?
John 4:25-30 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
Luke 13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
“As the past of her life had been spread out before her, she had been made sensible of her great want…. Jesus had convinced her that He read the secrets of her life; yet she felt that He was her friend, pitying and loving her…. She began to have some conviction of His character. The question arose in her mind, Might not this be the long-looked-for Messiah?
“The plain statement made by Christ to this woman could not have been made to the self-righteous Jews. Christ was far more reserved when He spoke to them. That which had been withheld from the Jews, and which the disciples were afterward enjoined to keep secret, was revealed to her. Jesus saw that she would make use of her knowledge in bringing others to share His grace.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 189, 190.
WORDS OF LIFE
“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 195.