Day 9 (March 5), John 4:16-38

John 4:16-38 

Context:  As Jesus presses in on his conversation with the Samaritan woman he peels off a couple of layers of her personal defenses to the gospel.  The woman asks Jesus to ‘give her the living water so she would be never be thirsty again.’ Rather than presenting the gospel directly, He asks her to call her husband and join them there.  She replies she has no husband and then Jesus exposes a pattern of sexual immorality in her life (you have had 5 husbands and the man you are with now is not your husband).  She identifies Jesus as a ‘prophet’ but then changes the subject altogether by focusing on the differences of Temple worship (and location) between the Jews (Jerusalem) and the Samaritans (Mount Gerazim).  Eventually Jesus points her to and identifies himself as the Messiah!!  She is so moved she returns to the town and says to everyone, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.  Can this be the Christ?’

Observations:  Can you identify the woman’s defenses to true spirituality?  One was her own and very personal moral choices, the other was the veneer of what constituted true, religious practice.   Have you encountered both kinds of excuses?  Have you made both yourself as a way of keeping God at a distance in your life?  Why do you think she went into her town and told everyone to ‘Come and see’ Jesus?  What do you think of the disciples response to Jesus when they return from getting food?  How might that convict us?  Do you feel/sense the ‘fields are ripe for harvest’ in a spiritual sense?

Application:  Do some soul searching.  If God reveals a way in which you have been rationalizing your moral choices turn from that and ask Him for the power to do what’s right!  If He reveals a way you’ve practiced religious traditions or spiritual activities without truly connecting to Him personally then ask Him to remove that layer, too!  What can you learn from Jesus’ conversation with this woman?  How could you incorporate that into everyday discussions with people you meet through the workplace, errands, clubs, sports and activities or through the neighborhood and community?

Prayer:  Pray for the grace, wisdom and truth required to engage people throughout the week in a Christ-like manner.  Pray that Evergreen continues to reach people for Christ through many different means:  personal interactions, serving and meeting needs unconditionally, invitations to Lent services, our blog (which you are reading now!), Facebook, our website, word-of-mouth, and more! Pray that we see those lives touched, changed, transformed!

Day 5 (March 1), John 2:13-25

Day 5– Sunday, March 1

John 2:13-25 

Context:  After a poignant first week of public ministry, including his baptism by John, calling of some of his disciples and the miracle at the wedding in Cana, Jesus travels to Jerusalem for the first cleansing of the Temple there (his second would occur just after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the close of his public ministry).  This was likely his first visit to the Temple since his arrival that at age twelve with his parents, where he confounded the scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law with his understanding and wisdom about God’s ways.  Then he declared ‘I must be about my father’s business’ and now, 18 years later, he continues his ‘father’s business’ by cleansing the temple of it’s greed, extortion and idolatry and turning it from a den of robbers into a house of prayer.  The Jews asked for a sign of his authority and he shrewdly referenced his future resurrection on the third day.

Observations:  Why did Jesus choose to ‘cleanse the temple’ both at the beginning and the end of his public ministry?  What images would have been building in him throughout those 18 years?  What does this scene tell you about Jesus’ physical stamina and spiritual zeal?  Why did he give the sign that he did and not answer their questions directly? 

Application:  What needs to be ‘cleansed’ in your own life?  How can you emulate Jesus’ shrewdness in the way he talked and navigated with others?  What ‘sign’ has God given you in the midst that has laid dormant and needs to be made alive now?

Prayer:  Ask God for the kind of Spirit-led zeal that He wants you to truly embrace and own … and be willing for Him to change you in the process.   Pray that as people connected to Evergreen encounter Jesus they will have stories to tell!

Posted by Dave Blum with