SAMARIA UNDER SPIRITUAL SEIGE
A SPIRITUAL MISSION IN PROGRESS
SUNDAY NOV. 4, 2018
Scripture To Consider:
“Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’ For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.’ Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?’”
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’”
Something To Consider:
The news of Jesus baptizing more disciples than John reached the itching ears of the religious leaders, though Jesus did not baptize, but His disciples did. Many times, news is not always accurate. To these Pharisees, greater numbers of people being baptized spelled spiritual success, from their earthly religious perspective. Therefore, in the midst of apparent success, Jesus chose to depart from the wasteland of Judea and go toward the area of Galilee. And yet, He needed to go through Samaria.
In keeping with Jewish tradition, it would have been unheard of for a Jewish teacher to go through Samaria due to religious animosity between Jews and Samaritans. These two people groups were much like oil and water, when placed together there would generally be an immediate separation process, a repelling reaction. But Jesus is on a mission as today’s title declares. He is about His Father’s business. Therefore, He needed to go through Samaria!
The name Samaria means watch-tower. Samaria was once the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The capture of Samaria in approx. 722 B.C., after a siege by the Babylonian army which lasted three years, signified the end of the Northern Kingdom. It was somewhat ironic that Samaria was once again under siege. This time not by a Babylonian king bent on destruction and dictatorship, but a spiritual siege by the King of kings, who was above all and had been given all authority and power to siege the Samaritan hearts and minds by love, not by force.
Something Else To Consider:
After the return from Babylonian captivity there was much bitterness and resentment between Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans had become a mixed race of people who rejected the traditions and man-made religious rules of the Pharisees, a religious ruling group in Israel. It is ironic that centuries later, many believers remain divided over religious rules and the traditions of men. To many, Samaria had become a wasteland.
And yet in the mind and heart of Jesus, Samaria was capable of once again becoming a spiritual watch-tower. The same is true today of those who have become a spiritual wasteland due to unconfessed sin or years of practiced iniquity in their lives. Jesus had not given up on Samaria and will never give up on anyone, not while there still remains the slightest sign of warmth within a heart that has become frozen around the fringes. Spiritual siege is Jesus’ business.
Spiritual siege is what America and all nations are in need of but too greedy and much too proud to admit it. And that is why Jesus prefers to work behind the scenes of individuals by way of His Holy Spirit and the listening to and reading of the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This is God’s method of bringing about true spiritual victory in the lives of those under spiritual siege by none other than Jesus Christ.
Something More To Consider:
The spiritual siege on Samaria was in full swing. There was hope even though the hatred between Jewish people and the Samaritans was so great that they would hardly speak to one another. When Jews went from Galilee to Jerusalem or Jerusalem to Galilee, they would travel many miles out of their way along the mountains and the Jordan River, rather than go straight through Samaria. But Jesus had spiritual seeds for a future harvest to be sown in Samaria, the one-time spiritual watch-tower of the area.
Jesus made mention of the gift of God in response to the woman at the well’s question concerning Jesus, a Jew, speaking to a Samaritan woman. John has already declared that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, as a gift to humankind, in order that whoever believed in Him might freely drink from the fountain of everlasting life. That is God’s promise. Jesus was speaking directly to that thought when He said to the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
Paul wrote in Romans 6.23, regarding the gift of God, when he declared; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Thank God for His offering us such a glorious gift of eternal life when we so much deserve eternal punishment. Notice Paul as he declared this eternal gift of life is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Notice he did not say in Christ Jesus our Savior. Many wrongly believe that Jesus can be their Savior without being their Lord. Why is that? It is because the truth has been traded for a lie. It is easier to think of Jesus as our Savior than it is to think of Him as our Lord. If He is our Lord then we are obligated to do what our Lord has commanded us to do, if He is truly our Lord. The truth is that Jesus cannot be our Savior if He is not first and foremost our Lord! Again, we should say thank God for His glorious gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
A Few Final Words:
Jesus offered the Samaritan woman living water, a fountain of everlasting life. Jesus continues to offer everlasting life to anyone who will drink from the living water of His Word. The writer of Hebrews reminds us all, that the Word of God is living and that it is powerful. Therefore, Jesus sowed living seeds for the future salvation of the Samaritans.
Philip, an evangelist in Acts chapter 8, returned to Samaria several years later and reaped a tremendous harvest of souls while preaching Christ there. Jesus sowed the seeds of the gospel, and Philip reaped the harvest! Jesus is still sowing seeds for future salvation of future generations. Is His present-day spiritual siege upon us, in full swing? Have we proclaimed Jesus as Lord of our lives or are we still deceiving ourselves thinking Jesus can be our Savior without first becoming our Lord?
If that is our thinking, then we may just hear Jesus declare, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” The enemy has sown seeds of deception among the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The enemy has force-fed his lies in every generation since God first offered His Son Jesus as a gift upon an old rugged cross just outside the city of Jerusalem. God the Father is still offering everyone in every generation that glorious gift of His Son and eternal life to all who believes, present tense believe, and are willing to endure to the end still believing in Jesus His Son in whom God the Father has always been well pleased with.
Jesus needed to go through Samaria as if behind enemy lines. Are we willing to do no less? Spiritual leaders in training are often required to go live as though they too are living behind enemy lines. Faithful spiritual leaders are like good shepherds who are always in search of clear, clean drinking water for their sheep; while the Word of God is still the best source of uncontaminated, life-giving, living water.
Our Father in heaven, give us the living water of Your Word. Sow the seeds of salvation deep in our hearts and minds for Your glory. In Him Always, Amen!