Feb 14, 2009

Christ's conversation with the woman of Samaria - contd

Joh_4:16-24 

When the Lord said, "Go call your husband and come here," the woman may have thought that he knew nothing about her circumstances; but his next words showed that he was acquainted with her whole history. Why then did he desire her to call her husband? He wished to bring her sins to her remembrance. It is probable that she had been divorced from these husbands, or had left them in a wicked manner. It was painful to her to be reminded of the sins of past years, and to be detected in pursuing even at that time an immoral course. But why did Jesus inflict this pain and this shame? That he might afterwards confer on this unhappy sinful woman everlasting glory and felicity. Let us not turn away from the remembrance of our sins. Everyone must be brought low before he can be lifted up. We naturally shrink from being exposed even to ourselves; this is our folly and our sin. 

The Samaritan woman (though now convinced that the stranger was a true prophet) did not like to dwell upon the circumstances of her history. She attempted to turn the conversation, and instead of inquiring how she might obtain forgiveness, referred to the chief points in dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews said that Jerusalem was the place where men ought to worship God, and the Samaritans professed to worship him on a mountain in Samaria. Now Jerusalem was the place where God had commanded men to offer sacrifices; but he permitted them to pray to him everywhere. The Samaritans had done very wrong in building a temple on Mount Gerizim; their excuse was, that the Israelites in ancient times had pronounced blessings from this mountain, (as recorded in Deut. 26.) It was to this the woman referred when she said, "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain." 

The Samaritans boasted of being descended from the Israelites, though they were chiefly of Assyrian origin. For when the king of Assyria took captive the last king of Israel and his people, he filled the land with Assyrians. At first these Assyrians worshiped idols, but afterwards they left off idolatry. Yet though they did not worship idols, they did not worship God. 

Jesus said to the woman, "You worship you know not what." There are many in Christian countries who, like these Samaritans, do not worship the true God, though they think they do. God is a spirit. Do those believe that He is a spirit, who while they feel no love, nor reverence for his name, yet bend the knee and move the lip in mere external worship? If we knew that an earthly sovereign could see into our hearts, and if we felt no love, no reverence for him, would we not be afraid of entering into his presence? Until we love God, we cannot worship him. What then is a sinner to do who is conscious that he does not love God? Let him confess his sins; let him ask for a new heart; let him think of God's love in giving his Son to die for a guilty world. 

Though God is surrounded by millions of angels who worship him in spirit and in truth, yet He seeks for other worshipers. He is so condescending, that he delights in the praises of penitent sinners—He even seeks such to worship him. Perhaps last night or this morning He saw you worshiping him alone in your chamber; perhaps your voice was heard by no human creature, but your heart was full of sorrow for past sins, and of gratitude to God for having spared you so long. The Father of your spirit heard that prayer. He will answer it.