Saturday, September 04, 2010

MoominValley under the Pink Cloud of Rainbow Sprinkles and "Just Looking" Study 3 (John 4:1-30)

Chocolate Moomin amongst the Choco-shrooms under an old Pink Candy Floss Cloud raining Rainbow Sprinkles

Even this cheerful scene is far too banal to accompany the loveliness of J.S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, a work of such (probably very subjective) intricate beauty that one might weep on first listen. Yehudi Menuhin and David Oistrakh have a nice saw-through of it here, here and here.

In John 4:1-30, God does a far greater and infinitely more wondrous thing (that can be appreciated by a much wider audience).

Quick notes for study with someone brought up in a Christian family.

Intro Questions
Q: What sort of people do you think God saves?
Q: What is the proper worship of God and what is the wrong worship of God?


Read John 4:1-30.

1. What we can tell about the woman at the well?
- from her heritage

Samaritan - Jews have no dealings with Samaritans (John 4:9). Later in John 8:48, the Jews intended to insult and discredit Jesus by calling him "a Samaritan".

From 1 Kings 16:24, we know that King Omri named the new capital of the northern kingdom "Samaria". From 2 Kings 17:24 – 31, we know that the king of Assyria brought foreign people to settle in Samaria in 722 B.C.. Over time they intermarried with some Jews who remained in the area.The Samaritans, of partly Jewish and partly Gentile ancestry, were disdained by the Jews. The Samaritans had their own version of the Pentateuch, their own temple on Mount Gerizim (see John 4:20), and their own rendering of Israelite history. Tensions often ran high between Jews and Samaritans - Josephus recounts fighting between Jews and Samaritans during Claudius's reign in the first century A.D. being so intense that Roman soldiers were called in to pacify (and to crucify) many of the rebels (Jewish War 2.232–246).

Woman had somewhat suspect heritage.

- from her actions
Sixth hour refers to noon, when it would have been hot and time to rest. Normally, women would draw water in the morning or evening when it was cooler (Gen. 24:11; cf. 29:7–8). That the woman was drawing water at noon when there was one else around suggests that she was trying to avoid being seen and/or interacting with other people. Her marital status tells us why.

- from her marital status
The woman had had five husbands who had either died or divorced her. When Jesus says the one you now have is not your husband, he implies that they were merely living together immorally.

So this woman is not only of a despised race, but even other members of that race considered her despicable. Lowest of the low, scummiest of the scummy.

2. What is so surprising about Jesus' interaction with Samaritan woman
- Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Samaritans would have been considered unclean. Drinking water from this woman's water jar would have been Jesus ceremonially unclean. Horrors.

- a single man speaking to a single woman at the well (cf John 4:27)

3. What amazing gift does Jesus offer her?
...

4. What do we know about this "living water"?
- Jesus in John 7:37–39 identifies this “living water” as the Holy Spirit dwelling within a believer. He will never be thirsty again because person's deepest spiritual longing to know God personally will, amazingly, be satisfied forever (cf Ezekiel 47:1-12, 43:1-12).
- "will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" is reminiscent of Isaiah 12:3 (see also Isaiah 44:3; 55:1–3).
- eternal life and the pouring out of God's Spirit in the day of God's salvation (Isaiah 44:3, 55:1-3)

5. What did Jesus say Nicodemus needed? What is similar about the Samaritan woman's needs?

Yet, what a contrast to the very respectable Nico! Nico male, learned, powerful, respected, training, a Pharisee, member of ruling council. Night and day! (geddit?)

By placing one episode after another, John is showing that offer open to both.

6. John 4:26 - Who does Jesus say he is?
Messiah, the Christ.

7. How did Jesus demonstrate this to the Samaritan woman?
Inside goss on her deepest darkest (John 2:27).

8. So in what way is "salvation from the Jews"?
God promised salvation through Abraham's offspring. Very specific promise. And so the whole world is taught about salvation through the Old Testament, which was from the Jewish people. The Messiah himself came from the Jews and not from the Samaritans or from the Gentiles.

9. Read Ezekiel 37:15-28. On what authority is he offering the gift of God, the living water?
He is the Messiah, the Christ. The king promised by God - one king to rule them all, one king to find them; one king to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

(Joseph, as father of Ephraim (see Genesis 48:5, 8–20), here represents the northern kingdom of Israel (where Samaria was). Judah represents the southern kingdom (cf. Psalm 78:67–68).)

10. John 4:4 - Why Jesus as Messiah have to pass this way?
- geographically shortest route (see Josephus).

- “had to” translates Gk. dei, “to be necessary,” which always indicates divine necessity or requirement elsewhere in John: 3:7, 14, 30; 9:4; 10:16; 12:34; 20:9. Because he is the Messiah and his work is to unite and save his people from backsliding and cleanse them, and enable them to obey God.

11. Whom does God seek?
True worshippers, whatever their race or background, who worship in spirit and in truth.

12. What does worshipping "in spirit and in truth" mean?
Not separate characteristics.

truth:
- worship centered not in a place but in a person - Jesus, in all places and at all times
- worship not based on something they thought up ignorantly but based on what has been finally and ultimately disclosed by God through Jesus (cf first two studies on John 1 and 3 - no one has seen God...)

and so spirit: anywhere, since God is spirit

13. How would the "living water" offered by Jesus fulfil God's purposes?
Living water = Spirit -> enabled to worship in spirit and truth

Jesus is the Christ - Spirit given through him to enable true worship
Jesus is the Christ - God seeks true worship focused in him

Jesus also = God, Word of God, life, light, Son of the Father, rabbi, Son of Man.

(Q: How does unity of all God's people come about from true worship?
...
NB: it's not unity that makes community. Rather, when people were gathered and enabled by the Spirit to worship God truly, unity was a natural consequence.)

So...
Q: What sort of people is God's offer of salvation open to?

Q: If we say we have the Spirit, how can we go about truly worshipping God in spirit and truth?
- what are the implications for church life, church buildings, services?

Worship without necessary ties to particular holy places

- what are the implications for time at home, in office, at school?

Not being the dreaded "Sunday Christian" isn't merely about not being hypocritical. If we have had such a drastic thing to have happened to us as having been born again, if we have been cleansed and given living water - the Spirit to enable us to not to sin (John 3:6) and to truly worship God in spirit and in truth as God intended long ago, then why aren't we?


Just Looking Studies
Just Looking Study 1 (John 20:30-31, John 1:1-18)
Just Looking Study 2 (John 3:1-21)
Just Looking Study 3 (John 4:1-30) - from-a-Christian-family version
Just Looking Study 4 (John 5:1-29)
Just Looking Study 5 (John 11:1-57)
Just Looking Study 6 (John 18:28-19:16a)
Just Looking Study 7 (John 19:16b-42)
Just Looking Study 8 (John 20)

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1 Comments:

At September 04, 2010 7:23 am , Blogger Artsdeco said...

Wallpapers for blogger : http://artsdco.blogspot.com/

 

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