S (Scripture): John 4:19 The [Samaritan] woman said to [Jesus], “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you people say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You people worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But a time is coming – and now is here – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ); “whenever he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”
O (Observation): One can focus on many parts of the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at a well. Today, what grabs my attention – my kairos – is the focus on the locus of worship.
The Samaritan Woman is confused by Jesus’ presence at this particular well. She says that the Jews are to worship in Jerusalem, yet Jesus is saying that one can worship outside of Jerusalem. Jesus says the locus is not a “WHERE,” but a “WHO.” And that “who” is God the Father, who we worship in spirit and truth, for God is greater than just one earthly location.
A (Application): We can get caught up in our places of worship…our church buildings. In fact, our congregation is paying off a small building loan which we used to make some major repairs. And we are gathering funds for future building needs. 10%of what we gather will go to the ELCA Disaster Response program, too. We are doing our best to be good stewards of this physical space to gather people to worship, learn, and serve others. But we can cling too closely sometimes, too.
When someone grows up in one place and doesn’t see the world (or even other regions in the same country) one can become biased towards a certain set of beliefs or traditions. Those beliefs and traditions, when challenged, are hard to let go of. We feel like we lose something of ourselves if we don’t hold on to those original beliefs and traditions. And in a way, our identity is changed (which isn’t ALL bad).
The Samaritan woman had cause to be concerned and challenged by Jesus. We have cause to be concerned when something spoken challenges us…but that’s not always a bad thing.
From the letting go of some of our baggage comes new life. Transformation is something that opens us up to seeing God anew. In fact, our long-held beliefs could be holding us back from seeing what God is up to in our lives this very day.
We worship God in many ways and we let God challenge our beliefs to open us up.
What is the latest challenge for you? What are you letting go of? What have you let go of lately?
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to see anew. Amen.