Day 21 – Strength Training

As we begin our look at Evening Prayer, you will notice that Morning and Evening prayer share a lot of the same elements. Since we have already highlighted the shared elements in our earlier discussions, we will turn our focus to the elements that are unique to Evening Prayer. Evening Prayer begins with its own Opening Sentence of Scripture, which for us is John 4:23:

The pastor or leader will read aloud the opening sentence of Scripture

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23

This verse is recorded in an encounter that Jesus has with a Samaritan woman at a well. The encounter is significant in the way that it highlights the heart of worship.

The woman at the well, was a Samaritan, which was a group of people that had been outcast by the religious community. She was also an outcast in her own community. She came by herself to draw water from the well. In biblical lands drawing water and chatting at the well was considered the social highpoint of a woman’s day. Let’s look at a few of the verses leading up to our Opening Sentence of Scripture.

John 4:4-6
4 He needed to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Verse 4 is interesting. Jesus needed to go through Samaria. Jewish people had such a dislike for the Samaritans that they would not travel through Samaria. They would go around it. Not Jesus. He went through it. Why? He went for one more. It was His mission. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus came to seek and save what was lost. He was called to seek and save people like this woman at the well. Jesus needed to pass through Samaria because he knew that there was a divine appointment waiting. This encounter is an incredible display of His love and amazing grace.

John 4:7-10
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

If you only knew the gift of God, (living water, eternal life, grace) and that all you need to do is ask and He will give it. Jesus is telling this woman that God’s dealings with humanity are on the basis of grace. Our relationship with God is not about what we do, but on what God is willing to do for us.

Jesus, knowing all about this woman’s life and sin, says to her, all you need to do is ask and I will give you life. That is amazing love and grace. And then the conversation continues on and Jesus talks to her about worshipers.

John 4:21-24
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman at the well was well aware that she was a sinner. It is why she went alone to draw water from the well. Jesus doesn’t point a finger at her or condemn her, He talks to her about worshipers. Why? Even though she was a sinner, she needed to see herself as a person of worth and value in the Lord’s eyes. Jesus loved her, just as He loves you and me. We are all broken sinners, in desperate need of His love, grace and mercy, and that realization should be at the heart of our worship, so that we might become true worshipers!

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