Today's verses are John 4:19-21: "The woman said to him, 'Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.' Jesus said to her 'Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.'" My child, so many in this world are like this Samaritan woman. When they begin to consider the most important question of the universe, who I am, they try to examine options I don't offer. They call me a good teacher. Or they say I'm a fine, humble, moral man with outstanding leadership qualities. Or, like the woman here, they say I'm a mere prophet.
I am all these qualities. But I am more. I am God in human flesh, the Christ, the anointed one of God, who came to this earth to die for the forgiveness of people's sins. This is my true identity. You can't understand me apart from who I am. Once you know who I am, then you can begin to know who you are, my child, my beloved friend, for whom I died to bring into a new relationship with the Father.
Then the woman changed the subject. Like so many today, she didn't want to explore further my identity. She knew this discovery would force her life to change. So she started to talk about worship. She wanted to know the correct place where people could worship my Father.
The Samaritans worshiped on Mount Gerazim, the mount of blessing in the Old Testament, the place where blessing were pronounced upon the Jews for keeping my covenant (Deuteronomy 27:4--instead of Mount Ebal, the place where curses were pronounced if disobedience to my covenant occurred). The Samaritans also built a temple on top of Mount Gerazim where they worshiped. They could not worship my Father in Jerusalem. They were half-breeds. Jews felt them unworthy to worship my Father. So they had their own distinct place of worship.
I told her that an hour will be coming when worship won't be relegated to a place, either in Jerusalem, or on Mount Gerazim, or any other place in the universe! I told her a day is coming when my Holy Spirit will invade forgiven human hearts all over the world. You will be able to worship me anywhere, any time, any place. You will be able to worship my Father alone in prison cells, or in their workplace, or driving in their cars or alone washing dishes. You'll be able to worship me while changing diapers, making a huge business deal or shooting a free throw. My children will become a new community of my Father in heaven. Their relationship with him, through me, will be so profound, so close, so intimate that worship will happen throughout all their days. Your bodies will be the newly constructed temples, built by my Father in heaven, the place where my Holy Spirit dwells! (I Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:19-22).
My child, do you know who I am? Does my very life, my Holy Spirit, dwell within you? Do you know my daily, abiding, forgiving, gracious, merciful presence within you?
If so, consider me now. Be still and know that I am God! Think upon what I've done for you. Experience my powerful love for you. Sing songs of praise to me. Cast your every need upon me in prayer. Exalt my name, wherever you are! Worship me every second of this day, with all your heart, soul, mind and might. Know that I am your God. I am with you. I'll never leave or forsake you.
You can trust me today.