No one enjoys having no place to sit in the cafeteria at lunchtime.
Getting picked last for a team in public can be painful and awkward.
There are few things worse than being excluded.
Yet exclusion was exactly what the woman in this story was experiencing. Did you notice that the author of the narrative goes out of his way to mention that she was getting water from the well at noon?
Why tell us the time of day?
Well, most women in the village would draw water in the early morning during the coolest part of the day, but this woman was at the well by herself in the heat of the midday sun.
The Gospel writer is giving us a snapshot of her profound isolation.
She was hurting and alone, but she was also thirsty. She was thirsty, not just for water, but also for truth. She was longing for life that is truly life.
Although Jewish men (like Jesus) did not normally associate with Samaritan women (vs. 9), Jesus engaged this lonely woman in conversation and revealed to her His true identity.
More than that, He told her how to find satisfaction for her thirsty soul. He is saying, I am the water that can totally satisfy you.
In the middle of their conversation, Jesus declares that God is seeking people who “worship in the Spirit and in truth” (vs. 24).
More important than the well and the water is this woman’s worship.
And whether we are religious or not, everyone is a worshiper. Worship is giving worth to someone or something, and devoting oneself to it with our time, energy and resources.
In our culture we worship actors, pop-stars and fashion icons. We worship grades, girlfriends, boyfriends, and the approval of people.
We cannot help ourselves. Like a shark is designed for the sea, so human beings are made to worship.
If we worship money, we become greedy. If we worship people, we become needy.
If we worship grades, we will find self-worth in our academic performance. A poor grade will not just label our work; it will define our very worth.
If we worship the approval of people, we become enslaved by their opinions, and their views will form a straightjacket for our soul.
Thankfully, Jesus came to set all of us free!
Jesus invites us to worship in spirit and in truth. To worship in the spirit involves our emotions, stirred up and directed by God’s Holy Spirit. To worship in truth is to worship God as He truly is and refuse to settle for substitutes that do not satisfy.
Worship is not an event we attend. It is a lifestyle that involves honouring God with our time, energy, relationships and resources.
We were made to worship. When we worship God in spirit and truth, not only do we become more like God, we get a taste of life that is truly life.
What are some of the false ‘gods’ you are tempted to worship in your life?
Think about the kindness of Jesus in extending friendship to a woman that no one else wanted to spend time with. Is there anyone God has placed in your life, who may feel lonely and isolated, that you could extend friendship towards?