16. Sit down and talk to Me…

My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes. [Psalm 119:48]

We are always in awe when we hear the voice of God through His word. Faith becomes a listening experience above all others and a new mind, the mind of Christ Himself takes shape in our inner being. 1 Corinthians 2:16:

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

All through life we are instructed towards better communication. Some people are very talented with words and feel free to share feelings, opinions and thoughts, even their doubts and failures. Others are quieter, more hesitant to reveal their thoughts and struggles to communicate effectively, sometimes causing misunderstanding and confusion. Relationships stand and fall on communication and effective contact in every possible relationship, professional and personal could be a key to successful living.

God established His relationship with us in the Garden of Eden with daily communication. He visited Adam and Eve daily and from that time on we know He searches for us with His voice, even in the fogginess and shame of sin. His love, grace, faithfulness and forgiveness are communicated though His word. Even today we are encouraged and lifted up by the promises that reveal HIs character and His unfailing reach towards us even in the muddiness of our sin or the difficulty in our life when we are preoccupied with everything else but God.

Very often it is the difficult corner in which we find ourselves that enables that special dependence to become sensitive enough to truly “hear”. There in your corner of the fighting ring, bloodied and dazed with worry and setbacks, it is your loving Brother who attends to your wounds and talks you back into the fight, not with weak and false encouragement, but with supernatural equipment, peace that surpasses all understanding and on top of everything life-joy and a grateful heart. Philippians 4: 6,7 [Amplified]:

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Remember: the power of the Kingdom of Heaven, the whole unseen world, it at your disposal when you pray.

Selah = pause and calmly think about it.

Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria the following:

John 4:23,24

But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth

Jesus and his disciples are on foot walking through Samaria, something no right-thinking Jew would ever have done. The Samarians were ancient enemies, deeply hated. From the Sea of Galilee it was three days on foot to Jerusalem, which is walking around Samaria – seriously! If they happen to find themselves in Samaria any Jew of the time of Jesus would not ask food or talk to anybody in Samaria.

The Samarians were the remnant of the weak and feeble people that were left behind when Babylon conquered Judah and took all the best people into exile. They stayed behind and in time mixed with other indigenous races, thus defiling themselves by marriage. When Nehemiah returned after the 70 years and started rebuilding the wall, the Samarians asked to help, but were promptly insulted by Nehemiah and sent away, declared not worthy to touch the reconstruction. Such animosity resulted that the Samarians established their own place of worship and backslid into many pagan rituals. The prophet Amos was specifically called to minister to Samaria, to call them back to true worship and bring them into the fold of God’s people. They repeatedly rejected his message, lashed him and threw him out of the city. He went back to his farm of sycamore trees to recuperate just return to Samaria with the message of repentance.

In the time of Jesus this hostility is still sharp. On this occasion He chooses to walk through Samaria and even takes a break in the journey for food. He sends his disciples into the village to get food. They must have thought Him out of His mind. One should plan for such a journey and if you walk through Samaria, not rest for food, but most certainly pack your own. Jesus is doing something radical and revolutionary. He is teaching them to reach “down” to the people they are wired to despise. Maybe His influence in their lives was already so strong that their prejudices were crumbling and they went willingly – the story is not specific.

While the disciples are away, Jesus takes a breather at a very well known spot – the well of Jacob. Jacob bought a piece of land [Genesis 33] and sunk a well. It was not a bubbling fountain. Getting water from this well was tedious and time-consuming. The bucket had to lie at the sandy bottom so that the water slowly flows in. One could not draw water without a bucket and every traveler had to carry an animal skin shaped into a bucket, tied to a rope for water along the way.

The woman coming to the well that day was alone. This could mean a few things. Usually women used the time getting water for precious chat time in the harsh daily routine of chores. This woman was clearly rejected by the community. In the conversation with Jesus, she acknowledges several marriages and a current co-habitation relationship, something the legalism of the time did not allow.

Jesus, on the other hand, breaks quite a few of the general community rules and regulations. He talks to a woman. Jews and most other near-Eastern nations looked down on a woman’s place in community. A woman had no social standing and existed solely for the things that created the environment for a man to find his standing and vocation. A man never talked to a woman in public, not even his own wife or daughter. The Pharisees, in their almost ridiculous piousness, kept their eyes so averted from women that they walked into pillars and walls and were called the bleeding Pharisees.

Jesus does not address her just with a few niceties. He strikes up a deep theological conversation with her and chooses this rejected woman to reveal Himself as the Messiah. By doing that He confirms that He has come also for the Samarians. He is drastically different. He is a Jewish man reaching out to an enemy-woman. One had to go far to be more defiant of community opinion of the day. He consciously elevates women in general to their rightful place in society equal to men in conversation and in bringing the message of the Gospel.

Jesus follows His usual pattern of conversation. He makes a statement and waits for the comment, which shows that His statement is wrongly interpreted and should be spiritually interpreted. He asks for water and immediately places her in the struggle of the day. How can a Jewish man talk to a woman, a Samarian, no less? He declares who He is and talks about living water. The same word for living water was used for running water and she knows there is no running water in that well. She also sees that he has no container. She dares to offend Him with her mention of “our” father Jacob to emphasize the common roots of Jews and Samarians.

He goes on to talk about spiritual water that will be the ultimate solution to all thirst. She turns the whole conversation around when she asks for this wonder that He is offering. He reveals Himself to her and talks about her husband. It must have been difficult for her to acknowledge her life before Him, but she answers truthfully and He gives her a calm summary of her life so far. His words went out to her, just as they go out over us in our sinful state – in perfect love and grace.

She must have felt it, because her reaction is a desire to worship. How wonderful is that!

Out of the confusing theology of the day, come the truth and a declaration of liberty and forgiveness from Christ Himself.

He frees her of a physical place of worship and set the pattern for all future worship.

Place and time: Everywhere and always

Manner: in spirit and truth – with a sincere heart.

Here is no differences, no races, no humiliation, no snobbishness. Worship is pure and powerful.

It seems that this woman has not lost her expectation for the Messiah, in spite of all her trials in life. She acknowledges Him and rejoicing, overcoming her rejection, rising above the limitations of her status in that village, declares to her people the joyful news of the Messiah who has come to them.

One meeting, unexpected, changed her life, theat of the whole village and most certainly the destiny of Samaria.

Praise God for this. He will do it for you and your “village” and your people. It waits for you in prayer – with your whole heart and mind.

Be greatly blessed.

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15. The mystery revealed.

Way, way back, just after the flood, God established a symbol of miraculous outcome when He flung the rainbow in the sky as the clouds parted and the rain ceased. I am still fascinated by the beautiful colors suddenly visible when the sun catches a prism somewhere around me. Sometimes the rainbow is a spectacular arch majestically spanning the horizon and other times it is only a few inches long right here in front of me inside the house.

The rainbow is always there, the colours always available. We need light and an optical element to see it. If you angle a piece of reflective glass into the sunlight, you will see the rainbow. Without those special elements, we do not see the rainbow, although it is there to be seen. How many more things do we need to see in the unseen world around us, for which we lack the elements of vision?

This is a fascinating spiritual challenge. When Jesus encountered the blind man just outside Jericho [Mark 10:46 -52] He asked: What do you want me to do for you?

It should have been obvious. He was blind, reduced to begging and apparently a well-known sight. His name and the name of his father are mentioned. He shouted to Jesus to have mercy on him and was not put off by the people silencing him.

When Jesus noticed him, the same people who silenced him, encouraged him to draw near. He drew near in a way that threw his whole means of existence away. His outer garment was his license to beg. The authorities issued these garments to certify that he was truly blind and has a valid reason to beg. Bartimeaus ran to Jesus, cloak flying and left behind on the ground. His outreach was so complete that his whole being was directed towards Jesus. There was no doubting his faith – it was visible.

When Jesus asked what he wanted he answered with his heart, his lifelong desire poured out: Rabbi, I want to see. Jesus commended his faith and granted his request.

The prayer of the blind man should in actual fact be the first prayer that every child of God prays. To truly see your life, this world, circumstances and people with the optical elements of the spiritual world, is the first and foremost benefit of insight and understanding through the Holy Spirit. A heavenly perspective is a gift. To see the rainbow of provision when your circumstances darken your vision.

You need the illumination of the lamp stand of the Tabernacle on the Word of God to be able to be fed and not go hungry. Only the illuminated truth will satisfy your hunger. [See Pebbles nr 6 on the three sections of the desert Tabernacle.]

To read the word of God with insight and understanding is called revelation knowledge. It is the goal of every child of God to gain a new perspective by the renewing of its mind. We already know the scripture in Jeremiah where God promises to show us great and mighty things when we call on Him [Jeremiah 33:3] and Isaiah 52:6 where He calls Himself the God who speaks. These scriptures are core truths in our process of drawing near.

An example of revelation knowledge is when you are reading the Bible and a verse leaps off the page, hits you between the eyes, and God says, this is for you right now. It is what church-talk calls a rhema -word, a moment when you hear the voice of God Himself through Scripture. It is faith in action, faith encouraged and faith answered. The result is a heart-felt satisfaction and level of trust that can never be false or faked.

Revelation knowledge, in the first place, reveals our true selves to us. When Peter met Jesus the first time, the effect of God in human form, revealed his own sinful nature and he fell to his knees and cried in Luke 5:8: Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!

Revelation knowledge, in the second place, reveals Jesus in all His glory – in other words who He is. When the same Peter boldly declares Jesus to be the Son of the living God, Jesus says: [Matthew 16:17]

Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.

Revelation knowledge comes from God Himself.

This is the knowledge that changes us from the inside out. It touches your spirit, as it is a direct response to the Holy Spirit in you, it touches your soul – meaning your mind, will and emotion. Even your body responds with tears in your eyes, spontaneous joy and laughter and the lifting of your hands in praise or dancing. It does not matter in which church you are, or in which religious tradition you were brought up – it is always a blessing to respond physically to the Holy Spirit. Lock that bathroom door and raise your hands above your head, smile or chuckle and praise and thank your loving Father for His Word to you. Take those first steps in dancing and loosen up. Praise God with you body! Are you willing to shed the cloak of begging for the healing of your blindness?

In ancient times a woman’s hair was a source of pride. The immoral woman, who wished to seduce a man, showed off her hair with braids and ornaments. This is one of the main reasons the “good” girls and married woman covered their hair in public. Headscarves were the sign that your womanhood is not for sale. Today, of course, Christians do not wear the outward sign of virginity or marriage and have to live their lives to show the world their true state of womanhood. Now – lift your hands above your head to show God you will praise Him above and beyond everything you might have to be proud of.

Most importantly: Revelation knowledge changes your thinking and that change is the measure of maturity in your spiritual journey.

When you have true insight in God’s goodness and faithfulness, you will pray in faith. Faith-prayer opens up the riches of the glory of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19:

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Spiritual maturity is your secret power, your control over evil, your power-walk in the invisible kingdom on earth, your resurrection out of dead works and victory over darkness around and in you.

Victory over death in al its forms, is our true purpose. Remember our purpose statement for studying the Word? Philippians 3:10, 11 [Amplified]:

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death, in the hope that, if possible I may attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body.

Writing this Paul declares that he has not attained it yet but he is looking forward to what lies ahead, forgetting the things of the past. [Philippians 3:12,13]

We have to deal with our past to attain spiritual maturity. Walk in the full forgiveness promised in the Word. Throw off the cloak that reduced you to begging and symbolizes your blindness. Psalm 85:5:

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

Paul was a spiritual giant in my eyes. How on earth could I attain just a measure of his maturity?

Let us go back to Jesus and His words to the woman at the well in Samaria – a fascinating picture and deep lesson.

Look out for Pebbles nr 16.