A New Spiritual Life

KEY VERSE: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” —John 4:24

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 4:7-14, 19-26

OUR lesson centers around the experience of our Lord with the woman of Samaria at the well. The ancient Samaritans were descendants of Jacob, for they were of the ten tribes that revolted in the reign of Rehoboam. However, the Samaritans in our Lord’s time were not pure Israelites, but a corrupted race, springing from a mixture of several nations sent there by Shalmaneser, king of the Assyrians. (II Kings 17) Because of their corruptness, the Jews would have little to do with the Samaritans, but their background explains how the woman could claim Jacob as her father, and it also explains her familiarity with the Scriptures. The Samaritans had erected a temple on Mount Gerizim in competition to the one in Jerusalem and, although the temple on Mount Gerizim had been destroyed a century before this time in our Lord’s experience, the Samaritans still worshiped on the Mount. In the woman’s view, this place of devotional service was a very significant matter. Jesus told her that the hour had come when the place of worship was no longer important.—John 4:21

In the Bible, water is very often used to symbolize truth, and our Lord, in his discussion with the woman, used it in this way, saying, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10) The woman at this point in their conversation did not understand what Jesus was really saying to her. But Jesus continued” Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”—vss. 13,14

This is one of the very few instances where Jesus identified himself as the promised Messiah, the one who was sent from the Heavenly Father to bring life to Israel and to the world. We believe that the gift of God was Jesus himself whom God gave to be a ransom for Adam and his race. But this wonderful gift made possible other benefits, among which was the Gospel of the truth. In a prophecy concerning Jesus, it was foretold that God’s Spirit would be upon him and that he would be anointed to preach the good tidings (or the Gospel) which would reveal God’s divine plan of the ages. This knowledge, if believed and acted upon, was to be the means to life. Jesus, while speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) Jesus, in speaking to the woman, expressed the same thought when he said that the water he would give would be “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

All of this pointed to a new and living way that was opened by Jesus. During past ages God had dealt with the Israelites as servants and strictly on the basis of works, but Jesus brought this to an end. God desired a new and closer relationship with those who by faith would believe and accept his words and be obedient. Jesus expressed this to the woman in this way: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”—John 4:23,24

The Apostle Paul tells us how this spiritual relationship with the Heavenly Father takes place. “We should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory … that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling.”—Eph. 1:12-18

Dawn Bible Students Association
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