Valuable Lessons for Followers of Christ

John 4:27-42
In these 15 verses, I found seven valuable lessons:

1. Question only to seek understanding
2. Thank of spiritual rather than physical
3. The time to help someone find peace and joy and love is now
4. No one man alone saves a soul
5. Tell others about the miracles you experience.
6. Allow yourself to believe in others’ miracles
7. It takes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to ground our faith.

So let’s start with verse 27. Being Jewish men, the disciples are confused as to why their rabbi is speaking to an unknown Samaritan woman. But the Bible says, “…no one said ‘What do you seek’ or, ‘Why do you speak with her?”

We can always ask Jesus questions if our intent is to seek understanding. However, when our questions would seek to only serve ourselves or try to put Jesus in a box of our preconceived ideals of him, we are just wasting breath.

I think the disciples knew that Jesus would NOT like their questioning of his actions.

Please see “I am the Savior that You Seek” for detail regarding verses 28-30.

In verse 31, we continue to see Jesus’ followers focus on the physical rather than the spiritual. I do not think that the message is to continually ignore the physical aspects of life. I think that Jesus begs us to focus on spiritual aspects so that we realize our need for His righteousness.

Jesus, in verse 32, lets them know that there is something more important in their immediate future than the physical side of it.

The disciples, of course, focus on the physical side and are concerned that someone met their master’s needs before they could.

31 “Eat, Rabbi.”
32 “I have food you do not know about.”
33 “Who brought him food?”
34 “My food is to do the will of Him - to accomplish His work.”

Jesus explains that his nourishment and energy come from doing the work that He was sent to Earth to do. Just like I sometimes get too busy volunteering at my son’s school to eat, Jesus is so busy ministering he does not even realize he has physical hunger. Just like the Samaritan woman in verse 28 forgot her thirst to run off and share the joy of her heart with anyone who would listen.

In verses 35-38, Jesus presents his point in a farming metaphor that he hopes the disciples will understand. He reminds them that when they plant wheat seed, it takes four months to be ready to harvest. He implores them to look around and view the souls of the people as wheat ready for harvest.

He explains that the seeds of faith were planted long ago (implying the OT prophets and John the Baptist were the sowers). Therefore, the time to help someone find peace and joy and love is now. He entices the disciples to reap souls by telling them they would “receive wages and gather fruit for eternal life.”

For a better understanding of “fruit” please see John 15:5

I think that verses 36-38 are important verses for all believers to note: “…so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” No one man alone saves a soul. Celebrate with your brothers and sisters in Christ that together you helped a man/woman/child find peace in Jesus Christ.

Jews never spoke to Samaritans - much less Samaritan woman. Jesus, loving all souls, chose to ask this woman for a cool drink of water. She obliged, and in turn, “From that city, many of the Samaritans believed in Him.” What a beautiful tale of the “power of one.”

“Because of the word of the woman who testified.” It is so important that we tell others about the miracles we experience. Without that shared testimony, people continue to just meander through life forgetting sometimes that God even exists…

I know Christians can be annoying. I know others’ good fortune can be frustrating. But if we just occasionally allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the excitement of other peoples’ miracles, we too can find peace and joy and love that is everlasting.

There is only one way to Heaven - to believe in the love of Jesus Christ. Our relatives cannot pray us into Heaven. Our good deeds cannot earn us a spot on a cloud. We cannot be saved through our bloodline or through our religion (See Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.)

“We have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

It takes a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to ground our faith. We must believe that only through the redeeming work of Christ on the cross can we be righteous enough to be graced with the presence of God for eternity.


The Whirlwind that is My Life

I haven't quite made it through the book of John yet...

My mom came to visit in June. The Navy sent my husband away for the summer. My son went to Missouri. Mom and I went on a five-day road trip around Cali. At the last minute, I ditched my plans to go to Minnesota to have an amazing adventure in Hawaii. When I returned (pregnant), I had to take what felt like Road Trip #932. I had to drive to Missouri to pick up my son and then on to Minnesota to pick up my mom, and then drive from Minnesota to San Diego...

Brytin's school year started August 12 and I've been at Loma almost every day ever since. With the California budget cuts, they need all the help they can get.

With the pregnancy came a LOT of whirlwind emotional changes. I stopped smoking after almost 20 years. I stopped drinking soda. I changed my diet from whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to little meals filled with nutrients all day long.

The biggest adjustment came when I stopped taking my depression medicine. For about a year, I have been taking a low dose of Effexor, and saw amazing results. No more panic, no more doubt, no more fear, anxiety, crying, roller coasters of emotion with my husband, friends and family. It was an awesome year. But alas, Effexor is not good for a growing baby, so I stopped. I have the option of taking Zoloft, but the risks far outweigh benefits, we think.

One of the "side-effects" of pregnancy is what they call "nesting." In other words, you clean like you've never cleaned before. The other night, I stumbled upon something I wrote prior to starting my depression medicine in the summer of 2009...

I think I need to go to a counselor. I do, really, need help. I'm not who I want to be, how I want to be. I think that the tortured soul is exactly who I am, but i cannot spend the rest of my life like this. I have to get my mind squared away before I do end up killing myself.

I do not know if it is the hormones from birth control or nicotine withdrawals or because my father was absent or because my stpedad was emotionally abusive or because my mother was not a strong-willed independent woman or because we weren't wealthy or if all my bad choices just added to my already present mental problems...I don't know. I just know I need to heal. i just know that I am sick of outsiders telling me I am weak.

For a long time, I believed that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit could fix me. But they never did...I begged and pleaded and tried to be the best person I thought I could be and just let their love shine through me and over time, I've just become more and more and more confused, scared, manipulated, used, tired and lost...

And that brings me to today. I have always believed in God. My belief is so real, it isn't really a belief, but a KNOWING. Jesus Christ is as real to me as my right hand. I have always, even before ever setting foot in a church, even before ever opening a Bible, I have always known that Jesus Chris is the way, the truth and the life. Every single thing He has ever told me, I have believed and tried to live by and tried to share with others. I'm not an amazing Christian by any means, but my faith is unwavering.

John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease." The Lord promises that when we lose ourselves in Him, we will truly finally find ourselves. But that is NOT the case in my life. I have been hurt THE WORST when I was closest to Jesus Christ. But yet, I still KNOW He is the way, the truth and the life. I am not intersted in trying again (and by "trying again" I mean delving deep into a Christ-centered life where I do nothing but eat, sleep and breath my best friend Jesus). But yet, I have no intention of denouncing Christianity.

So, where does that leave me? A lukewarm Christian? Yuck. But what else is there?

Here's my idea...I vow to finish this book of John for YOU. In turn, I share my knowledge, I share some of my feelings, ideas, and struggles. And maybe God will bless me in the process with the discernment to understand what in the world I am supposed to be doing.

Look for "John 4:27-42 Valuable lessons for Followers of Christ" soon.