In John 4, Jesus makes a statement to the Samaritan woman at the well, that, to some, may seem a little flippant if taken out of context. He says to her, in essence, you (and your people, the Samaritans) worship you know not what. From an historical context, Jesus spoke correctly. After all, He is the truth, surely His statement was accurate. The Samaritans were removed from the fundamental religious precepts, welcoming other ideas and adaptations to the Jewish principles and foundations that had already been laid.
This distance in beliefs separated the Jewish people from the Samaritans to the point that the woman at the well, though she desperately needed help from this (God)man who asked her for a drink of water, was actually surprised that Jesus had even addressed her in this social context. Forget church, she was surprised He even asked her for water!
This same idea is true today. As has been stated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 11:00 a.m. hour is the most segregated hour in our country each Sunday – has been for years. We often look at a different culture of people and of their religious expression and message, we say, “you worship you know not what.”
But beyond worship, we are often separated in our philanthropy. Who we will give a drink of water has everything to do with who we are related to – or who we relate to! I would assert that Americans are more likely to give to a commercial philanthropic effort (national or internationally known outreaches) to India and Africa than to the local inner city or nearest-by area in need.
The conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well ended with Jesus reading her entire mail! Lol, he told her “herstory” (her extemporaneous relationships and current “situation”) but also gave her solutions to her issues. She dropped her mundane chores and went – she ran actually – back home to report that she met a (God)man who changed the game for her – and thus He, through her, changed her city. His gracious engagement of her on a personal and social level was entree into a life-changing spiritual encounter that changed an entire group of people.
Statistics that churches are still mostly segregated in our nation persist. One of the only other constants in statistics about American religion is that every religion has a marked, marginal revolving door. This is another conversation in itself, but does have its place here.
What are you saying, KenMos? My points are simple:
People leave one religion looking for hope and comfort in another for a whole lot of reasons. Not the least of which is that they haven’t found the love and grace that Jesus offered the woman at the well. This is the same reason we tend to remain racially divided every Sunday.
This statement is a game changer: God is a spirit, and they that worship him must do so in SPIRIT & in TRUTH.
Until our worship style bows to the display for the unadulterated SPIRIT & TRUTH of God through messages of pure love and grace, with signs and wonders following – AND complete with the sign of true religion: caring for the less fortunate such as widows and orphans, we won’t see an end to segregation in our churches.
We must come to a place where we can relate to each other on the most basic level, something as simple as a drink of water.
We have to acknowledge that the message of God’s unadulterated grace was dispensed through an uncircumcised man through whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, are blessed before we can worship together.
Until we can say: “WATER, I need it and so do you. GRACE: I need it and you do, too. JESUS: I’ve met him, have you?”, we will never say to anyone, “come see a (God)man.”