Step by Painful Step

Being a witness requires patience and grace.

The Gospel of John: John 4.16-26

Read and meditate on John 4.16-26.

Jesus wanted this woman to know the living water that springs forth to everlasting life. He wanted her to know the gift of God – His Spirit. So He had to make Himself known to her, which He did only gradually and somewhat painfully. But always patiently and graciously.

         16Said Jesus to her, “Call your husband; go
and get him, and come here.” 17She answered, “Oh,
I have no husband.” Jesus said, “Now you
have answered well by saying that you do
not have a husband; this is true, as you
have said, 18for you have had five husbands, true
it is, and he is not your husband whom
you now have.” 19She said, “I perceive that You,
Sir, are a prophet. 20All our fathers at
this mountain worshiped, but You argue that
Jerusalem is where one ought to go
to worship God.” 21Then Jesus said, “This know:
an hour comes when, not at this mountain, nor
Jerusalem will God be worshiped. 22For
you worship what you do not know; but we
know what we worship. For salvation, free
and full, is from the Jews. 23But now the day
is coming when in truth and spirit they
will worship God. For such the Father seeks
to worship Him. 24For God is Spirit, speaks
His Word, and those who worship Him must do
so, worshiping in Spirit and in truth.”
25The woman said to Him, “I know that He
is coming, the Messiah (Who would be
the Christ). He will explain and make us see
all things.” 26Said Jesus to her, “I am He.”

- John 4.16-26

1.  Outline Jesus’ step-by-step approach to making Himself known to this woman. What did He do first? Next? After that? Complete this prayer: Help me, Lord, to see the people in my life as people who need You, whether they are nonbelievers or…

2.  How can you see that Jesus was gracious with this woman? What can you learn from Him about being gracious toward the people in your life? I want to be an agent of Your grace, Lord, and I need Your help to…

3.  Who was in control of this conversation? How can you see that? Do you think you could learn to lead a conversation like this? Why or why not? Teach me to be sensitive to Your leading, Lord, so that…

4.  Jesus did not begin by introducing Himself as the Messiah. He worked His way toward that revelation. Along the way, how did He prepare this woman for that revelation? How did He challenge her settled assumptions about life, religion, and so forth? Why did He do that? What is the most important lesson you want me to learn, Lord, about…

5.  What does it mean for you to be, like Jesus, a seeker of the people in your Personal Mission Field? A sower? A servant?  Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.

“Step by step he brought and placed her at the highest level. At first, she saw him as a thirsty person, then as a Jew, then a prophet, and afterwards as God. As he was thirsting, she was persuading him; as he was a Jew, she loathed him; as he was a person of learning, she made enquiry of him; in his being a prophet, she was rebuked by him; as he was the Messiah, she worshiped him.” Ephrem the Syrian 306-373 AD)

Jesus has commanded us to make disciples as we are going about in the daily activities and duties of our everyday lives (Matt. 28.18-20). We need to prepare for demonstrating Christ’s love and talking with others about Him. How do you prepare each day? What opportunities for showing Christ to others will you have today?

Closing Prayer
The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
The LORD is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the placeswith dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.

Psalm 110.2, 3, 5-7

Psalm 110.3-7(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
Filled with the Spirit’s power, in holy robes of love,
From early morning’s hour, they serve their Lord above.
Christ reigns a priest forever, the King of Righteousness,
And King of Peace Who ever His chosen ones will bless.

The Lord at Your right hand, Lord, in wrath shall shatter kings,
When judgment by His strong Word He to the nations brings.
Then, all His foes defeated, He takes His hard-won rest,
In glorious triumph seated with us, redeemed and blessed!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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