Melissa Wharton is a student at UMKC and a leader in C&YA. She is involved in Temple Worship, our worship team, and leads a girls bible study in Waldo. Melissa's small group recently finished John chapter four, which she recaps in this post.
In our CAYA Bible studies we’re going through the book of John, and my group just finished up chapter four. Although the stories in the Gospels take place before Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, there are so many things we can apply to our lives as believers alive in the church age. After all, like 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, all scripture is able to teach us what’s right (doctrine), what’s wrong (reproof), how to get it right (correction), and how to keep it right (instruction in righteousness).
So, these are a couple of the big things God has been teaching me and my girls as we’ve gone through John 4:
1. The world seeks satisfaction everywhere except the one place we can find it: Jesus Christ
When Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well and tells her about the living water he has, she’s confused. She doesn’t understand the spiritual picture Christ is giving her at first: that when we partake of the spiritual water Jesus offers us through salvation, we’ll never thirst for life again. The woman says she wants this water, but Jesus knows what’s in her heart and the things she’s holding onto.
It’s revealed that she’s had five husbands, and the man she’s with at the moment isn’t even her husband. She was seeking satisfaction from earthly lusts, and Jesus brought it to her attention that none of those things would ever satisfy. After all, she’d already gone through six men to try to get that satisfaction.
What are some of the things you turn to for satisfaction, whether you’re saved or not? Relationships? Career? Drugs? Those are always the big three we name, but as the Preacher says, there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). All of these things and more are what make up the water of the world.
We move from one pleasure to the next, trying to get a sense of love or fulfillment or joy, but those emotions are fleeting when drinking the water of the world.
It’s so easy to see that we don’t get true satisfaction from these things. We move from one pleasure to the next, trying to get a sense of love or fulfillment or joy, but those emotions are fleeting when drinking the water of the world. It’s only when we drink the living water that we are given everlasting love, fulfillment, and joy (Ephesians 2:4-7; John 4:14; 1 Peter 1:8).
2. Most often God asks us to step out in faith before he does a work
After Jesus dwells in Samaria for a couple days, he makes his way back to Cana. On the way he meets a nobleman whose son is dying, and the man asks Jesus to come with him and heal his son. Knowing the man’s heart, Jesus says, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” But again the man asks Jesus to come back with him to Capernaum.
At first glance when reading this passage it may seem like Jesus is being spiteful (hint: he’s not), but we have to pay attention to a couple of things:
First, the man didn’t just want his son to be healed; he was trying to make Jesus follow him in making him come with him to Capernaum. Jesus doesn’t follow us, however. We are the ones that follow him. Second, Jesus never says that he won’t heal the man’s son. He simply reveals the man’s heart attitude: one that says, “I won’t believe until I see some action.”
Jesus tells the man to go back to his son because he was healed. So the man does, and when his servants greet him he finds that his son’s sickness left at the moment Jesus said it had.
So what do we learn from this passage?
Have you had times in your life where God has asked you to do something that you’re afraid to do? I know that I’ve been there several times. It’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world. Many times when we’re placed in this situation our inclination is to ask God to do something miraculous before we step forward in faith. But that right there is a contradiction: if we require something to be done before we take a step, that’s not really faith at all.
Just like the nobleman, we often try to make God behave in the way we think is best, forgetting that our vision is limited.
Just like the nobleman, we often try to make God behave in the way we think is best, forgetting that our vision is limited. We can only see what’s happening in the present. No matter how badly we think we have a good sense of intuition, we don’t know how anything is going to play out past the moment we’re in. That’s why God tells us to trust him with all our heart and not lean on our own limited understanding, and then he will direct us (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Eternal God knows what our best course of action is.
God asks us to have faith in him, to trust that he is good and filled with lovingkindness towards us. If we could see every step laid out for us, that would be walking by sight, not by faith. Do you have faith before the work that God will move, or do you require a sign of the goodness and love of God? He’s already given us confirmation after confirmation of those things through his word, and if you’ve been saved for any length of time you will have experienced his mighty goodness and love.
God will never ask you to do something that will result in evil for you. He only asks things of us that will result in our good (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Romans 8:28). Of course that doesn’t mean they will be comfortable; the nobleman had to make the long, tiresome journey home before he could see his son healed. But God will always be faithful to perform the work when we give him due faith.
...every thirst, ache, and desire we have can be satisfied through the goodness of God by salvation and his word.
My encouragement to you is to remember that every thirst, ache, and desire we have can be satisfied through the goodness of God by salvation and his word. No matter the thing you seem to be lacking, God is able to provide exactly what we need. After all, he is all that we need (Hebrews 13:5). Because he is all that you need, give him the faith he deserves and trust that he will bring you out on the other side of whatever it is he is asking. He has promised us great and precious promises, and he will keep every one of them.