"Remember, you ARE the salt of the earth.....
however, you are NOT the taste, which is Christ!"
Like many of you, I've heard and read it countless times!
I know this story already for more then fifty years!
Then one day as by a divine touch, the real meaning of this rich deep story hit home, at least it shook up my life.
This divine touch can leave you potentially confused, excited, reassured or, as in my case, with a glorious revelation experience!
I am talking about the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of John 4.
By many preachers, she has always been painted as the lady with a questionable past, who went through five husbands, and the one she was living with was not her husband either, according to a very reliable source: Jesus!
Surprisingly, Jesus does not turn away from her in horror and disgust, but He choses to do the opposite...to teach her!
She becomes one of the first human beings to be taught the miracle and principle of the Kingdom.
Here she is, a woman belonging to the despised Samaritans, a human being without any credibility according to the Jewish laws and attitude of the time.
Even the disciples were at least "mildly" disturbed, when they found Jesus talking to her by their return to the well.
Their behaviour gives us some insight in their preconceptions and ways of thinking regarding situations like these.
The disciples had no idea that they were about to go through a life-changing experience that would absolutely shatter their pre-conceptions about religion and human relationships, and would add inevitably a new level to their spiritual maturity.
First, Jesus paid attention to the person whom He knew had more spiritual depth then many of His own people.
He looked past the five husbands which could easily have been a dramatic run of illnesses in that family, and that she was therefore cared for by an appointed man according to the laws at the time.
We find a similar situation in the case in the old testament of the prophet Elijah living with the widow of Zarephath and her son.
This Samaritan woman turns out to be very knowledgeable about the religious environment of the times. Yes, she even knew about the Messiah who was about to come.
She rises far above the mediocrity of her fellow villagers, reaches out, absorbs and processes the words of life, provided by Jesus.
This exhibition of faith puts her on a similar level with Simeon who was waiting in the tempel for the arrival of the Messiah.
There is plenty of reason and evidence to believe that, instead of the perceived impression of a lady with a past, she was in fact a lady with a future and leadership, as she was evidently a highly esteemed prophetess (Revelation 19:10... for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.)
and well regarded by her own people.
This explains her obvious gift of perception, the ease and authority by which she gets her fellow villagers to listen to the words of that strange Jewish teacher: Jesus.
She was clearly steeped in religion as she new the conditions of worship in her own culture as well as the Jewish, and was most likely familiar with the "theology" surrounding it.
She had all her religious facts lined up in a row and nothing would possibly surprise her.
Yes, apart from an underlying yearning for more, she was content with it, despite the obvious religious "enslavement" aspect.
Little did she know about that glorious spiritual glowing fire that was brooding under her spiritual feet, a fire that would free, purify and cleanse her for the rest of her life, and would put her into a real-life relationship with the person she was currently meeting. (Another man added to her list!)
In His short teaching-session, Jesus gets straight to the point by exposing the center-core truth about the Kingdom, which is in a nutshel the Spirit of God governing man,
thereby heralding the coming demise of the known formal type of worship, including the use of the buildings dedicated to that purpose.
The emphasis in His teaching is on the walk of a human being by the government of the Spirit of God.
This Spirit is the bread of Life and the Living water, providing for every possible need and directs the receiving person into a lifestyle which is worship by nature.
When the Spirit of God directs a personal daily christian-church-life into a daily reality-worship-life, Truth is the result.
Since Truth is the person of Christ, it is easy to see that a Spirit governed personal life is the real life Gods children are all meant to experience, lead by the living Christ.
Is it not wonderful that Jesus entrusted the principle of the Kingdom to these despised people. They invited Jesus and the disciples to stay in their village and Jesus accepted.
They stayed for two days and reading their responses and reactions, Jesus's time in their midst touched these people involved dramatically, perhaps including the disciples. They all went through, what we would call, a real-life seminar/workshop, and many must have come out on the other side as changed people.
Understanding that this Kingdom-blueprint was also meant for the believers in the following ages, for us, raises in me the question; what on earth have we done with the Kingdom teaching!
Jesus always taught the spiritual reality of the Kingdom, never mentioned "church" or encouraged a church belief system, only the English translation bibles and institutional churches do.
The word "church" never shows up in the original transcripts but has been added by translators for a less then holy purpose.
Perhaps we are called to de-emphasize/abandon the church model (walking/living by instruction) and choose again for the Kingdom reality (walking/living bij revelation), in order to experience unobstructed the Christ of Christianity.
"God's plan" for your life.
Last night I watched one of these very eloquent TV preachers manipulating his audience with absolutely unrelated scripture quotes regarding "living for God", and thereby projecting an image of a God who has your life mapped out.
"God has a plan for your life" is the constantly repeated message, with a liberal sprinkling of additional words like "I think", "I sense", "I feel", "I believe".
One does not need much "spiritual discernment" to pin-point the origin of this type of ridiculous sermons as soulical.
They preach that you have to search for God's plan and consequently walk in it in order to have a fulfilled life.
This often results in a situation where saints potentially spend a considerable amount of time constantly looking over the fence for that elusive God's greener-grass-plan, while unknown to themselves, they are already knee-deep standing in it!
God has not a plan FOR you, YOU ARE God's plan!! Now THAT is inspiring!
Look what Christ achieved for the saints by His redemptive work on the cross:
He changed you from sinner to saint,
from darkness into the light,
from death to resurrection,
from an earthly father to a heavenly Father,
from a temporary earthly destination to an eternal new-earth destination,
from being oppressed under evil to seated with a ruling Christ at the right hand of God,
from an old Adamic nature to a new Godly nature,
from a decaying human body into an eternal temple,
from ruling to serving,
from compulsion to freedom,
from hatred to loving,
from a restless self to a resting in Him,
instead of "living" life yourself, enabled to have Him living HIS life through you!
All this made real because the Creator of heaven and earth decided to dwell IN you!
Having been gifted all this and walking in it, what possible reason would you have to look over the fence for God's so called "plan for your life?"
Matthew 11:30: For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
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Here you can read an extended background study of The Hebrew Covenants