John 4:16-26

I’m offended when Internet advertisers and phone solicitors seem to
know my age, the worth of my house, that I own a Toyota, that I have
a grandchild, that I went to college, and where I’ve lived the past 30
years. It’s like my life is an open book they can read to target me and
make money. Being an open book for someone we don’t trust makes
us uncomfortable.

Jesus tells the Samaritan woman to return with her husband,
and she confesses that she doesn’t have one. Then Jesus fills in her
back story. He knows that she’s had five husbands and the man she
is currently with isn’t her husband. Rather than taking offense, she
proclaims that Jesus is a prophet.

But she quickly shifts the subject. Since he is a prophet, he should tell her where she needs to worship. At Mount Gerazim, as the Samaritans do, or in Jerusalem, as the Jews do? Jesus tells her that God is spirit, and those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth (v. 24). Worship means giving ourselves fully and honestly to God, whatever our location.

It must disappoint God when we try to worship without giving
ourselves fully and honestly. God must be grieved when we try to
separate our spiritual life from the rest of our living, thinking we can
leave our sins, regrets, and failures at the sanctuary door as we enter.
Being an open book may be uncomfortable, but the One who invites
us to worship is trustworthy. To truly experience God in worship is
to be fully known by the God who loves, forgives, and redeems us.
This is good news for the Samaritan woman, and for the rest of us.


A prayer for purity in the Book of Common Prayer begins, “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid.” How does remembering this truth deepen your discipleship?


God, you created me and know everything about me. I give you everything I am, including my sins and shortcomings. Amen.

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