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Peniel: Seeing the Truth
Peter Shee (Singapore)
"I am the way, the truth... If you have known Me, you would have known My Father also;
And from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
(Jn 14:6-7)   
No one has seen God at any time (Jn 1:18). Even Moses who saw God's form (Num 12:8) did not really see God as He is (1 Jn 3:2). Interestingly, apostle Paul used Moses, whom God knew face to face (Deut 34:10), to demonstrate the blindness of the unbelieving Jews ~ the veil that Moses placed over his shining face shielded the Israelites from the glory of God then, and also the truth of the Scriptures thereafter.
The Fourth Gospel introduces Jesus as the true light that helps us truly see God, and equates knowing God with eternal life (Jn 1:9,18; 17:3). John wraps this up beautifully in his first epistle: "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (1 Jn 5:20).
A personal encounter with Jesus is essential for everyone who wants to know God. This is the experience of the Samaritan woman in John 4. Here, Jesus takes a decidedly different approach from the way He deals with the blinded Jewish leaders of His time. Instead of speaking in parables, obscuring the message from already hardened hearts, Jesus now lifts the veil, albeit gradually, and reveals Himself, giving knowledge of God to an unknown Samaritan woman:
First Step to Seeing God ~ Seeing Your Real Need
One of the reasons why people cannot see God is because they do not see a need to. Jesus' words to the Pharisees are instructive: "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains" (Jn 9:41).
The Samaritan woman knows she has a need, just that she doesn't know what that need is. Though she has earlier refused Jesus a drink, she is not embarrassed to request: "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw" (Jn 4:15). She expects a physical quencher, for her spiritual thirst is yet unknown to her. Jesus then leads her to discover her real problem by asking for her husband.
True Satisfaction ~ "If You Knew The Gift of God" (Jn 4:10)
"Till grace my sightless eyes received, Thy loveliness to see"
(Quoted from the hymn 'None But Christ Can Satisfy')
A true recognition of one's needs opens up the mind to see the real solution to that need ~ what God is prepared to give which we are not yet prepared to receive. With five husbands behind her and currently living with a man not married to her, the Samaritan woman has a void in her life that only God could fill and Jesus helps her to realize it. Upon seeing that Jesus is not just a prophet greater than her ancestor Jacob, but the very gift of God, the answer to all her needs, she leaves behind her waterpot~a telling sign of her satisfaction~ and takes a different course from her daily routine, going into the city to tell of her encounter with the Savior (Jn 4:28-29).
True Worship ~ "You Worship What You Do Not Know; We Know What We Worship..." (Jn 4:22)
"Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart"
(Quoted from the hymn 'Be Thou My Vision')
When the Samaritan woman is made to see her spiritual condition, her focus immediately switches from the mundane to the spiritual, from water to worship. Worship is a matter of the heart; it involves an earnest desire to be in the presence of God, comparable to a deer panting for the water brooks (Ps 42:1-2). We may have attended church for decades and even participated in running special services, but if we cannot enjoy the simplicity of private prayer and meditation on God's word, most likely our public worship is superficial, involving more of the body than the spirit and mind.
Though the worship experience can be enhanced with physical ambience, uplifting music and good sermons, nothing is more important than the worshipper himself. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that the key to true worship is to know the One you worship, for only then can worship be of the spirit, out of sincerity and truth (Jn 4:24).
God seeks true worshippers (Jn 4:23) just as they seek God. He will be found in worship, which need not be on a sacred mountain or in a holy city; we only need purity and truth in the heart to see (Mt 5:8; Heb 10:22) the God who is true (Jn 7:28).
See Jesus for who He Is
The unnamed woman's testimony captures the interest of some people in the city to go and see Jesus for themselves. There are many who can tell us the way to God, but there is only One who is the way and the truth (Jn 14:6).
The men of Samaria act on the woman's word (Jn 4:39), but only to see the truth for themselves. After two days of face-to-face teaching from Jesus (Jn 4:41), they can truly say they know who Jesus is by first-hand experience and not through third party witness. They tell the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him" (Jn 4:42).
True Faith ~ "We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the World" (Jn 4:42)
"With eyes of faith we look to Thee as God's beloved only Son"
(Quoted from the hymn 'Tis not with Eyes of Flesh we See')
The Samaritans of the city are rewarded in their quest with an insight that exceeds the thinking of their Jewish contemporaries ~ that the Messiah is not a political liberator of the Jewish nation and that He is more than a prophet to Israel; He is in fact the Savior of the whole world.
The woman's earlier remark, "I know that Messiah is coming. When He comes, He will tell us all things" (Jn 4:25), is now perfected by the enlightened proclamation: "We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (Jn 4:42). Seeing this truth means genuine faith that leads to salvation (1 Pet 1:9), for indeed "the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (1 Jn 5:20).
True Food ~ "I have food to eat of which you do not know." (Jn 4:32)
"Open our eyes Lord, We want to see Jesus"
(Quoted from the gospel song 'Open Our Eyes, Lord')
At about the same moment, when the woman of Samaria leaves her waterpot by Jacob's well and turns towards the city, the disciples of Jesus return from the city with food. When they urge Jesus to eat, He gives them a discourse on true food in order to open their eyes (Jn 4:35) to the true harvest, the gathering of fruit for eternal life (Jn 4:36). To the Samaritans, He is the Savior of the world. To His disciples, He impresses on them that He is the harvester of souls and bids them to join Him until the work is accomplished (Jn 4:34).
Urging the disciples who offer Him food to reap from the harvest of eternal value is later mirrored in His advice to seekers of bread: "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you" (Jn 6:27). While our work is to believe in Him (Jn 6:29) and gather others into this faith, His work includes the giving of Himself as our bread of life (Jn 6:35,51). Jesus sows His life (Jn 12:24) that he might harvest our souls into eternal life. This is the will of God (Jn 6:38-39), His work and His food (Jn 4:34). This is the story He tells when certain Gentiles make the request, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus" (Jn 12:21).
"To know Christ and to make Him known" ~ A well-known Christian motto
Seeing the truth is to come to an accurate knowledge of Jesus Christ, a compelling truth that inevitably transforms our lives (Phil 3:10). It sees us abandon our waterpot, counting as worthless the things we used to value and trust (Phil 3:7-8); it redirects our paths and orders our steps as one yoked to Christ for His work (Mt 11:28-29), making Him known to others.
extracted from TJC Manna #67


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