November 4, 2014: Compromised Bride
‘Even while the people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving their idols.’ (2Kgs 17:41a)
Jesus began to prepare a ‘bridal bath’ for the Samaritan woman merely by speaking to her. His simple words—‘Will you give Me a drink?’ (Jn 4: 7)–release ‘living water’ that begins to dissolve a wall of sin and shame constructed over 1200 years.
It is difficult to express the depth of the historic divide between Jews and Samaritans. She alludes to it instantly in response to His request for a drink: ‘You should not be speaking to me’ (Jn 4: 9)… To understand that gap one must grasp the gravity of idolatry. Jesus represents to her the Holy God who commands undivided worship. The first three commandments (Deut. 5:6-11) insist in no uncertain terms that the Israelites reverence Jahweh and not desecrate Him by confusing Him with the little gods created by mere men.
The Samaritans had historically worshipped the God of Israel. But as we have seen, they assumed the practices of the Assyrians and worshipped a variety of pagan idols. Some of these idols demanded frenzied sexual devotion. The children that resulted were often sacrificed through death in the hopes of appeasing fickle fertility ‘gods.’
The Samaritans were not renowned for ‘fearing the Lord.’ In truth, their idolatry violated the primary command of the God who was jealous for the whole-hearted devotion of His people. The many altars at which they worshipped slapped God in the face and degraded the dignity of a nation of persons created in His image. And the Samaritans were stubborn about it. According to 2 Kings 17: 41b: ‘To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.’
We witness this divided expression of worship in the Samaritan when Jesus gently exposes her 5 former husbands and current lover (Jn 4: 16-18). Here we see clearly the link between spiritual idolatry and sexual immorality. God wed Himself to Israel and commanded her to show her faithfulness in sexual purity.
Monotheism is manifested in monogamy. We who fear the Lord experience any breach in our sexual boundaries as a spiritual violation. We are not being true to Him, our jealous spousal God!
In contrast, the Samaritan woman worshipped many gods and manifested that ‘diversity’ in many partners. And got used to it! Yet she knew what we all do: idolatry does not satisfy. Jesus skillfully invited her to consider the Source which could satisfy her deepest desire.
She is like us. The Samaritan woman is the Church today. Yes we worship Jesus but we also demonstrate our commitment to other gods in our many lovers, broken boundaries, and a dull moral conscience. We may cling to a form of religion but deny its claim on us by refusing to worship the ONE with the whole of our lives. ‘While worshipping the Lord, we serve idols,’ just as she did.
We must ask God to pierce our hearts with His grief over the idolatrous Church. May He pierce us too with the futility of our clinging to idols. They cannot make us whole. Only Jesus can cleanse our profoundly divided hearts and set us free to live as His beloved, no other gods but Him.
‘Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourself an idol…For Your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.’ (Deut. 4: 15, 16, 24)
Please join us as we pray for:
1. Living Waters Trainings: For our next training being held November 1-7, 2014 that God would open the hearts of everyone involved to receive all He has for them. Health and spiritual strength for the team members.
2. Poland: Discernment and clarity as Andrew meets with Catholic leaders in Poland about a possible Living Water group there.
3. Restored Hope Network: Prayer for wisdom, discernment and protection for RHN board members: Andrew Comiskey; Stephen Black; Karen Booth; Robert Gagnon; Denise Schick; Jason Thompson.
“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”