REVELATION (JOHN 4)
Apart from Revelation, men have not the idea of God as Lord, Spirit, Father. And even after the light of Scripture has appeared, God is to many only an abstract word, by which they designate a complex of perfections, rather than a real living, loving, ever-present Lord, to whom we speak and of whom we ask the blessings we need. How different from this vague life and colourless abstraction, without will and love, this incomprehensible all and nothing, is the God of Abraham and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him we can pray. Without revelation prayer is regarded not so much as asking God in order to receive from Him, but as an exercise of mind which elevates, ennobles, and comforts. It is a monologue. Worship is viewed as a representation of our ideas of divine attributes and perfections, not the recognition of God, as through revelation we know Him in His relation to us.
See how God reveals to the poor sin-convicted soulÂ—to the humblest, the most ignorant, the most guiltyÂ—what the wise and righteous of the world can neither discover nor attain. A sinful, thoughtless, frivolous woman, living in the darkness of an ungodly life, and belonging to a race possessing only dim and imperfect knowledge of divine truth, had been drawn into conversation by a mysterious stranger, who beginning with the lowly request of a favour had brought before her in words (whose meaning she scarcely comprehended, but which roused deep longings within her soul), the misery and emptiness of the world, the existence and blessedness of a higher, spiritual and divine life; and He who at first spoke as a weary traveller had gradually presented Himself as the mysterious Mediator and Dispenser of a divine and transcendent gift. But the heart and the conscience, the deepest centre of her being, had not been touched yet. Jesus then reveals Himself as the Searcher of Hearts, the Lord and Judge, who knoweth secret things. He brings before her the guilty past. The arrow is sent forth by a strong yet gentle hand; its purpose is to wound and to heal. The woman exclaims: I perceive that thou art a prophet; that is, a seer, a messenger of God, one entrusted with a divine message. Brought thus into the presence of God, realising God, as only the sin-convinced conscience and heart do, she immediately wishes to please, worship, serve that Supreme Lord.
The question she now addresses to the Saviour is not a skilful evasion of a painful and humiliating subject: it proceeds from the depths of a wounded heart, it is the question of repentance and profound desire after God. If God is He must be worshipped. Hitherto theological disputes had no interest to her, but now she thirsts after God, the living God, and longs to come unto Him in true worship.
It was to this poor and sinful Samaritan woman that Jesus explained in that solemn, lonely hour, the profound truths of
spiritual worship. He reminds her, first of all, that the question of worship is not to be decided by man, but by God. Human thought, sentiment, traditions, cannot have authority in this highest and most sacred matter. The Samaritans, as other nations left to themselves, have no knowledge of worship, because they know not God. True worship can only be found on the territory of revelation. In Israel, God had revealed Himself, and His revelation of Himself was as the God of Salvation. Because Salvation is of the Jews, with them also was found true worship. True, it was for a long time under a limited, preparatory, symbolical dispensation, but at the same time real and spiritual, and the germ of the universal and free worship which has been brought in through the fulfilment in Christ Jesus. (Author unknown).