In the developed world, we don’t really need to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Our supermarkets have great variety from which to choose. It is the same with water. Millions of people in the poorer parts of the world must pray, “Give us this day our daily water”—and then walk several miles to get it. We, on the other hand, are spoiled for choice. In the Western world, bottled water is a multi-billion dollar business. My local supermarket offers at least 12 varieties, each promising to be superior to the others.
References to: John 1-11
Christ came so we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Some modern preachers want us to believe this refers to wealth and prosperity, so they urge people to go boldly before God and claim this promised abundance. To them, faith is measured by how much God blesses us materially.
However, the God revealed in the Bible is not some big “sugar daddy” in the sky, ready to give us everything we want. We may prayerfully sing, “Oh Lord, won’t you give me a Mercedes Benz?” and we might get it, but that doesn’t mean God gave it to us.
John does not start "the story of Jesus" in the usual way. He says nothing about the way Jesus was born. Rather, he takes us back in time to "the beginning." In the beginning, he says, was "the Word." Modern readers may not know at first what this "Word" is, but it becomes clear in verse 14: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." The Word became a human being, a Jewish man named Jesus.
Dan Rogers earned his PhD in historical theology from Union Institute and University. He is now retired, after serving many years as the Director of Church Administration & Development in Grace Communion International.
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Dan: Good morning. It’s good to see all of you here today. We’ve had a nice time singing and worshipping together and good time of prayer. Now, it’s time for us to get into God’s word and talk about our message for today. As you know, we’re going to be reading from John chapter 4 and the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Before we actually get into the text, I thought it might be interesting just to talk about the background of Samaria and that part of the world and the Samaritan people so that we have a little bit of background to work with as we get in to the story.
Many preachers quote John 10:10 as support for the idea that Christianity leads to physical prosperity and "every good thing." The verse has been used as a description of the Christian life, the normative pattern of life that Christians can expect because of God's blessings.
Jews celebrate the Passover as a yearly reminder of the time when God rescued them from slavery in Egypt.
But Christians look to something else. The New Testament Passover is neither a day nor a ritual, but is Jesus himself. We look to Jesus because he is the only way we can be rescued from the slavery of sin.
Illustration by Henry Hofmann,
Key text: “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:4-5).
Illustration by the Wandsbecker Art Institute,
some time before 1910
Key text: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5).
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.—John 1:14
He pitched his tent among us—that is the literal meaning of “made his dwelling among us.” Our human minds can’t understand how Jesus was born by the direct action of God. But the fact that God pitched his tent with us, coming to live among us, is all-important. It is our salvation.