Salem's staff has once again written a devotional for the Lenten season beginning on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22) and ending the day before Easter (Apr. 8th). Printed devotional books are available for pick up at Salem.
"Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savor of the world." -John 4:39-42
Imagine if a famous person came and visited your community for two days. Would you go and listen to her speak? Would you wait in line for his autograph or to take a selfie with him? Now, imagine that the famous person was believed to be an enemy to your country or people. How would you feel about spending extra time with that person then? Cue the Bible story of Jesus with the Samaritans in John 4.
In Bible times, Jews and Samaritans did not normally associate with one another )see John 4:9). The conflict between the two sides started way back in the Old Testament. One Bible commentator described it like this: "The Jewish-Samaritan quarrel was more than 400 years old. But it smoldered as resentfully and as bitterly as ever" (Barclay 151) Yet, Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman. Through one caring conversation, Jesus transformed her life from divorced and shame-filled outcast to powerful witness to her whole town. The Samaritans from Sychar were moved by the woman's testimony about Jesus. They went to see Him. They asked Him to hang around for a couple of days. They fed Him. They secured a place for Him to stay. "And because of his words many more became believers." (John 4:41)
How do our lives connect with this story? Like the woman at the well, sometimes we question God and are ashamed of what we see in our past. Other times, however, we're like the people of Sychar who are curious about Jesus and come closer to see if what we've heard is true. May God bless us with a faith like those Samaritans who spent time with a Jew named Jesus and then declared: "...we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." (John 4:42)
Gracious Savior, help us to spend time with You. Bless us with a firm faith that trusts You to forgive the sins of our past, guide us in the present, and lead us to an eternal home with You for our forever future. Use us as Your powerful witnesses to our community. Thank You for your merciful love. In Jesus' saving name we pray, Amen.
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