Daily Archives: May 4, 2021

THE FOUNTAIN OF GOD’S LOVE

THE FOUNTAIN OF GOD’S LOVE

I have been circling around the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman once again. This story fascinates and inspires me because of the many layers it reveals of Jesus’ character and His way, as the Son of God, of dealing with an immoral woman.

Since this woman remains nameless, we can place ourselves in her shoes (sandals), and receive the same diagnosis and the same remedy today as Jesus gave her on that memorable morning.

Her body language spoke volumes of her demeanour, her defiant attitude, her seductive eyes, betraying the aura of a provocative and seductive temptress on the outside, but weeping inwardly of her loneliness and frustration.

She, of all people, should have been condemned and shunned by the Holy Son of God but, instead, Jesus peered deep into her soul, read her heart and gave her the perfect solution to her need.

“Woman, you are thirsty, but you are drinking polluted water at the wrong fountain.”

Thirsty for what? What was this “water” for which she was craving? It’s obvious that her longing was to be loved… loved for who she was, not for what she could do or give… loved despite her flaws and failures… loved unconditionally and unceasingly.

She longed for a love that was not fickle, would not grow tired of her or give up on her when her beauty faded and her body took on the condition and shape of increasing years.

She longed for the love that looked into her soul and recognised the growing beauty of wisdom and maturity, of inner peace and contentment, and faith in a love that would never fail her to the end of her days.

Five times she tried, but each time the fountain delivered only selfish, abusive or demanding water, only eventually to fail, leaving her more thirsty and desperate than ever.

Then Jesus came, a man who looked at her, not with lust but with compassion and kindness. There was warmth and understanding in His gaze. She was startled, repulsed because of her shame, yet drawn to Him at the same time by His genuine interest and His simple request.

“Why are you talking to me?“ she burst out. She was anticipating yet another outburst of loathing and contempt from yet another Jewish man. Jesus ignored her outburst…He had a much more important issue to deal with.

He came straight to the point. “I can give you the love you crave, not the love of a man for a woman but the love of your Creator God for His beloved fallen daughter. This love will lift you up, wash you clean and recreate you in His own image, the image of pure love. This love will never give up on you, never fail you and never run dry.”

She was intrigued. “Where will I find this love? Is it possible that I can be loved like that?“

“I am this love,” He replied. “To receive this love, you must turn your back on all other loves. You must run from the polluted fountain which has never satisfied your thirst, and drink only at the fountain of my love for you.”

In that encounter with Jesus, she lost her guilt, her shame, her fear. She ran back to her village, her load gone, to share with the very people from whom she shrank, the wonder of a new love. She saw, beyond the human Jesus, the Messiah of God’s promise, the One who could satisfy her longing heart forever. Human love, feeble, frail and fickle, may come and go but divine love endures forever.

Every human heart, no matter what colour the skin that covers the outside, craves a love that is…

“… patient and kind… not jealous or boastful or proud or rude…does not demand its own way… is not irritable, and… keeps no record of being wronged…does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out…never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

Jesus called this love “a fountain”, refreshing and quenching the thirst of everyone who drinks of it.

“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

John 7:37-38 NLT

Why is Jesus the fountain from which we must drink? He is God, and God is love. It is God’s love alone that can satisfy the longing of our hearts.

Why?

Life is uncertain. We live in a fallen world, full of evil people and the uncertainties and insecurities of an unknown future. How can we live in peace, without fear, and secure in a love that will never fail us and will carry us through every test and trial to the end of our days? How can we endure the hardships, trials and tragedies that hit us out of the blue?

God’s love is our only guarantee. If God loves us, with a love that is utterly trustworthy, nothing can overtake us that is bigger than this love.

How do we know that God truly loves us?

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

1 John 4:9-10 NLT

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13 NLT

How do we respond to this great love of God?

Jude said: “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,  and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.”

Jude 1:20-21 NLT

Keep yourselves safe in God’s love!  When tragedy strikes, drink of that love. “In all things God works for our good…” When resources run out, drink at the fountain. When relationships fail, believe in the love of God. When children disappoint, take courage and hope in Jesus’ love.

When you wake in the morning, take a deep draught of God’s love before you drink your first cup of coffee.  Fall asleep at night secure in the arms of that great love. Navigate your day, whatever it brings, in that secure and unfailing love. Never allow a single thought to cross your mind that doubts that God is in charge.

God will never permit anything in your life that does not come through the filter of His love.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39 NLT

A WILD OLIVE BRANCH

A WILD OLIVE BRANCH

“If some of the branches have been broken off and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself superior to those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will then say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.” Romans 11:17-21.

The picture of the olive tree as a symbol of Israel is common in the Old Testament. The olive tree thrives all over Israel, in any soil and in any conditions. Its fruit and especially the oil pressed from the olives, was used for a variety of purposes – for cooking, lighting, healing and anointing, to name just a few. 

The olive tree, which is virtually indestructible, is a symbol of faithfulness and steadfastness. Its ability to regenerate when it is cut down makes it a fitting symbol of God’s promise to those who fear the Lord. They will be blessed and prosperous; their wives will be fruitful and bear many children. 

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” Psalm 128:3.

Our faith is deeply rooted in the history, culture and religion of the Jewish people. No amount of reasoning or trying to argue this away will alter the fact that the Christian gospel cannot be divorced from its Jewish roots and makes no sense if we ignore the Old Testament. There are many false notions and teachings that have been perpetuated in the church because spiritual leaders have ignored the Old Testament foundations and come up with their own interpretations of what the Bible actually says.

There is no room for the Gentiles to boast. It is arrogant of them to take up the attitude, “God got rid of you so that we could come in. Now we’re in and you’re out!” The only reason the Jews were “out” was because of their unbelief. And anyone, Jew or Gentile, will be rejected if they do not believe what God has said. 

God has no time for people who think they are better than others because they enjoy a position of favour in His kingdom. Anything we receive from God is because of His grace and not because of our worth. Without faith, we are worthless to Him even though we have been created in His image. It is through faith that we take possession of everything He has promised.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

It is not for us to look around and compare ourselves with others but to “tremble”, recognising that we have no call on God except for His mercy.

“Christianity did not spring forth from a vacuum. It sprang from the highly developed religious tradition and culture of ancient Israel. It is all too easy for us Gentiles to forget this all-important fact…

“Likewise the earliest church was a Jewish church. It was headquartered in the Jewish capital, Jerusalem, and presided over by a Jewish leader…

“As Christians we should see that Yeshua epitomised the Law and the teachings of the prophets as the living Word of God. And yet, so many of us know so little of the Tanach, the Hebrew Scriptures. Christians refer to these writings of the “Old Testament” as though the term “old” means it is of little value when compared with the “new”. Yet, without the “old”, the “new” loses much of its meaning and it often misinterpreted or not fully interpreted. When we do this, we are missing out on much God has for us in His Word.”

http://www.pray4zion.org/LessonsfromtheOliveTree.html

It would be wise for us Gentile believers, then, not to despise or ignore our roots but to learn what we can and to remember with gratitude that God has “grafted” us Gentiles in because of our faith in Him and not because we have replaced Israel.

“Israel is Israel, even in the New Testament. And when the Gentile church is included in that concept, we are given that position by virtue of “grafting in”, “adoption”, being made “partakers”, and being “made near”; and never by “replacing.”

http://www.pray4zion.org/LessonsfromtheOliveTree.html

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.