Religion or Jesus?

Religion or Jesus?

02 August 2017

Reading: 2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33; John 4


1 Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed 2 (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. 3 So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee. 4 To get there, he had to pass through Samaria… 7 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (John 4:1-4, 7 MSG)

Religion said, “Rivals – Compare and compete.” Jesus and John said, “Same team – Cooperate and complete.”
(John 4:1-3)

The Pharisees and Sadducees were competing for influence among the Jews. Jesus and John refused to play the “Who’s winning?” game. John pulled the plug by saying, “He will increase and I will decrease.” Jesus left Judea and went to Galilee.

Religion said, “Samaritan Foreigners – Go around and exclude.” Jesus said, “Friends – Go through and include.” (John 4:4)

Orthodox Jews were so prejudiced against Samaritans that they had to add nearly two days to the trip from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north to avoid walking on Samaritan soil. When Jesus made the same trip, he “had to go through” Samaria.

Religion said, “Sinner – Reject and ignore.” Jesus said, “Seeker – Accept and engage.” (John 4:7)

Jewish religious men don’t talk to women in public, especially unmarried Samaritan women. Jesus engaged her in conversation and asked for a drink of water anyhow.

What religious attitudes do I have that would make me think and act unlike Jesus?

• Do I compare and compete? Or do I cooperate and complete?
• Do I avoid and exclude? Or do I encounter and include?
• Do I reject and ignore? Or do I accept and engage?


Father, In me is both religion and the reality of relationship with you. Both influence my attitudes and my actions. I purpose to be more guided and prompted by the Spirit of Jesus in my heart than by the attitudes of religion. Help me to do better. Amen.

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