Who knew I’d have so much in common with a Pharisee and a Samaritan woman from the first century? Like them I fear I’ve missed a great spiritual blessing because I let the physical get in the way. Maybe you share some similarities too.
This week I started reading through John’s Gospel during my morning time in the Word. I’ve read chapters 3 and 4 countless times. In chapter 3, a Pharisee named Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night. This religious leader recognized Jesus came from the Father but wasn’t sure what to do with it. Jesus answered his unspoken question about eternal salvation.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3
Poor, confused Nicodemus. He was so focused on physical things he failed to grasp the great spiritual truth Jesus proclaimed. Jesus patiently explained about new spiritual life through faith in God’s one and only Son. I like to think Nicodemus got it and I will meet him in heaven. But Scripture doesn’t tell us.
The very next encounter of Jesus that John records for us is with a Samaritan woman at a well outside the Samarian town of Sychar. Once again, confusion reigns when the woman fails to recognize that Jesus speaks of eternal life and great spiritual blessing instead of that liquid stuff we call water.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.”
On a positive note, John lets us know that the woman finally got it. She drank deeply from the spiritual well of living water and her testimony of Jesus impacted her entire town.
This week when I read these two stories back to back, I noticed this similarity for the first time. Initially, both Nicodemus and the woman failed to grasp great spiritual truth because they were too focused on the physical.
Then it hit me. How often do I do the same? How often do I miss something incredible God holds out because my feet are too firmly planted on terra firma?
I can imagine Jesus saying the same thing to me He said to the woman. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you…”
Oh my. What have I missed? If I only knew.
I too often allow this physical world to dominate my thoughts. The pursuit of material things and meeting temporal needs consume my energy and my resources. Yet physical things – even food and water – don’t satisfy me long. Another need, another desire soon pops up.
And even when I try to focus on the spiritual over the physical I am limited. I impose physical boundaries on spiritual things that have no limit. I apply physical rules to truths that operate in different realm.
If I only knew…
Do you ever share this same struggle? Is your spiritual life hindered by your physical focus? Do you limit what God can and wants to do in your life because you’ve imposed your own physical limits?
Let’s shift our focus and drink deeply from the Living Water today.
How has a physical focus limited what God wants to do in your life? What are some ways we can foster an eternally minded focus in our daily lives?