Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Samaritan Women: Finding the Water of Life

Sorry ladies for my late post. I’ve had a very hectic week and haven’t had a chance to get on-line. However I’ve caught up now…well, until tomorrow anyway. :)

Here are just a few things we discussed at our book club meeting last week:

The Jews and the Samaritans: In our discussion of the Samaritan women, a couple mentioned that we had wanted to do a little research on the Samaritans, and find out a bit more about them and wether they still existed today. I found a couple of links, and learned that the Samaritans do still exist and still have their own priesthood. Different sources have different figures but there are apparently around 500 to 1000 Samaritans. A couple of links are below:

The Jews’ hatred of the Samaritans: Whilst we had all of course heard the story before, it still seems amazing how much the Jews hated the Samaritans, apparently going to such lengths to avoid going anywhere near them. ‘A look at any map reveals that the most direct route goes straight through Samaria. But in Jesus’ time, any self respecting Jew would always travel a different way. The preferred route went east of the Jordan River, then north through Decapolis before crossing the Jordan again into Galilee. This alternate route went many miles out of the way, but it bypassed Samaria, and that was the whole point.’ Pg 143. Presumably the extra distance required for this alternative route, would have cost more in provisions and time. The fact that Jews would abandon such an important historical site as the burial place of Joseph, and spend more money food and effort to avoid them highlights their strong dislike of the Samaritans.

The Samarians believed: It seems amazing that the Samaritans, brought up in a corrupt religion, believed after only hearing the woman’s testimony. ”The immediate impact of this woman’s testimony on the city of Sychar was profound. John wrote, ‘Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’” (v.39 NKJV)” pg 151. Yet the Jews, despite their religious heritage, the prophecies of the Old Testament, and all the miracles Jesus performed still did not believe. This seems similar to our experience today when it comes to sharing the gospel. It is often easier to talk to those who have no or little ‘religious’ background about the things of God, than to those unbelievers who have been brought up in the churches, or attended Christian schools.

Of course, there was a lot more to talk about in this chapter. Please share some of your thoughts on the Samaritan woman.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A wake up call to the church

This week I heard a sermon, which was inspiring, challenging and very thought provoking for every Christian in the western world today. It was a sermon delivered to 5000 young Americans in a conference which would be equivalent to Youth Alive, or Hillsong here in Australia, by Paul Washer.

Paul’s message was passionate and brave, challenging every listener to examine their own hearts. He confronted them and the western church in general about the liberal state of the church, its relaxed morals, how ‘Christians’ behave, what ‘Christians’ listen too, what ‘Christians’ watch, how ‘Christians’ speak. Does the church really display biblical Christianity to the world? Do you display biblical Christianity? Are you different from the world?

Unfortunately Paul Washer was never invited to speak at the conference again. I pray that God would raise up more men like him to speak to the church in Australia.

This sermon is well worth listening to or reading, visit

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Book Club: 8th March 2007 - Anna: The Faithful Witness

In this weeks discussion of this chapter, we agreed that there are a lot of ‘Maybe’s in this chapter. JM has drawn a lot out of these three verses, and has made a lot of assumptions, that whilst they may be true, it is impossible to know.

Anna hid the scripture in her heart: ‘She had evidently spend a lifetime hiding God’s Word in her heart. Naturally, that was the substance of what she usually had to say. So when Luke called her “prophetess,” he gave insight into her character and a clue about what occupied her mind and her conversation.” Page 134
and Luke 2:38 “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem”

Godly Women treasuring the word of God in their hearts seems to be a common thread of all or most of the women we’ve read about. I am finding it a challenge to think about what occupies my mind and conversation. Is it the word of God, as it should be or is it other things? Work? Politics? TV shows? News? What do I talk about? I am reminded that what we speak gives away what is in out hearts…“Not what goes into the moth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matt 15:11

Prophetess: JM spent a good amount of time pointing out that Anna did not hold a ‘Prophetic Office’. Some of us felt that this may have been a little unnecessary, though we could understand possible reasons why he may have felt a need to do this, given the climate of the church in this day and age.

Enduring Witness: By worldly standards of the day, Anna would not have had much to commend her as important. She was a woman with no family, was not a mother, was a widow, elderly and lead a seemingly unimportant but devoted life. Yet God allowed her a long life and obviously one that touched many people for Luke to record her as he did. And now she is an enduring witness to the coming of the Messiah!

Providence: The Providence of God is amazing, isn’t it? We see Anna, arriving at that instant, just in time to hear and observe the answer to her prayers! What a faithful God we have! “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” Luke 2:38

Please share with us your thoughts...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper

Ok, so I know we havn't finished 12 Extraordinary Women yet, and we havn't even started Luther and his Katie,
but I thought I'd let you know the book we'll be reading after that, so that you can get prepared. Like Luther and his Katie, I ordered it before Christmas and didn't get it until early February. So you may need to check out its availability at your book shop now.

In this book, Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper, we are going to be reading about more ordinary women who with Gods help did extraordinary things, but these women are not biblical figures.

The publishers description is:

"Modern Christian women need an introduction to the intelligent, capable, godly women of the past. The faith and exploits of such women will encourage and challenge today's women to make a difference for Christ in their families, in the church, and throughout the world.

Noel Piper shares five biographies of Christian women God used to do extraordinary things. She uses excerpts from letters and journals to add rich detail to each woman's amazing story. These women include Sarah Edwards, wife of one of America's most renowned preachers, Jonathan Edwards; and Gladys Aylward, pioneer missionary to China." - Publisher.