the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“I will call them my people which were not my people.”
Their Jewish prejudices were aroused by his large-hearted care for a Samaritan woman, for they would have scorned to speak to her; yet they were awed by his appearance, and felt too much esteem for their Master to enquire too boldly.
John 4:28 , John 4:29
The convert becomes a missionary. Her worldly cares are all forgotten; she cares only for the souls of others.
God blessed the woman’s testimony so that their curiosity was excited, and she thus became one link in the chain of causes which led to the conversion of many. We might all be useful if we would but try.
He was so happy in his work that he forgot the calls of appetite; the soul conquered the body.
This occupied all his thoughts, and success in it was refreshing to his heart.
The people were streaming out of Sychar, eager to hear; the Samaritans were as ready for the word as the corn for the sickle. This was a goodly, sight, but it called for further effort. When the people are willing to receive the word, they bring great responsibility upon their ministers.
So is it with us all. We are reapers of what was sown in ages gone by, and especially of that which Jesus has sown by his agonies and death.
Very imperfect instruments may be used by the Holy Spirit to lay the foundations of faith. Foxe tells us that some were brought to a knowledge of the truth in his day by reading Chaucer’s works: “And in that rarity of books and want of teachers, this one thing I greatly marvel at,” says he, “that the word of God did multiply so exceedingly, for I find that one neighbour conversing with others did soon win and turn their minds to the truth.”
They outgrew their first instructor, and rose to a firmer basis of faith and a clearer understanding of the Gospel. If they learned so much in two days, how much ought we to have learned who have had Jesus teaching in our streets these many years.
Let us learn from this deeply interesting Scripture to live to do good, and let us also learn that no service which we can render to our fellow-creatures is so really beneficial as to bear witness to them concerning Jesus.
Help me, O Lord, thy love to show,
Thy saving truth proclaim;
‘Tis all my business here below
To cry, “Behold the Lamb!”
Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp thy name;
Preach thee in life, and cry in death,
“Behold, behold the Lamb!”
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”
John 4:14 , John 4:15
Highly favoured was that rural region to have Christ himself going on circuit through its towns. It is a great privilege to have the gospel preached in the place wherein we dwell: let us prize it if we have it.
Synagogue worship was not all that could be wished, but it was better than none; and our Lord therefore set the example of attendance upon it, as the recognised way of reverencing the Sabbath and of praising God. Never should we forsake the assembling of ourselves together, even if we be but two or three.
He paused there, and did not read on, or he would have read of “the day of vengeance of our God.” That would have been inappropriate just then, for his errand was purely one of mercy.
Their first thoughts were best. While they thought of what he said, they were charmed; but when they considered who he was that had said it, they changed their minds for the worse, as many other foolish persons have done.
He declared to them the doctrines of divine sovereignty and electing grace, and these truths the carnal mind always kicks at. Men will hear anything rather than a proclamation that the Lord dispenses his mercy as seemeth good in his sight. His mentioning the blessing of the Gentiles was another point in our Lord’s address which was sure to enrage his hearers, for men are as wroth with the freeness of grace as with the sovereignty of it. Jesus did not come there to flatter them; he told them the truth, whether they approved of it or no.
They were admirers one hour, and murderers at heart the next. Honest servants of Christ must not wonder if warm friends become bitter foes because of the truth. Man is fickle, and those are wisest who do not lean upon him.
The world his abject poverty
And low estate disdain,
And nothing great in Jesus see,
The humble Son of Man.
But we who Christ aright have known,
And seen with inward eyes,
Adore him as th’ Almighty One
Who made both earth and skies.
Behold the sin-atoning Lamb,
With wonder, gratitude, and love:
To take away our guilt and shame,
See him descending from above.
Our sins and griefs on him were laid;
He meekly bore the mighty load;
Our ransom-price he fully paid
In groans and tears, in sweat and blood.
To save a guilty world he dies;
Sinners, behold the bleeding Lamb!
To him lift up your longing eyes,
And hope for mercy in his name.
Of old at Cana’s marriage feast
As guest behold the Lord!
Joy from his gentle presence flowed,
And plenty from his word.
He check’d no gladness, such as might
The Christian’s heart become;
From him no shadow ever fell
Upon a Christian home.
And so let all our festal joy
Be in his presence found,
And so let every spot on earth
Be counted “holy ground.”
Not all the outward forms on earth,
Nor rites that God has given,
Nor will of man, nor blood, nor birth,
Can raise a soul to heaven.
The sovereign will of God alone
Creates us heirs of grace;
Born in the image of his Son,
A new peculiar race.
The Spirit, like some heavenly wind,
Blows on the sons of flesh;
Creates a new a heavenly mind,
And forms the man afresh.
Our quicken’d souls awake and rise
From the long sleep of death;
On heavenly things we fix our eyes,
And praise employs our Breath.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold I freely give
The living water thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quench’d, my soul revived,
And now I live in him.
Fain would I be often reading
In the ancient holy Book,
Of my Saviour’s gentle pleading,
Truth in every word and look.
How to all the sick and tearful
Help was ever gladly shown;
How he sought the poor and fearful,
Called them brothers and his own.
Still I read the ancient story,
And my joy is ever new,
How for us he left his glory,
How he still is kind and true.
How the flock he gently leadeth,
Whom his Father gave him here;
How his arms he widely spreadeth
To his heart to draw us near.
Our flesh and sense must be denied,
Passion and envy, lust, and pride,
Whilst justice, temp’rance, truth, and love,
Our inward piety approve.
Tender and kind be all our thoughts,
Through all our lives let mercy run:
Since God forgives our numerous faults,
For the dear sake of Christ his Son.