Wanted: Worshipers—Inquire Within -- By: Tom Wells

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 02:1 (Winter 1993)
Article: Wanted: Worshipers—Inquire Within
Author: Tom Wells

Wanted: Worshipers—Inquire Within

Tom Wells

The gospel, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4, is a statement about the glory of Christ. If that strikes us as strange, it may be a measure of how far we have wandered into bypaths in our preaching and teaching, of how much we have debased the coin with which we were left to trade.

A common criticism of present-day evangelicalism is that it is man-centered, not God-centered. We do not have space here to examine how far that is so, but the fact leaps out at us in our feeble attempts at witness as we try to convey to others “what Christ can do for you.” We know men love themselves, and we try to use that fact as a bridge across which we may bring them the Savior of sinners. So “you” runs the danger of becoming the heart of the message, with Christ coming in a significant but distinct second. But Jesus Christ is the heart of our message. We do not preach the gospel unless we seek to display the glory of Christ.

What has all this to do with the subject of worship? A great deal, as we shall see.

Take the experience of the Samaritan woman in John 4. She has come at noonday to draw water from the local well. There a Jewish man asks her for a drink. She is surprised. Jews, as John says in verse 9, do not associate with Samaritans. Neither as a woman nor as a Samaritan does she expect to converse with passing Israelites. Not that she is unwilling—she doesn’t turn her nose up in disdain. Instead she asks the obvious question, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” It is hard for us to imagine what kind of answer the woman expected. But what she got is plain enough: an introduction into the glory of Christ. Listen to Jesus’ reply: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water” (v.10).

At first, of course, this was lost on her. To her, living water probably meant running water. There was such water

at the bottom of this well, but it was obvious that the man had nothing to draw with—neither pail nor rope. One fact did strike her, however: this man was making some kind of special claim for Himself. Why not follow up on that? “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself ...” (v. 12)? That would keep the conversation flowing and give the man a hero to compare Himself with, if He cared to.

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