7: “Ye Must Be Born Again” (John 2-4)
Faith doesn’t have to fade in the face of uncertainty. Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at the well, Mary the mother of Christ—they all held to their seed of faith even though they didn’t understand everything, and then they witnessed miracles. In this week’s lesson in John 2–4, we’ll dive into several accounts from the Savior’s early ministry and see how a precious bit of faith led to conversion. And along the way we’ll come to better appreciate the role that active and continuous belief has in our lives.
Glue-Ins (free printables for your scriptures)
Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance by Melinda Wheelwright Brown
John 2:11 (Christ’s first miracle)
John 2:1-11 (Water into wine)
CR: Genesis 1:9-13
Tov = Good (Hebrew)
Firkin = About 9 gallons or roughly the size of a Hebrew bath
John 2:12 (Jesus’ family)
John 2:13-18 (Cleansing of the temple)
CR: Psalms 69:9
John 2:19-22 (Foreshadowing of the Resurrection)
Cross References for Jesus’ earthly family:
From Talmage’s Jesus the Christ:
[on money changers] The trade gave ready means for fraud, which was only too common. Five per cent exchange was charged, but this was indefinitely increased by tricks and chicanery, for which the class had everywhere earned so bad a name, that like the publicans, their witness would not be taken before a court. (James E. Talmage, “Jesus the Christ”, Notes to Chapter 12, note #4)
John 3:1-21 (Nicodemus learns of being born again)
John 3:16 (For God so loved the world)
Conversion is a process, not an event. You become converted as a result of your righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith.…Although conversion is miraculous and life changing, it is a quiet miracle. Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion…Because conversion is a quiet, constant process, you may be converted now and not realize it. You could be like the Lamanites who, “because of their faith in [Christ] at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 9:20). Your continuing efforts to exercise faith and follow the Savior will lead to greater conversion. (True to the Faith; Conversion)
John 4:6-23 (The woman at the well)
John 8:48 (Samaritan as an insult)
From Talmage’s Jesus the Christ:
The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ. (James E. Talmage, “Jesus the Christ”, 3rd ed. (1916), 475.)
John 4:25-26 (Christ’s declaration of divinity)
John 4:39-42 (How testimonies are formed)
Joseph Smith History 1:20 (I have learned for myself)
I AM = The same usage in Exodus (Greek)
Two years ago, I had an experience that challenged what I believe. It had me questioning myself, my testimony in Christ and in His Church. Can anyone relate to this? You know, as it turns out, what I had always believed was still true. And it's okay to be uncertain. That is where faith lives and that's where it lived for me is in the uncertainty. This week's study of John chapters 2-4 will examine the role that belief plays in our lives, including the continuous and active role of believing.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original, brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week, and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link in our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come, Follow Me study - oh my gosh - just like my friend Kiersten and Greg Ward. Hello. I love these two so much. Kiersten is my husband's cousin, who is my cousin, too. I just love her and her husband. So hi, guys. Now another awesome thing about our study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends and it's a little different each week. But it's a totally different thing this week because I only have one friend, and it's on purpose. I invited Melinda Wheelwright Brown. Hi, Mindy.
Melinda Wheelwright Brown 1:15
Hey, Tammy. So good to be here with you.
I'm so happy to have you here. Melinda is her professional name, it's the one you're going to find on her book. I'm going to call her Mindy throughout this episode. But Melinda, tell us a little bit about your book.
Okay. It's called "Eve and Adam, Discovering the Beautiful Balance". It was released in 2020 at the start of COVID through Deseret Book, and it's just opened so many fun doors of learning and study and so many things that I, it's my favorite topic. And it's led me a lot of other interesting places as well with learning and understanding. So,
And she's not kidding when she says interesting, because this is pretty cool. Melinda is at a Divinity school right now.
That is true.
Tell us what you're doing with this.
Okay, well, I'm working on a master's program. It's a Masters of Art in Christian Practice through Duke Divinity School. It's a two year program. And it's a hybrid program, which is great. So I can go multiple times a year to campus and have that awesome experience, but also do the rest synchronously from home with all these friends I'm making, and it's just fabulous. It's really a great experience.
I am so excited for you. And I, I just want to know, what do you do with a degree like that? What, or what can you do when you're done?
Wow, that's a good question. For me, it's really just about more understanding and interfaith work to understand all of our Christian siblings better. Some days I feel like it's an immersion language program, because I'm just learning the words of sort of broader Christianity, and then trying to find ways to communicate ideas between our understanding and theirs and finding common ground. It's, in our group we have lots of people interested in nonprofit work, which is also a big interest of mine. So it, it helps in that regard. It will make me a better writer; it's certainly making me a better reader.
Oh, I bet.
It's a non-ordination track. So no one in our program is seeking ordination, which makes it a really comfortable vibe and setting because we're just all there to learn more. So it's really a safe place for expanding our minds. And that's, that's exciting. What a great thing.
Oh, it is exciting. And I think it's going to play a role in today's discussion. So we're going to talk more about it. But if you want to know more about Melinda, sorry, Mindy, you can find her bio in our show notes which are at LDS living.com/sunday On Monday, so I highly recommend go check it out. I'm reading her book. So everybody grab your scriptures, your scripture journal and something to mark your Scriptures with for sure. Oh, so much marking in our scriptures today. And let's dig in. Okay, Mindy, here we go. I just have a question for you. And I told you, I texted Mindy this this morning cuz I woke up at 3am with this question on my mind. So here we go. I want to know, what has Divinity School been like for you? Has it challenged your beliefs? Or could it?
I think it definitely could. For me, I think having a basis, in large part because of my book-writing experience that was about a three year path for me really digging deep into questions I had, like soul-searching deep heart sort of questions, that helped me develop a pretty solid strong faith that the more I learn, the more truth there is. And if I am pursuing learning from a place of faith, it will build my faith and not diminish it. And that's certainly been my experience with all the things that we're learning there at school. I think we have so much to share with our Christian siblings in terms of their ways of understanding, our ways of understanding, discussing better. I mean by share, I really mean a reciprocal sharing. And that's what I'm experiencing.
I really haven't come to a point that it's caused me an uncomfortable degree of doubt. It's caused me good questioning, in that it's pushed me into some of our materials to see, Oh, now, why would one of our prophets have said this to enlighten our minds on this topic? And how does that help understanding? And more often than not when we get into conversations among our cohort and our peers, those insights I can share, enlighten them as well. And then they can share something that helps me make better sense of what I believe. That it's helping us put words and language to feelings that so often words can't even express really. But like I said, it's like learning a new language. And I just think there's so much truth to be shared. It's wonderful.
Well, I really appreciated this when you said, and I wrote it down, "The more I learn, the more truth there is." Like, it has taken an active role for you to continue to learn, and then things become more true. But what struck me the most is that it sounds like you have come from a place of maybe uncertainty or disbelief, if I'm hearing you correctly, that there was a time where you had questions. Is that true?
Yes, absolutely. I think the, the period of time that led to my book research - and when I started that it was not because I intended to write a book by any means - it was that I was searching for more understanding, I felt like there was a gap in what I thought was the Divine Plan for our Heavenly Parents' daughters, and what I was seeing played out in the world around me. And I needed to figure out for myself where the source of that gap was. Was that because I had misunderstood the grand plan? Or, in fact, what I came to realize is, is that because that's the nature of mortality. And that agency has so many tangled, interwoven effects, because we all have agency and and so things change, things become corrupted over time, things disintegrate. All of those things kind of explained that gap to me in a way that I could then realize that it's not that I had no faith to stand on, it's that I just needed to rely on the Lord even more to help move toward the ideal, even in the midst of the real, which isn't perfect as we all know.
Say that again: "how to move towards the ideal in the midst of the real." Yes. Is what you said?
Oh, I like that. I think a lot of us are there.
I think so too.
Yeah, well, and now that you're saying that it really makes me think of the story in John chapter 2. Let's go there. We're gonna go to John chapter 2. We're just going to look at one verse and that verse is verse 11, because this is the result of the story we're going to talk about in the next segment. But I want us to start with the ending. Melinda, I want you to read verse 11 for us. And as you do, what I want us to look for are, what are the results of the miracle we're going to study in the next segment? Go ahead.
Okay, it says, John 2: 11 "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him."
So there's two things in that verse that was the result of a miracle. And we, let's underline these: number one is "manifested forth his glory". The Savior did that. And then what's the second one, Melinda?
that his disciples believed on him?
I'm going to recommend everyone circle the word believed, and you're going to see it a lot in today's stories. It is everywhere. And every time you see it, find a color that you love, because you're going to love this word when we're done. I have it circled so many times. But I think it's really interesting that His disciples believed on Him. I really appreciate the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse. The Joseph Smith translation is: "The faith of His disciples was strengthened in him."
So not only was it believed, but it was strengthened. It goes back to what you said. Like they were moving towards the ideal, while being in the midst of the real. Like they're seeing this, they want to believe, they, they're trusting this is the Messiah, and so their faith is strengthened and they believe on Him. I love that.
Yeah, that's awesome.
Ahhhh. So we're going to do that today. So in the next segment, we are going to study the very first miracle the Savior performed and how the disciples got to the point of believing.
Segment 2 10:07
Okay, so Mindy, I have just a quick fun question. Do you have a favorite day of the week?
Oh. Uh, I think Friday.
Oh, yeah. Why Friday?
Yeah, I like feeling like the weekend's coming, I'm approaching the Sabbath. I get to do some self-care things Friday afternoon that might make me feel a little bit replenished and rejuvenated, family time.
Uh, what would I do for self care?
Yeah, I wanna know.
Maybe go for a walk, just a stroll, or go take some time with my grandson. Just play. Just let the list go. Just decide it is what it is. At this point I need to relax. So,
Oh, I think that's really good. I like that. Mine is Saturday night if I have a date with my husband. I always like the date to be on a Saturday night, not a Friday. I want to feel like I made it through the whole week and then I'm going to take a break before Sunday starts, because that always seemed like more work with little kids. So,
Yeah. Saturday night, movie night and dinner. If we can go to dinner and a movie I'm so happy.
That sounds great.
Thrills me. Okay, we're gonna go to John 2:1 and we are going to find out the day of the week that this miracle took place. This is so much fun and why it's so important. So here we go. Chapter 2:1, it says, "And the third day". Now, the Joseph Smith translation will say, "And the third day of the week, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee."
Now, this is really interesting. There's a reason why the marriage took place on the third day of the week, because according to Jewish tradition, Tuesday is the day of the week that is common for weddings and celebrations to take place, dating back to Genesis 1:9-13. And I know you're familiar with this, Melinda. This is where the creation happened. And it just so happens that on this day of the week, the third day of the week, the word TOV, which is Hebrew for 'GOOD', it's used twice for that day, but not any of the other days of the week. And so Jews have thought that that meant that this was the best day of the week, so a lot of celebrations would happen on a Tuesday. So that's why they're getting married on a Tuesday here. I really like that piece of information. Now we have a wedding that's taking place on a good, good day of the week, a TOV TOV day of the week. And Melinda and I are going to talk through this miracle and things that stood out to us. So Melinda,hit it. What is the miracle that took place?
Well, it was turning the water into wine when the wine supply ran out before the wedding ended, which is a major problem.
Why is that a major problem?
Well, because it was so, such a significant part of their celebration and and it reflected very poorly on the hosts of the wedding if they were to run out of wine. So there was just a lot of pressure on, you know, the bride and bridegroom's family to do this well.
And traditionally, what type of wine was served first versus last? I think this is unique, because a lot of us who don't drink wine would never know.
Yeah, yeah. Well, this is interesting that they would serve the very best first because the more inebriated the guests became, the less astute they would be to the quality of the wine, so they'd save the cheaper wine for the end. And, you know, that just makes economic sense, probably. But in this case, that's flipped, which really catches our attention. And it was a great point to be thinking about and to notice in this, which is great.
Yeah, absolutely. So they need more wine. And then we're gonna go to verse 3, because when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus says unto Him, Jesus, "They have no wine." Now, Melinda brought this up this morning when we were texting back and forth. Talk to me about the word 'believe', with Mary.
Well, I think that this is evidence that she's had experiences beforehand, which I think would fall in that category. She tells us of earlier that she held these things and pondered them in her heart. She hasn't broadcast these experience, but, experiences, but clearly she understands that Jesus could do something about this situation if He chooses to. And she's asking that He do so. And then His response to her I think has frequently been misunderstood, because to our ears, it sounds a little bit harsh, maybe where He says, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." In fact, I think a lot of scholars have given evidence that that was actually a very respectful way to speak to his mother. He was not being disrespectful, which of course He wasn't; this is Jesus we're talking about.
Absolutely. In fact, we will really focus on that word 'woman' when we get to the Savior on the cross because He'll call Mary 'woman' again when He's on the cross. So yeah. Kind of highlight, keep that in the back of your brain about the word 'woman'. Very respectful.
Very respectful. And then I think what's so great - and of course, we only know what John has included here, we might be missing some dialogue or something - but then you can just envision this playing out that she turns to the servants and says, Whatever He says, do it. And what an evidence of belief and trust that He'll take care of it the proper way. And she just turns it over to them. That's, you know, trusting, when you can actually let go of it. And that degree of trust, that's major trust. And so I think her belief right here is really powerful.
That really affects the way we believe, to just turn it over to the Lord and trust. Like, do whatever it is that He asks and just, just do it. Oh, I like that.
I think so. I mean, think of all the times that we think we're trusting, but then we're sort of micromanaging, and we're laying out the plan, each step now, 'Oh, you could do it this way. I have a great idea. Why don't you do this?' You know, I think that's maybe a little bit more mid-level trust, not extreme trust. But the fact that she just hands it over, that's that's really advanced trust.
Oh, it absolutely is. Because coming from a mother perspective, it would be well within her right to say, 'Um, okay, but by the way, Jesus, here's how we probably should do it. And I've noticed this', and like kind of givin' Him some instruction. I think that's so great to point out for her just to say, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." And then that's what happens in verses 6, 7, & 8. It says there were six waterpots of stone. I want you to underline that, in "the manner of purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece." Okay, just so you know, how much this is? This is about 100 to 150 gallons of water that they're supposed to,
That's a lot!
Oh my gosh,
Can you imagine? This took them a while; this wasn't like something, they just didn't bring the hose over. They have to actually pull up this water. It's a lot.
Right. And this water would have already existed in the homes. It says in there "for the purifying of the Jews." So this was not water they were necessarily drinking. It's water that the people were using for Jewish rites and different things that they would perform. And so we have these big, big containers of water. And I, what I think is so great, is Jesus says, "Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim." So here they are, they're doing exactly what He asks. Then verse 8, "And He saith unto them. Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it." The word 'bare', let's underline that. That means they carried it. I mean, that, again, that's a lot of work. So they're going to bare it, they're going to carry it, they're going to do exactly what the Lord is asking them to do. Such an incredible level of belief on their part, because I just wonder how many of them are like, Is this guy crazy? What are we doing? Right?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that was a real show of, of belief and trust that they'd go through with it. And I love too, like you said, filling it to the brim, you know. They weren't, they thought, well, if we're gonna do this, let's do it right. Let's do it all the way. And that's awesome.
Yes, Melinda, you're totally right. They filled it to the brim. I think that is really awesome you pointed that out. So they do it, they carry it over, and then what is the result, in verse 10? What happens to the water? It just doesn't turn into wine? What does it turn into, Melinda?
To the very best wine. And I mean, again, what a great scene to play out in your mind. Can you just imagine they're pulling this out thinking, Oh, my word we might be about to be, you know, fired if we're about to serve this dirty water or whatever. And so much faith that they serve it to the governor. And then it becomes this big show, because not only is he grateful for the wine, but he wants to make a big demonstration of how generous this was that they actually kept the best wine for last. And that's a really very significant part of the story. So
Yeah, I completely agree. And then we end with that verse 11. "........and his disciples believed on him," or their faith was strengthened. You know, as I was going through this this morning, and I was thinking about our discussion, it definitely reminded me of the time that I really was struggling with my own questions. And when I apply some of the words and some of the actions that happened in here to my own experience, I can see the benefit of that, where I kind of felt like I had no wine left in me. Like there was just, I was really questioning and doubting and I really, really struggled to the point where I thought I had to quit my job as a seminary teacher because there were some things that I had found out church history-wise that maybe weren't true or maybe were. I'd read a book that is not a reliable source. It was an old, old church history book and I can remember thinking after I read it, I have to quit my job. Like, what am I doing? And I had so many doubts, and I just felt like my water pot was empty. But that idea.
I had a colleague talk to me because I went in to, he is one who gave me the book and I started crying. And I'm like, Why did you give me this stupid book to read? You're the worst. And, you know, I cried. And he looked at me and he's like - because I said, None of this is true. Like, I have to quit my job. And he said, Well, let me ask you this. What did you believe before you read the book? So I started saying all the things I believed in. And he looked at me and he goes, None of that has changed. Like everything you believed in is still true. Now you have to work through the rest of this, and figure it out for yourself. And, and like Mary said, he was like, whatsoever saith unto you, do. Like, just get back to work. So I did. I woke up the first day of school, I put on a skirt, and I went back and I taught. And I feel like, in verse 8, I bare it, I carried it. I worked every day until the moment came where my water pot was filled with the newest wine. Like I felt like my testimony had been reborn. For lack of a better word, born again, I guess. Like, I just felt like I was new wine, when I felt like I had nothing left.
Oh, I love that. You know, it reminds me too, I think there's a really important element to consider in this story is that He didn't create this wine from nothing. But it was a transformation process; that He took something just very average and mundane, just water, but transformed it. And, and yes, it may have seemed like, through an instant, but it was nonetheless a process of transformation that changed it to something that no one else could have done. I mean, it really showed His power and authority in that, which is I think what the "glorifying God" really means - is there's evidence there of His power and authority when He glorifies God. And I think that transformation is what we have to have: faith that can happen to us. That He can take what might be very mediocre, or mundane, or just average, or even tarnished, or dingy, and turn it into something truly spectacular and noteworthy, worth calling attention to because it's been such an amazing transformation.
Oh, my gosh, I wrote that right above the story, 'a transformation process.' Yeah, because my experience wasn't overnight by any means.
That's right, yeah.
I mean, the thing that I had prayed, the thing that I struggled with the most was something I'd always struggled with. And I felt like I never got my prayer answered, because I asked God about this on my mission and never got an answer. So I just kept serving my mission. And it took 10 years for me to get the answer to this question because I came back to it, still struggling. And so yeah, the transformation process for me was a 10-year process.
Yeah. I've had similar and, and I think the secret is don't quit, don't quit in the middle. If you quit in the middle that's, I mean, we call it the messy middle for good reason. It is messy. You have to push through and get to the other side. And, and trust that you'll get there. Maybe not immediately, but it's a process and it will take some time. But keep pushing through.
And just like you said, cuz I wrote this word in my scriptures, is you said this word: it became something 'spectacular.' And that's what He does for each of us. So. That's a perfect word to describe what this transformation process did in scriptures and does for us. And then it, and then right there in verse 11 it begins. We, to believe on Him, we begin the process of belief, or we're continuing our process of belief. Our faith becomes strengthened in Him because of these experiences. So, Wow.
So thank you, Melinda. That was a great discussion about all of that about belief. So what we're gonna do is in the next segment, we're going to find out where the Savior went next. And it's a story that is alarming to a lot of people.
Segment 3 23:50
So Mindy, do you have any siblings? I don't know this about you.
I have four; four and several spouses and partners that I count as siblings and, and in-law siblings. So yeah, I have like 20. I got lots.
Oodles. What number are you in your family?
I'm the second of five.
Okay, second. Who's older than you, a boy or a girl?
A girl, my sister. My second sister. Yeah.
I'm the oldest of five. So I have four siblings as well. And part as, you know, they're married. So yes, lots of in-laws, all that good stuff. I think what I like about Scripture right here, especially in this part of the story, is we get to learn about Jesus's family. Up to this point, we don't really know other than Him having a mom and a dad. And so let's just go into John chapter 2, and I want us to look at verse 12. This is where the Savior goes next after the miracle.
John 2:12 And "this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days." So the word 'brethren' right there, we have in our show notes all of the references that you can look up to find out who his family members were. And he has brothers. Their names are James, Joseph, Simon, Judas, and the Scriptures teach us he had sisters. We don't know how many, but the fact that it says 'sisters' is plural, meaning there had to have been more than one sister. So I just think it's kind of fun to note that Jesus had siblings.
Yeah, that is awesome.
I don't think they're anything like mine. Boy, did we fight.
Oh, yeah. Who knows? Maybe they did bicker.
I'd like to think that maybe there was some sense of normalcy and that, and who had to do the chores. Totally. So kind of mark that. That's fun. So He's going with His family. And verse 13 tells us where they are all going. Melinda, what are they going to do?
Well, they're going up to Jerusalem for the Passover.
And it's interesting, because this is the very first Passover of Jesus's ministry. Not of His life, but of His ministry. And something very significant happens because they're going to the Passover and then in verse 14 it tells us they went into the temple. And here they see things, they see where they're selling oxen and sheep and doves, which is totally normal. You've got to sell these things so that you can offer them as a sacrifice, that's why they're going to the temple at Passover. And then it says, "and the changers of money sitting:" Let's highlight that "changers of money". So at Passover, every Jew, no matter how poor, they were required to pay yearly, a half shekel, which is about 18 Pence as atonement money for their soul, and for the support of the temple. So kind of like a fast offering, maybe, and tithing. So as this would not have been received, except in a native coin, which was called the Temple shekel, this was not generally current.
So strangers had to change their Roman, Greek, or Eastern money at the stalls of the money changers. So that's what's going on there. And according to James E Talmage in "Jesus, the Christ", this is in the notes to chapter 12. And it's note number four. (And I am going to say this once and I'll say it 100 times: the notes are probably the best part of "Jesus the Christ", the part that's not included in the actual written, so I highly recommend reading them.) But if you want to go to note number four, here's what James E Talmage wrote about this money. He says, "The trade gave ready means for fraud, which was only too common. Five% exchange was charged, but this was indefinitely increased by tricks and chicanery, for which the class had everywhere earned so bad a name. That like the publicans, their witness would not be taken before a court." So that is what Jesus is seeing. Now, Melinda, why is this an issue and tell me what Jesus does?
Well, I think that's very irreverent for a place that's meant to be a sacred reverence sort of place. Certainly, the deception of the money changing seems to be one of the big parts. But it was probably also noisy and messy, and it just sort of they kind of lost the thread of what the whole point of all this was. And so He, He gets upset. He has some righteous indignation, and He turns the tables over and He lets the animals out. One little detail that I really love in verse 16 where it comes to those doves, He doesn't just turn those out. He says, "Take these things hence". And I love that He's being very respectful and thoughtful. He's not letting them fly away and taking away from what these these market people have. And you know, they're making their livelihood by selling these doves, that's fine. He just wants to do, wants them to do it in a more appropriate way. And so He says, "Take these things hence". I think that's just a sweet little evidence of even in His anger, He is respectful and doing what's right. And I think that's great.
I also think it's really interesting in this story that in some of the other gospels, this story comes much later. And I think John is, is trying to make a point by putting it in this position much earlier in the story of His ministry to teach us a few things about Him. Because it's much later in the other gospels that share this same story. So that's kind of an intriguing little detail.
Yeah. Well, I want to know, what do you think the point is that he's trying to teach us by placing it early?
Well, I think there are lots of things that work. One is, John really likes to tie things to different festivals of the Jews. And so this mention of Him going to a Passover is kind of important for the bigger shaping of this gospel narrative the way he's trying to describe it. So I think that's part of it. But for me, I think it's helpful to see a very human side, you know. We certainly believe that Jesus is fully human and fully Divine. And this type of anger is, is normal. You know, we do; we get fed up with things and that's not always so bad. We can do it respectfully and, and, you know, not completely fly off the handle. But I think it's also an interesting moment to look at this characteristic of the very human Jesus as able to control His anger. And that's certainly an ideal that most of us, I think, are still working toward. We all lose control sometimes and it's just comforting to see Him in a very real setting, but acting in a godly way. So, I think it's great.
Oh I think that's a great answer, Melinda. I had never considered that, that is so good.
Well, then we go into verse 17. This was really interesting to me. "And His disciples remembered that it was written." Now this is interesting because, just in the last story they began to believe on Him, right? Their faith is strengthened in Him. And then they see Him do this. It's almost like they're, like, I could see myself doing this, seeing something that seems a little off-putting but then going, Oh, wait, we know about this. This is actually in Scripture. Because the disciples then say, oh, it's been written, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." Now you can cross reference this, it is actually in Psalms 69:9. Now remember, we talked about how Psalms were songs that were sung at the temple. So these disciples are like, Oh, we know what's going on here. We've heard this sung to us so many times, this is what's happening. It's exactly like it was foretold in the book of Psalms.
And I think it's cool because the zeal or the intense, I think that the intensity of thine house. This right here, this phrase, "hath eaten me up". This is to engage, that your entire attention, and it's surpassing all other feelings is what He's saying here. Like, there should be nothing else that matters than the temple right now. And how, and that's exactly what the Savior is exhibiting. Nothing else matters to Him. None of the Passover celebrations, it's just the temple and the way it's being viewed and perceived by the people. So I just think, I like that. I like how they're actually trying to maybe make connections like, We do believe on Him. Oh, yeah. This was, this was foretold, here it is.
Yeah. For sure. Yeah, that's a great one.
And then in verse 18, it says, "Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?" Okay, basically, what they're saying is, it's kind of like when someone's - I mean this has never happened to me - but if someone were to show up on your porch and say, We're going to ransack your house, we're with the police. And you're like, Where's the warrant? What sign do you have? Or, if you ask a cop for his badge, because you need to know what sign do they have to have the authority to do what they did? That's what this is asking. They're like, what authority do you have to do what you just did, to throw the tables over and to do, just to cause this ruckus? But the answer is shocking, because the Savior doesn't necessarily show 'em a sign. But this is what He says. Melinda, will you please read verses 19-22.
Sure. 19 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,
20 "Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 "But he spake of the Temple of his body.
22 "When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them: and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."
Okay, there's that word believed again. Oh, I love it. K, talk to me about this. What did the Savior just do for the very first time?
Well, He's testifying of what's to come. He's prophesying of His crucifixion and His resurrection, which is a very big deal. And He's doing it in such a symbolic way, which is, which is really interesting. I think throughout John we see these signs and miracles. And something that's unique to John is the way that he's showing them not just as miraculous events, but as signs in the sense of they're being symbolic. And this is really symbolic that He's talking about the temple as being a symbol for Him and his body. And so the symbolism that this shows throughout, that's a fun thing to watch for. And then of course, the prophecy of His crucifixion and resurrection is awesome.
Absolutely. And as a result, they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. And then we go to verse 23. And "when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed on his name, when they saw the miracles which he did." So we just have this continual belief cycle going on where people are believing, and more and more people are believing. And so it just kind of makes us go back to this idea of here's a Jesus that seemed out of sorts. Like it's very alarming to people that they would do this. And then I like how we're trying to find ways, Oh, wait, there is some truth to what He's doing. There is truth to Him. And so this little bit of, like you said earlier in our text, this grain of mustard seed, mustard seed of belief. Why did you say that?
Well, I mean, some of them, so many of them. Just the fact that they're sticking around to watch, is a little evidence that they've got this hope that just maybe this could be the Messiah they've been waiting for. And then when they actually take action to add to that little mustard seed of hope, that's really what builds their faith. That's kind of a cycle that I love to watch for in Scripture, the idea of hope plus action, leading to faith. And I actually color code that through my scriptures. One year, I really devotedly did this color coding. And it was awesome to see how frequently this, this little color pattern showed up throughout Scripture, because that's such an important way that faith is built. It's that seed of belief, that hope, adding some action on our part, using our agency to try to move it forward. And then we're blessed by the spirit comes in and it builds our faith. And that process, that transformation is really quite remarkable. And that's what's happening with all these people.
So tell us really quickly Mindy, what do you mean color code? How did you color code it in your scripture?
Like, where I would see some evidence of hope I would mark in orange. For some reason, orange feels hopeful to me. And then an action, like an agency step would be brown. And then the faith that would be exhibited next, I just did as green because I think of faith as living and growing so that those were colors that worked for me. And interestingly, the place where I was able to see this everywhere is in the Book of Mormon, just because the cycle is so clearly drawn out. But once I had done it there, then I could see it everywhere else I was reading as well. Maybe it was slightly more hidden. But it really is a pattern that sometimes it's within just like one sentence you get that orange, brown, green. And then the next sentence, orange, brown, green. It just comes up all the time. Color coding is such a helpful way to study; I find that my brain works that way. So we're Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah. I'm with you 100%. I always color code anything; anything negative or bad or sinful is blue. It's a light blue. I don't know why I just decided blue. That's my, that's one of my color codes. So yeah, very good. Okay, well, Melinda, I think when you had said - this is pretty cool - you had said that you you were struck by how some of the people there, they just had a little bit of belief, like a little bit of hope as the grain of a mustard seed that maybe this is the Messiah. So in the next segment, we're going to talk about someone who is to me the quintessential example of someone who had maybe just a little bit of belief, maybe believed just a little bit that Jesus was the Messiah. And we'll talk about that next.
Segment 4 37:55
All right, we are in John chapter 3, we're going to do verses 1-21. And I have asked Melinda to tell us the story about this person who just believed just a little bit, and it's such a good story. So hit it, friend.
Okay, well, so this is the story of Nicodemus. He is a Pharisee. And that kind of means that he's a local leader. And, like, knew the people. He wasn't above them necessarily, but interacted with them. So so he's there. And he has somehow come to gather, we don't get lots of details here, but he's gathered that just maybe Jesus is who He says He is. He's he's seen probably some miracles and heard about them and so he's got this little bit of faith. But it's very interesting, because he's conscious of what others might think, because he comes at night. And that seems like maybe he doesn't want to broadcast this yet. But he'd like to find out for himself, not just take other people's word for it. So he's come to talk to Jesus personally. And he's asking about these miracles. And Jesus talks basically about being born again. And that's confusing to Nicodemus. He's looking at it, I mean, he wants to have a very pharasaical type of discussion about it and look at the literal meaning or the figurative meaning. It's, this is real Rabbi talk here that they're venturing into, which also shows some respect toward Jesus, that he's trusting, that he is a peer on this rabbinical teacher-like level, which I think is great.
So in verse 4 of chapter 3, Nicodemus is asking, 'Can I actually re-enter my mother's womb? Is that what you're talking about?' Obviously not. That would be the very literal meaning of it, but in chapter or excuse me, in verse 5, Jesus says, No, no, I'm talking about being born of water, and of the spirit. So he's looking at this symbolically and figuratively, in order to enter into the kingdom of God. And then this little part is interesting to me, in verse 6, where it says,
6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
I think that is alluding to this figurative nature of being born again. But he's also, John is also making an important point there with the philosophy of the time and some of the debates that were going on among the early Christians as he's writing this, because this comes after, you know, decades later. That what is born of the flesh is flesh. And this, I think, is hinting at this notion that Jesus is fully human and fully Divine, because that was an important point of distinction among some of, some of the different sects that were beginning to emerge at that time. So that's just a little thing there. But, but then He says, No why are you surprised that I'm saying you need to be born again? That's verse 7. Because then He gives this great example of the wind. Like you can't see the wind, but you can feel it and you can recognize it. Like that's the idea of the Spirit not needing to be necessarily tangible, but recognizable and identifiable. And, and Nicodemus, I think, in verse 9, where he says, "How can these things be?"
I think that's a great show of respect that he is putting himself in the student role right here, which shows great respect to Jesus. And you can just sort of sense that his faith is growing just in this discussion this really, this beautiful sort of discussion. And then Jesus begins to basically, you know, testify to him of His role as descending to earth so that He can teach these things and then ascending back up to heaven. And this title, The Son of Man, which is used as also really significant here, that's a powerful title to be using right here. And then to liken it to the serpent in the wilderness. And I think this part, I love, too, that He brings in Moses. Of course, that's significant, to be talking to another rabbi, teacher, and take it back to Old Testament to Torah that they love and revere so much. And to point out that that serpentwasn't just a tool for a miracle to happen of the saving of those people. But it's a symbol of Christ being lifted up.
And so again, right here in the very next chapter, He's prophesying of His crucifixion as well, that He'll be lifted up on the cross, and that that will be a saving that will have saving power. So this is another great prophecy to another believer that's that's the baby believer, right? But he's growing and we know later, Nicodemus is there at the time of His death; that he he really did this, got him on the path toward more advanced believing. We don't know a lot of history. I'd love to know more. Like I want the gospel of Nicodemus. I want 20 chapters just telling how all of that played out. Wouldn't that be amazing?
Maybe someday. Maybe it's out there somewhere.
I, you know, Melinda, you did an excellent job of retelling that story. And I like again, in the last segment how you set it up, this idea that Nicodemus, he was a believer. Like he just, there was a little bit, there had to have been an element of belief that started this questioning out. And what struck me is in the story in verse 9, where Nicodemus says, "How can these things be?" And then the Savior very clearly gives him one word over and over and over again. And I think it's so applicable to all of us, let's bracket off verses 11 through 21.
I like what the footnote says down below for 11a. It says "The Greek construction suggests that verses 11-21 contain a direct quotation. This testimony of Jesus was given to a member of the Sanhedrin." So this would be exactly what the Savior said. And here's what He says. I want you to take your favorite color that you chose I encouraged you to get at the very beginning, and look through verses 12-18 and color every time you see the word 'believeth'. I just think that's so fascinating, that the Savior's, like, well you want to know how these things can be? Let me tell you, you just have to believe. Believe, believe, believe, believe and He does give the example. Like if they had just believed on the serpent during Moses's time they would have been healed. They had to just look. Then we have verse 16.
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The classic John 3:16. So good. We have in verse 18: " He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
So we have this idea: you just have to believe. Believe, believe, believe. And then, verses 19-21 where He talks about the light versus darkness. And then He says, who are you going to believe? Are you going to follow darkness or light? And He uses the word 'doeth'. "He that, every one that doeth", in verse 20. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light," But look at 21: "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made..." It goes right back to how you started: 'the more I learn, the more truth there is.' And it just starts with believing. Just, and to believe in what you already believe in. That is what it was for me. To remember what I already believed in is still true, that has not changed. So continue to believe in your beliefs and then you will start to seek more truth. That seems like a pretty good pattern. Is that how it worked for you when you were going through your time?
Yes, yeah, I think so. And I think that, back in verse 14, that's such a great illustration. Like you said, all they had to do is look. And that look was like the agency piece of the belief. They had to take some action of their own will to demonstrate that belief. And by doing it, it not only demonstrated it to the Lord, but it demonstrated it to themselves. Because sometimes I think we, we think, 'Oh, I don't, I don't know, I'm so confused. I don't have any belief left.' But if we can just take that baby step in the right direction, sometimes it's even just a turn, just redirecting our focus, looking for the light. Maybe we've gotten so turned around that it's behind us and we need to just get ourselves turned around back focusing on the light, focused on Christ. That is an action that leads to more faith, and it's that upward cycle. It's this beautiful, virtuous cycle toward a higher, greater faith that just builds and builds. And always the beginning is the desire, the belief, and really, that's what that is, I think, is it's the desire. We want to believe it.
And that takes some trust and humility, that there's something else we need, right? The humility is so crucial of it. And that's something Nicodemus really displays beautifully. And this is a humble move he's made to come privately and have this conversation and ask these questions like a seeking student. Seeking, really seeking is a good word for it, I think, to capture all that. He's seeking, and we're seeking. When we do something and try, we're seeking, and it's that looking for the light.
I'm writing that down, he is seeking. I think he is, and we all are, every one of us. There's a really cool quote in the "True to the Faith" manual that I found about belief and conversion and how this all works. I just want us to read this because I like the way that it is put. Will you read this quote for us.
"Conversion is a process, not an event. You become converted as a result of your righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith. Although conversion is miraculous, and life-changing, it is a quiet miracle. Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion because conversion is a quiet constant process. You may be converted now and not realize it. You could be like the Lamanites who, because of their faith in Christ at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. Your continuing efforts to exercise faith and follow the Savior will lead to greater conversion."
That's a great statement. I love that.
I like how many times it says the word 'efforts'. Like it just requires effort.
It's the action word. Right? Yeah.
And I do like, many of you probably are converted and you're just not recognizing it.
Yeah, yeah. Well, and that exercise, you know, right there with effort. He used the word exercise a few times and it's that reminder that it's so minut. You can't, you can't leave the gym one day and think, Oh, so much stronger. Right? It's, it's, it's really not even recognizable, but it is a cumulative effect that in hindsight down the road, you can look back and think, Wow, look where I've come from, and sometimes that hindsight is crucial to building our faith. Take a moment to actually look and just see how far you've come. And that I think can be really comforting to us and help us recognize that we're moving in the right direction if we just keep trying.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Melinda. That is so perfect. That was great. That was the story of Nicodemus. Okay. So, in the next segment, oh my gosh, I'm so excited for segment five and six. We're going to tell a story. And I'm going to go back to how Melinda said that sometimes the Lord just takes the most simple thing like water, something so everyday simple and makes it spectacular. And that is exactly what happened in the next story that we're going to share with you in the next two segments.
Segment 5 50:45
Okay, I am just so excited because I couldn't think of anybody better to share this story with than you! Like,
You're so kind. That's a treat, it's like a gift.
No, but honestly, Melinda. How excited are we to tell this story?
Very, very; we love brave women.
It had to be you. Okay, everyone turn to John chapter 4. Oh, this is so good. We have to give the backdrop for this really miraculous story. And the backdrop is found in John chapter 4. We're going to start out by looking at verse 3. So Jesus leaves Judea, and He's departing again into Galilee. 4: "And he must needs go through Samaria." So going through Samaria is the most direct route, but nobody wants to take that route because they don't want to go to Samaria. So it is about a two and a half day journey. It would be longer if they went all the way around. So they're gonna shave off some time by just walking through Samaria, and nobody wants to do it. But the Savior, He's gonna go through Samaria.
Now. Let's first set it up. Why do people hate Samaria so much? This is, they don't like the people. This dates clear back to Old Testament time. Ezra and Nehemiah - we studied this last year - and I don't know if you guys remember, but there were a group of people who were mixed blood. They were part of the, Israel mingled with the Assyrians and other nations. They wanted to help build the temple. And the children of Israel said to the Samaritans, No, you can't help us. So then the Samaritans decide to sabotage all plans for the temple to be built. So that's kind of where it started, the dislike for them.
Well, I think there was this sense that they were traitors. I think that's where it felt like. They didn't just not like them, but they had a major bone to pick with them because they had been traitorous in their opinion. But it was pretty vicious. I mean, it was, it was really quite unkind.
I was shocked by some of these facts. So to the Orthodox Jew at this time, a Samaritan was more unclean than a Gentile of any other nationality. The testimony of a Samaritan could not be heard before a Jewish tribunal. That's sad. How about this: for a Jew to eat food prepared by a Samaritan, at one time was regarded by rabbinical authority as an offense as great as eating the flesh of swine. While it was admitted that produce from the field in Samaria was not unclean as long as it wasn't touched by Samaritan hands. And on one occasion, the epithet 'Samaritan' was actually hurled at Christ as an intended insult. That's inJohn 8:48. And you can find these facts in "Jesus the Christ", chapter 12. So yeah, it is pretty awful. Samaritan, no good. So in John 4:6, let's read this verse and Melinda, will you go ahead and read that for us.
6 "Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour."
Let's highlight "sixth hour" so we know what time we're talking about. The sixth hour is six hours past sunrise, that's what that means. So it would have been about noon that He's there. In the heat of the day, He needs something to drink. And then verse 7. "There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink." Okay. Now, Mindy, the fact that she's coming at noon, tell me about that.
Well, she, if she had the option, she would want to go early in the morning before it was really hot. She, no sunblock, right, she does not want to make this big trip to the well in the middle of the day. But most likely, all the other ladies were doing the same thing and going in the morning. And the fact that she's going at noon means she probably feels ostracized, and maybe even has been ostracized and is not welcome with all the other women when they go to gather their water. So you know the fact that she's there now alone is evidence that there's something going on there and yet it's also a real blessing because would Jesus have had this discussion with her if other people had been there? Probably not. So this is also the Lord working in the wonderful ways He does to make the best out of a situation and use it for our benefit, for this woman's benefit. This was an enormous gift that she got to have this experience with Him. So that's pretty awesome.
Perfectly said. So now we have a Samaritan woman. Okay, now it's one thing we know to be a Samaritan, it is completely another thing to be a woman. Now listen to some of these things about being a woman. Women were not observed. They were not even allowed to talk to men in public. Prior to marriage girls answered to their father. There was a marriage contract that usually happened around 11 to 12 years old, and then the husband at that point would have complete authority over her. So she answered to her father, and then she would answer to her husband, and that was it for a woman. She would obey her husband as strictly as a slave would obey his master.
Literacy rates were very low among women. They were discouraged from moving freely and openly in society. They were heavily veiled. They always had to keep their head, their faces covered so they couldn't be seen. And this was also, if their faces were unveiled that meant they were single. If it was veiled, that they were already taken. Widows and single women were on the margins of society, so that's something also important to know. And I think this is so fascinating: 1st century man as part of his ritual, daily morning prayer in the Jewish culture, this is the prayer he says every day. "Blessed are you Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who has not created me a Gentile, a slave, or a woman,." Like of the three worst things you could be in their world, Gentile, slave, or a woman, a woman is the worst. It's the lowest thing you could be.
Well, just a quick plug for Professor Ross Baron, who was on the podcast last year. I just want to say that I learned many of these facts from him. His BYU-Idaho Education Week talk on this is so good, it is so good. In fact, if you just Google Ross Baron Education Week, Friday, 2018, I'm going to recommend you listen to his talk. It's awesome. So now how does that frame the story? We have the Savior talking to a Samaritan woman. Tell me about that, Mindy?
Well, I mean, it's tragic, obviously, that this is so, this is, this is the way she's being treated. And this is her place in the world. I mean, you talk about marginalized. And in that regard, I think it's so beautiful that it comes very early in the Gospel of John, that one of the first things is he's demonstrating we do not marginalize people, we love everyone. And we don't avoid Samaria, just because we don't like them, you know, or whatever grudge there is. We go there, and we talk to them, and we show them respect and kindness. And also, it's, you know, I think you also need to really make this leap that later one of the most crucial parables He shares that is most beloved is the Good Samaritan. He's even portraying Has a Samaritan-type, kind of to give evidence that, that we do not discriminate people like that way. This is so not okay. So that is really profound that this is who this message is coming to. And just all the circumstances surrounding it.
Yeah. Well, and here's their story. So He says to her, Give me something to drink. And she's shocked that He is talking to her. And so she's, this exchange between the two of them is beautiful in verses 8. Well, beautiful and crazy. They talked about marginalized people. So He says, Give me something to drink. And she's shocked, in verse 9: "Then sayeth the woman of Samaria...,How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?" So she even knows where she lies, what, what her status is with Him. So she can't believe it. And then the Savior answers unto her in verse 10, and says, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me a drink, thou wouldst have asked of him that he would have given thee living water.
So now she's intrigued because she's like, What do you mean living water? And the Savior speaks to her and he says in verse 13, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall never thirst again". And I love how this, how the woman jumps in and she's like, I'd like that water. Like, I'd love to never have to come to the well ever again. That's what she's thinking - I would never have to draw again, 'cuz the Savior is basically saying to her in verse 14, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. And so I've just highlighted verse 15, and put 'I want in, I'm tired of drawing water, where do I go? What do I do to get this water?' So in verse 15, she's saying, "...Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." So I have marked that verse specifically. I wrote to the outside 'I want in, I'm tired of drawing water, like I don't want to do this anymore.' So she's like, how do I do this? How can I possibly get this water? And then the Savior turns the conversation. And this is crazy to me; talk about marginalized. So Mindy, go ahead and tell us this part of the story.
Yeah, this is really interesting. He says, "Go, call thy husband, and come hither." And it seems like they've, they've had this preliminary portion of the conversation. Now He's going to reveal basically this miracle that He knows her. We've, we've already seen that He sees her. He's there with her. He's speaking to her. He's happy to take water from her hand that others might think was unclean, so He sees her. But now He knows her. And He actually knows her backstory, and they've never met before. So that's, of course, feels miraculous and shocking to her. Because then she says in verse 17, "I have no husband." And Jesus says unto her, thou hast said, Well, I have no husband, for thou hast had five husbands;", and that's 18. "and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. So He's, He's expressing some respect to her that she had told the truth. She certainly could have told a lie at this point. But obviously, He knows about her, miraculously. So she might as well just say the truth. And this must have been a very humiliating moment. I mean, this really shows her great humility,
Especially because she's drawing water to avoid any type of talk of her or confrontation.
And that's high noon. And she's like, here we go. All right. I thought I was going to be able to not have to deal with this today.
Well, not only that, but from a discussion with a man. A woman just wouldn't have a discussion with a man like this. In fact, she was probably a little nervous that if anybody saw this happening, this might be trouble. So
or how it might look.
Yeah, yeah. Exactly.
If she's had other men in her life they might think this could, looks a little salacious, maybe.
Yeah, yeah. There's, there're definitely hints of that, for sure, I think in this. But then she says, basically, she expresses this belief that "I perceive thou art a prophet." I mean, that's that first little mustard, mustard seed of her belief. And then she goes on to talk about the worshipping and that, you know, we can't worship where YOU worship. And you say, we have to worship in Jerusalem, but we're not allowed there. And, you know, this is part of the contention that the Jews have with the Samaritans. But then in verse 21, Jesus says, ".....Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." And then verse 23 is where it really is so beautiful. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." And I think that's really a nod toward her faith, that He's recognizing that she's got this seed of being a true worshipper. So that's, that's a huge compliment, that He's having this discussion with her.
You know, I'm, I've never noticed before in verse 23, "when the true worshippers shall worship the Father." And my mind immediately went to what does that look like? Mindy, what does it mean to be a true worshiper?
Well, I think one of the things like we've discussed is, it doesn't necessarily look what you might think it would look like, it doesn't look like a fancy man. I mean, in this culture, right, that, Oh, it could be a woman, even, it could be a Samaritan woman, it could be a woman with a sordid past that she's embarrassed by, and that has been damaging to her reputation and her place in society. You know, breaking those constraints, just cultural constraints that we think are normal, or just expectations is so like Jesus, just to throw off those expectations. Right? And, and allow for any, anyone. It's so inclusive. Nobody is being excluded from the possibility of this. If you choose to believe, come. Like, Come and see. That's the great phrase in John, right. Come and see, come and do something about it; show that agency, take action to grow your faith. And that's just thrilling. It's, it's everyone. Everyone is invited. No one is being excluded from the invitation.
You were absolutely right. I, Wow. My mind is just like He is including the Samaritan woman as a true worshiper.
Yeah, like literally you couldn't, if you took time to think of who would be the very best example of who you wouldn't think could be a true worshipper? I think you'd probably land on a Samaritan woman living in adultery with a really questionable past.
It hits all the marks, checks all the boxes, right? Unexpected.
Oh, it totally does. And looking at that verse, when it says, "shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth", and again, I can't help but go back to the how you started, 'the more I learn, the more there, the more truth there is.' And here she is. He's just encouraging her. "Believe me", in verse 21. "Believe me". There's a little bit of belief, and now she's being called a true worshiper. Oh my gosh, I think this is so cool. Wow. Well, and then how much do we of course, we have to just include the James E Talmage "Jesus the Christ" Best quote ever - "The world's greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus Christ."
And, and this is, right here, where it's from, and the proof of that. So, Wow, thank you for that discussion. Okay. So then in the next segment, we're going to continue with the discussion between the Samaritan woman and the Savior. And we're going to find out what her belief did, not only for herself, but for others.
Segment 6 1:06:14
Let's go back to John chapter 4. And we're going to start in verse 25. And I want you to highlight, mark, whatever you need to do. 25 and 26 are just the verses of all verses and I'm so excited for these. Here we go. Melinda hit it.
All right, verse 25. "The woman sayeth unto to him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 "Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he."
Okay. Just, you just have to look at the footnote down below next, in verse 26 letter a. It says "The term I AM used here in the Greek is identical with the Septuagint usage in Exodus 3:14 which identifies Jehovah." He is saying, I Am He. That's how that verse reads in Greek. I Am He. He is identifying Himself as the Messiah for the very first time in His ministry, to who, Melinda?
A Samaritan woman.
There it is. Up until this point, He had not done that. And so He declares His Messiahship to a Samaritan woman, I am He. This is so awesome. I almost feel like we need to have a drumroll for that. I mean it's just
I agree. I love it.
I love the significance of this, and then look at what she does with this knowledge. This is so exciting. So,verse 28, the woman then leaves her water pot, went her way into the city and saith unto the men, - okay, remember, first of all, women shouldn't be speaking, no one should be listening to her. Like everything she, like, they should just dismiss her immediately. And she is so excited that she says to the men - Melinda, you're going to read verse 29, because you said it in the last segment......
29 "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?"
I mean, there it is, like a version of "come and see, come and see" You're not gonna believe what just happened to me!
Well, and you know what, I think we have to back up to 28 just a bit, because the fact that she left her water pot,
Oh, tell me about that.
Well, that's a big deal. Like, she wasn't this wealthy woman with a whole bunch of stuff. I mean, this is not a consumer- focused culture, right? Like, she had a water pot, and it was crucial to her livelihood and life. Like she had to have water to stay alive. You don't leave your water pot. But that really is evidence. Like she left immediately; she went running, she didn't want to be burdened by having to carry that pot. She had to get where she could tell other people. It was just like she was on fire with wanting to share this Good News of the Messiah that she had just found, that had found her. That had found her. And that's what's so awesome. She stumbled on Him, right, but He had found her and created the situation to share this news with her. So, you know, she's having the best day of her life for sure.
That's a great way to put it. It IS the best day of her life, for sure. So let's just jump over to verse 39 and let's see the result of what her go and leaving the water pot did. So verse 39, we'll each take a verse and we'll read 39-42.
39 "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 "So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 "And many more believed because of his own word;
42 "And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
Mark your words, 'believe' in there: believe, believe, believe.' And I, you know, as I'm reading this and then discussing it with you, this has been such a rich experience.. I'm seeing things I've never seen before. But I think it's interesting when, in verse 39, when they say "he told me all things ever I did." I mean, just the humility for her to acknowledge, like, she doesn't even care what people think about her anymore. She cares more about her experience and testimony of the Savior than anything she's carried in the past.
Yeah, that's exactly.
And that was a turning point for them. Isn't that interesting?
Yes, oh, there's so many great parts here, you know. Like I, I kind of said before, being seen, and then being known. And ultimately, it's being loved that really, really changes her. I think that's where the transformation really like starts to ramp up it's speed, because she is seen, known, and loved by Him. And it's that fire that just grows that she shares. And one of my very favorite bits of this chapter actually, is there in verse 42, where it says, "for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ." One of the things we do in our school work a lot is we read a lot of different translations. So I love that phrase that "we've heard him ourselves."
And I think some of the other translations make that a little bit more parallel to what we read in the Pearl of Great Price in Joseph Smith History, verse 20, where he says, "I have learned for myself." Like when I read this, I think it was in the ESV that I was reading, it was just like, putting flashing lights on that, to hear that idea echoed that you know, you can be told by other people a million times, but until you figure it out for yourself, it doesn't totally sink in. And she had experienced it for herself and then they came to see and saw it for themselves. And I think when, like where we began our discussion where we're having questions and doubts and bumps in our faith road, it's taking the time to figure it out for ourselves that resolves the problems and allows us to keep moving forward, searching for more truth. And so I just love that that phrase is included here, because it's a little bit of connection to all these other stories we know.
Wow, I'm overwhelmed that that would be your example, from Joseph Smith History when Joseph Smith said, "I have learned for myself", because that was the verse I read when I had my answer. Like, I can't even believe that we're coming back because you didn't even know that about my story. But I was teaching seminary. And I taught this lesson six times, it's the last time I'm going to teach it, and I had that verse written on a poster board in my classroom. And I read it to my kids, I had read it every period. And then I read it this time. And when he says in there, "I knew it. And I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it." And then the verse "I have learned for myself", I started sobbing. And I looked at my students, and I just said, You guys, this really happened. Like, he really did see what he said he saw it. And my, one of the students looked at me, he went, 'Duh, Sister Uzelac. He said he saw it.' I said, "I know, but I have not known that for myself until this very moment. And it took me 10 years to get to this point."
And so I love that you just pointed that out, like, "we have heard him ourselves." And I did. I heard him that day, I felt the Spirit in my heart absolutely testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. And I've continually had those experiences where I have learned for myself. And that's what I believe. And there are still some things I'm waiting. And that's okay. I want to do this really quickly. Because this is something I'd like everyone who's listening to do: in your journals or on a piece of paper, I just want you to take a couple of minutes and write down what do you believe? What have you learned for yourself? And then Melinda, I want you just to take a minute and tell us, what do you believe? What have you learned for yourself in your 50 plus years of life?
Well, for me, I think one of my really big searching things was about figuring out for myself how completely God really loves me. And you know, our Heavenly Parents, Jesus Christ, like, do They actually love me? Do they see me? Do they know me? And do they love me? And I did figure out for myself. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And all those little miracles that we experience in our own life, that's just evidence of that to me, and I love seeing those little fingerprints of God in our life, because it's just a reminder that He's there. It's Emmanuel, God with us. And it's this process of transformation.
And when I can feel and find those fingerprints, it helps me trust so much more. Because if I know that I'm seen and known and loved, then I can be Mary telling the servants, "Whatever he says, do it." You don't even need me here micromanaging this because I just know it's going to be great. And it'll work out. And no, not that I always do that perfectly. I don't by any means. I, I am a micromanager by nature, I think. But, you know, that's collecting those sorts of little moments of figuring out for myself and, and growing my trust, makes everything goes so much smoother. He has such a better plan for me than I do. I just, I just want to turn it over to Him and let Him guide it because I'll get to such a better place than if I were doing it myself.
Wow. Thank you. I want to Amen what you just said. And I'm so grateful for the spirit. Just this good, happy feeling again, testifying that everything you said is absolutely true I believe, I believe what you just shared with us. So thank you. Wow,
A pleasure, so good to share it.
Okay. I want to say what I believe. I believe that God always hears my prayers. Absolutely every single time He hears them. And I also believe He answers them. But I learned from the widow of Zarapeth, and we studied this last year, I've always known and believed that He always answers my prayers, but not necessarily in the way that I want them answered, but in the way that I need them answered. And that is something that I definitely believe. And then of course, I just believe we're all God's favorite. I do believe that. Yeah. Wow, great discussion. That's it. That's, oh, my gosh, this was such a great discussion. You were the perfect person.
Oh, you are so sweet. The chat, I love it.
Oh, I love you!
Thank YOU, I love you.
Oh, I love you. Okay, so just take a minute, gather your thoughts. Is there any takeaway from today's lesson?
I think one of my best favorite takeaways from this was really discussing with you all the little intricacies of just how unique it was that the Samaritan woman with this particular background in history. It's such evidence to me that everyone is invited, it is for everyone. And we need to let go of our expectations or stereotypes or ideas we have. And just realize this is the universal gospel of Jesus Christ. I love that about this story. It's really a beautiful story.
Oh, that was so awesome when she was connected to being a true worshiper. And that you would have if you could have chosen anybody who would have been the opposite of that it would have been her. So, I love when you pointed that out. I wrote down all your quotes to "the goal is to move to the ideal in the midst of the real." I think we're all, many of us know what that means and feels like. I loved how you said "the more I learn, the more truth there is." And ask good questions. And then you ended with the Samaritan woman where you said "He sees her, He knows her, He loves her. Because one of the things at the very beginning of the year, we started out by saying 'Happy New Year. But what if new was Knew. What if this year, you knew that the Lord and God knew you. I believe it was truth manifested to me again that He really does know all of us. So, I'm so grateful you shared that. So good. Thank you, Melinda. Okay, Mindy. I love you.
Oh, so fun to be with you. Thank you.
It is. Good luck at Divinity School and good luck with all your big tests and finals and all this craziness.
Thank you. Good luck to YOU.
Okay, well, we would love to hear what you guys have to say about this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go join it. It is such a great place to just share things that you're studying throughout the week or things that you learn or any questions that you have. Go ahead and ask and I try to answer them. Then at the end of the week, on a Saturday, we post a call asking a question that comes from this week's discussion. And so kind of be thinking about what have you learned for yourself and what do you believe? I want, I cannot wait to hear what you all have to say. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned.
You can get both to our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sunday on Monday and it's not a bad idea to go there, anyway. It's where we're going to have links to all the references, as well as a transcript of this whole discussion and a really cool glue-in that you're gonna want to add to your scriptures. The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original, brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our awesome study group participant was Melinda Wheelwright Brown. And you can find more information about my friend at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday. Our podcast is produced by Cole Wissinger and me. It is edited by Haley Higham and is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom.
Thanks for being here, we'll see you next week. And please remember: He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you, because YOU are His favorite.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai