Lesson Forty


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Memory Verse: John 4:34
Further Study: John 4:1-42; Desire of Ages, pp. 183-195; 290-297; The Bible Story, vol. 7, pp. 145-150

At some point you’ve probably climbed a mountain. Now that term is relative. It might be, as in Maryland where I live, a small hill compared to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. And to Europeans what Americans call mountains can be downright humorous. But for this illustration, what you climb doesn’t matter. It’s the experience.

It’s hot as you walk up the path. You’re thirsty. Your legs ache, and your feet hurt. The climb seems never-ending, the path filled with rocks and tree roots. You question why you ever began as you ascend yet another incline. And then stretched out before you is the most amazing vista you’ve ever seen. The buildings and cars look like small toys, the green landscape like a carpet, and you’re mesmerized by all that lies below. The aches and pains are gone.

Two different perspectives. An earthly one and a heavenly one.

Two different perspectives. An earthly one—focused on how we feel and what we see right in front of us—and a heavenly one—looking down on the beauty of creation. Our lesson this week is similar—two different understandings—one anchored on earth, and the other from One who sees from above.

Jesus had walked about 15 to 20 miles. He wearily sat down on a well about a 10-minute walk from the city of Samaria. It seems that He and the disciples set out on this journey with no food or water or had run out. While the disciples were dispatched to buy food, Jesus, hot, tired, and thirsty, waited.

The woman set out in the heat of the day to get water. She’s the only one on the path from the city and that’s as she planned. She felt the heat of the noontime sun in the sweat that trickled down her back. The water jar was heavy although she knew it would be much heavier upon her return. Her solitary walk was a daily reminder of her situation.

Her solitary walk was a daily reminder of her situation.

She met Jesus at the well and it’s here that earthly and heavenly perspectives meet. The woman could see only what was then. Jesus saw what could be. The woman came to get water from the well. Jesus spoke of living water. When He did, she thought of a bubbling fountain, but He meant everlasting life. A similar conversation happened earlier with Nicodemus. He heard “born again” and imagined coming again from his mother’s womb, but Jesus meant a changed life.

We continually limit ourselves by seeing only an earthly perspective. We can be so focused on our joys or frustrations that we forget to remember heaven has a different view. Jesus came that we might see things from an eternal vantage point. We need to lift our eyes from what surrounds us and watch and listen. It’s not unlike that walk up the mountain path. Let’s keep our sights set forward on what God has in store. When we do we will be renewed.

Digging Deeper 

Verse 5 tells us that Jesus came to a town called “Sychar,” near where Jacob’s well was located. This place was well-known because it was the place of significant import.*

  • This is where Abram first arrived at Caanan (Gen. 12:6).
  • This is where God first appeared to Abram to renew the promise of giving land to him and his descendants (Gen. 12:7).
  • This is where Abram built an altar to call upon the Lord (Gen. 12:8).
  • This is where Jacob returned with his wives and children after living with Laban (Gen. 33:18).
  • This is where Jacob bought land from Hamor, the Canaanite (Gen. 33:19).
  • This is where Dinah, Jacob’s daughter was raped, and the sons of Jacob’s killed the men in retaliation (Gen. 34)
  • This was the plot of ground Jacob gave to Joseph (Gen. 48:22).
  • This is where the bones of Joseph were buried when they were carried out of Egypt (Joshua 24:32).
  • This is where Joshua made a covenant with Israel renewing their commitment to God (Joshua 24).

*Enduringword.com, commentary on John 4:5, David Guzik


Making it Real

If the weather is conducive and you are able, go for a walk up a hill (or mountain) that gives two different perspectives. One from the viewpoint of the earth and the other looking down from where you came. If that’s not possible, take a drive to a scenic overlook near you. Think about the two perspectives. How are they different? What in your life are you looking at from an earthly perspective? How can looking at it from Jesus’ point of view give you a new perspective?



Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, born in 2023. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.


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