When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
By Zhang Yiping
Presumably many of us believers are familiar with the story of the Samaritan woman recorded in. When she drew water, she met the , who asked her for a drink. From her exchange with the Lord Jesus, she recognized that He was the Messiah foretold in the prophecies.
She was just an ordinary woman and didn’t have much Bible knowledge, but she was able to do so. This is really amazing. All of us know that, within those three and a half years that the Lord Jesus worked on earth, many people once contacted Him for a short time, and moreover, there were many who heard Him speak. However, there were too few who were able to recognize that He was the Messiah. Then, how did the Samaritan woman do it? Was it because of the Lord Jesus’ special grace? Or was there any secret behind it? Let’s read her story to look for answers to these questions together.
It is recorded in the Bible: “There comes a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said to her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away to the city to buy meat.) Then said the woman of Samaria to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water. … Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw. Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband: For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly. The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman said to him, I know that Messias comes, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I that speak to you am he. … The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:7-10, 13-26, 28-29).
From the above scriptures we can see that there are two main reasons why the Samaritan woman was able to recognize that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah.
At first, when the Lord Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for some water, she guarded against Him because He was a Jew, since the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. But after the Lord Jesus spoke some words to her, she perceived that He was out of the ordinary, so she called Him Sir. When hearing the Lord Jesus said, “Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” she felt that His words had authority and power and couldn’t be said by ordinary people. Then, the Lord Jesus revealed her innermost secrets, saying, “For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband.” She felt astonished at this because nobody knew the things she did in secret. But the Lord Jesus, who had never met her before, knew all about her. She was sure that that was unattainable by ordinary people, so she considered the Lord Jesus a prophet. Therefore, she spoke about her own confusion and asked Him whether to go to the mountain or to Jerusalem to worship God. The Lord Jesus said, “The hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” He also clearly told her, “When the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.” After hearing all this, she recognized that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah. It was because the Lord Jesus resolved her confusion with just a word, and also pointed out to her the path of practice to worship God. This allowed her to understand that when worshiping God, believers shouldn’t rigidly adhere to external formalities, but should worship God in spirit and in truth, and that only praying genuinely and sincerely is after God’s heart. Especially when hearing the Lord Jesus say, “I that speak to you am he,” she was rejoiced and became even more certain that He was the Messiah. Thus, she hurriedly went to the city and told the good news to the people there. Though the exchange between the Lord Jesus and her was short, the name by which she called Him changed very quickly. It was because she saw that the Lord’s words had authority and power, and He was able to reveal her innermost secrets and corruption, resolve her problem and confusion, and point out to her the clear way to practice. For this reason, she recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah.
As a matter of fact, the Samaritans had always been looked down upon by the Jews, and they had no dealings with each other. So, when hearing the Lord Jesus ask her for some water, she was very surprised. But she didn’t refuse to talk with the Lord because of it, but humbly listened to Him speak. When hearing that the Lord Jesus possessed the living water, she was able to put herself aside and ask Him to give her the water which could bring her everlasting life. When the Lord Jesus revealed her unspeakable secrets, though she wasn’t willing to mention them, this didn’t stop her from talking with Him and instead she continued to seek from Him. After the Lord Jesus resolved her confusion, and allowed her to understand how to worship God to be after God’s heart, she recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah. From this we can see that the other reason why the Samaritan woman could receive salvation by grace was because she was able to humble herself to seek the truth. Thus, she received God’s grace, hearing God’s voice and welcoming the Messiah.
Now we are in the last days, the key moment when the Lord comes. Then, how should we absorb the strengths of the Samaritan woman so that we can welcome the Lord Jesus’ return?
The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:12-13). And it is prophesied many times in Revelation, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2-3). We can see from these words that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will speak again to tell us the truths we don’t understand. He requires us to be wise virgins and pay attention to hearing His voice. In this way, we can follow the footprints of the Lamb, go to the wedding feast, and receive God’s salvation in the last days. Therefore, if we want to welcome the Lord’s return, we need to actively seek the words the Holy Spirit speaks to all churches. When someone witnesses to us that the Lord has come to utter His word, we should follow the Samaritan woman’s example, and hear whether the word has authority and power, and whether it is able to reveal our corruptions that nobody knows, resolve our problems and difficulties, and point out to us the way to practice. I believe that upon hearing the words of the returned Lord, all who have a heart and a spirit will be able to hear that it is the voice of God. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
The Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Humbly seeking is the Lord’s requirement of us, and is also the key to whether we are able to welcome the Lord’s return. Now, in waiting for the Lord’s arrival most of us have many confusions and problems. For example, it was said that the Lord would return in 2000, but it’s 2019 now, so how come we have still not welcomed His return? Besides, the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically all been fulfilled, so all those brothers and sisters who truly believe in the Lord feel that the Lord might have returned, wondering whether He has already appeared somewhere to work. So, shouldn’t we actively seek His footsteps? The Lord is faithful. He blesses the poor in spirit, and takes pity on those who thirst for the truth. If we can humbly seek, pray to the Lord more, and actively search for His footsteps, then God will surely lead and guide us, and allow us to welcome the Lord’s appearance in the last days.