There are many spiritual/scriptural truths on each page of the Bible if we just look for them. John 4 is such that gives basic Christian principles to all of us. Truth and example one after another charge our hearts to a better conformity to His word.

The first nugget we see in verses one through three is that the religious are not always right! Religious members of a church, notice I did not say faithful Christians, will create such turmoil it is nearly impossible to shepherd the “little flock.” These kind of folks are self-appointed to give the pastor heart weariness and misery. Thinking themselves to be called of God, they seem to think they know more about pastoring a church than the pastor does. These are tares! Avoid them! They will choke out the good vines.

We see such in the first three verses of chapter four. Instead of rejoicing about the success the disciples were having, they were causing friction that John was baptizing more than Jesus was. (Though Jesus baptized not!) When Jesus heard their murmuring and clamoring, He left Judea. “Left” here means severed Himself from the current work there rather than to stay in the squabble. This could be a great lesson for a pastor! Some hills are just not worth dying on.

Jesus had another appointment in Samaria, the city of Sychar. His leaving reminded me of the time when I was walking through the large First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, at a Jerry Vines pastors conference. I spied a young distraught young man at a table alone. He had a strong dejected look on his face. I approached and asked him if he was alright. He replied, “Not really, I was fired by the deacons Wednesday night.” I said, “Why?” He said the chairman of the deacons didn’t like his preaching. I told him the deacons biblically did not have the authority to fire anyone. I asked him if they told him why they fired him and not the deacon. He said, “He has money and I don’t.”

How ungodly can a group of men appointed by a Godly church sink so ungodly low? I assured him that God was doing him a favor. Here was also a case where leaving was probably for his betterment. He brightened up when I assured him that he wasn’t a failure and that he was never to give up, but to shake off the dust from his shoes and go on! This pastor will receive a reward on day for his suffering, while the self-righteous cohorts who subverted his ministry will suffer lots (if they are saved) at the Judgment Seat of Christ. I pray that we walk in the righteousness of Christ rather than our own self-righteousness.