April 1 – Mountaintops – Mount Gerazim

Read John 4:1-45

Mount Gerazim had significance in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Perhaps you remember from less than a week ago; Mount Gerazim was the location on which half of the tribes of Israel were to assemble.  Meanwhile, the others half of Israel was to gather across the valley on Mount Ebal while the blessings and curses of God were read.  Those on Mount Ebal were to affirm the curses the people of God would experience for their obedience.  Those on Mount Gerazim, meanwhile, affirmed the blessings God would pour out on His people if they obeyed.

Mount Gerazim had other Old Testament significance.  It overlooked the site where Abraham built the first altar in the Promised Land (Gen. 12:6, 7).  Later, Jacob moved to that area (Gen. 33:18-20) and, before his death, promised it to his favored son, Joseph.

Gerizim2But Samaritans also ascribed special, spiritual significance to Mount Gerazim.  During the time of the Assyrian Exile, many Jews, you see, had intermarried with other non-Jews.  Their offspring adhered to some of the Scriptures, but not all.  And they declared Mount Gerazim to be a special place of worship for them.

“Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”  (v. 20)

Perhaps in an attempt to divert attention from her own sin, perhaps out of sincere curiosity, the Samaritan woman at the well asked Jesus for clarification on the location of worship.  Mount Gerazim or Jerusalem?

Before we look at the answer, let me ask you, do you ascribe special worship significance to a specific location?

Back to the story…  Jesus responded to the woman by saying that a new day in worship was about to dawn.  The location of worship would no longer be important.  We are now in that day.  The “where” of worship is insignificant.  It can take place in a cave or a mountaintop.  It can be in a private home or in a dedicated building.

While the location of worship is unimportant, the object and heart attitude of worship are of utmost importance.  No matter where you are, worship the Christ revealed in Scripture.  Do so with all of your heart.

Steve Kern

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