Hypostatic Union…God Bless You!

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Devotional Word for Thursday, April 23, 2020

A basic truth of Christianity is that Jesus of Nazareth is the Word of God, the Son of God. What I’ve just stated about Jesus is referred to theologically as the hypostatic union. That can be a bit off-putting, can’t it. What it means is that in Jesus of Nazareth there exist two natures – human and divine – in one person. The two natures are distinct, whole, unchanged; they are not mixed together or confused. The one person, Jesus, is truly man and is truly God. 

OK, that’s all so much theory! How might that look in real life? I’m glad you asked! We’ll read through an incident in Jesus’ life to see what this really looks like. It’s from John 4.

So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. [John 4:5-6] Here we see Jesus the man. He is weary. God doesn’t become weary! We humans do become weary. Jesus was truly human.

Then it gets interesting. Jesus had sent His disciples into the city to buy food, while He stayed by the well and rested. A woman from the city comes out to draw water and Jesus initiates a conversation with her. That was highly unusual since He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan and there was significant animosity between the two groups. Here’s how it unfolds.

Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” . . . the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” . . . Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” [John 4:7-10]

The woman thinks that’s quite a claim. But she’s polite, so she challenges it very discreetly, with the astute observation that He has nothing with which to draw water! She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep: where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You? [good question!] Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” [John 4:11-14]

That’s quite a claim Jesus makes. The woman calls His bluff – I suspect she thought He was a kook and decided to put Him in His place! The woman said, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered, “I have no husband.” [John 4:15-17] If Jesus is God would He not have known she had no husband. Why ask her to do that?

Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” [John 4:17-18] Oh, the irony of it. She thinks He’s a kook who tells lies, while Jesus exposes her as one who tells a lie while telling the truth. Yeah, she doesn’t have a husband, but she’s living with a guy, and she’s HAD 5 husbands! Now, how did Jesus, the man, know that? The woman has an idea of what might be going on.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” She goes on to ask who is right about where to worship: Jerusalem, as the Jews say, or Samaria, as the Samaritans say. She’s shifting the discussion from her sins to controversial matters of religion. Jesus is glad to go in that direction, though, and tells her, “. . . an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” [John 4:19-24] Jesus’ answer cuts to the heart of the matter. Away with all the theological sturm und drang, away with all the lies and pretenses. God wants spiritual and truthful folk to worship Him, in fact, Jesus says the Father seeks such people.

Almost completely undone, the woman has one last recourse. The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” This is a questioning assertion: You’ve told me things You should not have known. We know One is coming who can do that. What kind of person are You, Mister? Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” [John 4:25-26] Jesus gives the woman a full, unequivocal, non-evasive disclosure: He is the Messiah. In His person is the hypostatic union! He is truly man, and He is truly God. Well, Jesus didn’t say anything to her about the hypostatic union, but He displayed it. Read the rest of John 4 to see what happened. 

We do well to ponder who Jesus is and what He did. He is truly man and has walked with us. He is truly God and knows all we’ve done and what’s in our hearts. We may not be able to fathom all this, but we can worship Him in spirit and truth. Jesus is the Word of God, the Son of God. He is the One who give us the water of life. It becomes in us a well for all our life. We do well to drink deeply from that well each day. 

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we thank You that You have come to us just as You did to the Samaritan woman. You met us where we live. You spoke truth to us, about who we are and what we need. You have invited us to drink from the well of the water of everlasting life. It is refreshing and satisfying. Help us share the good news of Your water of life. Amen.