"Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour."
The first thing that caught my attention in this first part of the story was that Jesus "was weary from his journey." There's probably an entire sermon in there some place. I guess I just never imagined Jesus as getting tired. It was Jesus who said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Jesus WAS God in the flesh, in a human body, so I guess that's understandable the he might get weary. I just never thought about it.
The other thing that was kind of cool was that Jesus was just sitting there. Why would someone come to a well and just sit there? During the hottest part of the day ("the sixth hour," noon)? With no means of getting any water out of the well? Gee. It's almost like he was waiting for someone! And he was. :)
So the Samaritan woman shows up and Jesus asks her for a drink.
"A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
She had no clue who she was talking to. I wonder if any of us have had "no clue" when interacting with "someone" - without knowing who they were in reality . . . Check this from Hebrews 13:2
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Has God ever placed "strangers" in your path? Have you ever met someone who already knew your name or encountered another person who encouraged you or built into your life somehow right when you really needed it? Hmm. Think about it. Back to The Well.
There's a lot of interesting things in this story. Many lessons to be learned. Please read it! But I'd like to skip ahead to end of the story and discuss what happened when the Samaritan woman realized who she was talking to. What exactly did she do after she encountered God in the flesh, Emmanuel? Here's verse 28.
"So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did."
This was quite the evangelistic moment! This story and the woman's reaction to The Good News, is our example of what we ALL should be doing as believers! As soon as this lady realized who she had been talking to . . . that this man was the Messiah . . . she went home and told everyone!
This had to have been a watershed moment in this woman's life. And it should have the same type of effect for each of us when we first come to believe!!! Yes!!!!
But what happened? Why aren't we sharing our faith, excitedly? Daily?
I remember reading this quote a few years ago. It's by a guy named Charles Peace, a 19th century habitual criminal in England. Just before he was about to be executed for killing someone, he confessed this to a reverend who was visiting him. This guy was an atheist.
"Sir, I do not share your faith. But if I did – if I believed what you say you believed – then although England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would crawl the length and breadth of it on hand and knee and think the pain worthwhile, just to save a single soul from this eternal hell of which you speak.” ~Charles Peace
The woman at the well went running back home to tell her family and friends. I assumed she was running because she left her water jar behind, she was in such a hurry! And yet, many of us Christians feel content with doing nothing. We just sit in church one hour a week and call it good. That CAN'T be right. The story of the Samaritan Woman is in the Bible for a reason. To teach. To instruct. To encourage.
When I look at myself, a self-professed Christian, I too often can easily find excuses to do nothing - to just sit and read my Bible like a good little believer. Totally ignoring the command of Jesus when He told us to "go and make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19) It's a command, from God!!
Here's my suggestion for this holiday season. Pray that God might provide you with an opportunity to share your faith with someone in your life. Pray that you will become aware of that opportunity through God's Holy Spirit. Then share the Gospel!! If you were sick and had in incurable disease wouldn't you appreciate it if someone gave you the cure? Of course you would. So how is telling someone who is spiritually dying that there is a way they can truly live?
Share your faith with someone this Christmas. Spiritually RUN to tell them like the woman at the well did and tell them about how Jesus changed YOUR life. They'll be glad you did.
Friday, November 23, 2012
It doesn't take much of an effort to stray of the righteousness path these days. The Internet, television and movies all contribute to the downward slide of our society as a whole in this post-modern world. But really, the problem doesn't lie with the media so much as it exists within each of us. These diversions that tempt us each day are only provided as options, a veritable smorgasbord of sin to chose from. WE are the ones who make a choice. WE are the ones who choose.
We make choices every day. Some of them are good choices. Some seem so right at the time but, in the end, when things take a turn for the worse, the goodness or badness of our choices become painfully obvious. I have a theory about choices. I believe that the number of bad choices we make is inversely proportional to the amount time we spend in God's Word.
When I read the Bible I find myself wanting to be like Jesus. He was always helping others, talking to people about their faith, showing compassion for those who were widowed or orphaned. It didn't matter to Jesus what sins people had committed in the past. He wanted to help them by offering forgiveness of their sins. He healed the leper and gave sight to the blind.
As I read those stories, sin is far from my mind. I am all about compassion. I am all about helping others. But as soon as I get out there in the world, my Bible left at home on the shelf, I forget all of that "Jesus stuff" and return to the all-about-me things that always seem to get me into trouble in the first place.
I think our lives are very much like the old saying, "You are what you eat." If I spend my time in front of a television watching soap operas or in a movie house watching horror flicks, my mind, my thoughts, are going to develop certain tendencies or desires. If I fill my time reading the Bible or spend it listening to Christian music or volunteering at the local food pantry, my mind will become filled with heavenly things, not things of this world.
So, if we are to become more like Christ and live as examples to others (Ephesians 5:1-2) how can we best do that? By spending time playing Black Ops? By watching Dancing With the Cardassians, or whatever it's called? Or do we become more like Christ by trying to live as HE did? Feeding the poor, showing compassion to those in our lives who are hurting?
When our time comes to die and we find ourselves standing in front of Jesus one day, how will we answer when He asks us how we spent our time? As the Christmas season approaches we should all look at our choices. Are they God-honoring? Or are they self-focused? Will our decisions lead us off the straight and narrow path? Or will they follow the example that has been set before us. Whatever we choose, we WILL be held accountable. We should seek God first in all that we decide. If we would just do that, place God first in our lives, our choices would be SO much better than they are now. :)
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." - Ephasians 4:32