Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Evangelism Helps from Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Got this picture from just4kidsmagazine.com via google images picture search for Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

We are studying through the book of John together for our Bible curriculum this semester. As we read this account I was reminded of Jesus' actual humanity. He found himself tired and thirsty. Sometimes I think I error thinking Jesus was like the fish from Nemo, Dori, who "just kept swimming, swimming, swimming." But he was just as frail in body as you or I. He felt things like we do. From the warmth of the burning noon sun on his body to the sweat that comes from bodily perspiration. The tingling of the dust thrown around his legs and under his feet as he walked along the dusty roads. He chose to become like us, dressing himself in flesh as He was re-knit together in Mary's womb. The Creator and Sustainer of all created to be like us. Such an amazing sacrifice leaving all His glory and the joy of the Trinitarian companionship just to be like one of us.

As we study this passage in John 4 I think it would be good to take note of Jesus' intentionality. First pious Jews avoided traveling through Samaria like the plague. There was prejudice and hate even toward these people who were relatives. Samaria, in the time after of King David and Solomon when the kingdom was split in two, was set up to be the Northern kingdoms capital and center of worship. Instead of making the Northern tribes travel all the way to Jerusalem to the temple of God that housed God's presence they set up Samaria. A substitutionary place of worship. This should not have been because God's presence resided in the temple alone (not limited to this place but this is where they were to come to worship and sacrifice).

When the Northern Kingdom was overtaken the Israelites were moved out leaving only the poorest of the poor among the people and other conquered people groups were placed there to dwell as well. So those people would intermarry making them a mixed race of people. Thus avoiding a trip through Samaria whenever possible. This however was not the case with Jesus. He came for all people and took His disciples through Samaria. Jesus also spoke and shared the good news of salvation with a woman. In these times Jewish men would not associate with women in public. But Jesus came and broke all the pious religious rules. He was the equalizer, all people are equal in worth in the eyes of God.

Jesus shares about living water, eternal life, personal details of her life, and true worship, then that He indeed is the Messiah. He uses the elements around him and her physical need of water to speak about the spiritual need of the living water or the coming Holy Spirit who is the believers guaranteed deposit for eternal life. He exposes some sin in her life which is necessary to show her a need for a Savior. He directs her to a better way. Informing her of things to come in people worshiping in Spirit and truth. In the near future upon Jesus death on the cross the curtain in the temple will tear itself in two exposing the Holy place of God. The reason for this is God's presence would now dwell in the temple or body of every individual who will believe in Christ. This is the very place now that will house the presence and Spirit of the Living God.

After this encounter with Jesus the woman responds, "28 Then the woman left her water jar, went off into the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Surely he can’t be the Messiah, can he?” 30 So they left the town and began coming to him" John 4:28-30.

This woman leaves the jar, the very reason why she approached the well, but Jesus left her with something so much more quenching--living water. She was so excited at the news and was apparently not embarrassed of her past life of sin because she shares her testimony with the town and the people start going to Jesus. Honestly when you are confronted by Jesus you have to make a crucial decision as to who you believe Him to be.

Now this next section is what I really want to show you when you see evangelism at work.

39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I ever did.”

We need to share about Jesus and what He has done for us and in our lives. This is what caused many to believe in Christ. She shared her personal testimony with them and they believed. 

40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they began asking him to stay with them. He stayed there two days, 41 and because of his word many more believed.

The Word of God will move in peoples hearts and has the power to make people believe. Speak the word in your conversations, sing it in psalms, share it in advice. The word has power to take root and here people also believe because of the very word of God. Know it well so you can share it fluidly in conversation.

42 They said to the woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one really is the Savior of the world.”

Then the people said it is not only because of her words and testimony but they know the Savior of the world is present among them because of His Word.  Our faith and personal relationship with Jesus must become our own and now it had become that to many Samaritans. 

Now I think this was a great reason for an intentional trip to Samaria, don't you. Jesus did. That is why He traveled that way. The way most Jews would not go.

I challenged us with this.

1-Sometimes you have to go to the places you would not usually think of going. Jesus was not afraid or put off by those who others disliked. We need not be afraid of those who are different from us. If God calls you there then go! He has some work to do through you for His glory. 

Where is God calling you that is different from your normal safe paved out path?

2-It is so important to share what Jesus is doing in your life. It may make the difference of someone being drawn to Him. Share it as much as you can. It may save a life for Heaven bound eternity.

3-Know the word. Hide it in your heart. Speak it and read it as often as you can. It may be the very thing God uses to again save a life for Heaven bound eternity.

Be faithful. Be intentional. Share Him with others. Know Him. Own your personal relationship. Pray.

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