Joh 4 - Sharing faith
Listen up, everyone who thirsts
The Lord came to a town in Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6Jacob's well was there,
and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey,
sat down by the well.
It was about the sixth hour.
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water,
Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him,
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.
How can you ask me for a drink?”
(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10Jesus answered her,
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is
that asks you for a drink,
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
11“Sir,” the woman said,
“you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.
Where can you get this living water?
12Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us the well and drank from it himself,
as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him
will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.”
15The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty
and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16He told her,
“Go, call your husband and come back.”
17“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her,
“You are right when you say you have no husband.
18The fact is, you have had five husbands,
and the man you now have is not your husband.
What you have just said is quite true.”
19“Sir,” the woman said,
“I can see that you are a prophet.
20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain,
but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship
is in Jerusalem.”
“Believe me, woman,
a time is coming when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
22You Samaritans worship what you do not know;
we worship what we do know,
for salvation is from the Jews.
23Yet a time is coming and has now come
when the true worshipers
will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
24God is spirit,
and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25The woman said,
“I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26Then Jesus declared,
“I who speak to you am he.”
27Just then his disciples returned
and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.
But no one asked,
“What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28Then, leaving her water jar,
the woman went back to the town and said to the people,
29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.
Could this be the Christ?”
39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him
because of the woman's testimony,
“He told me everything I ever did.”
40So when the Samaritans came to him,
they urged him to stay with them,
and he stayed two days.
41And because of his words many more became believers.
42They said to the woman,
“We no longer believe just because of what you said;
now we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
“Listen up, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come…
Have you ever been thirsty?
I mean “really thirsty?”
To the point of being totally dehydrated?
Sometimes as Christians we feel empty inside
and we have very little to share with others
who are in need of a drink of living water.
How we feel and how we behave towards others depends
upon how much or how little of Christ’s living water
we have inside ourselves.
If we are overflowing,
we will feel joy,
and look forward to each day with enthusiasm.
We will radiate warmth,
and want to give to others.
On the other hand,
if we are empty,
which happens occasionally for almost everyone,
we will feel and act very differently.
We will feel depressed,
have little energy,
and dread the coming of the next day.
We will even try to fill our cup
With water from just about any source.
We will be unhappy,
and non-supportive of others.
We will have little of real value to share.
When we are empty,
we may feel envy or greed
when we see another person who is full,
and we may try to take some of their water for ourself.
We may criticize,
or put that person down,
thinking this will fill us up.
But it doesn't.
Or, we may go after material possessions,
pleasure, money, and success,
thinking that will fill our emptiness.
And it may seem to do that for a while,
but it's not lasting.
As a young man, Augustine,
one of the historical fathers of the church,
tried to fill the void in his life by chasing after wine,
women, and song.
Later he confessed,
"Lord, thou hast made us for thyself
and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee."
Many of our lives are so busy and hectic.
We're busy going places and doing things.
It's so easy to be constantly on the go-
going to church
going to meetings
going to help someone
going to children's activities
going to work -
going, going, going.
We are not much different than Jack
restocking the shelves in our spiritual life
with the same old sodas day after day.
And, like the woman at the well
we thirst for the living water that God alone can give.
In the first part of John 4,
we find a Samaritan woman hiking out to the well –
at high noon - in the heat of the day.
The usual time when women went to the well was toward evening,
when it was cooler.
Why was she going at the hottest time of day?
Was her life hectic and disorganized?
From verse 18,
we learn that she had five husbands
and the man she was presently living with
was not her husband.
Was she ashamed of the way she was living?
Perhaps she didn't want to be at the well with other women –
she may have feared they would look down their noses at her
and make her feel badly about herself
and the way she was living.
Whatever the reason –
it's high noon –
and we find the woman moving toward the well.
It's at the well that the longing of her heart is stilled.
She has time with Jesus and she gets a taste of God.
Jesus accepts her - a woman - a Samaritan –
a person who has made wrong choices,
who has messed up her life.
He sees beyond the boundaries of gender,
culture and moral correctness,
and he engages her in conversation.
Next, Jesus shares the truth with the woman.
He talks to her about her lifestyle;
and he talks to her about the true way to worship God.
Jesus gives her a life-transforming revelation:
“I, who speak to you am he – that is the Messiah.”
And instantly, she becomes a partner in evangelism.
Jesus looks with compassion to everyone
who needs another way of living.
The woman drank from the well of Christ’s healing love.
And as a result,
her encounter with the living Christ
became in her a spring welling up to eternal life.
She had living water to share.
She had been accepted as she was.
She had been given truth,
so she was ready to share it with others.
The woman had not completed a course in evangelism
before she went out.
She didn't have a seminary degree.
She hadn't had a very long relationship with Jesus,
but she made a very strong witness.
How did she do it?
She went to her acquaintances and said,
"Come and see....
Come and see a man who told me everything
I have ever done!
Could this be the Messiah?"
This woman didn't pretend to have all the answers.
She didn't witness by giving a lot of answers
to people who weren't even asking questions.
No, she just invited them to "come and see."
Some of us are afraid of doing evangelism
because we may have been turned off
by manipulative methods…
We have heard stories of evangelism strategies
that make us uncomfortable,
or we simply don't feel qualified to share our faith.
Evangelism doesn't have to mean that
We have to use confusing or misunderstood terms,
like salvation, and justification, and sanctification.
It doesn’t have to be a confusing mess of pop cans
in the soda aisle.
It can be a very natural conversation
like it was for the woman at the well.
She simply said to her friends and aquintances,
“Come and see; come with me;
come experience what I have experienced.”
Today, we don't have the earthly Jesus with us
the same way this woman had,
but we have the church - Christ's body.
Most of us interact daily with people who do not know Christ.
We are given so many opportunities to say,
“Listen up, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come…”
One of the most effective ways of sharing our living water
is just to say, “Come with me;
come with me to my Bible study group
or to the Young Adults meeting;
come with me to our worship service.
Come with me to a special event we are having.”
Being the church means
that we share our Christ encounters with others;
This often happens with people who are hurting.
The opportunities are endless:
A few years ago I had a phone call from a local Funeral Director.
He asked me if I would officiate
at the funeral of an 85 year old man
who apparently had no church connections
and who had taken his own life.
At first I did not know what to say.
But then I took down the phone number of a relative
who was in charge of the arrangements,
and I called to offer my services.
The man I talked to was a nephew of the old man;
He told me that his uncle had not been in church
for over twenty years,
and that they didn’t really expect many people at the funeral; he didn’t have many friends,
and the family was small.
The next day in church I shared the situation
with our congregation and I asked for wisdom and prayer.
The day of the funeral I felt deeply humbled
when more than 20 members of our church
sat among the funeral guests
giving testimony to the love of God,
who gives us an unshakable hope for eternity in Jesus Christ.”
Having tasted Christ’s living water in their own lives
these people had come,
some taking time off work,
to share their empathy with the hurting family.
Maybe you are here today,
Because your soul is thirsty for God.
Maybe you have gone looking
to satisfy the longing of your heart
in all the wrong places.
Maybe your relationships are messed up
Like those of the woman at the well.
Maybe you have achieved all kinds of successes
In the eyes of the world…
But you still feel empty inside
And you’re still wondering about the meaning of your life.
Then I invite you to come to the well
An have a heart to heart conversation with Jesus…
He will tell you everything you have ever done…
Not in a harsh and condeming way…
But with love and compassion…
And with God’s own desire to give you
The water of life eternal!
He will reveal himself to you as your healer…
He will forgive all your sins…
He will pour living water
Into your dry and parched soul…
And make you a new person.
You who thirst,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come…”
Then you too will leave everything behind
And go back to your family
and your school and your workplace…
and you will say,
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did…”
And they will come and see for themselves
And they will believe also…