Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Woman At the Well [is this you?]

In John 4 Jesus meets a woman at a well. Jesus strikes up a conversation with this woman revealing His true nature to her. Jesus' words make this woman realize she is living a life that is NOT what God desires! Jesus' words forever change this woman. We all have heard the story of the woman at the well, but do we know how that story applies IN our lives? Look at these statements about this encounter and see how it applies to YOU:

1) She heard Him: John 4:8 - Jesus spoke to her and she heard him, and she really didn't understand why He was speaking to HER.  When God comes to us, many of us don't know why, or even know who... we simply are in the dark.

2) She listened to Him: In John 4:11 - Jesus began to share about Himself and she began to engage in the conversation with Him, more than just hearing Him, she was listening and paying attention. If we listen to God's call, if we engage Him, we will hear what we need to hear.

3) She responded Him: John 4:15 - Jesus tells her of eternal life and she immediately desires what He is offering and asks Him to give it to her. Don't we ALL want to 'go to heaven'? Don't we all desire something eternal and lasting? Many who hear the Gospel WANT it to be true...

4) She confesses to Him: John 4:17 - Jesus asks to speak with her husband and she confesses that she does not have a husband but living with a man after 5 failed marriages. This is the hardest part, we know we have sin in our lives, but are we ready to confess that sin? She was... She did!

5) She challenges Him: John 4:19 - She knows something is different about this man, but after He touches the subject of her sin, she diverts the conversation and challenges the Jewish view on worship. Like most of humanity, when faced with our own shortcomings, we deflect and attempt to turn the conversation to some other subject...

6) She PINES for peace: John 4:25 - She tells of the One whom she has been taught about and that ONE day He will come and I believe in her mind she believed that she would be proven right and the Jews would be proven wrong... but the important matter here is that because of her sinful state she could not see what was right in front of her face! We all desire peace... the trouble is that we don't all know how to find true Peace... Peace is not a state of mind... Peace is NOT about being right... Peace is found in a person - Jesus Christ!

7) Her EYES are opened: John 4:27-28 - v27 is a very simple statement, "Just then the disciples came back..." Simple, yes, but there is a subtle revelation here many overlook. I believe this statement was intentional by John, but is almost always glossed over because of its simplicity... John said that after Jesus told this woman  who He was (the Messiah) the disciples returned from their shopping trip into town. It is at this point the woman's countenance and demeanor change... What happens here that OPENS her eyes to who Jesus was? This woman had been speaking with the Sovereign Lord of the Universe clothed in flesh and had NOT seen it... BUT... when other men came along side of Him, His countenance and identity shined forth like a brilliant bright that she could NOT hold her excitement within herself and she immediately breaks out into a run into town! She had encountered the Savior and her life was now changed! She had to tell others about this man who was SO different from other men!

8) Her LIFE was changed: John 4:28 - She had seen the Christ and He had touched her life and now she simply HAD to tell others! She runs town and shares about this 'man' she had met. Others could see that there was something different about her, after all she must have been known around town as a woman who had been married 5 different times and that now she was living with a man without being married to him. I am sure her 'reputation' was not the most sparkling in the town, but something had changed in her eyes, her voice, her demeanor... something so radical and different that the people not only hear her, but listen to her witness!

9) Her WITNESS is powerful: John 4:29 - When we look at her witness we see it was 1st of all personal... She was telling about what had happened to HER! 2nd we see that it was a witness pointing TO God and not her change! Finally it was a witness of wonder and excitement... "Can this be the Christ?" You can almost here the excitement and anticipation in her voice as she proclaims her story to those in the town! We know that her witness was one of excitement because the people respond, and they come out to see this man she had told them about!

10) Her WITNESS was effective: John 4:39-42 - the people came and heard Jesus teach and Scripture tells us that MANY believed because of the woman's testimony. But another 'effective' witness is found here and that is the witness of Christ IN us...that it is NOT us that has made ourselves change but Christ IN us that has changed us...the power of Christ is revealed in v42 when the people tell her that her witness got there attention but it was Jesus who is the Savior!

Oh that we would be the witness like this woman. We are all sinners and we ALL fall terribly short of what God desires of our life. We may NOT have 5 failed marriages. We may NOT be living in an adulterous relationship...BUT... there are things within our lives that break the heart of God because they violate His commandments and His desire for how He desires us to live for Him. Your sin may not be the sin of this woman, but YOUR sin is no better!

Here is the Good News... even while we are sinners, Christ has DIED for us so that we can come to know Him as Savior! He died for us so we could partake of the 'living water' He proclaimed to this woman! We CAN experience what she experienced, we CAN know the Christ and experience His life giving power in our lives! My challenge is that when we DO experience His power in our lives that we go and do like this woman did! I pray that we become POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE witnesses for Christ in our everyday lives as she did!

We need to understand that there were those in the town who would have doubted her and believed her to be of no worth to God... to be impossible to fix... to be the last person on earth that God would use! Likewise, there are many believer who have people in our lives that know us and we may think that they would never believe God has changed us. After all, they know us too well and all our 'dirty' little secrets, but the story here is very clear... the people of this town knew this woman and they responded to the power of her witness because it was about Christ, not her!

I challenge you to share YOUR life and what Christ has done for YOU, only make the focus of your witness about HIM and not you! If we are willing to do this, He will use us to reach and touch those we never believed we could reach and touch! I challenge you to BE the woman at the well today... let your excitement and anticipation about what God is going to do spur you to powerful and effective action for Christ! Like her, you will see the world sit up and take notice of the radical change in your life and MANY will come to know Him because of it... Go forth today!

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