Focal Passage: John 4:11-26
Over the past few months, our church has been engaged in a search for two new ministry leaders. As numerous résumés have arrived and our committee has diligently considered each one, it doesn’t take long upon an initial glance to know if a candidate meets our criteria and is qualified for the role. Our team has been quick to set aside those who don’t qualify and pursue those who do.
While this method is what most search committees utilize when making personnel decisions, we as believers can unknowingly use this same rubric when it comes to who we consider might believe the gospel.
Because of our own lack of faith, we often look at a person’s life and appearance, their past, and other details, and determine that our evangelism would automatically fall on deaf ears. I think we’ve all been guilty of bypassing people that we predetermine are “unsavable.” However, in John 4, Jesus reminds us through His encounter with a Samaritan woman that God is able to change anyone’s life when they turn to the Savior.
In the first century, the Jews considered the Samaritans as dirty, ungodly, despised and outside of God’s love. It was even considered improper for a Jew literally to step foot in their region.
However, Jesus purposely walked through this taboo territory because there was a distressed, sinful woman that needed to experience the grace of God. John reports that she was at a well around noon, not because this was the most favorable time to draw water, but precisely the opposite. She was filled with so much shame due to her sexual immorality that she arrived at a time when no one would be around — except for Jesus.
Our Lord initiates a conversation with her by asking for water, but he only uses thirst as a metaphor to describe the spiritual thirst that all humans have because of a parched relationship with God due to sin. Jesus promises that He can give her “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (v. 14).
After confronting her with her sexual immorality and explaining the essence of true spiritual worship, Jesus confesses that he is indeed the Messiah she has heard was coming into the world. Following this discussion, the woman believed, which is evidenced by her dropping her water jar and telling everyone in town that she has found the Christ (vv. 28-29). The Samaritan woman’s life had been forever changed by Jesus.
While there are many lessons we can learn from this famous encounter, one of the most practical is the simple truth that anyone can be saved if they are introduced to Jesus. Rather than having preconceived notions of who might be the most likely to believe, we must consider every person made in the image of God as a valuable prospect to share Christ with.
However, often this means getting out of our comfort zones by meeting them where they are, having honest discussions about their sin, answering difficult questions, and pleading with them to trust Jesus or face eternal judgment. As we follow the model of our Lord, let’s never hesitate to offer the spiritual water of the gospel to anyone in the world, knowing that “whoever drinks” will have eternal life. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R