1) Turning sorrow into joy (vs. 27-30). Vs. 28-she left her water jar. Where once she was fixated on literal water, now, after hearing about living water, her fixation is on that instead; so much so that she runs to tell others about it. How about us? What are we excited about? What are we fixated on? What’s more important to us-the material or the spiritual? Are we more concerned about earthly treasures or heavenly ones? This woman was excited. She who was once downcast and burdened with her past was now excited and joyous about her future. From the beginning of this woman’s encounter with Jesus until now we see a positive progression in her attitude toward Jesus as well as her understanding of who Jesus was. At first there was confusion, then hostility; eventually there was joy. At first she saw Jesus only as a Jew; later she saw him as a prophet and finally as the Savior. So it could be with us. At first, some people might have a negative view of Christians (based on what they’ve heard about them). Then, as time goes on, that image starts to melt away and eventually they see us in a better light. Also, before a person encounters us they may have seen God in a negative light (too harsh or judgmental). Then, through our testimony, they begin to realize that he’s loving and just. We can play a big part in resolving people’s misconceptions. It’s interesting-in verse 16 Jesus told her to go call her husband. She, embarrassed, could not do that. Now, she could go back, not embarrassed, but joyful; not to call one man but a whole town! Vs. 29-“everything I ever did”. I don’t think she was purposely lying in order to pique their interest. Perhaps the statement was due to pure excitement. It could’ve been just her way of summarizing what Jesus did reveal to her. It could be that Jesus actually told her things not mentioned here; maybe she figured that since Jesus revealed something about her he couldn’t possibly have known then he must know everything else about her too. Vs. 29-‘could this be the Christ?’ I don’t think this was spoken in doubt but in an effort to draw them in. “Could this be the Christ? Come see for yourself.” I shared last week that being a good witness for Christ means saying something that would draw them in and get them interested. This is what we find this woman doing. Vs. 30-They came out and made their way toward him. The effect of the woman’s experience with Jesus led her to affect others with the reality of Jesus. She not only said something that got their attention but she also showed something that got their attention. The townspeople would’ve picked up not only on her extreme statement but also the change in her demeanor. It was evident that something had happened to her. Notice her excitement allowed her to release any hostility towards the townspeople. Where before the townspeople didn’t want anything to do with her because of her history with men, where before she had to fetch water at midday because she was ostracized by the other women she now was willing to go and tell anyone who would listen about her newly found source of hope. She could’ve just stayed at the well, taken everything in and walked away and kept it to herself. She could’ve held onto her anger and hostility. But no; she excitedly wanted everyone to know. I think part of the reason might have her being able to tell them, “I’m not a nobody anymore. I found someone who truly cares about me. Come see the one who has shown me what love is.” What about us? What kind of effect has Jesus had on us? Does it show? Would people see a difference in us? Has Jesus made such an impact on our lives on us that we are telling others?
2) Harvest time (Vs. 31-38). Vs. 34-‘My food’. Jesus is trying to do for his disciples the same thing he did for the woman. Where he said to her, ‘stop focusing on literal water and focus on living water’. Here he’s saying, ‘stop thinking about literal food and start thinking about heavenly food’. Vs. 35-“Open your eyes”. Jesus is saying to them, “Open your eyes and look around! Yes, Samaria is your harvest field too.” Jesus would be telling us the same thing where we are. “Here; in the city? This is the harvest field? The crops don’t look too good around here. The land’s going to be a lot harder to till. Might be too much work and not enough produce.” Maybe. But then again, you might be surprised. “Sometimes sharing Christ takes interesting forms. For months I left the church well into the late night hours. Periodically I would see a man huddled on the corner of our property. At first I feared the man. You see our neighborhood is rough and we have many homeless individuals that roam the street at night. So, for the most part I avoided him. However, I could not avoid him when he began to visit our church services. When I finally approached the man, I found him to be delightful (yes, a bit smelly, but a joy to know). Things began to change in our relationship. When I would leave the church at night I always included a stop to see "Dave" on my way out. Months had passed and we shared so many great conversations. I quickly learned that Dave wanted nothing more from me than friendship. He asked for nothing and required nothing other than a good conversation. After several months Dave vanished. I feared the worst. I made some calls and found nothing. Dave appeared to have left. I was disappointed that my new friend would leave without saying a word. 3 Months passed when I was shocked to see him again. The story that he shared was one that surprised me. He had turned himself into authorities. He had a 3 month jail term to serve, and he wanted to serve that so he could get on with his life. He wanted to serve Christ but knew that this was a responsibility he had to deal with. Shortly after being released we linked up again. He entered a treatment home for drug abuse, and recommitted his life to Christ. He secured gainful employment and after time even purchased a truck. He worked hard everyday because he knew it was God that he served and not man. And today he is a vibrant Christian, business owner, and on his way to marriage. It all started over friendship. I judged him, thinking he would obviously want something I couldn’t give. Yet, the one thing he needed I needed just as much. You see, Dave revived my life. He changed my perspective on evangelism and church growth. Sometimes all people need in order to find Jesus is to find Jesus in someone else first.” Scottish proverb, “Do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat.” Vs. 36-38-‘Others have done the hard work and you’re benefitting from it but we’re all working together to achieve the same goal’. Jesus is telling them, ‘be thankful; the prophets labored, John the Baptist labored and I’m laboring and laying the groundwork now for evangelism later (when Philip went to Samaria-Acts 8:5-8). The disciples have a unique privilege to have been able to benefit from the work that others did before them. So us too. We have a privilege even the disciples didn’t have. We have the full writings of the NT to inspire us and guide us. We need to see the benefits we have that they didn’t. We have easier communication, easier travel, easier access to information; all to make it easier for us to spread the gospel and yet we will still say it’s too much work.
3) Convincing words (Vs. 39-42). Vs. 39-Notice that the Samaritans responded to such an invasive statement, ‘He told me everything I ever did’. That could send many people running away not coming closer. But we see the desire among the Samaritans. Notice also that this woman was very limited in her knowledge of Jesus but she had a powerful testimony. This should give confidence to anyone who thinks they aren’t smart enough or spiritual enough to share the gospel. This woman didn’t know a lot but she was able to persuade a whole town to come towards Jesus to hear more. In her sinful state she influenced no one. But now, because of Jesus, she was able to influence the whole town. Isn’t it like just like Jesus to use such a vessel to do such great things? Maybe you’re here today feeling like you are insignificant and you’re thinking, ‘I don’t see myself ever doing anything worthwhile’. Hopefully the example of the Samaritan woman will inspire you to believe in what the power of God can accomplish in and through anyone-even you. Vs. 40-“They urged him to stay”. They wanted to know more. They had a hunger and thirst for spiritual drink and spiritual food. They were eager to listen to the words of Jesus. We see Jesus was willing to stay with them for two days, yet he really was just passing through. Jesus was willing to entertain this interruption because it served a divine purpose. What about us? Are we willing to allow divine interruptions in order to be a worker in the harvest field? And here we see Jesus being willing to continue to break down barriers. It was bad enough that he was travelling through Samaria; worse that he was talking with these Samaritans; now he was going to be staying with them, eating with them! Later in John 8:48 we see the Jews say to Jesus, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” No doubt the Jews were using the term Samaritan as an insult to Jesus but the statement also implies that they were ridiculing Jesus for his time spent with the Samaritans. Jesus was willing to be associated with the Samaritans and endure mistreatment from others because of it; to be able to minister to them. What about us? The following is from an article by Dick Staub titled, Please Pass the Salt: What We Can Learn from Jesus About Engaging Our World. “Many years ago I attended a birthday party for my gay friend and co-worker, Julian. Sixty gay men and four straight women had gathered to celebrate in a high-rise penthouse with a dramatic sweeping view of the San Francisco Bay. Greeting me warmly, Julian exuberantly kissed me on both cheeks (something that never happened at the office, I assure you). I took a deep breath and ventured into a scene that was well outside my comfort zone. I chuckled quietly, asking myself a familiar question: ‘What in the world am I doing here?’ Actually, I knew exactly why I was there. I had prayed with some friends about this occasion just a few hours earlier. I’ve always thought of events like Julian’s party as ‘wedding feast of Cana’ situations. As so often happens when I follow Jesus into the world, opportunities appear. Because I listened as the partygoers told me about their journeys, by 2:00 a.m. five of them were gathered with me in a corner talking about spiritual things.” Here is a man who went beyond his social circle and outside his comfort zone. The result: He got to share spiritual truth with five people he never would have been able to reach otherwise. Vs. 41-“Because of his words”. The irony is that the Samaritans, who didn’t have the benefit of the prophetic scriptures (they only had the Pentateuch), readily received Jesus at his word. The Jews, however, had the benefit of all the OT writings, and even had the benefit of hearing Jesus, yet they wanted more Luke 11:27-32. Jesus said blessed are those who hear the word and obey the word. Then he rebukes those who hear the word but want signs attached to it. The Ninevites responded to the word, the Queen of Sheba traveled great distances to hear the word. The Samaritans responded to the word without the request for further proof. Not so with the Jews who asked for signs in order to believe. What about us? Do we take Jesus at his word or do we demand further proof? Vs. 42-Notice that the testimony of the woman was not enough; they needed to encounter Jesus themselves. So it is true today. As powerful as our testimony may be, people will still need to encounter Jesus. Only through that can they be won over for Him. But the question is: are we bringing people to Jesus? If not, why not? Do we care? Are we afraid? Are we ashamed? Look what happened because Jesus was willing. Look what happened because the woman was willing. Look what’s happening today because people are willing. If you’re a Christian it’s because someone was willing to share Christ with you. Someone cared that you were going to hell; someone wanted you to find joy and life. Someone wanted you to have the greatest gift ever. Someone wanted you to have Jesus. We owe it to others to do for them what someone was willing to do for us? Keeping that treasure to ourselves is a disgrace. The fields are ripe for harvest. Let’s go!