Summary: The story of Jesus seeking and saving a lowly sinner.
What Jesus Did About Seeking Sinners
This particular incident in the Life of Christ has come to be accepted as the ultimate example of skillful soul winning. For those who desire to learn to be effective and fruitful soul winners, studying and understanding this true story is essential. Many books, tracts and tapes have been published about the best Biblical methodology of soul winning. Some of these materials have been widely disseminated, accepted and placed into practice with good results. But the basic principles found in this account of the Master soul winner bringing one soul to a saving knowledge of His love and grace, underlies all scriptural and successful soul winning plans. Let us examine some obvious facts found in this passage about our Saviour Seeking Sinners and Winning Souls.
JESUS’ MINISTRY FOCUSED UPON SEEKING, SAVING AND DISCIPLING SINNERS. This encounter with the woman at the well was clearly just a continuation of His extensive ministry of making and baptizing disciples. It seems that after His baptism by John and His calling of the apostles to be the foundation of that first New Testament Church of immersed believers he began to establish along the shores of Galilee, He immediately began to preach, teach and reach others with His message of Messiahship and salvation for those who would truly believe. It is also clear that those who were saved were then immediately baptized and called to be His disciples, learning the all things He would speak of later from the very lips of God incarnate in the flesh. Even the opposing pharisees recognized the great success of the soul winning and discipling efforts of the Master and the Master’s men.
Our ministry today should have the same focus. We even have the example of the Master soul winner to follow. We see his concern and compassion demonstrated when he left the safety and comfort of the familiar beaten paths and ventured far into the dangerous country of the despised Samaritans. Forgoing physical food and drink, He sought the ultimate spiritual blessing of guiding a poor lost soul into the kingdom of God! He tells his followers he had feasted upon spiritual food and drink that they knew not of. It might be good to ask ourselves how many of those He has called to be winners of souls have ever really personally sampled the spiritual food of which He speaks?
JESUS SOUGHT SINNERS WHERE THEY WERE. In our day and time it is difficult to understand the significance of the action of Jesus in going by this well in Samaria. Such wells were very important in the mid-Eastern culture of that day. As seen in the dialogue that follows between the Savior and a sinner, this well had an even great significance for both the Jews and Samaritans. It had been dug many centuries earlier by their common forefather, Jacob.
This well was also a central gathering place for the town folks of the little town of Sychar. Since they did not have newspapers and mass media, this was a place for gathering and getting the latest gossip and news of the day. We know that orthodox Jews just didn’t mix and mingle in such places with such despised and idolatrous people. They saw them as being just about as low as dogs.
Jesus’ decision to stop and share the gospel with anyone who might have been at the well surely shows His personal concern for sinners in their natural worldly habitat. It seems He did not expect them to come to the synagogues or the temple to hear an official proclamation of the Word of God. It would also seem He did not rely upon seeker services with new kinds of tools or clever methodology or manipulation either. He simply came alongside a sordid and sorry sinner and showed His love and concern for a single soul. What a great example for us today.
The story is told of a life saving station crew on a rock, stormy, shore hearing the sound of an S.O.S. on a terrible stormy night. As the crew made preparations to go to sea, a young crewman spoke up with a tremble of fear in his voice, "Captain, don’t you think the waters are too rough and winds too fierce for us to go out tonight?"
The Captain answered, "We must go! There is a ship in distress. The orders have come to go!" "But," the lad objected, "We may not come back," The captain replied, "Young man, we have not been commanded to come back . We have been commanded to go!"
Our main task is to get out the message of Christ gave us, no matter what the cost or price to be paid or response encountered. There can be no doubt that we have been commanded to go out into our dark, stormy and dangerous world with the vital and life saving message of the gospel. I do not know of one verse of scripture that says, "sit and I’ll sit with you." I know of no passage in the Bible that indicates that the lost sinner is obligated to row to where we are to hear the life saving message of the gospel. I have not seen even one verse that teaches or implies that a lost sinner has a primary responsibility to go to a Worship Service, Bible Study or any other church function to hear the gospel and be saved. But saved sinners are again and again reminded of their primarily responsibilty to SEEK SINNERS WHERE THEY ARE.