Summary: Jesus encountered two types of people during His ministry: those who accepted Him, believed in Him, and regarded Him as a teacher with remarkable, God-given authority, or those who just wanted a miracle. The same is still true today.
“A Sychar Christian or a Cana Christian?”
Sermon by Rev. Mike Reed
May 4, 2014
Swan Quarter, North Carolina
1874 – Methodists approach Sam Sadler, ask him to sell property in center of town near courthouse. He refused. They accepted property given to them in another part of town and built. They had the floor, walls and roof finished and prepared for the dedication on Sept. 17, 1876. On Sept. 16 a storm at near hurricane strength hit Swan Quarter, flooding the town. The little building was lifted up and floated down the road. It took three turns before coming to rest on the lot that had been refused to them by Sam Sadler. Mr. Sadler recognized that God wanted the church on that piece of property and quickly gave the land to the church. The little building and the church is still there today.
Sometimes a person has to see God move in a very obvious way before they will accept His will. Others will listen to Jesus’ words and believe without seeing any miracle. It was the same in Jesus’ day. Jesus wanted so much for people to listen to Him, learn and believe. He wanted them to grow in their faith and enjoy their relationship with God the Father. Yet, some people never got past the point of just wanting to see another miracle.
Look with me at the story of two very different groups of people found in the fourth chapter of John:
JOHN 4: 39-53
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee.44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.
A Nobleman’s Son Healed
46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”
50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.
Time after time, day after day, as Jesus tried to teach people about the Kingdom of God, he would be interrupted by those who only desired to have a relative or close friend healed. Sometimes it was healing for themselves. It became extremely frustrating for Jesus. Certainly He cared for each person, but He wanted to do so much more than heal them – he wanted to see them experience a relationship with God! He could empower His disciples to heal, but he couldn’t yet trust His disciples to teach what they did not understand. Besides, healing was a ministry to one person at a time, and that was slow. Jesus wanted to teach hundreds at a time.
When Jesus went to the city of Sychar, He sent His disciples into the city while he sat outside the city walls at the well. We know this story well. The woman came to the well at the hot part of the day because she didn’t want to come while the other women of the city would commonly be there, early in the day and late in the day – when it’s cooler. Her reputation was bad, and she was somewhat ashamed. On this day, however, she met a man she didn’t know: Jesus. Jesus had an eye-opening conversation with her and convinced her that He was indeed the Messiah. She ran into town and told everyone she met about the man at the well – THE MESSIAH!! The town rushed out to meet Jesus! After meeting Jesus they begged Him to stay. He did, and the next few days recorded were exactly what Jesus wanted – people to believe without miracles!! The city of Sychar was converted with just Jesus’ word! That’s the rest of the story! So often we focus on the woman at the well, but the conversion of the rest of the city without a healing – now that’s the REST OF THE STORY.