Summary: Equality, Worth, Love, Missions
THE WELL – A Place for All People
John 4:9 (p. 741) February 15, 2015
My brother and I were down in Fort Lauderdale for a vacation several years ago. He has a time share and we were just enjoying some time together and eating our way down the treasure coast...we both love seafood so we’d been asking people....“where’s the best seafood restaurant?” And, the answer kept coming back, “The 15th Street Fishery,” so I called them up and made reservations for the evening. I also asked, “what’s the dress code...and the guy said, “casual.” Now casual to Sam and I means “shorts and a T-shirt.” I still remember, “He had on his KY verses FL T-shirt with a gator fighting a wildcat, jean shorts and tennis shoes. I had on a Harley T-shirt (I know, shocking huh?), jeans and boots...and a hat.
As we walked in, greeted by a maitre d’ in a tux, after we had given our keys to valet parking...we encountered super dressed up patrons, preppiness oozed from every person in this very upper class restaurant, I asked our waiter, “I thought dress was casual...He said, “It is...then he brought us a menu...with 7 course meals and “no prices.”
Now Sammy and I aren’t afraid to pay for a great meal...especially when I say Sammy and I and I mean “Sammy!” But for the two of us, including tip, it was $150. Our favorite part of this very interesting meal was the 4th course...a little glass was brought out filled with what looked like “Ice Cream.” We laughed and asked what it was...we knew we were only mid-meal and it wasn’t dessert...and the waiter said, “It’s sorbet...to cleanse your pallet!” Sammy and I still laugh about that line.
My point...don’t say you’re open to welcome everyone, even two KY boys in jorts and jeans if you’re not! We felt more awkward than a member of PETA in a KFC.
Church can be that way for lost, hurting and damaged people if we’re not careful. Just because we say “Everyone is welcome” and we sing, “Just As I Am” doesn’t mean it’s a reality. And I’m not talking about dress codes or types of worship services. I’m talking about an attitude of members that either celebrates “new people, or silently looks at “new people” with cautious judgments.
You see it’s scary to come to the well when you’ve lived a life outside of God...It’s embarrassing to come to the well at the same time all the respectable do...even though you might thirst for something better.
Jesus knew “The Well” is a place for all people, Jew and Samaritan, men and women, Messiah and messy.
We have to ask ourselves...
I. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CHURCH REFUSES TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE WORLD?
In this encounter at the well the Samaritan woman assumed that what was true for most Jewish male Rabbi’s...must be true for this Jewish man sitting in front of her at Jacob’s well...“Jews do not associate with Samaritans”...literally you can translate this statement to say, “Jews don’t use dishes that Samaritan’s have used.”
It comes from the same reason Jews walked around Samaria when travelling from Judea to Galilee or vice versa...Samaritan dirt made you unclean, spiritually. Anything that had to do with this pagan, half breed worthless people was something to be avoided at all costs.
But Jesus was at the well because of her. She was the reason He had to go through Samaria...His purpose...His mission of seeking and saving the lost could be captured in His encounter...not only was he willing to associate with her, to drink out of the same cup, he wanted nothing more than for her life to be changed completely. His thoughts were for her salvation...not his reputation.
When the church refuses to associate with the world it becomes self focused instead of mission focused.
1. Self-focused instead of mission focused.
The danger for all of us as fallen, sinful human beings is to try and find satisfaction and pleasure outside of God’s plan...It’s the temptation Satan, the serpent, used in the Garden of Eden...and it’s still the temptation he uses in 2015.
The Samaritan woman certainly seems to have thought “If I have the right relationship I’ll be satisfied, I’ll be happy, and yet 5 “I do’s” later she was shacking up with a guy without even the legal rights of marriage. Her self-focus ended in failure...but sometimes the greater danger is “worldly success.”
[Francis Chan, the author of “Crazy Love” and “Forgotten God” said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter!”]
Satan loves helping us succeed at things that don’t really matter, especially when the church loses its mission and purpose, and leaves its “first love.”