Summary: This sermon examines the process of impacting a city for Jesus Christ.
Last week I began a three part series entitled "Impacting Our City For Christ." Jesus said we are to be like "salt" or "light". These metaphors represent something that influences or impacts. For a text we used John 4:7-12. “A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” (John 4:7-12; NKJV) Last week I pointed out that Jesus influenced this lady and in turn influenced her city, through her. Let me highlight the first part of the series.
I. Truth: Jesus got involved with people. He influenced the woman of Samaria (and her city through her)by getting involved in her life.
A. He left the religious confines of Jerusalem and went to Samaria. Even so, we must be willing to get outside the walls of our church. We must get involved with the people of our community.
B. He invested time into His relationship with her. He spent time talking, answering questions and sharing truth.
II. Truth: Jesus connected with people.
Jesus overcame four barriers in ministering to the Samaritan woman.
1. There was a religious barrier. She was not Jewish. The other day I spoke with a man about church and the first thing he said was “I am Catholic.” Religion is a barrier.
2. There was a racial barrier. She was a person of mixed nationalities. Even today that proves to be a barrier.
3. There was a sexual barrier. In their day a Jewish man did not speak to an unknown lady in public, especially a woman with a questionable back ground.
4. There was a moral barrier. In verse 18 we learn that she had had five husbands and was currently living with a man. That was a barrier.
Jesus broke down the barriers by connecting with the woman. How did He do this?
A. He connected by not condescending or looking down His nose at the lady.
Illustration: Several years ago I preached a revival in Rapid City South Dakota. There were a number of preachers who made the trip to South Dakota. On our first day in town they had a meal for all of us. At that meal several people shared testimonies of how they came to make the trip to South Dakota. One man made a statement that caused me to cringe. He said “I do not know why God would send me to this God forsaken place.” I thought to myself “Why doesn’t he just throw hot water in these people’s faces.” Later that week, my host pastor and his wife shared with me, based on that man’s statement. They said “it really disturbs us when Christians from the south come up here and act like they are the saviors of this pioneer area.” That is condescending. Jesus never treated anyone as a lesser person. It did not matter whether they were demon possessed, had moral problems, were a leper, or were a thug, Jesus loved and treated them as if they were special.
B. He connected on an intimate level. Let me explain. Jesus spoke with this lady about some personal subjects. He discussed her religious background. He discussed her marital failures. She had had five husbands. He discussed morality. She was living with a man. He discussed race. Those are some touchy subjects. How could He get away with talking about such delicate subjects? There is a key. He had earned her respect. For Him, a Jewish man, to speak to her in public was huge. He showed that He was interested in her. He showed that He cared about her. When people know that you love and care about them, that means a lot. Love and compassion will open doors that otherwise will be sealed.
Illustration: A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Home Improvement. In this episode Tim was having trouble with his oldest son Brad. It seemed as if nothing Tim said or did would connect with Brad. Brad was in rebellious mode. At one point Tim and Brad are in Tim’s shop. Tim crushes his hand in a vice. At the time he was preparing to cut a piece of metal with his cutting torch. Since he had crushed his hand he was unable to complete the cut. Brad tells his dad he will make the cut. At first Tim thinks Brad to be “too” young. However, he gives in and allows Brad to make the cut. When Tim shows that he respects Brad, as a person, his son opens up and communicates.