Summary: "O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer's praise," we sing, but the fact is, God only gave us one tongue because one is enough.
It is hard to believe, but one man determined how we as
Americans pronounce and spell words. When we began as a new
and independent nation, Noah Webster thought is was only right
that we stop be a copy of the English, and develop our own original
ways of spelling words. Andrew Jackson said, "It is a mighty poor
mind that can't think of more than one way to spell a word." This
was no joke, but was taken seriously by our forefathers, and this
nation began with an unbelievable variety of words spellings. It
was a sort of creative phonetics in which each writer sounded out
the word, and used the letters that best suited his pronunciation.
One could find general spelled jinerll, and February as febrewarie.
Webster said that we need some rules for unity, and to inspire
pride in our own national language. In 1803 he gave up journalism
and teaching, and he shut himself away from the world for 3 years.
He then published a dictionary that had 5 thousand words that had
never been in any dictionary. Then he spent the next 20 years
laboring on his larger work An American Dictionary Of The
English Language. He published it in 1828, and it is the
grandfather of all American dictionaries.
If you wonder why you write theater rather than theatre, it is
because of Webster. He threw out most of our old endings, and he
made words like honor just end in or rather in our. The point is,
one man determined to make the American language unique, and
distinct from old English, accomplished that goal, and now for over
150 years millions of people speak and write in conformity to this
one man's choice. Words are now called right or wrong because of
this one man's decision as to how they should be spelled.
True stories of one man crusaders to change the lives of millions
are a fascinating part of history. If you read the history of Alaska,
you will discover that one Presbyterian missionary by the name of
Sheldon Jackson made Alaska what it is. He built schools and
churches all over Alaska. He single handedly hounded the U. S.
Congress until they passed bills to fund education for the natives.
Congress appointed him U. S. Commissioner of Education for
Alaska. He became a one man army to save Alaskans from the
suffering due to ignorance. There were fleets of exploiters who
recklessly slaughtered their game, and many Eskimos were dying.
Jackson took it upon himself to raise money from the churches in
the United States.
Jackson brought 16 reindeer from Liberia, and by this move he
made the Eskimos self-supporting, and sure of food. It was so
successful that congress gave him money to get more, and the whole
history of the Eskimos was changed and made secure. We can't list
the many other things this one man did for a people he dearly loved,
but he proves again that one man is enough to make a world
One woman is also enough, as we see in the case of our text. It is
amazing that in a male dominated world, like the New Testament
times, that a woman should be revealed to be the most successful
witness Jesus ever had in His lifetime. We have no record of
anyone, not even any of the 12, or even of all of them put together,
ever becoming such fruitful witnesses for Christ, as we see in this
woman at the well. Not only is she a woman, which was two strikes
against her already, but she was something less than honorable.
She was the kind of woman who would be read about more in a
Hollywood gossip column than in the society page of the temple
news letter. She had been with 5 husbands, and was then living
with a man she was not married to.
This woman was no quitter, that is for sure, but none the less she
was not the kind of woman you would like to be the chairperson of
your evangelism committee. Jesus did not, of course, make her
anything. He just convinced her that He was the Messiah, and she
went back to town and became a powerful witness. So much so that
we read in verse 39, "Many Samaritans from that city believed in
Him because of the woman's testimony." We do not know how
many this many was, but Jesus in verse 35 said to His disciples, as
the crowd came out of the city to see for themselves, "I tell you, lift
up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest."
You get a picture of a vast crowd of people coming with their white
robes flowing like grain in the wind, and Jesus says that they are