Summary: When Jesus stopped at the Well in Samaria he was performing a spiritual rescue and demonstrating guidelines for us to do the same
She was rescued twice. Two times, two complete strangers made a decision to rescue her, within two days of each other. Not bad, huh? Her name was Kelly Moore which means absolutely nothing to you. You don’t know Kelly Moore but most of you know some of the circumstances about the day that she was rescued, at least the first time. You see Kelly Moore was a flight attendant for Air Florida. The plane she flew on was a Boeing 737. Specifically it was Air Florida Flight 90. On January 13 1982 Kelly Moore began her day just as she always had, never suspecting what the day had in store for her. Two minutes after take off flight 90 began losing altitude and crashed into a Bridge spanning the Potomac River. When Kelly came to she was in the frigid waters of the Potomac clinging to a piece of wreckage with five other survivors.
Remember the story yet?
One of the survivors clinging to that raft helped Kelly and the other four into the rescue harness of a hovering helicopter one by one before succumbing to hypothermia and slipping beneath the surface. And so that was how she was rescued the first time, by a stranger she had never met, who was later identified as Arland Williams.
Two days later Kelly was rescued again, listen to her words. A couple of days later, when I was moved from intensive care to a regular room, I woke to see a nurse standing over me. She smiled, covering my fingers with her warm, gentle hand, and said, “Little girl, I could get in big trouble for telling you this, but God loves you and he saved you from that plane crash for a reason.” In response to my eager interest, my nurse risked her job to tell me of Jesus’ love for me. As she spoke of how he died for me, I responded by turning my life over to him. For the first time I felt real peace.
When I prayed to accept Christ, I asked God to show me how I could know more about him. I knew he would answer me.
Not only that but it was by two separate strangers in a course of two days. Why? What qualities did Williams share with other heroes whose stories we read about in the newspapers, you know the ones who save babies from burning buildings, rescue motorists in mangled cars, and plunge into freezing water to save struggling swimmers? Well they are all ordinary people who came to a critical turning point and made an extraordinary decision to rescue someone whose life was in danger. And more often then not they put themselves in peril doing it. Listen again to what Kelly Moore said:
I don’t know why God saved me from the Potomac that day when others died, or why he answered my desperate prayers for contact with him. But I do know God used compassionate, ordinary people to bring his love to me when I desperately needed it. In his infinite mercy, he rescued me not once, but twice.
By the same token we need to realise that there is a literal life and death battle being waged all around us, everyday. You know that don’t you? You know that some people in your neighbourhood, your family, your office and your class room are in jeopardy of facing eternal death, and they probably don’t even realise that they need rescuing.
Almost everyday if we are open to the guiding of the spirit, we come to evangelistic turning points. We make choices whether to help rescue them from spiritual death or to walk the other way. We make spur of the moment decisions about whether to heroically venture into their lives and lead them to a place of spiritual safety, or to merely hope that someone else will do it.
Jesus faced those same kinds of turning points, looking at one story from his life illustrates areas in our lives that we need to become aware of, the story is told by John in John 4:1-4 Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way.
It was early in Christ’s ministry and he was attracting the attention of the religious leaders, not wanting to clash with them just yet Christ headed back to Galilee. Notice in verse four that it says that He had to go through Samaria on the way, If you we pull up our trusty map here is where Jesus was and here is where he was going and so you are probably thinking, “Of course he had to go through Samaria, that is the shortest route from Judea to Samaria”. True enough, but believe it or not that isn’t the route that most Jews took from Judea to Galilee. Why? Because Samaritans inhabited Samaria and because of the cultural, ethnic, religious and political animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans they stayed well and truly out of each other’s ways, even if it meant circling all the way around Samaria via the Jordan River. Even today people avoid going through neighbourhoods that are inhabited by people who are different then they are, if you were honest there are neighbourhoods you avoid in Halifax for that very reason.