Summary: If you were to trace each of the great historical revivals back to its very beginning, do you know what you’d find? You’d find a single person. Before anything can even be recognized as being revival one person has to start the fire.
This is our last Sunday with the woman at the well passage. We still have a couple more weeks in John 4, but after this morning, we’ll be leaving Sychar. But when Jesus left Sychar, it was a much different place that when He arrived there with His disciples. The Gospel came to town. And by the time Jesus left, there was a great revival. Every Wednesday evening when we gather here, we close our prayer meeting with the same request. Every week we pray that God will bring us revival. Not some hopped up emotional event like you might see on TV. But true, God-given, Holy Spirit breathed, Christ glorifying revival. The same kind of revival they had in Sychar. That’s what we pray for. And I know that by God’s grace, He will send that revival. Throughout history, great revivals have started in different ways. They have all started with God’s people praying. Many of them that I have studied have been marked with a great work of God among young people. Young people who have prayed. Young people who have been in the Word. Young people who have gotten fired up and completely sold-out for God. Whether we’re talking the First or Second Great Awakening in America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries… or the great Welsh Revivals of the 19th century… or the Great Businessmen’s Revival in America… or the Haystack Revival in 1806 that resulted in the great American missions movement… or the great revivals in China and Korea and parts of the Middle East that are going on right now. All of those revivals have those things in common. They all have been marked by praying people and the involvement of young people. But if we were to trace great revivals back to something even more fundamental than that, do you know what we’d find? We’d find a person. Before the headlines are made... Before anything can even be recognized as being revival… one person has to start the fire. History doesn’t record those people. Those people aren’t headline makers. If you could compare the fires of revival with those massive California wildfires, that person is the one who threw the cigarette butt out of their car window. Behind every great movement of God is one obedient person. One, small, seemingly insignificant person who will never be recorded in history as the one who started the fire. That’s the way the woman at the well was. Jesus saved her. And when Jesus saved her, she immediately went and testified. Scripture only records a few of her words back up in verse 29. Her testimony was simple. It was plain. It wasn’t a great theological dissertation. It wasn’t designed to answer every possible question the men could ask. All she said was, “Come see a man, which told me all the things that ever I did.” And then she asked them a question. You know, most good witnessing asks questions. She didn’t wag her finger at the men and tell them that they had to believe. She just asked them a question. After all, that’s what Jesus did to her. Jesus started His conversation with her by asking her for a drink of water. Then later on He asked her about her husband. Questions make people think. When questions are used correctly, they can break down defensiveness and open people up. That’s what happened here. If the woman had demanded that the men believe in Jesus, they would have immediately thrown up their defenses and gotten rid of her. But she was too smart for that. She asked them a question. She described what Jesus had done for her and then she asked them if they thought He could be the Christ. To put it simply, she gave her testimony. She gave her testimony and invited them to come meet Jesus. And do you know what that did? It sparked a great revival throughout that city of Sychar. Hoards of Samaritans got saved. Don’t you long to see that here? Don’t you long to see many people come to Jesus? Don’t you long to look out over our fields and see people flocking to Christ? Don’t you long to see this church and every Bible believing, Bible preaching church filled to overflowing? Don’t you long to hear the name of Jesus praised as God of creation and Lord over all—throughout these hills? Don’t you long to see a great revival pour through Mercer County and Tazewell County? Don’t you long for that? Do you know how it will get started? We’ve been praying and we will continue to pray. The question is, who’s going to light the first match? You might think, “Well, I’m not qualified to witness to people.” Are you any less qualified than this woman was? She’d only been saved for a few minutes. She hadn’t been through a witnessing course. She couldn’t have answered a bunch of deep theological questions. Besides, she knew that most of the time those kinds of questions are just a diversionary tactic anyway. Remember how good she was at those? She’s the one that worked so hard to get Jesus off the subject by asking Him about worship. She knew she didn’t have a whole bunch of answers. But here’s what she did know. She knew that she had a testimony. She had met a man who had shown her her need for a Savior. And then He told her who the Savior is. And she believed Him. And she went and told others what she knew. She gave her testimony. She lit the match. And when she did, it started a great fire. Are you ready for that kind of fire to burn through here? Then do what the woman did. Go and tell. Tell your testimony. In our passage, we not only see the testimony that the woman told… we see the testimony that the Samaritans received. The woman lit the match with her personal testimony. But that wasn’t all it took for the fires of revival to spread through Sychar. She lit the match of her personal testimony. Then that flame had to be fanned with the winds of a personal encounter with Jesus. Bet even that wasn’t enough to sustain a fire. Because the flame had to catch and light and burn. It had to be fed and sustained by the Word of God. It takes three stages of testimony to light the fires of revival. The first stage is personal testimony. Look at verse 39: