Summary: In John 4:5+ we find a wonderful example of Jesus using an everyday moment to speak about the joy that He personally manifests. This sermon makes comparison to John4:5+ with a modern day twist.
***If you don’t like creative homiletics, this sermon is not for you.
Title: Applying Christ’s Method of Evangelism (A fictional story with a non fictional purpose)
Date Authored: Feb 18, 2002
Second Sunday in Lent:
Trinity Lutheran Church:
My car has just broken down about 3 miles outside of town and the only location available to me in order to get help is this run down, sleazy looking bar. Now being a Christian, I felt more than a bit uneasy walking into this place. I don’t fit in. I am all dressed up and the best dress code in this place is a pair of ripped jeans and an oily T-shirt. But if I expected to get any help, I knew right then and there that I would have to swallow my pride and my fear, and walk into this bar despite all my reservations.
Just a few minutes ago I generally asked for help! And no sooner did the words leave my mouth than did I hear someone say to me, “You are one of those members at that fancy church, the ones that look down on us working folk, and now you come to our place of rest and ask for help?”
Now my first thought in response to this retort was to say, “why did I ever come to this place, I knew it was trouble. I don’t belong here.” But no sooner did those thoughts come into my mind, than did they get thrust out. The reason for such an expulsion of thought was because the Holy Spirit was at that very moment seeking to remind me that now was as good a time as any to be a faithful witness for Christ.
Only last week did I come across a truly motivational sermon that spoke upon Jesus and the Women at the well. I remember hearing how Jesus could use any situation as an opportunity to witness the mercy and love of our Lord. While at the well, Jesus was, tired and without any means to draw water. He was in need, much like myself yet he remained humble and asked, “will you give me a drink?” to of all people, a Samaritan women.
Many Christians find evangelism a wonderful thing, so long as other people do it. I myself find it very difficult to talk to strangers, and I know that my Pastor feels much the same way as I do. It is never an easy thing to talk to strangers, unless of course that is your spiritual gift. But he also reminded me that Jesus the Son of God witnesses to what was seen by the society of his day, as the dregs of such a society. And though he had no hang-ups, he could have stayed away from those that, shall I say, “Did not fit in?” Anyway, as I listened to that sermon last week, I was reminded that Jesus, the Son of God, was seeking help by a women that no respectable Jew would ever talk to much less ask for help. The difference between Jesus and that woman can be seen as the difference between myself and those in this bar, although in reality I could never even hope to be on par with Jesus.
And truly this man who made the comment about my church, must be as confounded as the Samaritan women was to Jesus’ request. When has anyone from our church ever gone to this bar for the purpose of befriending or offering help, or to share the good news?
When Jesus asked for help, the women right away drew out the difference between she and he, much like I just did. But Jesus did not let anything get in the way of his ministry. In fact, he used his need to create a conversation with the women. First he said, “if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” This is where the comparison of my story and Jesus’ end. After all, I don’t have living water to give do I? (pause) Yeah, I guess I do, at least that is what our pastor said to us. The living water is the very Word of God as well as his precious gifts to us. We do have this living water, I have it, because Christ has already given me that precious drink that renewed my spirit and caused me to want forever the joy of Christ and His love and mercy. But how can I share this living water with a person who probably hates me? Then the answer hit me, and I said, “I know, I will follow Jesus’ lead!”
So I went to the man who chided me. Took a deep breath. Swallowed the preverbal lump that now rested in my throat and asked for help and right away he said, “you are different than most of your people, since your willing to talk to me.” I then became totally honest with him. I told him about what I was thinking when I entered the bar but also what I learned in church last Sunday, you know, about the living water. And he replied in an almost comical way by saying nearly the same thing as the Samaritan Women in John Chapter 4. He said, “Give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty again, after all the prices at this bar will kill ya.” I laughed and was about to tell him all about the living water but then I remembered something else that Jesus teaches us in his encounter with the women at the well. Jesus started out with Gospel, telling the women about the availability of the living water, but then he gave her law, by bringing up a husband that he knew did not exist. He did this so that the women would see her own sins and thus be more wanting of this living water that Jesus had to give. And so carefully, after listening to his personal story, I followed Jesus’ lead and said, “why don’t you go back to your family and bring them here and we can all talk together.” I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth, I was already waiting for a punch to my nose for being so bold, but the man said without so much as a break in stride, “My wife would not be happy to find me here today!”