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"Who, Me, A Witness?
You've Gotta Be Kidding!"
John 4:1-42


 

I am sure that most of you are familiar with the sports drink Gatorade, especially you who've played some kind of sport. There are many sports drinks on store shelves today, but Gatorade is the one that started it all. It claims to satisfy your thirst better than anything in the world -- even better than water.

 

One of their ads reads, "All kinds of athletes reach for Gatorade. Nothing fuels them better - not water, not juice, not other sports drinks. Professional athletes get going and keep going, with Gatorade. You can, too."

 

Convincing isn't it? But one thing I've noticed is that, in all of the claims made by Gatorade, not once have they ever claimed that if you drank their product, you'd never be thirsty again. If someone could pull that off, they'd really have something, wouldn't they? Well, Jesus claimed to have that very thing! In fact, that was the gist of His conversation with the woman at the well.

 

I want you to think with me about our urgent need to share Jesus with others. Though getting them into church is of great importance, church attendance is a bit tricky these days because so much can go wrong.

 

It's like the man who was stranded alone on the deserted island; when he was rescued, they asked him what the three structures were that he had built on the island. Three buildings seemed perplexing for just one man. He said one was his house, one was his church, and one was where he used to go to church before he got his feelings hurt!

 

But church is important, especially to God. Most everything He does on this earth, He does through the local church. Jesus died and rose again to offer us forgiveness and to establish the church. Church attendance is a great way to gauge the spiritual condition of a nation...and of our families.

 

Statistics reveal that more than 40% of the unchurched say they'd go to church if someone would just invite them. "Would you like to come to church with me?" is a great way to begin a discussion of spiritual things with your family, friends, or neighbors. It's very similar, in fact, to what the woman at the well sought to accomplish when she said, "He told me everything I ever did." It's a way to introduce others to the Savior. The results of her testimony were astounding.

 

Let's break down God's Word, specifically vs. 39, to understand why her testimony was such a big deal.

 

 

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the
woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."

 

 

Many - knowing what we know about Pentecost and the vast numbers who believed in Jesus then, it's not hard for us to believe and comprehend that many means a "large or considerable number." We don't know the number of Samaritans who lived in Sychar, but there is every reason to believe it was a significant number, especially since Jacob's well was there. Desert communities were often built around wells since there were so few of them.

 

of the Samaritans - this phrase either identifies the region where the event took place, or implies that there were many others who lived there who weren't Samaritans, and that she'd gone to her own people and many of them had believed.

 

from that town - the town in which she lived was Sychar, or Shechem, as it was called in Joshua & Judges. This town has an incredible amount of history. Let's jog our memories and recall the historical relationship between Israel and Samaria.

 

Under Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the United Kingdom of Israel split into two fragments (1 Kings 12): the northern kingdom of Israel, led by the rebel Jeroboam, and the southern kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam.

 

Because Jeroboam feared that the two kingdoms might reunite, he established a counterfeit religion, with its own place of worship -- Bethel (1 Kings 12:25-33). Later, a wicked northern king named Omri built the city of Samaria, which he made his capital, the capital of the Northern Kingdom. He also built a temple and an altar to Baal, a heathen deity (1 Kings 16:24-34). Eventually, the name of this city became synonymous for the entire Northern Kingdom; thus its name, Samaria.

 

After repeated warnings from God's prophets, divine judgment finally came at the hand of the Assyrians, who defeated Israel and scattered the middle and upper classes throughout the other nations they had conquered.

 

They replaced the dispersed Israelites with heathen from other lands (2 Kings 17:23ff.). These heathen intermarried with the remaining Israelites resulting in a nation of "half-breeds," a most distasteful and evil thing for a devout Jew (see Ezra 9 and 10; Nehemiah 13). Worse yet, the true religion of Israel became intermingled with heathen idolatry.

 

When the Jews of the Southern Kingdom of Judah were later taken captive by the Babylonians, they were allowed to maintain their racial and religious identity. After their 70 years of captivity were completed and they were granted permission to return to their own land, a number did so. When these returning exiles set out to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem, the Samaritans offered to help them and were summarily refused (Ezra 4:2ff.). In about 400 B.C., the Samaritans constructed their own rival temple on Mount Gerizim. At the end of the second century B.C., this temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean ruler of Judea. This greatly increased hostilities between the Jews and the Samaritans.

 

The Samaritans professed to believe in the God of Israel and awaited the coming of Messiah (see John 4:25). They accepted the first five books of the Law, but rejected the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures. Wherever they found it necessary to justify their religion and their place of worship, they modified the Law. The relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans was definitely strained.1

 

Some might think it a miracle that Jesus would even go there, but He loved everyone the same and was committed to providing salvation to Gentiles as well as to Jews.

 

believed in him - "believe" means to have a conviction that leads to a specific action; they placed their faith in Jesus, they accepted Him as Messiah, they followed the Lord as Savior; the One about whom she told them.

 

because of - on account of, for the reason of,

 

the woman's - not just any woman, but rather the one who had encountered Jesus. The circumstances surrounding this encounter were odd. The fact that she came out to get water at this time of day, and that she came alone, suggested that she was an outcast. Typically the women came in groups and stayed together for protection; but not the Samaritan woman. Because of her many relationships, few wanted to be seen with her, and, here, no one was.

 

But Jesus didn't mind. He loves the outcasts just as much as those in good standing with society. He loves us all equally, no matter what we've done. He took time for her just as He takes time for us. And even though she was so insignificant to others that she wasn't even given a name here, we can be sure Jesus knew her name and cared as deeply for her as He did for each disciple who gawked in disbelief that Jesus would minister to such a woman like that.

 

testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." - He knew things about her no one could know. He knows things about you that no one else knows. He knows your deepest, darkest secrets...and still loves you. Though I'm sure the woman at the well was glad to have come to the well alone when He started telling her everything she ever did, there is no indication that she felt judged or belittled by the Messiah -- just accepted, cared for, and loved.

 

Next time we'll consider why her sharing her testimony with the towns people was so incredible. Until then, let's take some time to brush up on the details of our own testimony. What do we tell others when we're excited about the special insights God reveals to us when we spend time alone with the Master? Do we still get excited? Do we, like this woman, tell everyone we encounter? If not, why not? I hope we all can learn from her example the incredible importance of introducing others to the Savior.

 

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1 (http://bible.org/seriespage/woman-well-john-41-42)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Copyright 2011. Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.

 


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