Jesus wants to include everyone in His kingdom. He died “once for all.” That’s pretty much everyone.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals [of conviction] on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
My I-Phone has a Notes feature. I use it constantly. Whenever I have an idea or hear a good point, I write it in my notes. The other day, I sorted through about 100 of them (some of them are four years old) and either threw them away or put them into folders. One of them drew my eye, so here it is:
John 4:1-38 is about the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Galilee from Judea and went through Samaria instead of going around (an extra two-day journey) like any self-respecting Jew would. Jesus sent the disciples into town, but He stayed at the well outside of town. A woman approached in the heat of the day to draw water and Jesus had a conversation with her. As the story unfolds, I surmised these truths from the encounter:
- Jesus went into a dangerous place. Sometimes God leads us into dangerous places.
- Jesus broke social customs. Sometimes God asks us to break social customs.
- Jesus spoke to a “tainted” woman. Sometimes God asks us to speak to “messy” people.
- Jesus spoke the Gospel appropriate to the circumstances. God ALWAYS wants us to speak the Gospel appropriate to our circumstances.
The woman was Jesus’ chosen evangelist to the Samaritan people. History tells us that her name was Photine. She had two sons who were evangelists, as well. They were all martyred for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus saw people as God’s children in need of Him. We would do well to see people as God’s children in need of Him, too.
What is this Gospel that she spread to her fellow Samaritans? “Come see the Man who told me everything (bad) I ever did (and didn’t judge me)! Could He be the Messiah?” Let’s break it down:
- Jesus wants people to turn to Him for life. He asked her to believe in Him.
- We must give ourselves – and the things that are destroying us – to Him. He will tell us what to do next. Jesus didn’t condemn her, but simply revealed her deepest wound. Then He healed that wound.
- Jesus is revealing Himself to everyone; sometimes He reveals Himself through us. He is quite capable to reach everyone Himself, but His chosen platform is the church–us. He wants to include us in His Plan to reach the world.
- What is the result–and evidence–of the Gospel? Changed lives. When we realize it’s not about us, but about Him, then we are in a position to receive His “living water.” This Gospel is as pertinent today as it was that day in Samaria. Believe it; receive it; share it.
Abba, what a wonderful way to begin Your ministry–to the Samaritans, the outcasts! Already, You were including the excluded. Everyone is excluded from one group or another; thank You for seeing us as Your children and including everyone. May we live our lives in such a way that the Gospel is attractive to those around us. May we make it appropriate for our audience, and pertinent to our day. Amen.