In the last two posts we focused first on the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well and second on the apostles’ interaction with Jesus. Today we focus the woman, the townspeople and Jesus.
John 4:28–30 (NIV84) 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
I have heard many sermons surmising that the woman was alone at the well at noon because she was not the kind of woman the other women wanted to be seen with. I do not know if that is true, but I do know that once she met Jesus, she was willing to tell others about Jesus and they believed her to not only come out and see, but to believe in Him as the Christ.
John 4:39–42 (NIV84) 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.
There is something compelling about the witness of a new believer in Christ. I remember boiling over with joy and wanting everyone to know who Christ was and what He did for me. Regardless of her reputation, her testimony was authentic and she wanted everyone to know the man she believed to be the Christ.
41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
People may first come to Christ on the word of a Pastor’s sermon or from the testimony of a friend, but like the townspeople, they soon go to the source to learn from Him. Their understanding evolved from believing Him to be the Christ to being the Savior of the world. I am struck that the Gospels, all four, do not make the moment of belief a one-time event. There appears to be different levels of believing or maturity, a call to a deeper and deeper knowledge in Christ.
Importance – Our faith is more than a response to the faith of another, but comes from our own experience with Christ.
Meaning – The people of Sychar responded to the faith and testimony of the woman at the well. But her faith was not enough to satisfy them, they wanted to learn from him and then make their own commitment. Jesus put his travel plans on hold for two days so that the people would learn from Him.
Pivot: As Christians and Churches we often can rejoice and rest in the initial coming of a believer in Christ, but without first-hand knowledge from the apostles teaching (the Bible) the new believer may stagnate or remain shallow. Our response should be to help them learn from Jesus so that they grow in their knowledge. Sometimes it is easiest to lead them to Christ without follow-up, but evangelism alone is not disciple-making as Christ commands in Mat 28:19-20.
Mat 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
The word for disciples means “learners, pupil, scholar, student or even follower”. In their tradition a “disciple” was one who followed their teacher from place to place to learn from them.
Action: Whenever we introduce Christ to someone, we need to commit to teaching them toward their own personal relationship with Christ or at least to find someone to “disciple” the new believer.
Change: My focus on presenting the Gospel should not be acceptance of the message only, but the gaining of knowledge from Christ revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
Transformation: A move from evangelism to disciple-making produces progeny that will multiply the Kingdom.