My mother is only one example of a woman who has impacted my life as a result of her relationship with Christ. Over the next several months in this series, I want to share with you about some of the other women who have impacted my life solely because of their relationship with Jesus. I believe as I share, you too will connect with them and discover for yourself how God has always had a plan for you, is working it out in your life and will never leave you.
The Woman at the Well
Ministering where you are until Jesus moves you somewhere else
Ring, ring, ring! The phone never seems to stop ringing. That is what is sounds like at my parents' home. A few years ago my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's – a disease that is no stranger to anyone today, a disease that many of you have experienced with either a friend, a parent or a grandparent, a disease that slowly robs you of who you are, what you can do and who you know. Every time I talk to my dad on the phone or visit him, I can see that he has lost a little more of who he was.
Ring, ring, ring, there goes that phone again. Why does the phone ring so much at my parents'? You see, prior to my dad's illness my mom was very involved in church, in her community and with her family. I admired how my mom went from being on a prayer intercessory team for a new community Bible study to one of its leaders. How by leading the kitchen committee she was able to put on so many events, feed the shut-ins, the elderly and the sick, while still being home to cook three meals a day for her family.
One of my mom's favorite things to do is fish on the pier. Not only because fishing is fun but because she gets to evangelize up and down the pier. Through her fishing she would find common ground. However, when dad got sick, things changed. As the years have passed, the community Bible study has been let go, the kitchen committee has been given over to someone else and the fishing only done when dad feels up to it. So like most people I have found, they would have said, "well, this is my situation and so I will get back to serving, to teaching to evangelizing when things are better." But did God say to stop just because our situation has changed or isn't desirable? Well I have a found another woman whose situation didn't appear to be one in which she could serve, teach or evangelize. I am talking about the woman at the well, the Samaritan.
A lot of us know the story. We have either read it many times or have heard countless sermons. Yes, the Samaritan woman had a past. We know from Scripture that she had been married five times and was living with another man. We also know she was getting water in the middle of the day. We also know that Jesus was at the well when she walked up. He asked her for a drink of water. She was surprised because she knew he was a Jew and Jews and Samaritans did not mix. He also told her about the living water, the kind that will cause you to never thirst again. The Samaritan wanted this water. She would go on to understand that HE WAS THE LIVING WATER. He would tell her everything about herself. She would leave her jug of water (something you would not do in those times because of its value) and run to tell the others about Jesus. The people would come and hear for themselves what this woman had said. Not that they didn't believe her but because they also were waiting for the Savior to come.
God loves the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman. Jesus met her where she was, in her sin, in her problems, in her defeat and filled her. He gave her promise, love, care, value and encouragement. Despite her past, her nationality and her sex, her singleness, he risked being seen with her. He never told her that her situation had to change. But you and I both know that once she received the living water, it would. That as a result of her salvation, she would leave probably the only valuable thing she owned, her water jug.
Don't you want to know Jesus this way? Don't you want to be so amazed that everything around you means nothing and has no value compared with Him? And as a result of your relationship, you can't help but to tell people about Him. That even through all your past sins, your mistakes, He wants to use you right now!
What Have I Learned From the Women at the Well
1. She was obedient, and despite her past Jesus was willing to use her.
Listen, God has never, never held our past against us. He has forgiven our sins. Now does some of our past affect our present and our future? Sure. But it is through our past that God does His best work. Personally, I have committed many sins in relationships in my past. I am amazed of how God is using me today. It is because of my past that I am who I am today. My past doesn't hold me back; it encourages me to move forward. The Samaritan didn't stand there and argue with Jesus about whether or not she could be used. She was obedient.
"I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
– John 4:17-18
2. She learned God comes first.
There are so many things in my home that I worry about. I worry about people breaking things. I worry about the toaster catching on fire and burning down the house. I worry about forgetting to water the plants and then they will die. I worry about someone breaking in and stealing my jewelry. I worry about lightening storms destroying my computer. I worry ... well, you get the picture. The Samaritan taught me it's just stuff. Nothing is as important as the Savior, as the message. When you are on your death bed are you going to be worried about your stuff? What do you want your legacy to be? How much pretty stuff you have, how well you look or how much education you have will not matter. But what will matter is how many people you have told about Jesus. The Samaritan woman didn't worry about her water jar. She simply left and ran to tell the people about Jesus, not knowing if He would be there when she got back or her jar of water.
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
– John 4:28-30
3. She didn't have to have it all together.
The Samaritan had a past. She was also living with a man. Christ never said, go break up with your boyfriend, move out and then let's talk. His goal was to get her saved first and the changes in her lifestyle would naturally happen as she grew in Christ. We spend a lot of time pointing fingers at people and their sin. It's easy to tell people they need to quit this or that or change their lifestyle. People, love each other into the Kingdom. Find common ground first, as Jesus did (he met her in her environment and talked about something she knew.). Build a relationship and love them into the Kingdom by how you love Christ. Christ never yelled or ridiculed someone into salvation.
Jesus answered her, "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." "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
– John 4:10-12
4. She discipled.
The Samaritan quickly went and told the town about who she met and what He had done. Sometimes I think we forget what Christ has done for us. We become warm, neutral and too laid back with our faith. Christ said to go and tell the world. Christ came to have a relationship with us so that we would have a relationship with others to get them to Christ. Start today ... talk to your neighbor, your dry cleaner, your postal worker, your dentist, your kid's teacher. Start a conversation that can lead to a relationship, a friendship that can ultimately lead them to Christ.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."
– John 4:39
5. Her needs were met first.
The Samaritan, like all of us, had physical needs. Jesus first ministered to these needs before ministering to her spiritual needs. The Samaritan woman taught me to love others by first helping them. Feed them, care for them, share what I have, clothe them, etc. Then as their physical needs are met, they will be more open to hear about who did all those things – Jesus.
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
– John 4:15
6. She was knowledgeable.
I love how she knew about her heritage. She knew her boundaries of her land. She sensed enough about Jesus that she asked if He was a prophet. The Samaritan woman encourages me to continue learning. Learning about our world, our nation, our culture, our faith so that when we have to defend it, we will be ready. If you aren't in a Bible study, join one. Spend a day in your church library, research/read online, go to your favorite Christian bookstore, buy a concordance/Bible dictionary, listen to sermons and music, go back to college/seminary, etc. Expand your mind with the knowledge of Christ.
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
– John 4:19-20
The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
– John 4:25
6. She was courageous.
It took courage to go and tell the town about what had happened because I am sure they knew her past. I would have probably been fearful that they would spit on me, yell at me or even throw stones. She had a lot of courage that despite what could happen, she was willing to take the risk. Are you willing to take the risk of others yelling at you because of who you believe in, of others not agreeing with you or laughing at you? Are you willing to stand up and do what it takes?
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."
– John 4:42
Bottom line, God wants to use you where you are, how you are, and who you are. He can take any situation we are in and use it for His Glory. He just expects us to be obedient.
Ring, ring, ring, there goes that phone again. Well despite my mom's new situation with my dad's health, it has not stopped her from reaching others for Christ. She can't go out to do a Bible study, so she has one in her home each week. She isn't able to evangelize on the fishing pier, so she has several Bible studies going on through the phone. In fact, she led one of her friends to the Lord. She isn't able to travel to see family as much, so she decided to have two family reunions this summer in her home so they would come to her (and she changed her calling plan to get free long distance, so the phone never stops ringing).
No matter what may happen in my mom's life, she will use it to reach others for Christ.
So what excuse are you making today? Right now, go to the Lord and ask Him to use you where you are! Ring, ring, ring, there goes her phone again.
Click here to read the first article in this series.
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries. Kris has served in single adult ministry in various capacities for the last 20 years. She is currently working on her second book, "Jesus ... Single Like Me," and her first book, "31 Day Experiment: Singles and Relationships" (Harvest House Publishers), was co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources.
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries helps churches, pastors and single adult leaders evaluate, develop, and support their single adult ministries through high-energy speaking engagements, results-oriented consulting and training, and leadership development conferences and seminars. Click here to request a FREE "How to Start a Single Adult Ministry" guide.
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