Today as we start into Chapter 15, I want to tie in a story that we hear about in John Chapter 4. Yesterday we heard an amazing message at our service and I think goes along beautifully with what Jennie has shared about the “threads of people” and what we read today in Colossians. I can’t take credit for a lot of what I am going to share, most of it will be from Karl Smith who is a missionary and an amazing man who visits our church a few times a year.
Every one of us has people in our lives whom we need and people who need us. Are we intentionally spending our time in those two categories? Or are we casually bumping up against each other with no real purpose to receive or give love? If we are honest, it is costly to love people. So you know what we do instead of doing the difficult work of loving them? We piddle. We waste the precious time we have. It is easier to survive this life on the surface, brushing up against people gently, rather than doing the mess of intentionally loving them. Love takes risk. Love takes forgiveness and grace. Love takes effort, time and commitment. You commit not to bolt when it gets hard, because it will get hard. And if this is the cost of deep relationship, we just don’t have the capacity and space to go deep with everyone. So we have to become intentional.
INTENTIONAL, what an important word for what we do as Christians. As we find out in John Chapter 4 Jesus is about to go on a bit of a quest with the 12 disciples. They were headed for Galilee but Jesus tells the disciples that he HAS to go through Samaria. The disciples resist and tell him there are other ways he needs to go, and that they shouldn’t go to Samaria because the people are “unclean”. Jesus stands his ground and tells them they are going through Samaria. The reason is obvious. Jesus has a task he wants to complete. They are near the town of Sychar and Jesus comes to a well and tells the disciples to go into Sychar to get food while he has a rest. Along comes a women to draw water from the well around noon. Jesus asks her for a drink of water, and she is stunned. She doesn’t understand why a Jew would ask her, a Samaritan women for a drink, because the Jew’s didn’t associate with the Samaritan’s. Jesus answers, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”
At this point the woman changes her tune but still doesn’t understand what he is speaking of because he doesn’t have a bucket, he doesn’t have a rope, he has absolutely no way to get water out of this well. She doubts how he would be able to get life-giving water because she doesn’t know anything about it. Jesus goes on to explain that this is a water that will quench your thirst and the water Jesus gives, is a flowing fountain that gives eternal life. At this point the women excitedly asks Jesus to give her a drink of that water. Here is where it gets interesting though. Jesus says, “Go bring your husband.” I can only imagine the awkwardness that followed. She doesn’t have a husband, and she has been married five times and is living with a man who she isn’t married to. The woman then decides that Jesus must be a prophet since he knows everything about her. Jesus explains to her that the time has come that the people who worship God will be filled and led by the Spirit to worship according to the truth and lead others to the truth. The reason this is so important is because you can see by their conversation that the Samaritans have a sort of disconnect. Jesus tells her they don’t really even know the one they worship (verse 22). The sole purpose of Jesus going through Samaria instead of around it, was to use this woman to bring this group of people the truth. He didn’t want them in the dark any longer. He also wanted to teach them that they needed to be teaching and sharing this truth with others. Jesus shared the Gospel with this simple woman, and what she does next is amazing, she rushes to Sychar, and gathers EVERYONE in that town. She leads them to Jesus so they can also hear the truth. Jesus and the 12 disciples stayed for two days speaking with the people. At the end of the two days, this town was full of faith. The people were CERTAIN of their faith in Jesus. The best part of this story is in verse 42 “We no longer have faith in Jesus just because of what you told us. We have heard him ourselves, and we are certain that he is the Savior of the world.”
So a group of people who were “unclean” who were just a 1/2 a days walk away from Jerusalem who had been living in the dark…were now full of faith, full of truth and certain about who they are worshiping because Jesus decided to be INTENTIONAL about getting in their path and showing them the truth. Jesus knew how important this would be for the people of Samaria and also for the disciples who would go on to teach others that Jesus is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. Karl taught us that there are only two times in the bible where Jesus is referred to as SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. The first is in verse 42, the second later on when one of the disciples is teaching. What an amazing phrase that they gave to worship him. Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful Colossians 3:15.
I can only imagine the PEACE that came over the Samaritans when they realized that they were part of the body of Christ, they were filled with the spirit, and that all of the body was CHOSEN to live together in peace. Jesus brought the walls of separation down. He wanted LOVE to be at the center of everything we do. Love takes effort, and it takes commitment. Are there people on our street, in our neighborhood, in our town who need love, light and peace? I know there are people in my area who desperately need a drink of the everlasting water. Let’s be intentional this week about showing love to those in darkness.