Well Encounters

Scripture: John 4:1-26

  1. Fear Is An Inhibitor

– Some time ago there was a commercial. I think it might have been a Kodak moment, or something like that. But in the commercial the day begins with a dad taking his little girl to a public pool. Once there, he’s found teaching her how to dive off the diving board. Both of them had high hopes of a successful diving experience. With great enthusiasm this little girl climbs up the ladder, and then suddenly things looked so different from up there. And she begins to inch her way out slowly toward the end of the diving board. She stops, looks down…and then — this fear comes over her, and she just stands there. She stands at the end of board, staring down, then at daddy, then down, and again at daddy. Her father is now — seen pleading with her to jump. He tells her, “It’s all going to be okay. But she stands there, paralyzed with fear, unable to trust herself to jump. The scene changes to a little later in the day. This cute little girl is back up on the diving board, but now — she’s ready to take a leap of faith. She has trusted. She jumps off the board, and when she comes up out of the water, she’s excited, filled with sheer joy and exhilaration. She turns to her daddy and says, “Let’s do it again daddy!”- So often we stand at the same place. We take on a challenge, and suddenly,we find ourselves standing in the same place as this little girl.- In front of you is the end of the diving board. You stare! – The unknown just ahead. Desire, desire to go forward- Desire to jump…. but fear seizes you.- And that’s when you have to trust, the All knowing God… the God who is worthy of our all trust in each and every situation.- And when we’ve learn to trust, — life changes — for us.- There’s joy, excitement, wonder, and we cry out to God –“Can we do it again.”“God, — can I experience this again.”

  1. Inhibitors Stop What Is Natural

– Most of us struggle to jump off the diving board, when it comes to sharing Jesus with

others.- But, we don’t seem to have a problem sharing a new weight-loss program to a bunch of skeptical over-weights.- When we love our spouses. We’ll talk about our spouses. When we love a sport. We’ll talk about that sport.

– But, when we talk about Jesus, it doesn’t just flow naturally.- Flow like: — this is who I am. I’m crazy about God.- And you know, it’s awesome, what He’s did for me. It’s supernatural!It’s incredible! I talk to Him. Yah, I pray, and He answers my prayers.- I look for direction, and He tells me what to do.It’s out of this world. It’s mind-boggling. I just know it, I feel it.- I sense it, and things just work out.- And because of the relationship I have with Him, my life today is real.I can be real. I don’t have to hide. I’m free. He does it! He works.- I just love Him and I want more.- You see, we don’t tell it as it is. We don’t know how to converse with people about God, unless it’s with other Christians.- We’re scared to do it, so we don’t do it.- And if we’re not scared and do it, it’s usually formal and in Christianeese.- Jesus was a master at sharing — what He was about.-

Let’s look and learn from Jesus.- Notice in our passage, it says “Jesus had to go through Samaria.”- He was going to Galilee. Now, no one was holding a sword to His throat.[ no guns in those days 🙂 ]He wasn’t forced to go thru Samaria. No! He was compelled to go that way.- Jewish religious custom — go around east of Samaria, then up to Galilee.- Jesus, however, was compelled by the Spirit to go through Samaria.- Why? To break the barriers.  Samaritans came from the line of Joseph, the tribes Manasseh & Ephraim.- After the Assyrian exile of half the Jews, and gentile invasion, marriagesintermingled. Then when the Remnant Jews came back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple — would not let the Samaritans join the rebuilding. So the Samaritans blocked the work of rebuilding the temple. –

The picture is much like today’s Christians and the unbelieving. – Attitude, stay away from the heathen. Don’t mix. Don’t go to heathen places. They’re getting more evil. But, we are in the process of getting better, or are better. – We don’t want to work together on the things God has asked us to do. The only thing we’re interested in doing, if we have the guts, is to shoot the gospel bullet. We pray and we pray for these lost, but we have little to do with them.

III. Sharing Can Be Natural

– Jesus always set examples. Examples for His disciples, Jews, even for us.- He was radical. He paid no attention to the religious know-it-alls.- He didn’t care about what people said about Him.- He was un-swayed his disciples objections, or the crowds.- You see, Jesus was in love with His Father. And Jesus was in love with the people, the very people He helped to create, — in His glory with the Father. – Jesus had an objective. People need to be reconciled in their relationship with God. And He was going to anything and everything to accomplish that, short of sinning himself.- The Jews considered it a sin to talk to a Samaritan, to do business, to associate with them in anyway. – God didn’t consider it sin. Jesus didn’t consider it sin. – Today many Christians or churches — forbid many places or interactions with unbelievers. Like the Jews, — there’s fear of contamination.

– But Jesus, our teacher, was different.

– Love, joy, peace, excitement, hope, poured out from Him. It was radiant! – I can only imagine the presence of Jesus — overwhelming. He had this incredible presence about Him.- When John the Baptist pointed out Jesus, his two disciples, immediately left to follow Jesus instead. – When Jesus met Philip and said “Follow me,” Philip drop everything and followed. – When Philip found Nathanael and introduced him to Jesus, Nathanael  makes this declaration, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.”  There was something awesome about Jesus.

– In today’s passage, the woman at the well, was a Samaritan. – And Jews were to have nothing to do with Samaritan’s, let alone, a Jewish man with this woman. Even this woman says to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” – This woman was shocked. Imagine she stepped back, just stared at Jesus. – And as she looked at Him, something was different about Him. And why was Jew standing here? Surely He knew He was out of bounds. – But Jesus ignores her response to Him as a Jew. He goes back to the drink He asked for, and tells her that if she had asked Him, He would not have looked at the indifferences, — but would have given to her — out of the care of His heart — water, living water. – What Jesus was saying, was that, She was not insignificant.- Jesus didn’t make Himself the subject. She was the important one here. – Jesus didn’t care who this lady was. He wasn’t concerned about her past, or what sins she had committed.- Jesus simply cared — about her personally. – What He saw was a woman who needed someone who would care about her. – What she needed to know — was that she could be loved, and was loved as a person. – She was alone, and Jesus came just at the right time, and at the right place. And what Jesus was saying to her was, “Your life matters. In fact, your life matters to me.” – As we continue to read the story, we find that the woman keeps bringing up the differences between Jesus and herself. — But Jesus keeps building up this new relationship. – He begins to meet her real needs. And as she sees that He is for real, she accepts. She trusts.

  1. Well Encounters Are Well Encounters

– As we look at Jesus–we find that Jesus always started where people were at. – He was in tune with the Spirit of God. Jesus told us in Jn. 16: 7, “But I tell you … Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”- He, the Holy Spirit, has been given to us, we need to listen for His voice, and He will lead us.- And we will find the very people God wants us to minister to.- We need to start where people are. As a church we often expect people to come to us. But Jesus commanded us to “go” to them. – It’s not a matter where. It’s a matter of going where the Spirit leads us.- And when we find them…We need to start with them from lower position than they are.- Notice Jesus asked for a drink. (Vs. 7) He put her above himself.- Human nature wants to exalt the Christian self-image. We are not better.- For Bible tells us in Rom. 3: 10, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” vs.23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”- One sin, a hundred, a thousand, God sees sin as sin.- There is only one difference. Our belief in Jesus.- Jesus says, Jn. 3: 18, “Whoever believes…is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” – There should never be sense of superiority. Intimidating an unbeliever with righteousness and lofty religion does nothing but turn them away. – We too, are only beggars telling other beggars where we found the bread and the water. – We need to push the right buttons. When Jesus spoke of the water, when he spoke of her husband, the woman took an immediate interest. – We need to sense people needs, hurts, interests with a deep hearted compassion. We need to identify with them.

– People are thirsty, hungry for something real, something meaningful, fulfilling, enriching in their lives. – We need to be their friend. Unless we make ourselves vulnerable, they will fail to connect with us, understand us, and see Jesus in us. – We need to be intentional. Jesus went to Samaria intentionally. He knew going there, the door would be opened. We need to go to intentionally where people are intentionally. – We need to be patient, listening for the Spirit to open that opportunity.- Some years ago along I-10 interstate, in Louisiana there was a huge eye- catching billboard just as you started up the Mississippi River bridge. On it was a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross, head bowed. The caption, in bold letters, underneath said, “IT’S YOUR MOVE!”- This is a powerful thought  for us. For Jesus has said to us, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” – Now, it’s our move. Will we?

This message from Pastor Karl Popke  is brought to you by Grace Lutheran Church, Web and Park Street, Mountain View, Arkansas.  For prayer or more information, contact Pastor Kenneth Taglauer by email: [email protected].  A Pass it On Project