Monday, November 25, 2013

Heard Him Ourselves

Have you ever noticed how much Paul talks about Jesus? Have you noticed the way the disciples told the people about their Teacher? Do you realize the whispers as the people told each other about this Man? Jesus spreads like a vicious rumor. People all over the world, since the beginning of time (yes, even before His time) have been talking about Him.

But a woman from Samaria did perhaps the best job of really hitting the heart of evangelism and capturing the essence of the Christian faith, which wasn't even a thing back then but simply a Man.

The story is in John 4. Jesus and the disciples are traveling through the Samarian region when the disciples leave Him outside of town while they go in search of food. He slides down near a well and bides His time. Then a woman arrives to draw water, and He asks her for a drink. Her story here is not important, except to know it was the kind of story that everyone in town knew the details of, which is how she came to draw water in the middle of the afternoon, alone.

After they've talked awhile, Jesus says something that excites her heart. The words we have are, "I am the one you've heard about, and I'm speaking to you," but I'm not entirely convinced those words would have done it. The disciples come back and interrupt the moment, and the woman takes off running toward town, carrying a healing word and an unbelievable story.

Then the woman left her water jar and went back into the city. She told the people, 'Come with me, and meet a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could he be the Messiah?'

Most of us do a lot of talking about Jesus, but we stop short of telling people how to find Him. Like we don't want to push. Or we don't think they'll find Him the same way. Or whatever it is. The way we talk about Jesus, we sort of put Him out there as a mystery - we drop enough hints to hopefully make you wonder, then we leave you sitting in your questions and trust you'll find your way out. I mean, in 2013, it's obvious, right? If you want Jesus, go to church.

But it's not that simple. As churchgoers, you and I should know that nobody just finds Jesus at church. You still have to be shown what the Man looks like.

Which is why I love what the Samarian woman has done. Rather than run into town and profess her new faith, explain her new belief, tell her new story, and try to live her new life, she runs excitedly into the very city that's rejected her forever, forgetting her hesitations about the place, and shouts, "I want you guys to have this, too! You have got to meet this Guy!" And she says, "Come with me..." She's going to show them the way to Jesus. She's going to make introductions herself.

The people left the city and went to meet Jesus.

They followed her! She invited them to come, and they came. She led the way back to the well, where her water jug lay discarded by the side of the road. She held out one hand: "People, this is Jesus." She held out the other: "Jesus, these are the people." They struck up a conversation, and then a friendship, and then Jesus stayed in town with them for two days.

Many more Samaritans believed because of what Jesus said. They told the woman, 'Our faith is no longer based on what you've said. We have heard him ourselves, and we know that he really is the savior of the world.

And isn't that how it's supposed to be? 

We think it's enough to tell people about Jesus, to ask them to take our word for it based on the evidence of our lives or the Scriptures of our Bible or the rumors going around about Him. But what if we were more diligent in convincing them to come? What if we were more intent on showing them the way? What if we brought them to the very Man and made introductions? Friend, this is Jesus. Jesus, this is my friend.

What if they heard Him speak?

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