Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vast Fields Are Ripening...

Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well in John 4 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. There are weeks worth of study in that chapter. Today, I would like to focus on a few choice verses.

But first, I want to say that I see many teens and college-aged men and women "thirsting" for something else in life. Many are caught up within what the secular world has to offer, but still find themselves empty. Deep in their souls, they feel that something is missing. There is a hole in their hearts that cannot be filled by anything of this world. But many wonder why they have this empty feeling.

While searching through some online profiles, one 19 year old young woman expressed the following:

"I'm looking for something in my life but I don't know what that 'something' is. However, when I find it...I will let others know."

She labeled her religion choice as "Buddhist." She, as well as many other lost souls out there are longing for the answer that will fill her(their) emptiness. THE One and Only True Lord of the universe...Jesus Christ is the answer!

In John 4:25, we discover that the woman at the well knew what she was supposed to be looking for:

25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."

However, in the beginning of her encounter with Jesus she didn't understand who was actually speaking to her and what He was offering her:

10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"

13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

Notice that she was focused upon the physical aspects that water gives us on this earth. Notice that she wanted the "Living water" to ease her burden of coming to the well to draw liquid water each day. But Jesus was offering her something far greater than well water. He offered her the spiritual fountain of water springing up to everlasting life. Such "water" can only be found in Jesus Christ!

Back in verses 16-18 when Jesus confronted her with the fact that she had 5 husbands and the one with whom she was living with now is not her husband, she rapidly changed the subject!

19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."

21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

How does one worship in spirit and truth?

Jesus covered that in John 3:3 and 3:5-8:

John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

John 3:5-8 - 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Psalms 33:4 - For the word of the LORD [is] right; and all his works [are done] in truth.

Ephesians 1:13 - In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Colossians 1:5 - For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

James 1:22 - But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Ephesians 6:14 - Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

1 Thessalonians 2:13 - For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

And, most important of all are Jesus' own words concerning Scripture:

John 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

So, through being born-again in the Holy Spirit and knowing God's Word of Truth, we experience that Living water Jesus was talking about with the woman at the well. Jesus often used ordinary, every day objects and situations to help the people understand his messages. We cannot miss the symbolism of "water." We all know that the average person can live past 40 days without food, but we can't live past 14 days without water. Water is crucial for the physical well-being of our bodies. The deprivation of water brings the body to a slow, agonizing death. [Note: The death of Teri Schiavo was done is this cruel, inhumane manner.]

So, too, does the lack of spiritual Living water within one's soul lead to spiritual death and separation from God forever in eternity! That's the bad news that we must share with the world in order for them to realize their need to repent of their sins. However, the Good News is that our Savior paved the way to be born again in his name, Jesus Christ, and receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God in our hearts!

Think about this. When Jesus told the woman about her sin, and then told her that God the Father wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth, ("for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.") Jesus was reiterating everything written in the Old Testament as truth from God Himself!

Jesus could have probably said hundreds of good things that the woman at the well said or did in her life. But he chose to expose her sin (albeit in a compassionate, but open way) and she was probably so aghast that Jesus knew these things about her that she changed the subject abruptly!

Again, after Jesus spoke and told the woman about her sinful condition and about worshipping God in spirit and truth, he finally reveals to her just who He is:

25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."

26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."

Next, look at what the woman says back at her town:

28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

Now, the "men" of the city must have known about this woman's reputation! They most probably knew what she meant by stating, "all the things that I ever did." She wasn't referring to doing the laundry!

Look at the disciples reaction and concerns (see John 4:27; 31-33)

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"

Again, man focuses on the physical aspects of life whereas Jesus was continually focused on the spiritual aspects of His life!

34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

There is quite a strong point and lesson here. When Jesus prayed to God the Father in John 17, he asked that his followers be sanctified. Verse 17 (Jesus speaking) - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Sanctification is a lifelong process. The sooner you start, the better! We are sanctified through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the study and application of God's Word within our lives!

Let's go back to the teen girl who stated that she was "searching for something."

I'd like to share a portion of a newsletter that I received from a College Campus Ministry called, "Every Nation Campus Ministries."

"God is so faithful! We had 16 from San Jose State spend part of their spring breaks in North Carolina for Campus Harvest 2996 - and God surely met us there! It was an incredible God-saturated, faith-building time of worship, teaching, prayer, encouragement and fellowship with 1,600 + college students from 171 North American universities. Many of our students prayed and fasted before the conference in expectancy for what God could do there - and indeed, every student left changed by the love, power, and presence of God!!

One of our student leaders, Alex Ramos, a senior at San Jose State and Controller for SJSU Associated Students, shares how Jesus' love captured his heart at Campus Harvest 2006:

"My heart and love for the Lord has never been opened wider!!! Campus Harvest stipped all misconceptions and barriers of Christianity down to the bare truth about how to experience, love, and grow in faith with the Lord. I've experience SO much of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, made so many valuable relationships around the nation, and added an enormous dose of buel in the roaring fire of my spirit, which made me commit ot a life-long dedication to serving and obeying the commands of the Lord and bringing my family and friends in coming to know our Lord Jesus Christ.

What I experienced in the 3 days of Campus Harvest taught me more about the love of the Lord than the 4 years I have sought to experience his love as a Christian without a mentor. Through God's gift of giving Thai (his mentor) a huge and persistent heart - for 7 months, Thai never gave up on me...God never gave up on me. And finally, by God's grace, I have been forgiven, turned away from my old habits, and am now on fire constatly seeking the Lord's love and proclaiming to everyone the extraordinary joy, satifaction, heart, and espeically the tenderness I have gotten with my relationship with the Lord.

If it wasn't for the Lord working in Thai's life, I would be still drinking, getting angry at myself, and be the lukewarm Christian I was for 4 years. I am so blessed to have Every Nation Campus Ministries because the Lord is truly working through the ministry in bringing the students of San Jose State to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ!"

Jesus Christ changes lives for the better...forever! He changes individual lives right now, while on this earth and through doing so guarantees life eternally with Him in heaven!

"Look around you! Vast fields are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest." - John 4:35 (NLT)


For more information about college campus ministries here and throughout the world, visit Every Nation Campus Ministries


Stop said...

Hi Christine,
I know this is very late from when the broadcast was but I was wondering if you could tell me more about the Straight Talk Radio broadcast you wrote about in your blog entry entitled "Given Over to a Reprobate Mind" from February 6, 2006. I am really interested in further detail about what was talked about in that show on that day! Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!

Susan Smith said...

I appreciate your words in this post, Christine. When you talked about the woman at the well you mentioned how Jesus told her of her sin. Christine said: “But he chose to expose her sin (albeit in a compassionate, but open way) and she was probably so aghast that Jesus knew these things about her that she changed the subject abruptly!”

This was a one-on-one encounter for the woman. He did not publicly “expose” her sin. Did Jesus “expose” any sin publicly other than self-righteousness? His harshest words described the religious crowd (see Matthew chapter 23, especially verse 28).

I am thankful the Lord has never publicly “exposed” my sin. By His grace, He leads me to reveal it publicly when I share my testimony. The Holy Spirit is gentle and He has never humiliated me. Praise His Name.

Love to you on the West Coast from across the ocean on this bright Wednesday morning! (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hi Lovelysjp,

Welcome to my Talkwisdom blogspot!

Here is the link to Straight Talk Radio. Access to the last 5 days of broadcasts are available free to the general public. For access to all of the broadcasts in the archive, it is required that you become a premium member through donation to the ministry.

Hope that helps!

Christinewjc said...

Well said Susan! Indeed, when we are confronted with our own sinful deeds and condition, we can approach Jesus "just as we are" and find that He is ready, willing and able to forgive us! But thank God he doesn't leave us "just as we were...amen?

Repentance for sin is a matter that needs to be dealt with individually. It is a personal matter between Jesus and I, Jesus and you, Jesus and any individual who seeks his love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and spiritual relationship as Lord and Savior of our lives!

Love to you as well my Holy Land friend!


Stop said...

I appreciate the link Christine, thanks! Unfortunately I can't afford it but otherwise would love to donate to the station. Just trying to do some research into the topic and thought it would be helpful to better understand your blog. Have a blessed day.