“if you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me and I would give you living water” – John 3: 10
The person of Jesus Christ never ceases to amaze me. As I think throughout the week about the passages of the Bible I am reading, Jesus is always at the forefront. This particular passage is so deep, so rich in the promises of God, that we could spend months hiding in here without moving on.
How about a few of these? Ever wondered how or why Jesus always seemed to hit with such precision, the very people God was preparing? Jesus must have prayed intently, frequently (and I suspect for long periods of time).
The church founded here, as a result on the innocuous midday meeting around a well with a Mrs Nobody, has lasted at least until today. In turn, it has founded many other churches in the region. Few would know the longest running empire in the world belongs to the Son.
The Son provides the exclusive gateway to the Father. Few understand this, and many, many people wish that wasn’t the case, while even more believe in almost anything but that (incl many ‘near Christian’ “denominations”). The war currently going on in this world, at every level, is based around this simple fact. The world is at war with the Christ, the risen Son of God. Darkness has rejected the light.
We could go on.
Step aside though, and let us look at God’s incomparable beauty and grace found in Jesus Christ today, and do a small test – how do we measure up? That is not cynical, as I believe that Jesus wants us to measure up, and will empower us, if we would just submit.
Firstly, Jesus speaks to those he met with searing precision, and doesn’t dance around the issues that are such high stakes in their lives – that is, our sinfulness before God is an issue. To Jesus, sin is always the problem and it needs dealing with. When did you last begin sharing the Gospel with someone from the perspective of “you’re not good enough to meet God, so there is a problem?”
Around a table a few weeks ago, we were discussing speaking into some people’s lives we had met; their lives were, well, messy and we were cautious in our approach. Someone at the table, who had experienced life in a similar vein suggested that often speaking directly to the problem was the answer, rather than always being circumspect. How true that is!
Yet then there is no condemnation found in Christ Jesus; while he offers us a true reflection of who we really our, the relationship doesn’t end there. It invites us to accept that which is on offer, that which can be found nowhere else. Living Water, Jesus the living Son of God. Jesus always offers us the opportunity to repent, and then to believe in who he is.
Repentance, when bracketed with belief in Christ, leads God to immediately respond in a person’s life with grace and forgiveness. Such is the overcoming power of that response for many people, that their reaction is one of ecstatic delight – “surely not” we say, “how can it be, this amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.”
In this instance, the woman, so rejected and dejected that she is shunned into drawing water when there is nobody else around, now finds the Messiah, the one promised in Isaiah who would come to save the world from its sin. Her repentance, her belief leads her to cast aside her unworthy status and run to tell those around her about what she has found. She, of all people, has found favour with God, because of him!
As I write this, we are ministering to people who have all the hallmarks of the woman at the well. Rejected from an early age, they have no belief that anything or anyone can help them escape from a life that has gone so totally out of control.
We believe – utterly believe that Jesus can restore all that they have lost in their lives, and transform them into something that neither they, nor us, can even imagine. We know that, because we see it, and read it everywhere. Around the world, and in our backyard, Jesus is transforming lives. It is not always easy, but it is a reality.
Friends, let me leave you with this simple truth. The effects of sin are devastating. Death, decay and destruction are apparent in every corner of the world. On a personal level, people today are traumatised almost out of existence. But the death of Christ, has superceded the effects of sin, such that nobody – not a single person is beyond God’s matchless and transforming power, through Jesus Christ.
So, how did we go in the test? We must tell everyone we come across the full story of the Gospel, and never be surprised at who responds.