Thursday, December 08, 2011

John 4:39-42

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Key Observation:
“He told me all that ever I did.”

Verse 28 is translated such by NIV: “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people.” The word “people” here is from the Greek word: “anthropos” and it is first translated as man, but its second translation could be “people”. In the KJV the translators translated it as “men”, something I think might better fit the context. I understand that NIV sometimes tries to simplify and neuter gender references. Here I feel they made a clear mistake. The woman, I think, had not much influence over the women of the village; she had had five husbands, and was now living with another man. I do think the story probably is best understood as the woman going to the men of the village (she apparently felt quite comfortable around them), and some of them were willing to receive her testimony and come see the Messiah themselves.

I find it credible to think that the woman has so tainted her testimony by her life that she was limited severely to a smaller audience. She spoke to “men”, many of whom came to hear because of her testimony, and evidently many who would not believe such an incredible testimony were yet curious enough to “come and see for themselves”. I find it very interesting that Jesus began this revival, for that is what it was, with perhaps the worst of all people in the whole village. He knew the witness of such a person would be severely compromised. Why did He do it thus?

I can think of several reasons:
1. God looks at the heart, and Jesus certainly saw into the heart of the woman.
2. God knows which of those He calls will believe: “For we were known before the foundation of the world.”
3. The woman knew her sin—look at the way she confesses to Jesus. Compare with the
rich young ruler whom Jesus did love and called to follow. The rich young ruler
went back to his riches rather than answer the call.
4. The woman saw her need for the Living Water. Jesus calls many, but few are chosen.
5. Jesus came to sinners, not to save those who thought they were righteous.

Somehow within that divine election and sovereignty, God allows people to choose whether or not they are going to follow God. The whole tone of Scripture necessitates this choice, and the commands to repent and believe could scarcely be given to men unable to respond. Confusion arises in the hearts of many believers when told that belief is a work, and that we are not saved from works. The Scripture is very clear on that: “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.” In no way is believing God a work. In fact it is the antithesis to work, since one of the central things men are told by God is that they are unable utterly to save themselves. What are they called to do? Believe God. And how shall I believe God, except that He Himself reveals Himself to me? To God lies all sovereignty, and in His sovereigness He has given the world the command to believe. We are told in John that men prefer darkness to light, and “whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

“He told me all that ever I did”. What a powerful statement! Day before yesterday, I wrote briefly about God’s imparting swift knowledge to me in seconds. It was in answer to my prayer: “God, if you are really there, can you show yourself to me?” In the space of a few seconds I was able to see back into my life, and how many times God had intruded into my life, helping, aiding, and quietly testifying to mostly deaf ears. He indeed loved me before I loved Him.

I love the opportunity to share who Jesus is with people. Even more, I love teaching the Word of God, because it is the “power of God to all who believe”. It is my hope and prayer that we may yet have enough time left for revival to fall on His people, and that with that revival, we may also see another “great awakening”. We are getting a new church building that is rather too big for our needs. Would it not be a wonderful thing if God was in the process right now of reviving us, and bringing a fruitful harvest to Elk Grove?

I Love to Tell the Story

1. I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love:
I love to tell the story
Because I know 'tis true;
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do.

2. I love to tell the story;
'Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it,
More wonderfully sweet:
I love to tell the story,
For some have never heard
The message of Salvation
From God's own holy Word.

3. I love to tell the story;
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it, like the rest:
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story of
Jesus and His love.

Lyrics: Arabella Catherine Hankey

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