Jesus Christ Came To Save Us

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They Marveled

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. …And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” (John 4:9, 27 NKJV)

Have you ever wanted to add a footnote to “Love your neighbor as yourself”?

Yes, of course we are to love others, but:

  • If they’ve formerly cheated on a spouse, they only get partial love and zero trust.
  • If they’re mean to you, God has clearly called a different Christian to love them.
  • If they’ve verbally attacked your family, it’s OK to get a little personal payback.
  • If they’ve disagreed with you on a theological belief, you don’t have to do ministry together.
  • If their political view is xxxxx, you can smile in church, but go ahead and invest in someone else for fellowship.

John tells us a story of Jesus making a point to travel through Samaria (John 4:3-42). Back then Jews generally had no dealings with Samaritans. Some despised the Samaritans even more than Gentiles, as they were considered half-breeds and practitioners of a perversion of the true Jewish faith.

It’s here Jesus meets a woman gathering water while his disciples are off getting food. Women would typically gather water in the morning when it was cool. This woman had come at noon, alone. We don’t know a lot about her, but we find out she had gone through five husbands and the man she was currently with was not her husband. Is this why she chose to avoid gathering water in the morning? To endure the gaze of the hot sun rather than the gaze of the other women? Perhaps.

Jesus starts a conversation. If passing through Samaria wasn’t bad enough, now Jesus is alone with a less than reputable Samaritan woman drinking from her cup at a public well. Not the best image for a Jewish Rabbi.

The woman marvels: “Why would this Jewish man approach a Samaritan woman like me in the heat of the day?”

The disciples return and marvel: “Why would the master approach a Samaritan woman like that at any time of day?”

Though culturally and religiously in opposition, both groups are in agreement here. “Jesus is not behaving the way we expect religious Jews to behave.”

Loving others was not a new concept for the disciples. They would have known the scripture:

“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18a.

Yet the way Jesus loved revealed their (and perhaps sometimes our own) shallow view on what it looks like to love others.

Jesus shows us a love that is not convenient. He shows us a love that is extended without expectation of reciprocation. Jesus shows us a love that intentionally seeks out those who society—and sometimes religion— have deemed unlovable.

And we marvel. We marvel because it’s a love not of this world. It’s unnatural, undeserved, and often unrequited.

But this is what separates Christian love from the love of the world:

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. Luke 6:32-33 NKJV

There will be moments in our lives when we have the opportunity to love sacrificially: to approach the person nobody else will approach, to return compassion for hatred, to give with no thought of return. Today and every day, let us be on the lookout for such opportunities. They may first appear as problems, obstacles, or inconveniences. But it is this type of love that will cause the world to marvel and acknowledge the work of God in our lives.

 

Leaving the Well, Leading the Way

By: Misty Wilson, crosswalk.com

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:39)

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well has to be one of my all time favorites. There is so very much that we can learn from this passage of scripture. One of the most overlooked lessons we can learn from this woman is the impact she had on her own community. She left the well that day a new woman. She had sipped from the wellspring . . . living water. She had met the Christ.

I can almost imagine how refreshed her face must have appeared to all of the people. If you study this scripture, the people immediately responded to what she said by going out of the town and making their way toward Jesus (verse 30). The Woman at the Well made her neighbors, her community a priority and led them to Jesus.

Many times we hurry through our lives missing the great opportunity to minister to our own neighbors in our own communities. It is so sad that our communities of long ago are disappearing. Neighbors rarely even know each other, much less share in each others lives. Webster’s dictionary defines share as “to partake of, use, experience, or enjoy with others.” Sharing our lives with others is a great way to minister. The word “minister” seems so stuffy and preachy (if that is even a word) sometimes. The truth is that ministry begins with sharing our lives with others.

My family and I recently moved to a new town with all new faces. We did not know anyone except our real estate agent! The first few months were very tough sometimes, and often very lonely. God placed some “ministers” in my path. He sent people who opened up their hearts, their lives, and their community to me and my little family. These new friends did not have to preach to me or even discuss church, they ministered to me by sharing. They shared tips on doctors, restaurants, garbage pick up days, community events, lawn service, and school information. These people, this community, appeared refreshed to me . . . just like the Woman at the Well. These people have impacted me, their neighbor. I have no doubt that these same people have shared the love of God through their simple actions many, many times. They have all chosen to make their neighbors, their community a priority. I praise God for them!

Do you know your neighbors? Just start by saying “hi!” The Woman at the Well was so touched by Christ that she impacted an entire town. You can too. You don’t have to say a word. They will see it in your face and experience it as you decide to share a little of your life with them. Reach out today in some little way to the community around you and watch as that “Living Water” begins to flow all around you!

 

The Power to Heal the Hurt of Our Souls

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22 (NASB)

There is no other loss like this one. There is no other heart so shattered as a mom who’s living without her child. A piece of her soul forever missing, she is crushed beneath the weight of this grief.

When I received that call, the one every mother fears, I was so far away from God that I didn’t even think to pray. God did not enter my mind as the babysitter screamed that the ambulance was at our house. We lost our 3-year-old son to complications of strep throat on that April day in 2008, and I did not utter a single prayer.

Yet, the King of the universe, in His endless mercy and grace, chose to reveal Himself to me as my son’s life slipped from this earth. Just days after our son’s death, I gave my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Because jumping into things with both feet is my style, studying Scripture became my hunger and never-ending curiosity: Who was this God? Why did Jesus have to die for my sins? Who am I on this earth? What is heaven like?

In the deep, dark pit of grieving a child, I learned one truth that feeds my hope and has become my source of strength. One truth that has the power to overcome my pain:

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).

We must turn toward God and remember that Jesus weeps with us (John 11:35), the Spirit of God prays for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26), and our heavenly Father collects every tear we cry in His bottle and records them in His book. (Psalm 56:8)

While there is no other pain like our pain, there is no other god like our God. Maybe you haven’t experienced losing a child, but Scripture has the power to heal the hurt in your soul when you remember:

  • There is no other God who created the heavens and the earth; even the lives of our children belong to Him. (Isaiah 42:5)
  • There is no other God who formed your child in your womb and brought him into this life for whatever time He alone established. (Psalm 139)
  • There is no other God who says, “You are Mine,” “You are precious in My sight,” “You are honored,” and “I love you” (Isaiah 43:1-4).

Whether your pain is losing someone you loved or some other deep sorrow, cry out to Him. Allow your Creator to whisper healing love into your soul. There is no other one who loves you like He does.

Finally, this verse became my cry when I couldn’t go on. I have experienced the truth of these words, and so can you:

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NASB).

 

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