Saturday, July 08, 2006

John 4

John 4:39 – 42


Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.


They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said: now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”


These verses follow the account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Let me backtrack a bit. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Now in those days, such was the disdain that Jews had for Samaritans that they would literally go out of their way to avoid passing through Samaria. Jews living in the region of Galilee, in the north of the country, took a much longer route to Jerusalem to avoid going through Samaria which lay right between Galilee and Judah. But Jesus, the Bible says “HAD TO GO THROUGH” Samaria. Why was that? Was he in a hurry to get to Jerusalem and couldn’t afford the time to walk around Samaria, like every other Jew seemed to do. Evidently not, Jesus was never in a hurry as far as I could tell. He even had a stop over in Samaria, when he sat down by a well, and sent His disciples into the nearest town to look for food. Wait a minute! As we see the story develop we learn that the reason Jesus HAD TO GO THROUGH SAMARIA, was that he had an appointment – at that very well. The appointment was to meet with a certain woman. Now she didn’t realise that she had this appointment, she was merely doing what was part of her routine, going to the well to collect water. There is a long discussion that ensued between Jesus and the woman and I urge you to read it, but I won’t go into that now. Suffice it to say, that Jesus touched this woman’s heart and she was given “living water” that transformed her life.


She went into the village and told other people about Jesus and they come out and urged Jesus and his disciples to stay. He stayed two days. By the way, that’s quite a long stopover. Jesus clearly was not in a hurry. He taught the people of the village and many of them believed.


Here is what I learnt from this:

·        The woman in the story having had her own life changed introduced Jesus to the people of her village. We read of Andrew introducing Jesus to Peter, and we read of Philip introducing Jesus to Nathaniel. (Or is it the other way around??) It was not up to the woman to tell the people everything that Jesus had taught her, all she needed to do was introduce Jesus to them and He did the rest. Same is true of Andrew and of Philip.

·        Do you know what an MC is? The MC is the Master of Ceremonies. It is a person who at a party or a public meeting will welcome the people attending and introduce with hopefully a few well chosen words, the key-note speaker, and then he will sit down and the key-note speaker will come to what he was supposed to do –speak. Now people don’t go to a meeting to listen to the MC, and don’t you hate it when an MC hogs the podium and makes an unnecessarily long introduction of the speaker or is overly pedantic. No, people go to such meetings to listen to the words of the main speakers (as advertised.) Friends you may not be at a formal rally or meeting, but you can be an MC. You can introduce Jesus – the Keynote speaker – it just takes a few words like, “You know, Jesus has made such a difference in my life.”

·        The Samaritans came to know about Jesus because of the testimony of the woman, “Come and see the man who told me all about my life.” They may have had some doubts but curiosity made them listen to him. They believed when they heard Jesus speak to them. If I go to a meeting to listen to a particular person, I will not necessarily remember anything that the MC said, but during the Keynote address, I will take notes. I may not remember or even know who that MC was, but I will know who the main speaker is. When I see adverts in the newspaper, advertising Christian meetings, I am not interested in who the MC will be, but rather on who the main speakers will be.

·        If we want Jesus to stay, we don’t have to twist His arm, He is more than willing to stay and for that matter he stays forever. Jesus is not in a hurry. He is not merely passing by, but he has come for a divine appointment, and He’s waiting for you to come to the well. He’s waiting for you to come to Him, and say, “Come and stay with me.” Are you willing to open the door of your life to Him?”

·        Friends, while I have downplayed the role of an MC, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. It is a great honour to be asked to MC at any event. The MC cannot take his or her (Mistress of Ceremonies???) responsibilities lightly. They need to put in adequate preparation. They need to have a good understanding of the events proceedings, a background knowledge of the guests of honour, and the main speakers. They need to have contingencies for unexpected occurrences. The MC needs to present himself well, and be a confident speaker in his own right. He may need an amusing or interesting anecdote as an ice-breaker, but not a string of jokes or long-winded stories. While an MC isn’t the focus of the meeting, having a poor MC can really spoil a meeting. If you are asked to MC an occasion, consider it a great honour and do not let the person down who has placed that responsibility in your hands. Recently, on the reality television show, “The Apprentice” one of the two finalists had to host a charity sports event. She had approached a famous NBA Basketball player to MC the occasion. Just a day or two before the event, having agreed to do it, the player let the contestant down. This poor contestant was in a panic. She managed to find somebody else to step into the breach, but I think the no-show affected her more than she realised. That basketball player was very unfair, and did not deserve the respect that the contestant clearly had for him. So taking this on to a spiritual realm, if you have the opportunity to MC for Jesus, will you take you’re your responsibility seriously, and count it an honour to be so entrusted. Here’s the good news – you have been asked to MC for Jesus – when you go to work and talk to your colleagues, if you at school and talking to your friends. If you are playing sport, be an MC for Jesus amongst your team mates. Introduce Jesus, and then shut up and let him do the talking.


I am going to leave it there friends, but please feel free to let me know what you think. A good MC is not above getting some good advice from the audience.


Your friend,