Sowing Seeds of Hope, Love, and Faith.

Christ calls us to take the Gospel to everyone––even to sinners such as the woman at the well––and to witness to Christ as the woman did after her encounter with Jesus. Jesus demonstrates His care for all, regardless of their social standing. We can also be inspired by the Samaritan woman’s excitement in sharing the good news of Jesus

SCRIPTURE:  John 4:5-42   

Having moved into my own home, I used my holidays to decorate and sort the small courtyard behind my house. I love trees. In the suburb where I grew up in Australia, the streets in my suburb were utterly tree-less; however, many were planted in people’s back gardens. I think there are not many trees because of the scarcity of water, and trees need lots of water. Local councils didn’t want the residents to waste their water, particularly during times of drought, for those who did, were issued heavy fines. So, when I came to Wales Uk to live, I was so pleased to see the trees everywhere!

I bought a house in Wales, where I am surrounded by beautiful Parks, a river, mountains lined with trees, and a sandy beach.

I love trees and enjoy looking at them, so I bought two big pots and a lot of potting soil, bought a cherry tree and an apple tree, and planted them. New buds form within a few days, and fruit appeared after 3 years. I am looking forward to them producing some fruit for me in years to come. I chose cherry because cherries are expensive to buy in the shops, and I really enjoy cherries, and they’ve got very high antioxidant properties being a dark fruit. Usually, apples are easy to grow, and I can do all sorts of things with apples like apple pie, sauce, and much more an added bonus, apples are very high in vitamin C. Then I got thinking about apples and cherries because they have seeds.    

SEEDS AND NEW LIFE   

A traditional gift for a teacher from the student is an apple. Think about a good teacher that you may have had. A good teacher plant seeds of ideas in our thinking and helps us explore those ideas, and they explain things to us in an exciting way. A good teacher is a teacher because they love to teach and want to help the student be all they can be and pursue a successful future.

Most teachers never know what the results of their teaching will be. It takes many years for the student to mature and become an adult. During that time, they will discover their interests and talents and decide how to use them. A good teacher plants a seed, in their student’s mind, and years later, others will see the results of that teacher’s work, and the teacher may never know the outcome of their student’s life. 

WE ALL HAVE A PURPOSE IN THIS LIFE – John 4:5-42

Jesus talks about this idea in (4:37)- He says, “One sow and another reaps” – one person plants the seed, and another person may harvest the fruit. So, when we say something helpful to another person or do something kind, it is planting a seed of God’s love. 

We may never know the result; we may never know the outcome of that planted seed. However, we can be sure that there will be a good result when we work with God’s love. This is what we are focusing on in this text today: Sowing Seeds of hope, love, and faith.

JESUS AND THE OUTSIDERS

Briefly looking at the context, we find that Jews had little to do with Samaritans. Ever felt like an outsider? I have many times. Jews considered Samaritans as outsiders who hold little worth.

Samaritans were hated so much by the Jews that they tended to avoid even travelling through Samaria. But Jesus didn’t share this hatred towards Samaritans. He travelled from Judea to Galilee to go through Samaria rather than bypassing it. He was not trying to save time, but Jesus continually sought out the outcasts, the outsider of society––the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers, all those who were considered to have little worth. Jesus loves all people regardless of how others may devalue a certain section of society, Jesus accepts them.

THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

Travelling left Jesus exhausted, and hot and he needed a rest and a drink of water. So, when Jesus came to a little town in Samaria he stopped at the local well for a drink. As Jesus approached the well, he discovered a lone woman drawing water.

Usually, women came to the well in the mornings and evenings, but this woman came at noon. It was very hot at noon, but she was alone at the well and free to draw water without ridicule. But today, a strange man approached. It was not suitable for men to converse with women in this culture. The rule was,

 “Let no man talk with a woman in the street, no, not even with his wife.”

Jesus spoke and ministered to the woman and in doing so, he was getting rid of old Jewish prejudices and rivalries that were held against the Samaritan people.  Jesus addressed the discrimination of women, particularly toward women who were regarded as sinners. God is spirit, so our worship cannot be confined to a particular place or a particular people. God is everywhere, so He can be worshipped everywhere by all people. True worship is an affair of the heart.

WOMAN MATTER

After the conversation with Jesus, the Samaritan woman left her water jar at the well and excitedly ran into the city to tell the people there of her conversation with Jesus. “Come, see a man who told me everything I did. Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29).  Many people “believed in Jesus BECAUSE OF THE WORD OF THE WOMAN” (v. 39). How amazing! In that time and place, people didn’t take a woman’s word very seriously. 

Until Jesus came along, this woman was practically invisible; no one would have sent her into town as their spokeswoman. But her contact with Jesus transformed her life and status in the community. The people heard her and said, “You are right. This is the saviour of the world” (the meaning of v. 42).

SOULS MATTER

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said: ‘Go for souls and go for the worst’.

 That’s what Jesus did when he turned this so-called outcast into a well-received evangelist. 

Jesus planted seeds of hope, love, and faith in her heart, and she received them, and she let those seeds grow to where she acted and shared her story.

 Jesus does that. He changes people’s lives, and we do that too, we are seed planters, and if God wishes, we help to grow those seeds by protecting and nurturing them – and we may or may not see the final result.

Jesus especially loves to help outcasts because they most need help, and so should we.

 The late Billy Graham said:

“Jesus stopped dying on the cross long enough to answer the prayer of a thief. 

 He stopped in a big crowd one day because a WOMAN touched the hem of His garment,

 and He’ll stop to touch your life, change you, and forgive you – that’s Good News”!

CHURCH MATTERS

As the church, we are Christ’s hands for service in this world, and he uses you and me to do his work, to change people’s lives: How?

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we CARE;

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we LISTEN;

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we REACH OUT;

   • We plant the seeds of Christ each time we TOUCH EACH OTHER IN LOVE.

A quote from John Wesley “The Church has nothing else to do but to save souls; therefore, be devoted to this work. It is your business to bring as many sinners as possible to repentance”.

This week let us resolve to allow God to plant seeds of hope, faith, and love to fill us with His Spirit so we might plant the same seeds in the life of others.

Let us pray that we will touch lives with seeds of hope, love, and faith this week and see the transforming love of Christ in action!

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 Paula Rose Parish💕

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The Transforming Gospel-John 4:5-42 -The Woman at the Well

John 4:5-42 -The Woman at the Well

The reason had to do with their history.  Seven centuries before Christ (720 B. C.), there were only two kingdoms, Israel in the North and Judea in the South.  Then the Assyrians defeated Israel and carried them into captivity, leaving just a few people behind. (2 Kings 17:6)

Jews had little to do with Samaritans.  Jews tended to avoid even traveling through Samaria.  That wasn’t easy, because Samaria was the middle kingdom, sandwiched between Jewish Galilee and Jewish Judea.  A traveller from Judea to Galilee had to go through Samaria or to cross the Jordan River to by-pass Samaria.  Most Jews would take the longer journey, spending extra days on the road to avoid contact with Samaritans.

As time passed, the people who had been left behind began to inter-marry foreigners, and the people who resulted from these marriages were the Samaritans. 

In the enlightened day in which we live, that might not seem too serious, but it was serious to the Jews.  They were God’s special people.  By inter-marrying, the Samaritans lost their racial purity, and compromised their status as God’s special people.

A century and a half later, (586 B. C.) the people of Judea––the Southern Kingdom––suffered the same fate.  They too were conquered and were carried into captivity––this time into Babylonia.  But they stubbornly resisted inter-marriage, and thus maintained their identity as the special people of God. 

A century later (450 B. C.), Ezra and Nehemiah returned from Babylon to restore Jerusalem and the temple.  Samaritans came to help in this sacred task but were told that their help wasn’t wanted.  Samaritans weren’t pure enough to help with this sacred task. 

The Samaritans never forgot this insult, so they built their own temple at Mount Gerizim, and began to worship there.  The walls between Jews and Samaritans were high and feelings were bitter.

But Jesus didn’t share this animosity towards Samaritans.  Having to travel from Judea to Galilee, he chose to go through Samaria rather than by-passing it.  You might think that he was just trying to save time if you didn’t know Jesus.  But Jesus always sought out the outcasts of society––the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers––and his travels through Samaria carried him through a nation of outcasts.

THE WOMAN

Jesus came to the little town of Sychar in Samaria and stopped at the well for a drink.  A woman was there, drawing water.  Usually, women came to the well in the mornings and evenings, but this woman came at noon.  It was hot at noon, but she was alone at the well.  That was best.  She didn’t like to stand in line with the village women and endure awkward silence.

This woman usually arranged to be alone.  She prized her solitude.  Her loneliness hurt, but not as much as the unkind glances of the other women––or the sexual advances of the men.

But today, a strange man approached.  She must have been disappointed because Jesus broke into her privacy.  But perhaps he would ignore her.  Men didn’t start conversations with women.  The rule was,

“Let no one talk with a woman in the street,

no, not even with his own wife.”

But Jesus asked her, “Give me a drink” (v. 7).  The woman was surprised.  “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (v. 9). 

Jesus’ next words were curious:

“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” (v. 10),

The woman said:

“Sir, you have nothing to draw with,

and the well is deep;

from where then have you that living water?” (v. 11).

Jesus responded:

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again,

but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him

will never thirst again.

but the water that I will give him

will become in him a well of water

springing up to eternal life” (vv. 13-14).

The woman said to Jesus:

“Sir, give me this water,

so that I don’t get thirsty,

neither come all the way here to draw.” (v. 15).

Perhaps she spoke in jest, as if Jesus were a bit mad.  But Jesus quickly brought her back to reality.  “Go, call your husband, and come here” (v. 16).

She said, “I have no husband.”  But Jesus responded:

“You said well, ‘I have no husband,’

for you have had FIVE husbands. (popular Lady)

and he whom you now have is NOT your husband” (vv. 17-18).

This was personal––just what the woman had been trying to avoid by coming to the well at noon. 

“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain.

and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” (vv. 19-20),

But Jesus responded:

“Woman, believe me, the hour comes,

when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem,

will you worship the Father? You worship that which you don’t know.

We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews.

But the hour comes, and now is,

when the true worshippers will worship the Father IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH,

for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers” (vv, 21-23).

Jesus was saying that the old rivalries were on the way out.  Furthermore, because God is spirit, worship cannot confined to particular places, such as Mount Gerizim or Jerusalem.  Worship is an affair of the heart, and true worship is a gift of our hearts.

The woman said,

“I know that Messiah comes,” (he who is called Christ).

When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” (v. 25).

Jesus said:  “I am he, the one who speaks to you” (v. 26).

At that point, the woman left her water jar and ran into the city.  “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29). 

 They came, and many of them “believed in Jesus BECAUSE OF THE WORD OF THE WOMAN” (v. 39).

How amazing!  In that time and place, people didn’t take the word of a woman very seriously. 

Until Jesus came along, this woman was practically invisible in her own town.  No one would have sent her into town as their spokeswoman.  But her contact with Jesus transformed her life and status in the community.  The people heard her, and had said, “You are right.  This is the saviour of the world” (the meaning of v. 42).

Now the people, who had always avoided this woman, spoke to her with respect. 

    • She had been INVISIBLE, but now she was SEEN.

    • She had been LOST, but now was FOUND.

    • She had been a SINNER, but now was REDEEMED.

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said: ‘Go for souls and go for the worst.’

That’s what Jesus did when he turned this outcast woman into a well-received evangelist. 

Jesus does that.  He changes people’s lives.  Jesus especially loves to help outcasts because they most need help.

That’s the Good News of this text.  In this encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus not only claims to be the Messiah––he demonstrates what that means when he changes this woman’s life.

This same Messiah changes our lives, Jesus stopped dying on the cross

long enough to answer the prayer of A THIEF.  He stopped in a big crowd one day

because A WOMAN touched the hem of His garment. and He’ll stop to touch YOUR LIFE

and change you and forgive you. And that’s Good News.

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Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA

Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK.

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

A life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

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Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals

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