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Samaritans Saved

Riverside Indonesian Fellowship
Published by Stanley Pouw in 2020 · 4 October 2020

And now we read about a declaration made by a most surprising group of people from a village in Samaria called Sychar. They make this most monumental of all declarations that the Savior of the world has come and He is Jesus Christ. This is a great moment in redemptive history, and they are the most unlikely collection of sinners. They are alienated from Israel.

They are detached from divine revelation and the work of God through His people Israel. So why are these group of Samaritan villagers, God’s chosen instrument to declare that this Jesus is the Savior of the world? Not the high priest of Judaism, not the chief priests, not the priests, not the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the scribes, the rabbis, not the Jewish Sanhedrin. This is called providence.

And so John’s story is to get us to the end part where an entire village proclaims Jesus to be the Savior of the world. Salvation came through the Jews. Jesus said that back in verse 22 to the woman at the well. This meant that the truth about salvation came through Holy Scripture and the entire Old Testament. The Jews were the caretakers of divine revelation in the Old Testament.

However, they were never meant to be the end; they were meant to be the means to the end. They were supposed to be a missionary nation. They were to take the truth of God and they were to proclaim Him to the ends of the earth. And when the Messiah came, He would be the Savior of the world. They should have embraced that because that’s what the Old Testament says.

Isaiah 49:5-6 says, “And now says the Lord who formed me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him so that Israel might be gathered to Him, 6 Indeed He says it is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel. I will also give you as a light of the Gentiles so that My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”

Let us look at that statement that the Savior will save people from throughout the world. You can put the emphasis on this: salvation for every tongue, tribe, nation and people. He will redeem people from every part of the world. He’s the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. So here’s the emphasis on the fact that Jesus will save people from the whole world.

Secondly, only the gospel of Jesus Christ saves. In our political correct environment we have to give equal respect to every religion. We need to respect every person. We need to give love to every person caught up in every religion, but all other religions are satanic religions. There is only one way of salvation, and that is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works.

Now back to the end of this story. Jesus had left Bethany, and walked twenty miles to Jacob’s well in the area of Samaria near the village of Sychar. He sat down near the well, while His disciples went into the village to get some food, which indicates that they were glad to go into the village, interact with the people, buy and eat their food. Jesus’ did not follow these artificial Jewish rules.

Jesus arrives at the well and He’s sitting there alone. This woman comes at noon. Other women don’t go to the well at noon; it’s too hot. Maybe because she wanted to avoid exposure since she was considered a wicked woman. She has had five husbands. And now she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. She would be virtually deemed a prostitute in that society.

And in her isolation, she encounters Jesus and they’re alone. And what does Jesus begin with? He begins by telling her the gift of God, the water of life, the eternal life that God has for her if she only asks. You don’t earn it; you only ask for it. And if you only knew who you were talking to, and you only understood that I could give you this living water, this gift of God, this eternal life if you only ask.

That’s how Jesus launched the gospel. And she said, “I want that.” And then He said, “Wait, let us talk about an issue.” And He exposed her sin, and she was shocked because He knew her whole history. He is the omniscient God. And she knew then that He was at least a prophet from God and that He was speaking the truth. She was exposed; she felt the weight of that conviction.

She wanted to make it right. She wanted to repent. She wanted to connect with God so she said, “Where do I worship?” And Jesus at that point told her, “You’ve got to deal with your sin.” And you bring them to the point of conviction. If the person says, “I want to deal with that sin, what do I do? You say, “The first thing you have to do is turn from your idols and repent.

And then in the moment that she agreed she said, “Well, when Messiah comes, He will show us everything we need to know.” Jesus said, “I who speak to you am He.” And the revelation was complete. She went from being ignorant to having a revelation of Christ. The last words that Jesus says to her, “I who speak to you am He,” and at this point the disciples came.

How do we know that He’s the Son of God? The first evidence comes from providence. The disciples didn’t come until He had said that final revelation. There are no miracles in this account, only His omniscience. Providence is that theological word that means God controls all contingencies, all circumstances, all choices, all events, and all people all the time to converge to precisely fulfill His will.

Jesus goes through the whole process of bringing her to understand who He is and desiring a relationship with God and true worship, and at the moment that Jesus has brought that revelation to its culmination, notice verse 27, “At this point,” and in the Greek that is very specific. This is a critical juncture. The disciples had finished their business in Sychar to get the food and walk back.

The very moment Jesus had declared who He was, and the woman turned with that in her and couldn’t get to her village fast enough to tell everyone, at that moment, as that conversation comes to an end, the disciples arrive. The timing is perfect. They’re not too early and they’re not too late. They arrive exactly on time to see Jesus eliminating barriers of tradition and prejudice.

Remember what Jesus told them before His ascension in Acts 1:8, “You shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” He’s showing them what He wants them to do in Samaria. Yes, the gospel was for Israel, and it was for the whole world. But God created a new channel, His church, made up of Jews and Gentiles. God foreordains everything.

Jesus went through Samaria, it was a divine necessity to be at a certain point at a certain time. Every moment, every detail, caused everything to converge exactly the way it did, and yet Christ moves effortlessly through the conversation. It’s not forced. It comes to its climactic end with the claim that He is the Messiah and she affirms that. Jesus operated on a divine time schedule.

Verse 27, “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?” A Jew talking with a Samaritan? A rabbi talking with an outcast? They kept silent. Why? Well, though they are new disciples, they’re beginning to learn what all disciples need to learn and that is trust.

What is the mark of a really mature believer? Complete trust. What is the mark of an immature believer? Endless questions. Why this? Why does it have to be this way? They have taken some giant steps in mature discipleship, because what they’re essentially admitting is it’s not for us to question. Jesus controls everything. Things don’t just happen. He’s in charge. My prejudices are not important.

Verse 28-29, “The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Why does it say she went to the men? Because typically at the gate of every village the men sat and adjudicated the issues of the town. She ran into the men and she says, “Come see.”

The woman says, “I defer to your judgment, I’m just telling you, come and see.” That’s a very wise response. And she poses the question with a negative answer. “Come see a man who told me all the things that I have done.” They knew all the things she had done. This is a small village; married five times, living in adultery. I met a man who told me my whole background, my whole ugly history.

Hey lady, what happened to your shame? Hebrews calls it “a cleansed conscience.” That’s what happens when you’re regenerated; the conscience was cleansed; she had been purged. Her sin, which was once her shame, was now part of her testimony. This man told me everything I’d done. She was compelled to face herself. She lost her shame. She wanted to share her discovery.

That’s a mark of true salvation. If you think you lead someone to Christ, ask yourself the question, “Is that person eager to get to the people that that person loves and cares about as fast as possible to share the joy?” Somebody who comes to Christ and is totally transformed and forgiven and converted from hell to heaven; she can’t get there fast enough to tell her friends.

And more importantly, what happens in heaven when a sinner repents? Heaven has a celebration. The angels of God rejoice. The angels around the throne rejoice because God rejoices, because this is the great work that gives God joy. God is a God of joy and His joy is bound up in the salvation of sinners. “Come see this. Is this the Messiah?” She doesn’t want to force that on them. And so they responded.

Verse 30, “They went out of the city and were coming to Him.” See how God orchestrates all the details of everything, even the way the woman asks the question. If she had said to them, “I’ve got to tell you, I just met the Messiah.” They would have mocked her. Every detail shows that God is in charge in this whole situation, working through providence with Jesus.

Secondly, He the Savior because of His priority. Verse 31, “In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” This again shows the humanity of Jesus. They had been with Him for months and months and He ate like they did. Verse 32-33, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about. 33 Therefor the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

Verse 34, “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and accomplish His work.’” What is God’s work in human history? Redemption and salvation. That’s why Christ came. Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In Isaiah 54:5 God called Himself the Redeemer of Israel and of the whole earth.

You know, hunger disappears in times of intense prayer. That’s called fasting. You have no appetite. But appetite also goes away in times of unbounded, exhilarating joy. Jesus lets His disciples know that He’s been laboring in the Father’s work, and the joy of the labor has revived Him. They need to know that because they’re going to get the Great Commission.

Thirdly, there’s evidence from prophecy, He knows the future. Verse 35, “Do you not say there are yet four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, they are white for harvest.” What’s that referring to? Here come the Samaritans and they’re like grain ready to be harvested. Jesus prophesies that those people are going to be saved that day.

He knows the future of the village. Verse 36-37, “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal.” Right now, you’re here and right now you are going to have the joy of reaping and receiving the benefit. You’re going to be part of a revival right here. “And he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together, 37 for in this case the saying is true. One sows and another reaps.”

Some sow, some reap, and God gives the increase. Who sowed to these Samaritans? Jesus is teaching His disciples a lesson. Verse 38, “I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored, others have labored and you’ve entered into their labor.” You’ve come at the end of the labor to reap the harvest, and you’re going to reap it today. Verse 39, “That from that city, many of the Samaritans believed.”

Verse 41, “More believed.” The prophecy became true. Do you know that never happened in a village in Israel? They need to know that when they go there will be fruit there. They’ll go, they’ll plant, they’ll water, they’ll labor, and God will give the increase. So this is a preview of things to come, after His ascension when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were sent to the world.

So He stayed there two days. It’s the only time in His earthly ministry that ever happened where He actually spent two days with a whole town, revealing Himself who He was. Verse 42, “Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”‘ Let us pray.


© 2017 Ferdy Gunawan

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