John 4:1-42

Something extraordinary happened at Jacob’s well.

Something more extraordinary than a rabbi simply speaking to a woman; more extraordinary than the King of the Jews talking with a hated Samaritan. More extraordinary than the Creator and Lord of the universe holding a class on Biblical theology with an outwardly sinful woman.

The extraordinary thing that happened that day at Jacob’s well is that as a result of that encounter with Jesus her life was changed forever. And because of her testimony so were the lives of many others!

The text does not explicitly say so, but it is a given that this woman drank the ‘living water’ Jesus offered her and became a believer. Otherwise, John would not have included it as he declares at the end of his gospel, “these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the God; and in believing you may have life in His name” (20:31)

This woman who came to draw water from Jacob’s well not only became a ‘believer’ she also became an ‘evangelist’ who was responsible for bringing many others who also lived in Sychar to faith in Jesus.

Notice that she takes a risk in returning to her town and inviting them to follow her, a known sinner, to meet Jesus. They don’t like her; she probably doesn’t care for them. She has heard their catty gossiping, she has seen their stares of disdain. But she can’t help herself. She rushes back to tell them anyway! “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.”

He knew that she was a sinner and loved her anyway. He offered her living water, eternal life. She just had to tell someone!

The townspeople quickly see that something extraordinary happened to this woman so they respond to her invitation to “come and see.” With the result that many people who come with her to see Jesus become believers themselves!

Her words, “Come and see” are the very heart and soul of this passage!

Like the woman who encountered Jesus at the well, our lives have been changed too!

Haven’t we too encountered Jesus? Didn’t He offer us His Living Water? And haven’t we drunk from the deep well of His grace?

We have learned to worship Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). We have come to know what it means to sing “the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose you now.”

We live by faith that in Him our sins have been forgiven; our sins, and they are many, have been forgiven; glory hallelujah! In that regard, haven’t our lives been changed for the better?

Part of that treasure involves our becoming part of His family in His Church! Where we relish the opportunities to worship alongside sisters and brothers in the fellowship of the beloved; the gathering of Jesus people. It is here that we have friends that accept us, forgive us, love us and want the best for us. Then to belong to a group where when we slip up and tick one another off rather than turn our backs or run away, we see those times as opportunities to become more like Jesus and work things out for our peace of mind and His glory!

In His Church, we have a place to work together to accomplish His work of sharing His grace with, not only one another, but our entire community!

But our greatest treasure by far is that our spiritual thirst been quenched as the water that He alone provides has bubbled up within us as a perpetual spring granting unto us eternal life?

I remember what it was like to be without God, without hope; having deluded myself into thinking that science had all the answers and that the prospect of any kind of life after death was simply a fairy tale. All there was to life for me was to eat, drink and be merry while I had the chance because when I go toes up, that’s it, that’s all there is baby; lights out forever!

Besides if there was a God, I’d be in trouble. Certainly, God wouldn’t want anything to do with me.

And then someone said to me, “Come and see; come and see what I have found.” And to my surprise, I found Christ; or I should say He found me. From then on it was “One way, Jesus, You’re the only One that I could live for!”

We wouldn’t trade our life in Christ and His church for anything would we?

That’s why we have this heartfelt desire to see other peoples’ lives changed for the better too!

We hold this hope that our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors will “come and see” that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) that like the townspeople of Sychar that they too will experience for themselves the joy in knowing Jesus as Savior.

But if this is true, then it begs the question: What are we personally doing about the desperate spiritual need of our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues and/or our neighbors? These folks are our assignment! God has put us into the sphere of their influence for a reason.

In John 4, Jesus is teaching His disciples then and now about the urgency of doing His Father’s work. He says, “Wake up and look around; the fields are white unto the harvest now!

Matthew speaks of another occasion when Jesus looks out at the crowds and talks about the enormity of the task of the harvest:

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to His disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:36-38).

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do.
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.

Some years ago a commuter on the Long Island Railroad was known to every regular patron on the five o’clock local. He was a well-dressed, soft-spoken young man originally from Jamaica. Every evening after the train left the subway he would rise and go to the front of the car. As he walked back he would speak to every passenger, saying, “Excuse me; but if any of your family or any of your friends are blind, tell them to consult Dr. Garl; he restored my sight.” 1

That is a great pattern to follow in reaching people with the good news of Jesus. He did not argue . . . he testified. Courteously, he commended to each and all the one who had opened his eyes. We can do less.

In Decision magazine, Peggy DesNoyers writes:

My job as a psychiatric home-health nurse brought me in touch with many people who were hurt or angry and who were searching for answers to problems in their lives. I knew that Jesus was the answer, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk to them about him. I was the master of excuses. [Until] one patient changed my life. Wanda was a 56-year-old widow in chronic depression. All of her family had died, some of them tragically, within a span of 16 years. The loss and her grief overwhelmed her until life for her became a burden she was unable to bear. One day she quit her job, went home, pulled the curtains, and refused to leave her house. Eventually she stopped eating, and even the smallest of tasks became too difficult for her to do. An observant neighbor had noticed the changed in Wanda’s behavior, and that neighbor made arrangements for her to be taken to a hospital where she was admitted to the psychiatric ward. At the end of her hospital stay, when she went home, I was assigned to be her home-health nurse. I visited her weekly to make sure she was taking her medication and was eating and taking care of herself. Over the course of six months Wanda continued to recover. Although I knew she needed to meet Jesus as her Savior, I reasoned that she would soon be attending church and would hear about him there. One day I went to Wanda’s house for my regular visit, and I was surprised to find the door ajar. I knocked and when there was no response, I pushed the door open and stepped inside. The living room was vacant, so I went to her bedroom and found her lifeless body on the bed. There were several empty medication bottles beside her, and in her hand she held a noted addressed to me. I sat on the bed beside her and took the note. I read: “Dear Peggy, I’m so sorry. I tried it your way, but I got tired. Please forgive me. I tried. I just couldn’t do it. I got tired.” I slid off the bed onto my knees and cried my heart out to my loving, forgiving Father: “Lord Jesus, she tried it my way. I gave her the best that I had. But it was my way. I didn’t tell her about You. I didn’t tell her about Your way.” On my knees beside Wanda’s lifeless body I promised God that I would never pass by another opportunity to tell someone about him. 2

So what can we do?

It all begins with prayer. Paul writes in his first letter to his friend Timothy:

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone” (2:1-6).

Pray that God would give us the compassion of Jesus to see the spiritual needs of people, that without Jesus, they are “confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Pray that God would use you in some way to reach out to them in Jesus’ name. Pray for the ability to put into words a testimony of your spiritual experience. Pray that they will respond positively when you invite them to “come and see.”

Speaking of “come and see,” I am planning a special worship service for Sunday, September 8th at which I am challenging you to invite folks to “come and see.” I will do my best to present the good news of Christ’s love in a compelling way that will give every person an opportunity to say as did the Sycharians to the woman at the well:

Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

It’s our job to bring people to a place where they can listen to Jesus for themselves. Ultimately, it is Jesus’ own words that they will believe or disbelieve.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you GO . . . in Jesus’ name.


2 Peggy DesNoyers, “Silent No More,” Decision (July/August 2000), p. 36