5 Important Lessons from the Woman at the Well
The terrible violence in Christchurch, New Zealand, is a bell that tolls worldwide. It raises questions of who we are and where we are.
When Christ met a Samaritan woman at a well, those questions were answered.
My next door neighbor was Muslim. We rescued him and his family during the flood two years ago. We began to reach out to them in love, helping them repair their devastated home.
About two months ago, the husband was killed in a convenience store shooting where he worked. We mourned with his family. They hurt just as we would have.
Here are the relevant thoughts from the story of the “woman at the well” that speak to me about our current state of religious conflict:
1. God loves each and every person deeply.
Jesus broke all cultural norms to speak to a Samaritan woman. Jews called them “dogs” and would never be caught speaking to them. In addition, a woman would never be spoken to by a man.
Get beyond a person’s culture and dress. See their heart, their need for salvation. God certainly loves them deeply.
2. We are called to spread truth not destroy lives.
Jesus never instructed us to “wipe out the infidels” by destroying them inside their house of worship.
His approach was to engage her in conversation, to ask about her family, to answer her questions.
Spread the truth about Christ, don’t seek to destroy the people deceived by error.
3. Operate in the Holy Spirit, not in the flesh.
Christ used a gift of the Spirit (the word of knowledge) to tell the woman about her five former husbands and current live-in partner.
The Holy Spirit knows the deep personal failures of every person. Seek to follow His direction in dealing with people. Lay down your personal arguments and anger.
4. When you reach one person, an entire community will open to you.
The woman returned from the well to her community and convinced them all to come and meet Christ. He was given a wide open door to win a city by his attitude toward one Samaritan.
Think of every person you reach out to as the “gatekeeper” to a multitude of others just as needy as they are.
5. Don’t confuse your political convictions with your spiritual assignment.
Some friends of mine from Scandinavian nations were barraged with African, Syrian, and Iranian refugees two years ago. Their government briefly opened the doors to them then closed the doors again after an outcry of the citizens.
The churches reached out to this new population and have led thousands of them to Christ. Many are about to finish a special Bible school that is training them as pastors. Some have been returned back to their nations by the Scandinavian governments and they are now fiery evangelists for Christ in their Muslim nations!
There is a better way. It’s not murder and killing. It’s kindness, truth, and purpose.
That’s how Christ did it.