Christianity is meant to be seen! It should be like a lighthouse on the shore in a dark night.
Someone once said, "There can be no such thing as secret discipleship. For either secrecy destroys the discipleship, or the discipleship destroys the secrecy!" Jesus said: "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven." (Matt. 5:16).
Figures have reported as many as 95% of church members have never personally led anyone to Christ. What's your story? Do you have one? I pray that it might be the same as the Samaritan woman who met Jesus. Take just a few minutes and read this amazing story in John 4:1-30.
This woman had a "divine appointment" with Jesus! How do I know? Because John says Jesus "had to go through Samaria." John was not saying that it was His only way to get from Judea to Galilee. In fact, the Jews would never go through Samaria -- they despised Samaritans. But Jesus "had to" because He knew there was a woman there who was lost in her sin. (By the way, that is the compassion of our Lord Jesus!)
Jesus met her where she was and made a simple request, "Please give me a drink." This really grabbed her attention because a Jewish man would never ask a Samaritan woman for water. Notice that when the disciples returned from town picking up food, they were surprised that their Master was talking to this woman.
The request for water was just Jesus' way of arousing her curiosity. And it worked. When she asked "Why?", Jesus introduced her to "living water" and explained: "Anyone who drinks this water (from the well), will thirst again. But those who drink the water I give will never thirst again." It would give "eternal life" (John 4:13-14).
Now what would be your first response? Exactly! "Please sir, give me this water!"
She was not expecting Jesus' next request: "Go and get your husband" (v. 16). This request from Jesus revealed her deepest need -- she had to admit she was a sinner. However, she did what most people would do at this point. She first had recognized that Jesus was a Jewish man who shouldn't have been talking to her. Now, she accepted the fact that he must be a prophet because He knew about her. So, she began to talk about the differences in the worship between the Jews and the Samaritans.
But Jesus was not about to let her evade the real issue. He was not talking about a place of worship or a method of worship. He was speaking of the only Way to worship the only God who exists. Then, the door was opened for Jesus when the woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming -- the one who is called Christ. When He comes, He will explain everything to us." (v. 25).
This Samaritan woman was ready for the Truth! Read what Jesus told her: "I Am the Messiah!" (v. 26). The message doesn't get any clearer than that! And, the church needs to clearly give the message of Truth: "Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Living Water that leads to Eternal Life!"
But, before I close, I just have to point out what happened next. "The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone. 'Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could He possibly be the Messiah?' So the people came streaming from the village to see Him. Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, 'Rabbi, eat something.'" (John 4:28-31).
Here is one instance in the Bible where the church needs to be more like the Samaritan woman than the disciples. The disciples went to town and simply brought food to Jesus. The Samaritan woman, an outcast changed by Jesus, went to town and brought the entire town back to Jesus by saying, "Come and see!"
What's your story? Have you had a "divine appointment" with this Man from Galilee? Do you now see Him as more than a man, more than prophet? Do you know Him as the Messiah, the Great "I Am?"
If so, it is time to be like a lighthouse on a dark shore. It is time to share your story, and say, "Come and see the One who knew all about me but met me where I was and saved me from my sin!"
If you don't have a "story" yet, feel free to call me at (618) 269-3664. I would love to set up a divine appointment with you!
• Jack Hall is pastor of First Baptist Church in Shawneetown.