I Must Go Through Samaria (Newsletter 5-5)

Joel Wells

IT WAS SAID OF Jesus that He “must needs go through Samaria” (John 4:4). I am sure His disciples wondered why they were following the Master to a city, which was out of their way. More importantly it was a place where they were not welcome, and it was inhabited by people with whom Jews did not associate. But Jesus knew there was a “Samaritan woman” He had to meet at Jacob’s well at noon that day, even if she was disdained by His own people.

Upon meeting the woman who came to the well for the same purpose, Jesus asked her to give Him some water. Normally, this would be a task for His disciples, but they were nowhere to be found as they were more concerned about finding food to eat. In the exchange between this woman living in sin and Jesus living without sin, she forgot her thirst for water and asked for “the living water” that Jesus offered.

Amazed by what Jesus had revealed to her, the “Samaritan woman” abandoned her water pot (the purpose for coming to the well) and ran back into the city. There she told other Samaritans about the Messiah and returned with many Samaritans from the city who were so impacted by-Jesus that they asked Him to stay two more days.

Examining the characters in this story we discover several truths. It is obvious Jesus is no longer here on earth other than through the hands, feet, and voice of His church—people like you and me. By having to “go through Samaria” we become like Jesus whose mission was to connect with the “Samaritan woman”—the lost, the overlooked, the broken, and the disdained of this world. Once the Samaritan woman received the gospel she eagerly sought out her associates, many just like her, told them about her experience, and brought them to Jesus.

Where are the disciples in this story? Surely, they were contributing characters in this saga. No, their carnality and their prejudice toward the Samaritans prevented them from seeing the example Jesus was setting for them. They were not only blind to Him but deaf as well to the message He preached to them in John 4:35: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?

Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

If you are prepared for the “Samaritan woman,” God will send her to you or put her in your path. In 2015 God sent Glen to our church uninvited. He was a Vietnam War vet who was delivered from a fifty-year heroin addiction a few weeks later when he was baptized in Jesus’ name. Soon afterward he moved to Cape Canaveral. He was a “Samaritan woman,” as over the next two years he drove at least fifteen more “Samaritans” like him, most plagued by substance abuse, fifty miles round trip from Cape Canaveral to Titusville on Sunday mornings. More than half have been baptized in Jesus’ name and/or received the Holy Ghost. We now have a preaching point, which was unplanned two years ago, in Cape Canaveral at the community center every Sunday and every Wednesday we conduct a small group at the home of Adam Jones and his family (some of Glen’s “Samaritans”). Adam has been delivered from alcoholism and along with his wife and daughter they have all been baptized in Jesus’ name and received the Holy Ghost. Another miracle is that Adam’s mother, oppressed by sickness, a troubled past, and demonic influence, came to live with them about the time the work in Cape Canaveral started. She died this week but not before she had received the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus’ name.

Our role is not to find the “Samaritans.” Our job is to connect with the “Samaritan woman” as Jesus did. She will bring other “Samaritans” to us and our job will be to disciple them. In addition to discipleship they may require emotional and addictions counseling, support groups, and someone to walk alongside them. If we are prepared for them, they will be drawn to us in numbers we cannot imagine. Let us not be like Jesus’ disciples in this story but instead pursue the “Samaritan woman.” PL

Peer Counseling Director I Path Apostolic Church I Titusville, Florida I Senior Pastor Jody Wells