Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” John 4:39 HCSB

I can remember when each of my four children were born. We were so very excited we wanted to tell everyone the good news. First to know were our parents, then grandparents, then other family members. Following came close friends and work associates. Finally, other acquaintances and friends were contacted. We wanted to share our exciting news with everyone.

The woman that Jesus encountered at the well outside of Sycar had good news to share. She went into the town and testified or told others about Jesus. The woman told everyone who would listen about how Jesus had revealed everything she had ever done. She wanted others to know that she had discovered the Messiah. As a result of her testimony many believed in Jesus.

Challenge: When you first accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior you were probably excited and told others about what had happened in your life. Do you still have that same excitement and urgency to tell others about Jesus? Are there family members and friends that need to know how Jesus has changed your life and how He can make a difference in their lives? Ask God to give you opportunities to testify about the Good News of Jesus Christ this week.

Jesus is the One and Only

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” “I am He,” Jesus told her, “the One speaking to you.” John 4:25-26 HCSB

Years ago I witnessed a man destroying a home by knocking holes in the walls, burning holes in the carpet, and breaking bathroom fixtures. The police came to my house and asked me to identify the man by showing me three pictures and asking me to select the accused. I was then required to appear in court as a witness to identify the one who destroyed the house.

The woman that Jesus encountered at the well knew the Messiah was coming and that when He came he would explain everything. Jesus told her all about her life, her husbands, and had knowledge that the man with whom she was living was not her husband. Jesus also clearly identified that He was the Messiah. She was an eye witness of the prophesied Christ and ran into town to tell everyone that she had seen the Messiah and that He had told her everything about herself.

Challenge: Jesus is either who He said He is, the Messiah, or He is a liar. Do you recognize Jesus as your personal Savior and Redeemer? Jesus is the One and Only Son of God and He died on the cross for your sins so you can have forgiveness and eternal life.

Are You Thirsty?

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” John 4:13-14

In the 1970’s no one would have thought that anyone could sell drinking water in bottles. It was not until the 1980’s that bottled drinking water was manufactured and in the 1990’s it became popular. Today it is common to see people with a bottle of water in their hands. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. A person can only go three days without water before he dies. Water is vital to living.

Just as our bodies need water to survive, our souls need spiritual water. Jesus provides spiritual water for our souls. Those who drink of His spiritual water will never thirst again. He satisfies all of our spiritual needs. We would not deprive our bodies of food and water, and we must not deprive our souls of what they need. The living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible, can satisfy our hungry and thirsty souls.

Challenge: Are you thirsty for God’s Word? Do you desire more for your soul? Spend time reading God’s Word and praying in order to feed your forgotten soul.

Thirsty for God

Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” John 4:10 HCSB

I have worked in the yard on hot summer days. The scorching sun beats down, and sweat rolls off of my face. My tongue seems to feel like cotton in my mouth. I want and need a drink of water. On occasion I have needed several glasses of water before my thirst has been satisfied.

Jesus claimed to provide living water. The Life Application Bible says, “In the Old Testament there are many references to thirsting for God as one thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; and Jeremiah 2:13). God is called the fountain of life (Psalm 36:9) and the fountain of living water (Jeremiah 17:13).” By saying that He could provide living water Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. Only the Messiah can provide living water. Jesus is God’s gift to each of us. It is through Jesus that we can have living water and eternal life.

Challenge: When you drink from the living water of Jesus you will never die. Accept God’s gift of eternal life. Admit you are a sinner. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He lives today. Confess Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Are you thirsty for God? For what do you thirst?

Breaking Down Barriers

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give Me a drink,” Jesus said to her, for His disciples had gone into town to buy food. “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked Him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. John 4:7-9 HCSB

I can remember when the Berlin Wall separated East Berlin from West Berlin. It also separated the democratic world from the communist world. In 1987 Ronald Reagan in his famous speech said, “Tear down this wall.” He was challenging the Soviet Union leader to tear down the wall and restore unity among the people of Berlin. Under great pressure, East Germany opened the gate and began the dismantling of the wall in 1989.

There was a cultural barrier between Jews and Samaritans and also between men and women in Jesus’ time. Jesus broke down both of those barriers by asking for a drink from a Samaritan woman. She was surprised He even spoke to her, but then for a man who was a Jew to ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water would have been unheard of in her culture. Jesus was in the business of breaking down barriers and reaching out to the lonely, the depressed, the hurting, and even the worst sinners in the world with His love, compassion, and forgiveness. Your sin creates a barrier between you and God, but through Jesus Christ that barrier can be destroyed and you can restore a right relationship with God.

Challenge: Jesus is reaching out to you. Is there a barrier between you and Jesus? Accept His love and forgiveness. Is there a barrier between you and someone else? Be the hands and feet of Jesus by breaking down the barrier and offering forgiveness, understanding, and love to that person today.

The Evils of Prejudice

He left Judea and went again to Galilee. He had to travel through Samaria, so He came to a town of Samaria called Sychar near the property that Jacob had given his son Joseph. John 4:3-5 HCSB

Our country recently celebrated and remembered the Civil Rights March on Washington where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. I can remember as a child that black Americans were forced to ride in the back of a bus and were not allowed to eat in some public restaurants. During this era white Americans and black Americans had separate drinking fountains. That was a terrible time in the history of the United States. Black Americans were unfairly discriminated against because of the color of their skin.

In Jesus’ time the same type of prejudice existed toward the Samaritans. The Northern Kingdom had been defeated by the Assyrians. They deported many of the Jews into slavery and brought foreigners into Samaria to settle the land. The foreigners intermarried with the remaining Jews, thus creating the mixed-race, mixed-religion country of Samaritans. Jews did not want to defile themselves by coming into contact with Samaritans, so they took extreme measures to avoid the Samaritan country and its people, who they considered to be unclean. To this end, most Jews would cross over the Jordan River, travel several miles up its east bank until they reached Damascus, which was far out of their way. Jesus however, did not avoid the Samaritans but traveled straight through their country, indicating He did not consider them to be unclean.

Challenge: Are you prejudiced toward a certain group of people? Ask God to reveal your prejudice and to help you make changes so you can see all people through the eyes of Jesus.

Special Birthdays

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 HCSB

It is always fun to gather with family to celebrate my birthday or one of the birthdays of my children. We celebrate another year of life. The fact is that we are all going to die someday, we just do not know when. Some live longer than others. My grandmother lived to be 100 years old. But just this week I learned that the son of a friend had died at a young age. No one is guaranteed another year or even another day on earth.

I have another birthday – my spiritual birthday. When I was 10 years old I knelt in the living room with my father and mother and prayed for Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be the Lord of my life. I have tried to live my life in such a way that would bring honor and glory to His kingdom.

John 3:16 is a familiar verse that many people can quote. We occasionally see it on signs at sporting events. I often write “God Loves You, John 3:16” on a restaurant receipt that I have signed and left for the waiter. This one verse tells the Good News of Jesus Christ. God loves us. He gave His One and Only Son to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Those who believe in Him and confess Jesus as Lord will not perish but have everlasting life. It is that simple.

Challenge: There are those around you who need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. With whom are you going to share the Good News today? Praise God that there is forgiveness of sins and eternal life for those who believe in Jesus. Write “God Loves You, John 3:16” on your next restaurant receipt. Spread the Good News!

Jesus Must be Lifted Up

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. John 3:14-15 HCSB

In Numbers 21:4-9 we read about the plague of snakes that came on the Israelites because of their disobedience to God. Those who were bitten by the snakes were doomed to die. There was only one salvation. If they obeyed God’s command to look upon the elevated bronze snake that Moses had made and believed that God would heal them, then they would be healed and saved from certain death.

The same is true of everyone who is a sinner. We are all condemned to die because of the bite of sin in our lives. We have yielded to the temptations of the devil and deserve to die and to be cast into hell for eternity. Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross and died for our sins. When we look to Jesus, believing that He can save us, God has promised that we will be healed of our sins and live eternally in heaven.

Challenge: Praise God for the gift of His Son who has provided a way for your sins to be forgiven and for you to have eternal life.

Head Knowledge Is Not Good Enough

“Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things?” Jesus replied. “I assure you We speak what We know and We testify to what We have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven?” John 3:10-12 HCSB

Because I have been playing golf since I was eight years old, I have taken numerous golf lessons and read many articles in golf magazines I have a good head knowledge of how to play the game of golf. However, making my body do what I know I need to do to hit a good golf shot is a different story. Head knowledge alone does not transform me into a talented golfer.

Nicodemus was a teacher of the law who had studied the teachings of Moses. He knew everything that was taught about the coming Messiah, but he did not realize he was standing in the presence of the Messiah. Jesus had explained about things on earth and he did not understand, so how was Nicodemus to understand the things of heaven?

Challenge: Head knowledge alone does not make you a Christian. Too many people have a head knowledge of Jesus Christ but they have never accepted Him as Lord and Savior. They know who Jesus is and may even believe He is the Son of God, but they have never prayed and asked for forgiveness of sins and confessed Jesus as Lord. Pray and ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life.

You Must Be Born Again

Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. John 3:5-7 HCSB

As a child I had a pet duck whose name was “Tex” that I brought back to Kentucky from Texas. He followed me around like a baby duck follows his mother. One day I had taken him out in the backyard so he could get some exercise. I did not realize that he had gotten right behind me and as I stepped back, I accidentally stepped on him. He was so small that I crushed his little body. I was devastated and wished that I could bring him back to life. My friends and I placed him in a small box and held a funeral service for him.

Nicodemus came to Jesus wanting to know how a person could have eternal life and never die. Jesus said there is only one way for someone to enter the kingdom of God: He must be born again. This seemed odd to Nicodemus because no one could be born again physically. Jesus explained that one must be born of the water, referring to physical birth, but also be born of the Spirit in order to receive eternal life. We do not enter God’s kingdom by living a “good” life; it is only by the Spirit of God that we can be convicted of our sins and accept the free gift of grace from God.

Challenge: Have you been spiritually reborn? God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness are offered to everyone; to all sinners. You must accept this free gift to receive eternal life. If you have been spiritually reborn you will never die. Everyone will physically die, but those who have been spiritually reborn will live forever with Jesus in heaven.