REVIVAL – THE LIVING WATER (9) – FALLING IN LOVE WITH JESUS – WATERPOT LEFT BEHIND
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – The Living water (9) “Falling in love with Jesus!” Her main text was taken from the Book of John chapter 4:13-42. We are still studying the wonderful revelation of the Living Water offered by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a symbol of eternal life, salvation, spiritual maturity, being filled with the Spirit, true worship, and revival. The simplest definition of revival is a repeat of the Book of Acts! The Living Water is offered by the Lord to the Woman at the well. The Samaritan woman is a sinner. She is also religious. She is seeking for truth, for meaning in her life. Our Lord directs the conversation to the point of the revelation of Himself. Please notice how He gently ‘increases and purifies’ the vision of salvation in her heart. Initially she sees him as a man, a needy man, a stranger, and a Jew. Then she sees him as a Prophet. Lastly, she sees Him as Christ, her Savior, and her Lord! He tells her about the true worship and then, He reveals Himself to her. “I who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26). This is the exact moment when saving faith is born in her heart. She instantly believes that Christ is the Messiah. This is the moment when King Grace saves her soul! This is when, for the first time in her life, she drank the Living Water! From this moment in time, she is never the same person again! Halleluiah! As we read these words, we sense the power and the holiness of that moment. There is a wonderful anointing on this encounter. We feel it too as we read the story. Heaven rejoices when a sinner is saved. Our Lord said this: “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7). We join the hosts of heaven and cry: “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev 5:12). Glory to God!
WATERPOT LEFT BEHIND – CHRIST AND HIS WORK IS THE NEW PRIORITY
The Samaritan woman has an encounter with the Lord. She is convicted of sin, and she truly repents of her sin. The eyes of her understanding got open, and she becomes saved. She now drinks the Living Water. From that moment, she is a new person. She is now born again, a child of God. She leaves the waterpot at the well and she runs to the city. She calls the people saying: “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” The result was that they went out of the city and came to Him. The woman left the waterpot at the well. Why? She did not become overexcited and forgot about it. The waterpot represents her former life, the life of sin. It also represents her natural life on earth, the work of her hands. She purposely leaves the waterpot at the well. She calls the men in the city: “Come and see a Man…”. She did not tell them: “Go and see a Man…”. No! She intended to go back with them, to bring them to Jesus! Her waterpot was the point of contact for her testimony. She brought many to Jesus, so that they can listen to Him. She came back to her waterpot. She did not abandon it. She will still do her work on earth, but a greater love has taken over her heart. Christ, His work is now her priority! Family, business, all these can wait! The woman has changed completely. She is not the same person. She has lost her shame and fears. In the past, she comes to the well at noon time. Nobody comes to draw water in the heat of the day. But she comes at that inconvenient time because she wants to avoid the people who criticize her. She has been doing that for many years. But now, she is no longer ashamed of her past of sin. Christ has forgiven her sins. Christ has given her a new spirit. She is now a child of God. She has a new freedom and courage to talk to people.
The Samaritan woman left the waterpot behind as a symbol that her heart is still with Jesus. Christianity is a fallen in love with Jesus. The believer becomes Christ obsessed, and Christ focused. From that moment when the Christian drinks the living water, all other things become secondary. For the Samaritan woman, her waterpot was her identity. She hated coming daily to draw water. Nevertheless, the thing she hated the most was her life. Slavery was her identity. For the first time, she leaves her life behind and moves on to find another life. This losing and finding is possible only in Christ Jesus. No other theory, philosophy or religion can help you move from past to the future, from darkness to light. Christ in her now has become an all-consuming passion. She has fallen in love with Jesus! This power inside, this spring of water flowing from her heart, will define her from now on. The way she will look at God, at herself, at the world in general, all these will be different. Christ has now become her defining passion. Christ is now her priority. She will live to please her Christ and to do His will. His Word will satisfy her, and His Spirit will fill her. The waterpot can wait.
The woman leaves her waterpot at the well and goes to the city to tell the people about Jesus. Her action is spontaneous and joyful. Nobody is commanding or forcing her to leave her watersport there and go to evangelize. This is true Christianity. Why does she run to the city calling people to Jesus? Why is she so quick to do the work of God? First, it is because she is a new person. She has discovered the truth about Jesus. He is the Messiah, the Savior! She has had a glimpse of His power, love, and glory! This revelation is extraordinary to her. She feels compelled by love to share the good news to others. In the past, she saw the people as wicked, mocking and judging her because of her past of sin. Now, she sees them differently. She knows that they too are sinners, thirsty for meaning in life. She identifies with them because she has experienced the power of salvation. She has something to give to others. She has a voice and a message. “Come and see a Man”, she says! The reason for her faith and confidence is because she has met with authority. All people desire to meet with true authority. They want to submit and bow and worship someone who knows it all. That Person is Jesus! Our Lord is the ultimate authority in the universe. Some believe Jesus, worship Him and witness to others. But even face to face with Jesus, refuse to believe. “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” (Mt 28:17-20). It is only somebody who has experienced genuine salvation, who is filled with the Holy Spirit that has enough compassion for others. That person alone is willing to pay the price to save souls. This is the truth: If you fall in love with somebody, no one will force you to talk about your lover! It is the same in the Spirit’ realm. If you are truly saved, nobody will force you to talk about Jesus! You will tell all people: “Come and see a Man!”
SALVATION IS A RADICAL CHANGE
What are the lessons? All true born-again Christians are radically changed. Christianity is not an addition or an improvement to your former lifestyle. It is called ‘a new creation’. It is a new life. The same power God used in Genesis 1:1 to create the heavens and the earth, God uses to create a child of God. The word ‘create’ means to produce something out of nothing. Men and devils cannot create anything. Only God creates! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17). Nicodemus was a great religious teacher in Israel. Our Lord called him ‘The Teacher of Israel’ (Jn 3:10). But he did not know the basics of a relationship with God. Our Lord told him: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn 3:5, 6). As you can see, religion and pride are obstacles on the road of salvation. The Samaritan woman became saved before the great Nicodemus. This is the mystery of salvation! It is the power of the Holy Spirit!
This is another lesson: Anytime you see that Christians need to be trained in the Bible school on how to evangelize, something is not right. When Christians need to be begged, or to be manipulated to spread the Word, something is wrong. I am not saying that it is wrong to give some guidelines about evangelism. But if there is human pressure to share the Word about Jesus, that is wrong. This woman discovered that once she became saved, once she drank the Living Water, a new power started working in her. It is the power ‘to will and to do’ God’s pleasure (Phil 2:13). It is that internal power of the Holy Spirit that propels her to evangelize. This is God’s method from the beginning. The Gospel is spread ‘organically’, as man talks to man. God places people around you for this very purpose, that you talk to them about Jesus and His Living Water. That is how Andrew called his brother Peter to Jesus. Andrew “found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus” (Jn 1:41,42). In the same way, Philip brought Nathaniel to Jesus. “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn 1:45, 46). This man-to man method to spread the Gospel was applied throughout the Book of Acts. During the persecution, many believers had to run away from Jerusalem. “Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Ac 8:4). The word ‘preaching’ does not mean standing behind a pulpit. It is the spreading of the Gospel as man talks to man. Some commentators described it as ‘gossiping’ the Word. We should not gossip about negative things, but we should gossip the Word of God with others! Great crusades have their own value but the personal touch among people is still the best method to bring people to Jesus.
THE DANGER OF RELIGION
The evil spirit of religion is the greatest enemy against true salvation. Many Christians believe the scriptures, but they do not press on to have a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. Many read this encounter between the Samaritan woman and Christ, but they look at it only as a beautiful story in the past. They are not able to believe that we too, those living in these last days, can experience exactly the same miraculous salvation and filling with the Holy Spirit. They admire the story from afar. They refuse to enter into its revelation. This faith in the scriptures that only applies to history, or to the past, is not true living faith. This is one reason why revival is absent in many churches. Our Lord rejected this religious faith that believes in the Bible but is disconnected to the present reality. Our Lord said to the religious leaders: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (Jn 5:39, 40). To have faith in Jesus is not only about the past. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever’ (Heb 13:8). What is the purpose of the scriptures? It is to bring us to the Living Christ, to have an encounter with Him, right now! Faith always works in the present moment! If not, it is not true saving faith! “Now, faith is…” (Heb 11;1).
The evil spirit of religion tells you to go to church, to study the Bible, but you are not able to apply it practically in your life today! Because of that, you cannot experience revival or miracles. Appy this test to yourself: When you read the Bible, do you expect to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ thru His word? Do you expect to hear His voice, to guide and strengthen you, thru His Word? Do you expect His miraculous help now, as you read the Word? Are you able to apply God’s Word to your present circumstances? If not, something is wrong somewhere. Your faith is ‘damaged’. You are either not born-again, or you are backsliding! Therefore, examine your faith, your spiritual foundation! Think of it: what is the purpose of reading this story in John chapter 4 if you cannot apply it to your present life? The Samaritan woman was religious before she met the Lord. But she was still in bondage of sin and thirsty for the living water. The Bible is a religious and historical book. Everything in the Bible is a description of historical facts. But The Bible is more than that! It is the Word of God! Thru its pages, the only Living God speaks to you! The reason you read the scriptures is to connect with the God of the scriptures. If not, you read the Bible in vain. May God open the eyes of your understanding to see the truth and to obey it!
THE LORD JESUS IS ALIVE AND MANIFESTS HIMSELF TO US NOW
Read the Book of Acts. On the day of Pentecost, our Lord sent the Holy Spirit. At that time, the Lord Jesus was not physically present with His disciples. He was with His disciples thru the Holy Spirit. Study the way Peter, John and the others spoke and behaved. They believed that Jesus was with them presently, not like a Man who has died. Faith always believes that Jesus lives and reigns at this present moment! The reason why the Psalmist was not afraid during trials is because he believed that God is with him always. “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Ps 46:1, 2). It is not enough to believe that in the past, God helped David killed Goliath. This faith connected only with the past is not sufficient for me in the midst of a trial. I need to believe that the same God that helped David is with me now, that God is my refuge, my strength, and my very present help in my trouble right now! I must believe that God is the only Living God. He will surely manifest and help me now, in His own special way, in my present trial. The experience of all the believers, in the history of the church is that God is faithful and He indeed manifests and saves them during all trials. Apostle Paul said: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1Cor 10:13). If you have not experienced His faithfulness, His mighty help in each trial of your life, then it means that you are not saved. Examine your spiritual foundation! A Christian believes that Jesus lives and reigns forevermore, and that He is the King of kings right now! A child of God does not live by spiritual memories. The experience you had when you became saved is only the foundation of your faith. You must build on it. You cannot live on past glories! You must grow spiritually! You must continuously drink the free-flowing Living Water!
Read the story of how Stephen died. It should encourage us greatly. Jesus was with him to his last breath. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Ac 7:55-60). When the religious leaders were stoning Stephen to death, he saw the Lord Jesus. Clearly, the Lord Jesus was the present help in times of his need. It was the will of God for Stephen to die as a martyr for his faith. His death was not in vain. He died as a champion of faith. Jesus did not save him from physical death because he gave him a greater testimony. Stephen saw Jesus as he was dying. It was not a vision. He was not imagining Jesus. He did not try to remember some scriptures he has memorized in the past. No! He was strengthened by seeing Jesus Himself as He is in heaven right now. The prevailing revelation of Jesus is that in heaven, He sits on the throne. But Stephen saw Jesus standing, as a sign of total encouragement towards him. That is why Stephen received the grace to pray for his enemies and to pass gloriously from earth to heaven. What a testimony! Jesus cares! Jesus is with us to the end or our lives and forever! Selah!
Apostle Paul saw the resurrected Christ on the way to Damascus. This is how he became saved, and Spirit filled. The Lord appeared to him to encourage him during his trials. This is Pauls’ testimony how the Lord spoke to him and directed him where to go and what to do. “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So, I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting [b]to his death and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles” (Ac 22:17-21). Later, The Lord Jesus said to him that the people cannot kill him in Jerusalem because he must go to Rome to preach there too. “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome” (Ac 23:11). The Lord helped Paul when all men either opposed his ministry or they forsook him. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Tim 4:14-18). You can see that Paul has a personal present intimate relationship with the Risen Christ. Do you have this testimony? If you are a child of God, you should! Paul and the other saints were always conscious of the presence of the Lord with them. Their testimony is the proof that they were drinking the Living Water. The assurance of God’s presence was enough for them. They became bold to preach God’s Word. They became mighty warriors in prayer. They were filled with wisdom, peace, and joy! They were not thirsty for the things of the world anymore. This is the true Christianity.
This is a question people ask: Is it possible to feel the presence of the Lord the way the Samaritan woman experienced it? The answer is yes! This is the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ before He went to heaven. “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (Jn 14:19-23). All the saints agree that this is one of the greatest promises in the Bible. The Lord Jesus promised that He will personally manifest to His obedient worshippers. When our Lord said that He will ‘manifest’ Himself, He meant that He would make Himself clearly known in a special way. He will become spiritually visible and so close that the child of God will be able to ‘feel’ Him. God the Father and God the Son will come to live in the same house with Their child on earth. This manifestation is much deeper than what we receive when we newly become saved. These are mountain peaks of spiritual experiences. They are not for just some special people, but for all the believers who pay the price for such intimate fellowship with the only Living God. Do you long for a deeper relationship with Christ?
How can we find the Lord in this special way? How can we always drink the Living Water? How can we pray for revival? The first thing to do is to seek the Lord always. You must become desperate for Christ, obsessed with Him! Seek Christ in His Word. Seek Christ during the Holy Communion. Expect to meet with the Lord always, especially during the preaching of God’s word and during worship. Fast and pray about your desire to have a deeper relationship with Him. Be willing to repent from all religious attitudes that have no life in them. Humble yourself. Make sure that you totally surrender yourself before God! Repent from pride and doubt! Pay the price for spiritual maturity. “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jam 4:8). Remember that the Lord desires to meet with you and to reveal Himself to you. He loves you more than you love Him! Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Immediately you sense His presence drawing closer to you, forget all things and stand still, waiting for Him to speak. Cultivate this spiritual sensitivity! Read books about other believers, about revival. They will inspire you to pay the price for spiritual maturity. God will help you! Faithfully serve God in your local church! The Lord will reward you spiritually and materially!
Do you desire a deeper relationship with Jesus? Can you say with the Psalmist that you thirst like the deer in the desert, that your deep calls unto God’s deep? “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me” (Psalm 42:1-3, 7). Have you felt this restlessness in His rest, this deep painful longing for the living water brooks of God? Can you live without Christ? Is He your priority? Is He your very life? He only manifests Himself to those He can trust, to the true worshippers who worship Him unconditionally, in spirit and in truth! May we be among the few who pay the price for revival! Worship the Lord!