“Crossing the Line” (Part 2)
The power of multiplication is impressive; the power of exponential multiplication, even more so. The exponential spiritual multiplication of souls, priceless!
Upon his recent passing, it was wonderful to recount the life and impact of Billy Graham, a choice vessel for the Lord. From all accounts, Billy Graham shared the gospel with more people than any other person in history! The number of people who came to Christ through his ministry is untold.
I wonder how many people Billy led to the Lord who led others to the Lord. If we could measure the exponential spiritual multiplication that has taken and continues to take place, it would certainly be incredible.
But what about an impressive spiritual impact of someone not quite so impressive, a most unlikely evangelist? Would it move us to praise God, the author of salvation?
Additionally, what if it all occurred because someone was willing to cross the line of sensibility and culturally-created boundaries, lines of demarcation considered reasonable in most circles?
Can you say “awe-inspiring?”
Our Lord Jesus provided us a jaw-dropping example of crossing the line in John 4, as He ministered to a Samaritan woman. And the result of His crossing culturally and politically-correct boundaries was the spreading of the gospel and the belief of many people in Jesus!
In our last submission (click here to read) we introduced Jesus crossing the line to minister to a Samaritan woman. As we noted, for the Lord to go to Samaria and minister to an immoral woman would be inappropriate and outrageous to many. People in His day would simply not cross the line separating Jewish men and Samaritan women for any reason. But He crossed the line for the most important reason, sharing living water with one who was spiritually parched!
In John 4:7-15 Jesus offered to meet her greatest need:
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
What is the gift of God? It is the gift of life, which comes in the form of living water. Living water was a common designation for water that flowed from springs, in contrast to the stagnant water taken from a cistern (Jeremiah 2:13). Here Jesus is speaking about the spiritual, not the physical. On a spiritual level, Jewish people often spoke of the thirst of the soul for God and the quenching of that thirst with living water. The psalmist spoke of his soul being thirsty for the living God (Psalm 42:1). God promised spiritual provision in Isaiah 55:1, summoning the thirsty to freely drink of His provision. God also promised that His people would draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3).
When a person partakes of the living water, they then have the ability to worship God in spirit and truth. This wholeness is about being in right relationship with God. The Samaritan woman is also a picture of Jesus reaching out to all people, for everyone needs the living water only Jesus can provide!
Everybody is looking for love. This Samaritan woman was looking for love in all the wrong places, as she had five husbands and the man she was living with was not her husband (John 4:15-18)!
Then she was staring into the eyes of the One who is the pure personification of love, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
As their conversation continued in John 4:19-26, she recognized Jesus as a prophet. She then told him that when Messiah comes, He will explain all things. The culmination of their interaction occurred when He plainly stated in verse 26, “I who speak to you am He.”
What happened next? Incredibly, this outcast among outcasts went to the people who shunned her, unashamedly testified about Jesus, and many believed in Him:
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word.Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:39-42).
Now we can’t witness to everybody, but we can witness to somebody, and that somebody is precious to God. If God calls us to go, will we cross the line, bounding over real or perceived barriers to reach someone who needs living water, someone who needs the Lord?
For you and I, crossing the line may look different, because barriers are different. Typically those barriers are people different from us.
The Lord could be moving you to reach out to a Muslim, a homosexual or transgender, an outspoken and militant atheist, a person with a polar opposite political viewpoint, or someone who just naturally rubs you the wrong way.
Who is your Samaritan woman? Where is your Samaria? Does anyone of anywhere come to mind? If not, are you open to God showing you a who and a where?
Ultimately, our will to go and cross the line is the essential ingredient of faith when we’re faced with crossing the line for the sake of the call – God’s call to go.
Will you? Will I?
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).