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Bristol Road Baptist Church

13th April 2008 PM

Knowing Jesus (II)


42
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we
have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

John 4: 42

This morning we considered in some detail that way Jesus entered the life
of the woman at the well of Samaria.

We notice how significant is the timing of the events in that chapter.

• The disciples leave Jesus alone when they go to buy food – and then
the woman comes at an unusual time of day to the well.

• They have their conversation – and, just as His words are having their
profound effect on her the disciples return and she leaves her pot and
rushes into the village to speak about Jesus.

What follows is as a result of her testimony to her fellow Samaritans – until,


in verse 42 they tell her that they have HEARD FOR THEMSELVES.

Knowing Jesus involves hearing Him and responding.

Very often that hearing is the result of someone else sharing with us the
results of their own confrontation with Christ.

So we consider this evening:

• Knowing Jesus - the topic of conversation


• Knowing Jesus – changing other people’s lives
• Knowing Jesus – speaking to US

and

• Knowing Jesus – the Saviour of the world

The focus shifts from the strategy of Jesus as He meets the woman at the
well – to the way in which her testimony influenced the people around her
until we reach that immensely beautiful phrase:
Verse 30:
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30
They came out of the town and made their way towards him.

So that’s what it is about this evening: Knowing Jesus – making our


way towards Him.

It is full of significance for those who want to know Him and those who
want to make Him known.

Knowing Jesus – the topic of conversation v42

“We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have
heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the
world.”

The Samaritans of Sychar were able to recognise that there are at least
two levels of knowing Jesus – and this was the first : Jesus the topic of
conversation.

The woman had had plenty to say about Jesus:

What had struck her was:-

• That He spoke to her when others would not


• He discussed real issues with her

o Famous people of the past


o Satisfying people’s real needs
o Spiritual worship
o Contemporary issues

But most of all:

• He revealed Himself
• He revealed what He knew about her

So, when she enters the village she says:


28
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said
to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.
Could this be the Christ?”
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Indeed that was the truly effective part of her witness:


39
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the
woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

That part of her conversation which had most impact was the way in which
Jesus had reached into her personal life and revealed it to her.

That witness which has most effect to start with is that which speaks of the
KNOWING JESUS – who knows the detail of her life – that would certainly
have marked her out in her community, and presumably had led to a fair
degree of ostracism on their part – so that she comes alone in the heat of
midday to the well.

Testimony is about KNOWING JESUS


It is about KNOWING THE JESUS WHO KNOWS MY SIN AND STILL OFFERS
ME SATISFYING LIFE!

Knowing Jesus – changing other peoples’ lives

Her day had been changed in a trivial way:

By her leaving the water pot behind

And by a profound way

By her recognising her true condition

She may have been deluding herself – and even deluding her neighbours
about the real condition of her life – but knowing Jesus has made her face
up to her life as it is, and hope for a transformation.

She might have been put off by His knowing – but she was not. On the
contrary she realised for once that someone was genuinely concerned for
her – despite the hidden secrets of an unfulfilled life.

We need to see how this change of attitude on her part was perceived by
her neighbours. She who came on her own to get water and avoiding
others – now seeks them out to share what HE KNOWS about her!

There are many folk whose lives have been changed radically by meeting
Christ – we should go out of our way to find out about them.
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For this woman’s testimony was remarkably effective so much so that we


have that beautiful and evocative phrase in verse 30:

“They made their way towards Him . . .”

That was an initial phase in their KNOWING JESUS – and they wanted Him
to stay.

Knowing Jesus – speaking to US

But whilst you get a lot of satisfaction from other peoples’ stories – and
from the evidence of change in their outlook there is SOMETHING BETTER
42
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we
have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

It is not enough to have a second hand experience of Christ.

Many do.

Perhaps by upbringing – or the influence of witnessing believers – or by


being married to a believer – or being influenced by great Christians of the
past.

But that is not enough. It is only the beginning of a process in which we


make our own way towards Him and HEAR HIM FOR OURSELVES.

For two days Jesus stayed in Sychar – and I have little doubt that the
experience of the woman was worked out in them in many similar but
distinctive individual ways – so that they can say:

WE HAVE HEARD FOR OURSELVES

That is not to minimise what she had said – but simply to take it that one
step further KNOWING JESUS SPEAK TO US.

Knowing Jesus is NOT just accepting what others say of Him – it is not just
a matter of agreeing to doctrine or accepting the views of the Church – it
must be a REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IN JESUS CHRIST.
Knowing that He loves YOU
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Not in the general – or plural – but in the particular and singular – YOU
YOURSELF.

She was able to ask the question “could this be the Christ?”

They listened

And then they made their way towards Him…

They heard Him for themselves

And they concluded:

Knowing Jesus – the Saviour of the world


42
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we
have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

The divide – the barriers we spoke about this morning are broken down in
the individual and in the general.

Not just Saviour of the Jew or the Samaritan – but of the WORLD!

What many of the Jews found difficult to do in public (like Nicodemus in the
previous chapter) the Samaritans did openly.

So we are left with the application of KNOWING JESUS:

Going home with a testimony of Jesus’ power in our own lives

Sharing Him across the local divide of a community that might well
ostracise her

Then in turn – coming to Jesus Himself – and adding their own testimony to
hers

THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD

Do you Know HIM? Then the responsibility is yours.