This week at WNW we had our second week in our 2-week series called "Friday Night" and thinking about the idea that in a moment everything can change. We began the night with a worship set that included "Your Love Never Fails" (Newsboys), "Dry and Brittle" (They Came Running), and "The Lord Our God" (Kristian Stanfill). We also showed a video promoting next week's See You At The Pole.
I began with a quick review of the previous week with a reminder that we are believing that next week's See You At the Pole and Global Student Week of Prayer can be a moment where everything changes in a big way and we begin to see students following Jesus like never before. I talked about another aspect of sports that we all love, which is when the underdog out of nowhere wins when nobody expected them to.
We looked at an example of an underdog, the woman of Samaria, in John 4:5-30; 42. We broke it down the following way:
Verse 5-6- It is either 6pm (Roman time) or 12 noon (Jewish time). Either way it is important that is day time as we see in a moment.
Verse 7- We get our first clue that something is up with this woman. You did not draw water during the day, as the water itself would be hot. Also the women would go in a group to draw water. We see that this woman is possibly an outcast.
Verse 9- She is surprised that Jesus spoke to her because Jews and Samaritans did not interact. The Jews viewed Samaritans as an unclean race. Also Jewish rabbi's did not interact with women in public.
Verse 10- Jesus gives her the first clue to who He actually is.
Verse 11- She is thinking only about physical water.
Verse 12- She uses the term "our" when referring to herself and Jesus. This lets us know that she has no idea who He is and considers them equal. This also would have normally been extremely offensive to a Jew.
Verse 13-14. Jesus let's her know that this living water that He is referring to is unlike anything she is seeking to fulfill herself. This living water, the Holy Spirit, supplies us with all that we need in life.
Verse 15- She still thinks He is referring to physical water
Verse 16-18- Jesus shows that He is God and is omniscient as He knows the truth about her lifestyle.
Verse 19- She shows that she is starting to see that Jesus is not any ordinary person.
Verse 20- People argued over the appropriate place of worship, so she is confused about this.
Verse 21-24- Jesus inaugurates a new era of worship. He is saying that you do not have to travel long distances to pray in specific places, but you can worship anywhere. This is the heart of what next week is all about, students gathering daily in different places for prayer and worship. Worship isn't about the place, but about the heart. Since the Holy Spirit dwells in those who are believers, and the fact that God is omnipresent, then worship takes place everywhere. We often hear the statement that this nation began to go downhill when prayer was taken out of schools. The problem isn't that prayer was taken out of schools, because honestly it cannot be completely taken out of schools as students are free to pray whenever and wherever they want. They can pray silently and can gather with friends to pray. So the problem isn't that pray has been taken out of schools. The problem is that we have voluntarily stopped praying.
Verse 25- She still isn't completely sure who Jesus is, but is beginning to suspect the truth.
Verse 26- Jesus reveals that He is the Messiah. He did not often do this as people were expecting Him to deliver them from political oppression. Instead He came to see people free from the bonds of sin.
Verse 28-30- Grace has been extended to this woman by Jesus. She then leaves her water pot and heads back to her village to share this incredible news.
Verse 39- Many people come to know Jesus as a result of her testimony.
We look at this woman, and her culture did as well, as someone who was worthless and who was capable of nothing good. However, when grace was extended to her by Jesus it transformed her, and she made sure everyone knew the truth. This underdog came out of nowhere and made a difference.
I challenged the students to extend grace to the underdogs in their school. Share the love of Jesus with the person who they view as similar to the woman in these verses. I also challenged them to take a look at themselves and see where they can step up. Too often as Christians we take a backseat and expect others to be the ones who step up to make a difference, while God is calling us all to step up and lead the way. We closed with a time of reflection and prayer as we listened to the song "Oceans" by Hillsong United.