Hard to recall a time when there were more Bible-based films out. Son of God came out a few weeks ago, this week God is Not Dead, next week Noah, and just in time for Easter, Heaven is For Real. Whether they are all perfectly Biblically accurate or not, one thing is for sure. People are interested.
Which is funny because I am reading this book now: Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore. This is not an intellectual question for me. I mean, it's my daughters, their friends, and most of my family. They don't want to go to church. Even on Easter, I will consider it a miracle if more than just me and my husband and grandson are together at church.
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And it's not so that people are not interested in God. Millions have been spent on these movies above and many will go out to see them.
So why is it so hard to talk about God? Why is it so scary to invite friends and family to church?
Samaria, where this incident in John's gospel took place, was also a place where nobody wanted to go to church. "Church" for them was in Jerusalem but for centuries, Samaritans dissed that place and set up their own places of worship closer to home. When Jesus reveals that He knows the past of the woman at the well, the next thing she does is assume He is a religious guy out and about, and she asks the question which was burning in her heart.
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that You are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
There it is: our family changed churches. Is that ok? But it's more than that. This response says it had been troubling her, it's something she had been thinking about, a questions she wanted answered.
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem...Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks...”
Then Jesus does something amazing, something He did rarely, really not at all at the beginning of His ministry. He tell her, this woman from the wrong side of the tracks with a bad reputation, who He really is.
The woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am He.”
Wow, to entrust that to her, it's huge! Because He is NOT opening any of His teaching with that line: "Hi! I am Messiah--listen to Me." Not at all. But He tells her.
And she runs -- leaving her water pot -- and tells the rest of the townspeople. The townspeople who she wanted to avoid by coming to the well at mid-day. And with no preamble, no training, no second thought, she tells them:
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
And the reaction of the townspeople? Wouldn't you expect them to say: "She's crazy!" --or-- "That's nice for you." -- or -- "Ok, but be quiet we are watching the game." ??? Not at all.
They came out of the town and made their way toward Him... So when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay with them, and He stayed two days. And because of His words many more became believers. 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 Savior of the world.”
This is why Jesus said to His disciples: Don’t you have a saying, "It’s still four months until harvest"? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life.
Jesus' disciples, like me, didn't see it. All they saw was a foreign woman talking to Jesus. But Jesus wanted them to open their eyes and look around them. That's what He wants me to do too.
The woman at the well was so excited about what she discovered, she didn't over-think. She just went with it with amazing results.
Jesus help me be bold, help me to see, help me tell them the amazing news that You are the Savior of the world, that You are the Son of God, You are NOT dead, that Heaven is For Real.