OF THE APOSTLE PAUL AND THE WOMAN AT THE WELL OF JACOB.
The social media is on minutely bases awashed with all sorts of advertorials directly or indirectly by churches, ministries and individuals to achieve different set goals. Some declared while some others are physically coated in the gospel but with undeclared undertones and motives. The word of God is life and can help us discern the faultlessness or otherwise of any public communication within, about and around the church.The Bible permits testing of spirits, which is why we are today considering some thoughts in this direction with Christ’s earthly ministry as a model.
Where as, the earliest semblance of a PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT or ADVERTORIAL in Christ’s earthly ministry was neither undertaken nor sponsored by him. John’s account of the gospel in Chapter 4 verses 10 to 42 explains that it wasn’t initiated by the mouth of Jesus, but a product of the encounter of the Samaritan woman to whom Christ had revealed himself as the Messiah who was to come.
Let us consider it:
(28)”The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, (29) Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did.”
Her encounter with Christ had naturally informed her new role as a marketer of the man she just met. It was actually supernatural because of the manner in which she had to abandoned her bucket, even as she went back to the city. If it were ordinary; she could have taken the water along, drop it at home and then begin to relate her experience most likely in hush tones about town.
This woman at the well of Jacob was neither prompted by Jesus nor any of his disciples who only came midway expressing astonishment at the scene and wondering what and why he discussed with her and why no one has challenged his engagement with a ‘Samaritan’ woman, for Samaritan’s were perceived as unbelieving outcasts! Verse 27 reads:
“And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman”
They had gone to buy bread when the conversation started. It was only Jesus and this woman alone at the well! A ‘one on one’ encounter is all we need.
The woman became a self appointed town crier and PRO after seeing Christ as the Messiah that he is (v26). So, her abandoning her ‘waterpot’ in verse 28 to assume the duty of a town crier was triggered by the message she heard of Jesus in their engaging encounter, and not by the convincing effect of any advertorials.
The woman was presented with the ‘TRUTH’ and nothing else. For instance, Jesus Christ had revealed that he is capable of giving the living water (v10). He revealed himself greater than Abraham (v13 and 14) The master also revealed his omniscient part (v18) by telling her all she did.
Giving us whatever we desire is not his main concern but our heart. That is why he expressly expressed his desire that the woman believe him before granting her request to be given the everlasting water. Despite earlier request made by the woman in verse 15 to be given of the living water so she wouldn’t need to come and fetch at the well, Christ pronounced in verse 21 that “woman, believe me…”
Among other observation from Jesus’ message to the woman was that he PERFECTED THE LAW about worship by REMOVING the ENCUMBRANCES attached to it. There was no point going to a particular material location somewjere (Jerusalem of Gerizim) as if God is STATIONED there. We can now worship in truth and in spirit. There is no longer any intermediary telephone number through which our prayers are channelled to God our father. He is a spirit and we must CONNECT THE FATHER IN SPIRIT for all forms of communication.
Being aware of the enormity of the task at hand. Jesus knew what he had to do. Eating doesn’t come in when there is his father’s work to finish. He could see a field white ready for harvest. He wanted to do the will of the father and not some unprofitable frivolities of winning and dinning. When we face the work diligently, there won’t be reliance on what advert could avail us. Adverts don’t sell quality; quality is capable of selling itself.
People who rely on facebook daddies and mummies for prayer should rather treat there hearts first and become capable of believing before asking for the water. Jesus insisted that the woman should believe him even as she being administeted of the desired water. The woman’s belief informed are reporting which drew others to Christ.
The bountiful harvest recorded in verse 41 would have been minimised had Christ not insisted on securing the woman’s believe!
In there uninformed attempt to grow followership, many ministers today rely on the convincing effect of their paid and unpaid advertorials as contained in beautiful handbills & fliers; interactive church internet portals; postals; facebook adverts; watch parties; live streamings; radio and television adverts presented as live transmission of church services e.t.c. They commit the error of relying on marketing communication skills other than the engaging and transforming power that plays when a life personally encounters Jesus Christ the worker of salvation. Heb. 12:2
The divine strategy of securing the belief of the woman paid off as their one-on-one encounter brought about a multiplier effect on the harvest recorded by the ministration of Christ in that city. It wasn’t as a result of any paid advert.
My dear pastor and minister, you gain acceptability through spiritually imparting and NOT by trying to warm your ways into the heart of men with ‘sensational’ prayer adverts and ‘vain’ ‘quotable quotes’.
Fast forward to John 4 : 41, “And many more believed because of His own word.” The sense here lies in the fact that His own words were the reasons why they believed. Direct communication from him to them. So, now, Jesus must by himself speak to the unbeliever to believe; he must personally effect every miracle; beautifully crafted prayer points sent through WhatsApp and facebook is not enough. He must touch hearts before they repent; no conversion can be effected unless he is involved.
Let’s look at the case of brother Saul who became Apostle Paul. What could adverts have availed in his conversion? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!! This was a man dreaded for his antagonism for the church and gospel, so much so that even after his conversion was reported to them, the disciples were sceptical of admitting him into their fold. They probably wondered who could have preached to him. How did he convert? Is he truly converted? Is this not a plot to come into their midst and wreck more havoc? Paul’s conversion could only have been through a divinely engaging encounter and not any sentiment arousing advertorial. It was not through the eloquence of Peter who was like the lead preacher in their midst.
Devine encounter is what we should pray over those harvestable souls that we have identified. Trying to entice with prayers or even ‘signs and wonders’ does not ensure maximum harvest. We will be loosing the advantages of the multiplier effect evidenced in verse 42.
May the Word continue to be a light unto our path. Amen!