Letter From Pastor Jimmy Fuller
July 25,2018
 
Dear HLBC Family,

 

This Saturday, Cheryl and I make our annual pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach with my Mom and our family and then on to Conway for the Coastal Evangelism Conference at Langston Baptist Church. I have the privilege of preaching this Sunday morning, the 29th for the Southeastern Jubilee Well-Drillers Convention, as I have for many, many years. I think this is our 15th (Sweetie Pie says 16th) year attending the Evangelism Conference, and almost as many at the Jubilee. We so look forward to this time of year. It gives us a chance to get our “batteries recharged,” so to speak, being with family Saturday through Monday and then attending the CEC Wednesday through Friday. We have a day or so for just me and Sweetie Pie time in there as well.

 

In my absence this week, a good friend of mine, Mike Bobo, will be preaching. Mike is a graduate of Southeastern Seminary holding a Masters of Divinity degree from there. He was also Resource Director of the Charleston Baptist Association for 16 years. Above all, Mike is a very able preacher and preaches God’s Word with conviction. You will be blessed indeed!

 

Since I’m going to be preaching this weekend primarily to well-drillers, I went to John chapter 4 this morning in my time alone with God. As you know this chapter begins with Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. Please allow me to share a few observations I believe the Lord has shown me as I studied and researched.

 

First, When Jesus purposely passed through Samaria on His way to Galilee, He met and spoke to the woman at Jacob’s Well, near the city of Sychar, breaking three major social rules:      

 

One, women were considered greatly inferior to men; in public no Middle Eastern man ever spoke to a woman, not even to his wife, mother, or sister.

Two, no Jew ever spoke to a Samaritan. Jews believed Samaritans had betrayed their faith because they had intermarried with foreigners. The Jews and Samaritans hated and avoided each other.

Three, no self-respecting man, especially a teacher, would ever speak to a woman of such despicable reputation. This woman was well-known as an immoral, social outcast.

 

But, Jesus disregarded these social barriers (as we should today as well) when He had a conversation with the Samaritan woman. He revealed Himself as the greatly anticipated Messiah, offering forgiveness, redemption, and new life. She drank from His cup of living water, ran back to town to the very ones who despised her, the people of Samaria. There she proclaimed with unembarrassed excitement the arrival of the promised Messiah. The people of Samaria eagerly responded to Christ. They, too, yearned for His living water.

 

Later, Jesus would challenge His disciples to witness in Samaria (Acts 1:8), and Philip, a deacon, would open a mission there (Acts 8:5). Yet the Good News of Jesus Christ was first proclaimed to the people of Samaria through the testimony of a sinful, immoral woman who drank the offered water and was forgiven, cleansed, and renewed, never again to thirst spiritually.

 

Second, The dialogue between Jesus and the woman is noteworthy. It proceeds along the lines of a pattern that is repeated frequently in John and at various other places in the Synoptic Gospels: Statement, Misunderstanding, Clarification, Decision. Jesus makes a statement (in v. 7 Jesus asks for a drink of water), the listener misunderstands Him (in v. 9-11 the Samaritan woman thinks that He means well water), Jesus then clarifies (in v. 10 he says, “I can give you living water”). Then she was faced with a decision; would she believe that Jesus was the Messiah/Savior or would she continue in her disbelief? (in verses 25-29). Of course she believed and was saved. She actually became quite the evangelist too as she invited the whole town to come and see Jesus!

 

As we communicate the life-transforming gospel to the world today, I believe we often encounter that same pattern in our own dialogue with the lost around us. We make the statement (obviously in a variety of ways) that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Often our statement is misunderstood even triggering anger or even hostility on occasion. For instance, and as we all know, much of the world today believes in the philosophy of Universalism. That’s the belief that, if there is a heaven (they say), everyone will get there. Whatever you believe will work. Whatever Faith or Religion you adhere to will be acceptable to God and adequate for Him to allow you entrance into eternal life. They think only in terms of God’s love and not His justice and righteousness. As well, they often refuse to see the cross as the ultimate expression of God’s matchless love. This is just one of the many objections you will hear, but it is a good example to say that now you must clarify your statement. This is where you must, like the Samaritan woman at the well, have all the proof you can communicate to convince your listener why you made the statement in the first place. Peter said:

 

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

 

Notable also is that Jesus and the woman each speak seven times. The woman’s seven statements proceed from ground zero—at the bottom (an insulting response to Jesus: “Judeans and Samaritans do not interact”; v. 9) all the way up to the recognition of His identity as Messiah (vv. 25, 29). At the conclusion of the story, the entire community recognizes him as “the Savior of the world” (v. 42).

 

Blessings to you all.

 

Pastor Jimmy