Believe the Words, Live the Experience

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 King 22-23; John 4:31-54

39 Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s word when she testified, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word, 42 and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this one is truly the savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42, Common English Bible).

As I read this lesson from John 4, the end of the story of the Woman at the Well, my mind wandered a bit to Thomas. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. I am happy to share those thoughts with you.

Thomas, though he probably wouldn’t like that I said it, remember Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along. But as I read I couldn’t help but think of Thomas, after the resurrection, when all the disciples were gathered in the room when Jesus appeared, but Thomas wasn’t there. Later, when he came back he wouldn’t believe because he hadn’t personally experienced the risen Christ.

A week later, Jesus appeared again, this time when Thomas was present. Thomas shouted, “My Lord and My God.” We will actually get to that lesson, probably next month, (I haven’t looked that closely at the schedule). Thomas believed when he experienced.

Thomas was a person who needed to experience. In that way, Thomas wasn’t like the Samaritans at all. When the woman at the well first went into town and told them, “Come meet a man who told me everything I ever did,” they were so desperate for something to grab, they even took the word of a woman they didn’t like. They didn’t like her moral values. She was an outcast, and still, they believed. They accepted what she had to say despite who she was and what she had done.

But that is not the end of the story. Here is where the Samaritans came to be much like Thomas. Now they believed, not on someone else’s words, but on their own experience with Christ.

The world is full of people like Thomas. “I’m not gonna believe nothin’ ’til I see it for myself. Why would I believe you anyway? Why I’d just as soon play with a copperhead than to believe you and I’m not playin’ with no copperhead.”

He didn’t see. He couldn’t trust. He had to experience. We tend to give Thomas a lot of grief because he wanted proof, not words. Yet for too many of us, it is the same thing. All too many of us are not going to believe, we are not going to accept on faith because we want what we can see, what we can experience. Nothing short of our own personal experience will make us believe.

Jesus said, “You believe because you have seen because you have experienced. Blessed are those who have not seen and still believed.” Faith, by its very definition, is more than and less than what we can experience. Faith is moving forward, without proof, without personal experience to accept and believe in God.

Still, the story of the woman at the well is important. Because of her and her words, people came to accept the gift Jesus brought to them, the gift he brings to us. They accepted because of what she said. They truly were ready to live the life when they experienced. Think about this, if not for the woman’s words, their hearts may never have been prepared and they may have miss directed their experience and never came to know what Jesus could do.

God calls on us to tell people around us, “Come meet the man who has made a difference for me.” Then, when the time comes, they will believe even stronger from their own experience.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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