Andy Hollifield 5-21-18
John 4:3-7 He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. (4) And he must needs go through Samaria. (5) Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. (7) There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
John 4:25-26, 28-29 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. (26) Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (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: is not this the Christ?
It is kind of hard to sum up 42 verses in just a handful. But there is one thing that I heard last night that I hadn’t ever thought about until it was mentioned by Pastor Terry Sprouse at State Street Baptist Church. He made the statement, “I wonder how many more times that Samaritan woman went back to the well after the day she met Jesus there.” I had never thought about that even though I have preached out of that scripture many times. I guess that goes to show that you never get too old to learn and God can always show you something new, regardless of how well you may think you know something. I am glad it is that way. Can you imagine how boring it would be if we ever got to where we knew all there was to know about a scripture?
As I began to ponder that thought, my mind went back to Barnardsville, NC forty-five years ago in the fall of 1973. October the 3rd to be exact. Somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 to be a little more precise. About 3 feet to the right of the pulpit and about 4 feet from the front bench. That’s where my well is located. Pisgah Forest FWB Church on a revival on Tuesday night. My pastor Bruce West from New Hope BC just up the road about a mile, was preaching the revival meeting with Preacher Horace Honeycutt. I don’t remember what was said or exactly what all took place or even what I prayed. All I know for sure is that the Holy Ghost did a work in my soul that night that I have never got over and don’t want to. I met someone that night like no other I have ever met. He has been better to me than anyone else ever could, ever since the moment I met him. Although I was only 8 years old when I got saved, I was still just as lost and needed the Lord just as much as the biggest drunk in Barnardsville. I hadn’t done a whole lot by that age that was wrong and certainly nothing that I would have considered evil or wicked. I was faithful to church, not of my own will all the time, and studied my Sunday School lesson and even did my memory verses each week. At some point I had even memorized the books of the bible, although I probably couldn’t recite them in order without missing a few. I was even singing in church from the time I was probably 6 or 7 years old. My point is that I was doing everything I knew to do but there was still something lacking. I didn’t realize it until one day I was walking outside to practice singing. As I rounded the corner stepping off of the porch and laid my songbook on a stack of three or four cinder blocks, something told me, “There’s more to it than what you have.” I may not have been a lot of things that we categorize as being actions of a sinner, but I was just as lost as anyone could be.
Rolling forward now about 35 years, I can look back now and see some of the things that I needed forgiveness for. And yes, contrary to when I was eight years old, some of them have been wicked and evil. I am glad however, that I got saved when I did. Although I tried to go astray and fit in with the world, it was an evident fact that I didn’t belong. When God said “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5) he meant exactly what he said. In my teen years I would have gotten into a lot of different things if God would have left me to my own devices. I am thankful that he didn’t. Looking back I can see a lot of times that God would have been better off just cutting his losses and leaving me but he is faithful and has never even entertained the thought of leaving me.
I wasn’t able to just parade right back into church and pick up where I left off as a kid. There is a little matter of repentance. Nothing gets swept under the rug. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” Isaiah 40:27-28 says it a little plainer. “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” Psalms 69:5 says “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”
No matter how embarrassed or ashamed we may be of things we have done, we can still go “…boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. I have been back to the well many times just seeking his mercy and forgiveness. I don’t have to go back to Barnardsville to my well, even though I have been on occasion. But I can go in prayer to draw from the well of grace all that I have need of in my life. I have even taken the devil back to that spot many times when he would try to make me doubt it. I have often taken him back to another well where I settled in my heart that God was calling me to preach. I have taken him back to another Tuesday night 13 years later in June 1986, where I knelt beside a bush in my grandma’s front yard and give in to him. I tried again to talk him out of it the next night in the altar at church but in the end, I had to give in to his will. Those two places I have drawn strength from many times. The funny thing is that the devil don’t stay around long when you take him back to your wells.
I wonder how many times that Samaritan woman went back to that well just to see the place where her life changed forever? I have the answer: just as often as she needed to. Just like me, there are times that you just want or need to be reminded. When you come upon those times; you just need to “go back to the well.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 5-21-18