We can think of this woman as, in some ways, the opposite of Nicodemus in John chapter 3. Nicodemus was a man, and here is a woman. Nicodemus was a Jew, she was a Samaritan. He was an upper crust intellectual, she was a moral outcast. He was a well put-together human being, she was a complete mess. These two very different people had only one thing in common. They both needed Jesus, and they both received him. What was their breakthrough? Nicodemus needed to be humbled to the level of a child.
What did Jesus say to this woman? Nicodemus was at the top of his game, and he needed to come down and start all over again.
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This woman was down in the gutter, and she needed to be lifted up. I wonder who you are today and what you need. You might be a leader, or you might be a stripper. But whatever your need is today, Jesus can satisfy you. Here is what we must understand as we come now to John chapter 4. There is a contrast here.
The spring is supernatural and God-given. The well satisfies a temporary thirst. But the spring will flow forever.
The well you have to go find. The spring God gives to you, and you take it with you into hardship, into temptation. She came to draw water from this well at noon, the hottest time of day. She came then, because the other women would come in the cool of the day. She was a sexually adventurous woman.
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When she walks into the room, other women start putting her down, because they perceive her as a threat. To men, this kind of woman is intriguing. This woman had been ostracized by women and mistreated by men so many times, by now she knew to keep to herself. But she felt a thirst deep inside to be loved and understood and accepted and included and safe from cruel female words and selfish male advances.
She had been married five times, and now she was living with a guy. What else do I have to do? But Jesus tells her about a spring of living water. It satisfies, because it is of God. It is for her and for you and for me today. I want to show you one key insight from verse 10, and another key insight from verse Jesus is eager to satisfy our soul-thirst. How small our are thoughts of him!
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We perceive him with categories of scarcity and reluctance. We think in terms of our wells, and we hope he might add his blessing to our limitations. He forgives us, and he rewards us. He justifies us, and he adopts us. He defends us, and he makes us more than conquerors. He washes our sins away, and he puts glory upon us. Do you know how God gives? He is eager to satisfy our soul-thirst.
He looks upon us right now with a huge heart to bless us. He is lively in his blessing. He comes and finds us. This paper is a small effort to bring out the meaning and its implications for the mission and theology in 21st century, with especial reference to India. Our main focus will be to find the indigenous church model, and some practical suggestions for indigenizing Indian churches. It relates to the use of local forms of communication, methods of transmission and personnel.
Revelation itself comes with a sensitivity of the time, place, culture and literary genres of its reporters. In the fullness of the power of His Holy Spirit, He breaks through that Hebrew Socio-cultural world to proclaim Christ both within and across the global boarders of cultural diversities and linguistic expression Acts The church is the Body of Christ and belongs to him.
So, the church we plant should be relevant to the local people, yet, Christ must be the head of it. Contexualization includes all that is involved in indigenization, but pressing beyond it takes a further step and accounts for the process of secularity, technology and the struggle for human justice. Bruce Nicholls understands indigenization as a process of relating the gospel to a culture and contextualization as the process of relating gospel to a secular situation.
See Gnanakan, op.
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Hedlund and Paul Joshua, eds. He was very much aware of the culture where he was preaching and planting churches. His emphasis on local leadership, self-support, self-propagation and his respect to the local culture should be taken into serious consideration. The Importance of Indigenization Frequently, missions are obviously foreign in personnel, in form, in language and in unconscious loyalties. Indigenous forms of expression and communication have been bypassed thinking that they would be a hindrance to progress.
Even over a long period of time, the Christian experiment has not produced the indigenous churches. So, it is not to be surprised that in our contexts Christianity is considered to be foreign religion depending on foreign support, Western in form and anti-cultural. In this respect, we need to feel the urgency of making our churches indigenous.
The missionary must aim at planting indigenous church, which expresses its identity in its local cultural context in its worship, witness, administration, leadership, church building, art and music, and Christian life style so that the local people accept and appreciate it as their own. Indigenous Church Principles A. The indigenous churches are self-governing according to the local structure of their society, they maintain themselves without outside financial or material help, and they produce themselves in visible congregations among their own people by voluntarily using their own resources and methods of approach.
The process of indigenization implies a search for something that is lacking. It is a search for an authentic Indian model rooted in the Bible and relevant to the native soil. The gospel must be translated in terms of the needs of the whole man and society- the religious, social, economic and political levels of culture, which India desperately needs. First, the water of life means the gospel of Christ, which is universal and available for the people of all times.
Secondly, the water of life has so far been given to the Indians in Western cup. Thirdly, the Western cup is not really suitable to the Non-Westerners, especially to Indians to drink the water of life.
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So, Sadhu desired to drink the water of life in Indian cup. This is a plea to do mission in Indian context.
Christianity in India has its root to Apostolic Age, which is known as St. Thomas Tradition in India.
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Later in the 4th century, the strong hold of Syrian Christianity begins in India with the one immigrant group associated with Thomas of Cana, a Syrian merchant. Because of their straight connection to 8 M. Kanagaraj, ed. Thomas Christianity and remained very strong and prevented the church in India from developing an Indian Christian culture. They showed greater interest in Europeanizing the people of India by imposing Portuguese names and customs than in making them disciples of Christ. The British East India Company was guided by a similar profit motive, not the spiritual well being of the people.
They promoted English culture. The result was complete distortion. The church was seen as a part of Western domination, and the true character of the gospel of Christ was obscured. Europeans dominated the church and they propagated European patterns in church planting. Some Efforts in Indigenizing Indian Churches. Early missionaries in India included scholars who made important contributions to the understanding of Indian cultures. To begin with, the brilliant example is Robert de Nobili, a Jesuit scholar, who through the method of accommodation 14 tried to present Christ and establish churches relevant to the local Hindu context.
He adapted his life-style to that of the people and appropriated various harmless customs and ceremonies. Many traditional practices were Christianized. His greatest contribution was in his scholarship. His accurate knowledge of the people, fluency in speech and writing opened an approach to the Tamil people. Nobili gave a terminology for Christian theology, a vehicle for conveying Christian ideas. In a sense, Nobili was the first missionary who had high respect of the native culture and made the gospel deeply rooted in the life and thought patterns of the people.
Likewise, the first protestant missionary, Bartholomew Ziegenbalg made his effort to indigenize the gospel by translating the Bible into Tamil, compiling a Tamil-German dictionary among many other works. William Carey, the Baptist missionary, is another important figure who contributed a lot to indigenize Indian churches. His translation of the Bible into local languages, educational work, social activities, literary works, ecological ministry all can be considered to be the process of indigenizing Indian churches. The establishment of the Bible College to develop indigenous leadership is his great contribution to the Indian churches.
His conversion, theology, preaching and life style as a wandering Sadhu all carry the marks of Indian authenticity. He viewed Christian life and faith from Eastern perspective. It considers prevailing customs and religious practices and accommodates good ideas from other religions.
It can be accepted to a certain extent as long as the biblical teachings are not challenged. It includes worship, church building, leadership, evangelistic methods, life style of the missionary, etc. The local church should be missionary minded and missionary sending church.
Self- propagation by local churches avoids the misunderstanding of missionary work as foreign. The missionary must allow the local Christians to use native methods like Singing Bhajan, acting drama, telling stories, etc.