05 Jun Even when the well is full
Jesus commands his disciples in Matthew 28: 19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Our mission as believers is to make the gospel known. In obedience to this command, my team has spent every day on campus of the Technical University of Prague, handing out free juice and having meals with students with the goal of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yet, I wrestle with it. Unlike many mission trips, my team is not providing fresh water to a community that desperately needs it, or distributing clothes in impoverished neighborhoods, or building houses for those impacted by natural disasters. These methods of serving are excellent grounds for sharing the gospel because not only do those being served receive eternal needs, but also physical.
But what about those who don’t lack physical needs? Should they be our last priority?
Prague recently had the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, according to Eurostat. Personally, I have never seen so few homeless people in such a large city. On the surface, the majority of people my team has met in Prague are not lacking any material needs.
Several of us have even been told that our mission is really a vacation. After all, many would say missionaries go to third-world countries, not one of the most beautiful cities in Europe to share the gospel.
I have caught myself questioning the impact of our ministry for the past two weeks. At first, hanging out with Czechs doesn’t feel nearly as urgent or impactful as I imagine digging a well in a lowly village. I’m not in danger like many missionaries in hostile areas. I’m not uncomfortable like believers who live frugally. The worst persecution (if you can even call it that) I’ve encountered is rejection to conversation.
Pair that with Czechs generally not being immediately receptive to the gospel, and I am left really wondering if this work is fruitful at all.
Scripture reveals otherwise. In John 4, Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for water. She replies in verse 12, “Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
Like me, the Samaritan woman struggles to see past physical needs. She believes that since she has plenty of water in her well, she doesn’t need Christ’s living water.
Verses 12-14 continue, “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
Jesus is not chastising the Samaritan woman for having physical needs. As the Creator of water (and everything else), he is more than aware that water is good and necessary. Still, he reminds her that meeting even her physical needs won’t sustain her. Without the Living Water (Christ), her material needs mean nothing in the long run. She is every bit as lost as one without water.
Because Christ went far out of his way to share the gospel with a Samaritan woman who had never known what it felt like to need water, I am confident that even those whose physical needs are met are just as desperately in need of Jesus.
Even though Christ healed the blind and sick, he also healed those who didn’t know they were in need.
In verse 15, “The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.’” Even though the Samaritan woman was offended at first, she didn’t take long to accept Christ’s revelation and her deepest need for him.
My team prays it will be the same for the Czechs we encounter. We have already received our fair share of rejections. Many gospel conversations have been shot down by well-meaning students who reply they are happy, lack nothing, and don’t need Jesus. Which is exactly why the gospel is as desperately needed in Prague as it is in the most deprived cities on Earth.
Although my team hasn’t seen anyone come to Christ yet this year, we are encouraged by the students who surrendered their lives to Jesus last summer. Our mission is affirmed by the over sixty contacts we’ve already made. And our hope grows stronger as we see our Czech friends begin to ask deep questions about the gospel and discover their need for Christ.
We have spent and will continue to spend time on the campus of the Technical University of Prague, hosting barbecues at our hostile, and helping orchestrate discussions about religion at a local church on Thursday nights. We will continue to follow up with students we meet at these events to get to know them and help them understand who Jesus is.
Please join our team in praying for:
- opportunities for us to share the gospel with Czechs
- hearts to be opened to the Holy Spirit
- Czechs to recognize their spiritual needs above the physical
- perseverance for our team
- our partner team from LSU
- adequate rest and time in the Word
Thank you for reading and praying. We look forward to all the Lord is doing and will continue to do in the next four weeks!
Summer LINK Prague