Transformed and Empowered by Christ


John 4:27-38 (English Version for the Deaf)

At that time Jesus’ followers came back from town. They were surprised because they saw Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to town. She told the people in town, “A man told me everything I have ever done. Come see him. Maybe he is the Christ.*” So the people left the town and
went to see Jesus.
While the woman was in town, Jesus’ followers were begging him, “Teacher, eat something!”
But Jesus answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” So the followers asked themselves, “Did somebody already bring Jesus some food?”
Jesus said, “My food is to do what the One (God) who sent me wants me to do. My food is to finish the work that he gave me to do. {When you plant} you always say, ‘Four more months to wait before we gather the grain.’ But I tell you, open your eyes. Look at the {people. They are like} fields ready for harvesting now. Even now, the person that harvests the crop is being paid. He is gathering crops for eternal life. So now the person that plants can be happy together with the person that harvests. It is true when we say, ‘One person plants, but another person harvests the crop.’ I sent you to harvest a crop that you did not work for. Other people did the work, and you get the profit from their work.”

Transformed and Empowered by Christ

Recently, I performed with the Jacksonville UM Deaf Faith Community Church’s Deaf choir. We signed, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God, my Savior has ransomed me…” [“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well questioning and conversing with Jesus and then witnessing about him to the people in her town reminds me of many of my Deaf and Hard of Hearing choir members’ stories.
In engaging this woman and addressing her spiritual questions and needs, Jesus broke down societal barriers that the religious and secular communities had built around her. Jesus let her know that all people were included in God’s gift of grace and loving forgiveness. Jesus invited her to “drink her heart’s desire.” With one conversation, Jesus empowered this unnamed foreign woman to witness to others who were waiting for the Messiah to teach them and set them free.
In the Deaf and Hard of hearing ministry, the heart’s desire of every person is to seek spiritual answers about the struggles and oppression they experience. They want the living waters and freedom of knowing God’s grace, love and forgiveness. It’s their heart’s desire to be invited and included in the telling of God’s story of love for the world. The heart’s desire of the people I serve here, and everywhere, is the same: to be empowered to witness to the ways God has touched us, to become leaders, and to minister to others. When this happens they become transformed disciples of Jesus Christ!
Through the story of the Samaritan woman, Jesus shows his disciples how they are to live and do God’s work in the world. We are Jesus’ hands and feet! It is now our task to share a bold witness with those we meet and to help them become transformed disciples also.


All-Inclusive Savior, thank you for teaching us and demonstrating for us that your grace and loving forgiveness is for EVERYONE! Thank you for transforming our lives and giving us the freedom to witness to your love for all people to the church and the world so that they too might be transformed. Amen!

Rev. Elke Sharma serves the Jacksonville United Methodist Deaf Faith Community Church, outreach mission ministries in Springfield, O’Fallon and other cities in Illinois, and as the chair of the IGRC Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries Team