This week in chapel, President Stowell preached on John 4:1 -26, which shares the story of Jesus with the woman at the well. Dr. Stowell emphasized that we often forget that the gospel continues to be John 3:16, which states, “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Oftentimes as Christians, we focus on kingdom activity, but we forget to tell others about the man who is the one sent to save souls from being trafficked to hell.

Dr. Stowell pulls five key points from the story of the woman at the well.

  1. Jesus intentionally goes to Sychar, enemy territory, so that he may meet the woman and intentionally reach the lost.
  2. In the story, there is a pressing priority of the John 3:16 gospel to seek and to save that which is lost.
  3. Jesus engages in high-risk business because Jesus engages in conversation with a woman of a different ethnicity who has a moral problem. Jesus is willing to risk his reputation for the salvation of others.
  4. Jesus takes an interesting strategy, in which he meets the woman right where she is.
  5. Jesus saw that there was exponential potential in how many individuals would receive salvation.

As followers of Christ Jesus, we must set our eyes and our focus to rescuing the trafficked souls, which is the will and work of the Father.

Listen to the full sermon below.


Dr. Joseph M. Stowell III serves as the president of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. He loves students and desires to provide an educational experience in which they are intellectually and spiritually stimulated to engage their world with the love of Christ.

An internationally recognized conference speaker, Joe has also written numerous books including “The Trouble with Jesus,” “Following Christ,” “Simply Jesus and You” and “Redefining Leadership.” He also writes devotionals for Our Daily Bread. His life is marked by a deep love for Jesus, which is reflected in his desire to value people regardless of gender, race or class; to aid the poor and marginalized; to build a strong and vibrant community where the presence of Christ is evident; and to govern and lead in ways that engender mutual confidence and trust.

Dr. Stowell has a distinguished career in higher education and church leadership. He served as senior pastor of Southgate Baptist Church (Southgate, Ohio; 1970-76), Bible Baptist Church (Kokomo, Indiana; 1976-81) and Highland Park Baptist Church (Southfield, Michigan; 1981-87). From 1987 to 2005, he served as president of Moody Bible Institute, with oversight over the undergraduate and graduate schools, Moody Publishers and the Moody Broadcasting Network. Following his time at MBI, he served as teaching pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in suburban Chicago, prior to assuming the presidency at Cornerstone in February 2008.

Joe also serves on the board of Wheaton College. He is a graduate of Cedarville University and Dallas Theological Seminary and has been honored with two Doctor of Divinity degrees from The Master’s College (1987) and Huntington University (2011). He and his wife Martie have three adult children and 10 grandchildren.