Faithlife Sermons

Where Brokenness Meets Reconciliation

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I want us to look at the prequel that lead up to the confidence of this Samaritan woman as we look at the events in John, chapter 4…Where Brokenness Met Reconciliation…where a broken life…you know a broken life is not a life that stops living nor a heart that stops beating, but it's a broken life that limps from one experience and one attempt to another. What it needs, what you may need more than money, relationship, a new job, or anything is reconciliation. But like the woman you may not realize that, so I hope maybe you see in today's story, in today's Scripture, not a woman at the well, but yourself at the well.

The graphic that's behind our text and our titles today is the view from the bottom of the well. You know really before the Lord seems to ever use most of us, we have to come to the place in our life where we look up from the bottom of the well, and we realize there is no further digging, there is no other place for us to go than to look up. That's where this woman found herself, but like the woman at the well you may not realize you're in that well. You may not realize you have a need for a Savior, and I hope you see that today.

Jesus comes to the city of Sychar, in the land of Samaria. That event in and of itself shows the purposeful grace of our Lord because the normal route for a Jew to travel to where Jesus was eventually headed was to go around Samaria. To go through Samaria was to go through land the Jews had culturally declared unclean and the wrong side of the tracks, if you will…the wrong side of the neighborhood. But it tells us Jesus purposed to go through Samaria.

If you look with me in John, chapter 4, beginning in the first verse it says, "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee." Now just to note there before we even go further, it would appear by the reading if you don't study it that Jesus is having to leave town because the Pharisees have found out He's baptizing people or that His disciples are baptizing people. That's why there is such an important connection between John, chapter 3 and John, chapter 4.

You back up to John, chapter 3, and in verse 35 it says, "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand." In other words, Jesus never ran from the Pharisees. The Pharisees couldn't touch Jesus unless Jesus gave them permission to do so. So it's not that Jesus has to flee the country side. It is true His time had not yet come, and if there might have been an attempt at an early arrest that was not in the fulfillment of God's plan for Jesus' life, and He had always come to do His Father's will. But it was not for fear of Himself.

He would tell us later in John 10, I believe verse 18, that "I am in charge of My life. I lay it down. I take it up again. Nobody else does this to Me. This is My position, My sovereignty to do so." So our Lord, our Messiah, comes into chapter 4 and purposefully decides to go to Samaria. No doubt his purpose is to encounter this woman. So in verse 4 it says, "But He needed to go through Samaria." He needed to go through Samaria. He must go through Samaria because there is a woman there, there is a village there that by God's sovereign plan He is to encounter.

So verse 5, "So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour." (Or about noon for our time.) Now just an amazing thing happens here. Jesus comes to this well outside the city of Sychar, Jacob's well, and He sits there. He doesn't travel and keep going. He sits there…a Jew sitting at the watering hole of the Samaritans.

And not only that, but notice this, verse 7, "A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink.' For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food." Not only does Jesus purposefully come to Samaria, purposefully come to this well outside the city of Sychar in the middle of the day when people don't come to the well, but He purposefully sits down at this Samaritan well and purposefully sends all of the other disciples away.

Now, you don't have to send 12 people away to go buy food at McDonald's. You don't have to send 12 disciples away to go buy your food for the evening either, but He intended to be alone. He purposed to be alone. Listen, my friends, when Jesus encounters your life it seems coincidental, it seems incidental that that neighbor, that family member, that loved one begins to engage in this conversation, but in God's view and God's plan it is purposeful. God comes to you on purpose.

He arranges the meeting He wants to have with you, the encounter He wants to have with you and we see it highlighted with this woman of Samaria. He knew, of course, we know later reading the verses He knew all about her. One of the things He knows is He knows because of the life she's living she's going to come when she can come by herself. She's going to come at noon. So Jesus intends to be there when she comes.

Now, this is a Samaritan woman. And to be as blunt as I can be, to drink from a Samaritan woman's pot, to drink from the same vessel they would drink from was taboo. Back in the 50s and in the 60s when I was a little boy there were the fountains that were separated. Some would say, "Colored only." And to go…for a white person in the south and in other places…and drink at that fountain was taboo. My friends, that's exactly what this pot of this Samaritan woman was to the Jew.

I want you to notice very clearly what Jesus says to her in verse 7. He says, "Give me a drink." He doesn't say, "Let me use your well." He doesn't want to use the utensils, the rope to get His own water. He wants to drink from her pot. Okay. He is reaching past all the taboos that stop all of us at some point in all the prejudices that as humans block us from engaging the people who need Jesus most. Jesus breaks through all those taboos. He tells her, "I want to drink from what you have already drawn into your pot."

Verse 9, "Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, 'How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?' For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." You know in the Greek that literally says, "The Jews do not use with the Samaritans." In other words, they wouldn't touch this pot. They're not going to use the same utensil you used. It would be you drinking from the same plastic water bottle of somebody you would not even want to touch or associate with. That's what Jesus is asking to do.

She says, "How can this be? Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans. This is not something you do." Of course what she is doing here is she is hearing Jesus at the physical level. Her story is so similar to the one in the previous chapter of Nicodemus. Both of whom don't seem to get the imagery Jesus will be presenting them in our story. With Nicodemus who comes at night, Jesus says, "You know your problem Nicodemus is you need to be born again." Nicodemus says, "Well, how can I crawl into a woman's womb and be born again?" To this Samaritan woman He says, "Give me a drink." She says, "You have nothing to draw with. What are you going to drink with? And she doesn't see His spiritual application.

In verse 10, Jesus answered her concern and her complaint and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." This is the same as Him telling Nicodemus, "You need to be born from above." Now to the Samaritan woman, "If you knew who was asking you, you would turn around and ask Him and He would give you living water." But she doesn't get it.

She thinks He's talking about water, so the woman said to her, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" She senses maybe He's speaking with a sense of superiority here so she challenges that.

Again, she's at the physical level. "So are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well? Who dug it to feed the livestock? Are you greater than him? You're claiming you can give water that's better than this water. Where is this living water you're talking about? You don't even have anything to draw from this well and you're going to give me living water." That's just so much like Nicodemus, isn't it? He's just so stuck on the physical attribute of the image of being born from above he never understands what Jesus is trying to tell him. So too with this Samaritan woman.

So in verse 13, Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." Now we see the spiritual imagery of what Jesus is saying, but she doesn't quite get it yet so the woman said to Him in verse 15, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

She said, "I'll take that water." Why? Because I don't like coming here. I don't want to have to come here. Why? She doesn't want to have to go out in public. She lives with a shame…a shame that maybe a Jew might not know, but a shame that everyone in Sychar knew, a shame everyone who knew her knew, and she didn't want to be around them. She wanted to avoid them.

Have you had that feeling? Are you at that place in your life? There are certain people you don't want to see; certain people you hope don't show up, certain people you hope you don't run into at work, a shamefulness about your life that you know you're living in such a way that disappoints most people, or even just some people. And you would love to do whatever it took not to have to go back to that job, not to have to go down that street, not to have to go back into that pharmacy, or back into that grocery store. Man, show me how I can avoid this. The shame is so great. I'd love to not have to come and draw from this water in public anymore.

Then all of a sudden Jesus seems to just spin things around. He never mentions water anymore. Here He is at the well. He's sitting at the well and He has the object here at the well. She comes to the well, He talks about water, and she says, "Send me this water. Give me this water." It almost appears as though, at least for the moment, the object lesson is not working. But oh, it is working. We're just going to have to see it because listen to what Jesus says in verse 16. This is really the focus of our discussion today. "Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.'"

I want you to notice a couple of things. I want you to notice at the end of verse 15. There is a word there, it's the word here. Notice she says, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." And then in verse 16, Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." You know those two words for here in the original language are the same two words and those two words are only used in these two Scriptures in the entire Bible. They're connected. Jesus is pointing out so that she and so we as readers will understand her problem is about here…coming here.

So she says, "I tell you what…" He tells her, "Go get your husband, and come here." You know a husband is the protector as Caroline shared in her monologue. "Bring your husband, someone who will protect you. Someone you can be proud of when he stands with the elders in the city gates. But He's just gotten right to the heart of the problem, hasn't He? The reason she is here, the reason she doesn't want to come here is because of the shame and the sinfulness in her life. It really has nothing to do with here. It has to do with here.

There is something going on here in her heart that is causing a hurt and a pain and a brokenness that she is yet to reveal to anybody, must less to Jesus. So He says, "Go get your husband," who He knows she has not a husband, "and bring him here." …where you come here to draw water. The woman answered and said, in verse 17, "'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.'"

Notice in this exchange Jesus begins and ends this really with a book end with a form of the word truth. He beings by saying, "You have well said." In other words, you have truly spoke, "I have no husband." Then He reveals what her life is really like. He says, "In this you spoke truly." What is He doing here? Well I think He's digging here a little bit. He's saying, "You know what you're saying is true. It's just not the whole truth. You're being deceptive in what you're saying. You're saying truthful things, but they're hiding the deception of your life."

Do you know people who do that? You know deceptive people are usually too scared to lie, they are just very careful about which truths they do tell. So they tell things that are true, but even in telling them they're being deceptive. You know you can tell the truth and still be deceptive by the selective truth you choose to tell.

So she says, "I have no husband." He says, "Yeah you're right. Boy, that's the truth. Isn't it, huh? You've had five husbands and the one you're with now is not your husband. Yeah, in that you spoke truly." He goes right to the heart of her problem. Her problem is that she is very thirsty. It's just her thirst is not for physical water. She has a soul thirst.

Everyone in here today who lives with brokenness has as thirst. It may not even be a thirst you're aware of, but it's a thirst for water only God can supply. It's a thirst to cure brokenness, a thirst to heal a soul, a thirst to be reconciled with God and with yourself.

Transcribed by Digital Sermon Transcription

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