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Introduction: Today, in our gospel of John series, we arrive at chapter 4. We must begin by simply reading the account so we have the full scope of what is happening in this narrative.
(follow along as we read together)
Transition: This narrative of Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman is meant to be compared and contrasted to the conversation He had with Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel.
These two people could not be further from one another socially, economically, nationally, politically, religiously, or morally.
However, as we discover, both are near the kingdom because their encounter with the God man Christ Jesus.
Observations: Further revelation about the identity and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Specifically, we are going to discover that as the God man messiah Jesus is the Savior of the world.
He will without distinction save people from every tribe and language to be God’s true worshipers.
What about Jesus ?
Jesus is fully God and fully man.
He departed for Galilee- Was he running?
No, he needed no one to inform Him about what was in the hearts the Pharisees and as He had told His mother, His time had not yet come.
Jesus is not caught up in the thrill of popularity and prestige, no rather he leaves the crowds behind and treks of through hostile territory.
He passed through Samaria- he didn’t have to go through Samaria, but He has an appointment that He intends to keep.
He stops at Jacob’s well around mid day because…
He was weary from the journey.
(Read an excerpt from our doctrinal statement on “God the Son.”)
KEY TRUTH #1: He is God in the flesh, but He is fully human in that He was tired.
He takes a break about noon and sends His disciples into town for supplies.
Have you ever been tired, weary, or worn?
We are reminded from Hebrews 4:15 ... “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses”...
He speaks to a Samaritan woman.
As we discovered from Philippians chapter 2 Jesus is the perfect example of humility.
Consider this; the eternal Word who created all things, who had just turned water into wine, now seeks a drink of the water he created, from a woman he created, in order to subdue his physical exhaustion.
He says to the woman… “Give me a drink”
The Holy Spirit obviously intends to be teaching us something here through the apostle John’s writing about this event in the life of Jesus, because it would seem ridiculous to us that God in the flesh would be wearied from His journey, and want a drink from a well in from a Samaritan woman residing in hostile territory.
The answer begins to unfold for us by observing the location and background of the Jewish Samaritan hostilities.
See Map: The tensions between Jews and Samaritans.
Historically: The hostility of the north and south was ancient.
Back to the days of the division of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
You might recall that as we studied through the book of Haggi we were reminded that even after King Cyrus of the Persians issued a decree for those exiled Jews to return home, the remained a tension between those who had their names recorded in the Jewish family tree and those who couldn't verify their Jewish heritage.
The animosity between these two groups was so deep that it impacted every facet of their Religious, social, economic, and political existence.
They could not intermarry, they marched their armies against one another, some Jewish leaders would even say the name Samaritan thinking it would defile their purity.
Luke reminds us in Luke 9:51-55 that during the time Jesus walked on the earth there was a great hostility between these two groups.
Further, the apostle John reminds us here in verse 9 by his commentary, “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
So we might sympathize with the Samaritan woman's question, but notice, Jesus answers the woman’s question in verse 10 .
5. The phrase, “If you knew the gift of God” refers to the hope of God’s promises concerning the Messiah recorded in the Torah being fulfilled.
One of the unique things about the Samaritans is that they only used the first five books of the Old Testament.
Basically, Jesus is saying… “If you knew your Scriptures and if you knew me… you wouldn't resist my request for physical water, but you would request of me living water.
Transition: The gift of God is Jesus Himself.
(Jn 3:16) Just as with the conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is redirecting his mind from physical birth to spiritual birth, now Jesus is redirecting her mind away from physical water to spiritual water.
We notice this emphasis unfolding as verse 11 contains her response.
She begins by noticing the physical limitation of having no pot to get water, then she describes the physical location of the earthly water as deep.
(I cannot help but wonder at this point if Jesus throat is burning with dryness and dust…) Then she audaciously observes what seems to be a physical limitation in Jesus by asking are you greater than our father Jacob?
a. Now, in making this reference she is also bring up one of the major dividing walls between the Jews and the Samaritans.
The Samaritans traced their origins to Jacob and believed they had rights to this well because he had gifted it to their descendants.
The Jews on the other hand did not even acknowledge their appeal to Jacob’s family tree.
At best the Jews would call them a “half breed”
You can almost hear the animosity in her voice.. “What is this living water you refer to?
Here you are begging from me a drink and you don't even have a pot to pull up the water with.
Further more, this isn't your well.
It’s ours.
So who are you to talk to me about a gift from God.”
c. Keep in mind we have just discovered Jon the Baptist’s testimony where he refers to Jesus as being “above all”.
So the most obvious answer from where we are seated, is yes, absolutely Jesus is greater than Jacob.
As God in the flesh, Jesus is responsible for changing His name to Israel!!
7. Jesus replies with great gentleness and compassion.
In doing so He also makes it a point to direct her attention beyond the earthly set backs and barriers that she is consumed with, to speak of eternal satisfying water that he offers.
(read again verse 13-14)
a. Jesus is making the point that He is offering living water that satisfies the soul.
That keeps bubbling forth eternal life.
Transition: As we would expect, all of a sudden her tone changes and now in verse 15 she says, “give me some of this water”.
Basically, I like the sound of that, because I don't like coming out here to keep drawing water from this deep well.
yes, I’ll take it.”
8. Notice, she is still thinking in an earthly water kind of way.
Jesus is offering her eternal life.
Satisfying refreshment of salvation.
However, in order for that to be a reality for this lady, her sin must be dealt with.
And so in verse 16-18 Jesus confronts her sin.
In doing so He is revealing that He is greater than Jacob because from her perspective, Jesus tells her everything she every did.
We should take notice that the first step of salvation, the first drink of living water, is the confrontation of our sin.
In order to have eternal life, our sins must be washed away.
The Samaritan woman obviously had a history of sin.
This is good news to us, because it tells us that no matter the severity of our sin before God we can each find the washing of regeneration through faith in Christ.
She was likely even an outcast among her own people, let alone among the Jews.
However, here is Jesus speaking to her about eternal life.
We should also notice that being confronted about our sin is certainly painful, but it is necessary.
Just as setting a broken bone is painful but necessary for healing to take place so to is the pain of conviction for our sin.
We are confronted with the holy character of God.
We are confronted with the perfect standard of His laws.
We are confronted with our inability to keep His law and therefore our rebellion against His glory.
And as we discover from this conversation, it will do us no good to try to justify our sin and cover it up with theological jargon.
The Samaritan woman attempts to do this in verses 19-20.
(read) Again, after recognizing Jesus’ prophetic abilities, she appeals to one of the great dividing walls between the Jews and the Samaritans.
She is attempting to divert attention from her sin, to a theological debate about the location of true worship.
Transition: isn’t it interesting… in our own lives and perhaps in those we seek to have gospel conversations with, that when the conversation gets too close to the heart we will often try to throw out all the theological questions that we've heard in order to take the heat off of ourselves?
Rather than acknowledging the truthfulness of our own personal sin against God we will try to bring up supposed inconsistencies with the bible or other questions.
Jesus is not distracted.. he goes on to clear up her misinformed theology and notions about true worship in verses 21-24.
In doing so, He presents another Key truth about Himself.
Jesus is the Messiah.
8. Keep in Mind… The apostle John is breaking down faith barriers so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ and believing have life in His name.
The greatest barrier to eternal life is our sin against God.
Jesus has ushered in the hour in which true worshipers are not limited to a location.
Rather, those whom God saves must worship in spirit and truth because this is exactly whom the Father seeks to worship Him.
The great spring of living water bursting forth in those who belong to Christ is that or true worship.
True enjoyment of our Creator through faith in Christ.
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