Giving water to the thirsty
With Head, Heart, and Hands: The call to follow Jesus • Sermon • Submitted
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March 12 3rd Sunday of Lent
Text: John 4:5-42 Theme: Giving water to the thirsty
March 12 3rd Sunday of Lent
Text: John 4:5-42 Theme: Giving water to the thirsty Big Idea: Followers of Jesus share the water of life with all who are thirsty. Notes: Jesus as living water hydrates from the inside out. He said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”
(John 4:13–14). What are examples of spiritual thirst? What does it look like to share living water with thirsty people today? Do we know of people who are thirsty? Preacher: Rev. Dr. Raymond Hylton
Introduction: In case you don’t know, we have a Lenten devotional available to be used for personal and small group study and reflection.
Pick up a copy at the Literature Rack across from the Front Desk or go to the home page, and click the button on the series and you will find the link there.
At the back of the Lenten Devotional are opportunities to practice the way of Jesus by serving—doing hands-on ministry.
Today’s insert profiles a Hands-on opportunity to engage in a ministry called Stephen Ministry. If God is calling you to serve those in need, this is one way to respond. Call one of the folks listed in the program.
Many years ago, Judith and I made a commitment to read through the bible together every 12-16 months—without question--one of the best decisions we ever made.
We were motivated by a few reasons:
1. To strengthen our oneness. We shared many things in common, and yet we weren’t sharing spiritual intimacy with each other. So we started reading through the bible and praying together.
2. To love God. God gave the Bible not so we can know it but so we can know and love God through it.
3. Application to life: We read the bible to know God, to know ourselves, and to discover the realism in the bible—that the bible speaks to real, concrete issues of life.
Today’s reading doesn’t get any more real. I call this a Lake Michigan story. It is big, deep, wide, and it touches many states and areas of life. It overflows with insights, and life changing truths.
We could easily spend six to eight weeks unpacking the profound realities of John 4.
But we can’t. Let me share a quick overview: 1. The humanity of Jesus: Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. Jn 4:6.
2. The raging ethnic conflict and religious rivalry between Jews and their Jewish Samaritan cousins: A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jn 4:7–9.
3. The human soul is hungry and thirsty for God: Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jn 4:10–15.
4. The reality of marriage and living with someone outside of marriage: Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Jn 4:16–19.
Not only does he know that she has no husband, Jesus knows of five past marriages as well. It’s possible the woman’s five marriages ended either in the death of a husband or divorce.
If her previous husbands died, then the woman is alone and widowed.
If previous marriages ended in divorce, then she suffered rejection five times by a husband.
On either score, the woman’s repeated marriages would not have made her a more desirable candidate for marriage. She is currently living with a man outside a legally contracted marriage. Some commentators skewer this poor woman as immoral, but others recognize her desperation. She needs the protection and support of a husband, but has settled for what she can get.
Jesus calls attention to her problematic situation, but he does not condemn her.
5. Worship wars: where’s the true place of worship? Mt. Gerizim or Mt. Zion in Jerusalem? Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jn 4:20–24.
6. Jesus tells a woman that he is the Messiah: The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” Jn 4:25–26. The woman identifies Jesus as a prophet because he knows her past.
7. The reaction of a person who meets the Messiah. She and Mary Magdalene (at the resurrection) are one of the few female evangelists in the New Testament: Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him. Jn 4:28–30.
8: Jesus’s priority and what satisfies: Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” The disciples thought someone brought him food.” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Jn 4:31–34.
9. The call to a missionary/kingdom vision: Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. Jn 4:35–38.
10: The impact of a story on others: Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” Jn 4:39–42. Let’s build on this last reality: the power of a story.
Our three children were born at different times, different days, different years; two were born in Indiana and one in North Carolina. But there is one thing that all three of our children did seconds after their birth: they cried, Judith cried, and I cried.
The cry of a newborn is a sign of life. The cry of the child is evidence to the doctors and nurses that air has entered the lungs and that the baby has begun to breathe.
This is true spiritually. When a man or a woman is born again, the first thing that any Christian should desire to hear is the cry of new life, evidence that the breath of God has come into the person.
This is why the Bible speaks in many places about the need for a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Some believers think they can be secret believers, but Scripture never considers this a possibility. What does Scripture say? Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. (Matt. 10:32–33).
If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. (Rom. 10:9–10).
The woman at Sychar’s well is a model for those of us seeking to serve Jesus with our head, heart, and hands. She does three things. Think of Three C’s: SLIDE: Confession of faith in Jesus Messiah
Change of priorities: Left her water jar behind
Concern for those yet to believe
The woman knew others who were thirsty for the water of life and she went back to her community and shared her story. Notice again the outcome:
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” Jn 4:39–42.
Share your story, not for the growth of the church, but for the growth of the kingdom of God and the church will grow.
You have a story. I want you to begin sharing it. Start with your family, expand it to your neighbors, and friends, and then as you grow in your love for people, share it with strangers.
But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. Jn 4:35.
God calls you to be a healer. God calls you to share your powerful story. In the name of the F,S and HS. Amen.