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The Facts of Life

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The Facts of Life

JOHN, the Book, the Man – Part 8

March 11, 2007    Dr. Rick Isbell

John 4:1-26


I titled today’s message, “The Facts of Life,” but teenagers, don’t get too excited because it is not what you might think:

-          Even though we are talking about a woman today

-          These are different Facts of Life than those you might be thinking of

While you are finding John 4 in your Bibles, let me pass on three or four interesting Facts of Life that I found this week:

  • Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes because there's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
  • There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.
  • Don't worry about the world ending today because it's already tomorrow in Australia. (If you live in Australia… start worrying)
  • Drive carefully since it's not only the cars that can be recalled by their maker.
  • Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
  • There is always one more imbecile coming through the yellow light than you counted on.
  • A man who says marriage is a 50-50 proposition doesn't understand two things:

Women & Fractions.

John 4:1     When Jesus knew that the Pharisees heard He was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went again to Galilee. 4 He had to travel through Samaria, 5 so He came to a town of Samaria called Sychar near the property that Jacob had given his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from His journey, sat down at the well. It was about six in the evening.


You remember from last week that there was a little tension brewing among John the Baptist’s disciples because Jesus was baptizing too and his group was growing faster than John the Baptist’s group.

-          Even though John the Baptist kept pointing them all to Jesus as the One to follow, there was still a little jealousy over whose group would be bigger.

-          The Jews & the Pharisees were picking up on all this and wanted to fuel the fire and let the two groups be distracted by in-fighting, therefore they would both do the other harm

-          Jesus knew that this was not the right battle to fight at this time because He had a much bigger role to fill in the redemption of mankind

-          Bigger than fighting over who was going to have the biggest church

-          So he left Judea to go to Galilee.

As you can see from this map, there were two routes that were typically taken on this trip.

-          Gentiles would travel the shortest and quickest route, straight through Samaria


-          However, the Jews would go way around through Perea just avoid going through Samria.

-          We’ve talked about this before how the Jews who were so caught up on religious perfection, bloodlines, perfect undefiled lineage,

-          that they did not even want to travel through Samaria where all these half-breeds, mixed blood, Samaritans lived.

-          Didn’t seem to bother Jesus… guess HE knew He would be dying for the Samaritans too pretty soon, so He might as well check out where they live.

So Jesus got to Jacob’s well in Samaria around 6PM and sat down to rest and refresh a while because he was worn out.


7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water.

“Give Me a drink,” Jesus said to her, 8 for His disciples had gone into town to buy food.

9 “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked Him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.

There were actually three reasons that Jesus should not be talking to this woman according to the customs of the day:

  1.  She was a Samaritan and he was a Jew
  2. She was a woman and he was a man
  3. They were complete strangers

Jesus was really going against the grain by even opening His mouth

-          A TRUE Jewish Rabbi would have died of thirst before he would have lowered himself to ask assistance from a Samaritan woman.

-          and she was shocked

-          According to Jewish law, if this Jewish man used the same drinking pot of this unclean woman, then he would himself be ceremonially unclean

-          So it was a BIG deal


10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.”


Now THAT ONE went right over her head!

-          It was another one of those statements Jesus liked to make that would make you go, “Humm.”

-          We know now that He was using “living water” as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit

-          However, in that day, they had pools of ‘dead water’ that could not be used for humans and wells or springs of ‘living water’ that was fresh for drinking.

-          So she completely was clueless about the whole Spirit concept


11 “Sir,” said the woman, “You don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.”


Archeologists have identified Jacob’s well as one of the deepest in Palestine even today.

-          Jesus didn’t have a bucket and rope


She asked Him, “You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you?”

-          In Greek sentence structure, this question expects a negative answer.

-          She could not conceive of Him as greater than Jacob.

-          That well had great tradition and a great man behind it but,

-          she must have wondered, ‘What does this guy have?’


13  Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”

15 “Sir,” the woman said to Him, “give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”


FACT #1:  Nothing in this world can give you lasting satisfaction.

It must have been really hard work to get water out of Jacob’s well

-          We know that it is very deep

-          We all know how heavy a five gallon bucket of water is

-          Can you imagine a woman trying to pull up a bucket of water from a well that some scholars have estimated at 150’ deep?

-          She was quickly interested in any kind of water that did not take so much work to acquire

-          She was so out of touch with Spiritual things that she could not begin to grasp what Jesus was talking about.

-          Isn’t that our #1 problem today with trying to spread the Gospel?

o   The darkness of sin is so pervasive that people can’t even begin to see things of spiritual importance

o   That is why those here today are primarily the Christians and not the unbelievers

o   Not only are they not interested, they don’t have a clue that they even NEED to BE interested.

-          All this woman could understand was that if there was a water that could keep her from getting thirsty and going through all this work every day, bring it on.


Apparently since Jesus was not getting through to her like this, he decided to go right to the root of her personal problems:


16 “Go call your husband,” He told her, “and come back here.”

17 “I don’t have a husband,” she answered.

“You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’ ” Jesus said. 18 “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”


FACT #2:  Jesus knows you better than you know yourself.

Jesus’ statement was meant to show her that this perfect stranger knows you as well as you know yourself

-          “I know all about your marriages”

-          “I also know that you are living in sin right now”


19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”


This is just classic… almost laughable

-          She immediately recognized that this was not just some Jewish Rabbi wandering through

-          But this guy has supernatural knowledge of her life

-          He must be a true prophet – or maybe even more

But here is the part I say is laughable:

-          She immediately deflected the heat by throwing out some debatable question to try and turn Jesus’ conviction off of her… “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place of worship is in Jerusalem…” hummm?????

o   It would be like me saying, “Lady, you are living in sin by sleeping with your friend’s husband.”

o   And she responds, “Oh yeah, well what about all the people in Africa who have never heard of Jesus, will they go to heaven?”

o   What are we talking about here?


21  Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”


FACT #3:  Jesus can help you more than you can help yourself.

Jesus said an hour is coming

-          He’s talking about the hour of His death that was coming

-          An hour when worship will not be confined to either this mountain or that temple

-          When the Spirit of God will be unleashed on the world and the church – the hearts of believers – will be the dwelling place of God’s Spirit

-          Worship will occur in the church

o   Home

o   Shower

o   Driving in Memphis traffic

o   Walking down the hallway at work or school

o   Lying in your bed restless, in the dark of the night

When Jesus said, Salvation is from the Jews, He did not mean that all Jews were already saved

-          He was just stating that salvation was coming through the lineage of Abraham

-          Jesus himself was that salvation

The true worshipers are those who realize that Jesus is the Truth of God

-          the one and only Way to the Father

-          And to worship God in truth and in Spirit is only possible through Jesus.

-          Worship is not contained in saying the right prayers

o   Singing the right songs

o   Chanting the right verses

-          Worship is found when one who was blinded by sin is given spiritual sight

o   One who was drowning in darkness is rescued to radiant light

o   One who was chained with the heartbreak of this world is set free to dance in the full of God

-          Not a bunch of fake rituals surrounded by worthless objects

o   But it’s our heart connecting to the heart of God in adoration, praise and worship of His holiness

o   His greatness

o   His awesomeness


25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

26 “I am He,” Jesus told her, “the One speaking to you.”

FACT #4:  Jesus changes everything and it is always better.

The Samaritans expected a coming messianic leader.

-          They did NOT expect Him to be of the Davidic line,

-          since they rejected all the Old Testament except the Pentateuch.

-          Based on Deuteronomy 18:15-18, they expected a Moses-like figure who would solve all their problems.

-          The Samaritan woman now began to understand a part of what Jesus was saying.

-          She wistfully longed for the messianic days when the Messiah would explain everything.



And went right for it – boom – “I am He”

-          Jesus usually avoided saying that because of the political problems it could cause

-          He usually referred to himself as the “Son of Man”

-          He must not have been concerned with the danger of the statement in this context.

We will see next week how this woman became quite the evangelist after believing in Jesus, which leads me to…

FACT #5:  The gift of a changed life is available to anyone who wants it.


This is the second spiritual interview that Jesus has conducted so far in the Book of John. 

-          First – two weeks ago – was with a guy named Nicodemus… remember ‘Nick at Night?’

-          Look at the biography of these two people that Jesus engaged:

Nicodemus / man                        Woman

Named                                      Unnamed

Jew                                           Samaritan

Seeking truth                             Indifferent to truth

Respected Ruler                         Outcast, despised

Serious                                      Flippant, evasive

Moral                                        Immoral

Orthodox                                   Heterodox

Learned in religion                      Ignorant of religion

Planned to meet Jesus                Happened to meet

Yet in spite of all the differences between the “churchman” and the woman of the world, they both were the same at one point… they both needed Jesus and

-          they both needed to be born again.

-          Both had needs only Christ could meet

It appears in the next few verses that she gave her heart Christ and was used powerfully in the region to spread the Gospel…

Nicodemus… don’t know… doesn’t say…

How many people in our churches are religious with all the answers, but none of the power

-          All the right look but none of the deeds

-          All the right words but none of the heart

The Facts of Life are that whether you are an unbeliever who is seeking or a long time Christian who has grown cold, the power of Christ is available to change everything about you on this day and move you into a life of joy and thrill in His Kingdom service.

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