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The Well, the Water and the Will

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The Well, the Water and the Will

JOHN, the Book, the Man – Part 9

March 18, 2007    Dr. Rick Isbell

John 4:27-42


27 Just then His disciples arrived, and they were amazed that He was talking with a woman. Yet no one said, “What do You want?” or “Why are You talking with her?”

28 Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They left the town and made their way to Him.

4:27-30 – When the disciples arrived on the scene, the woman left and went back to the village.

-          In her joy of discovery she forgot her water jar.

-          It was more important to her now to share her new faith.

-          Her words A Man who told me everything I ever did, were bound to stir interest.

-          Remember, there were 5 husbands and at least 1 new, adulterous lover who was with this woman, so the town may have been thinking, “Yikes, what does this guy know about me?”

-          Could this be the Messiah? she asked them.

o   More literally, her question was, “This couldn’t be the Messiah, could it?”

o   The question expected a negative answer.

o   She framed the question this way, in all probability, because she knew the people would not respond favorably to a dogmatic assertion from a woman, especially one of her reputation.

o   Just as Jesus had captured her attention by curiosity, so she raised the people’s curiosity.

-          They decided to investigate this matter.

31 In the meantime the disciples kept urging Him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But He said, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.”

33 The disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought Him something to eat?”

34 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.


4:31-32   As the disciples spoke with Jesus, they sensed something had happened.

-          Before, He was tired and thirsty.

-          But now food and drink were not important to Him.

-          His mood had changed.

-          They offered Him food, but He gave them instruction. I have food to eat that you don’t know about

-          There is another of His enigmatic statements that make you go “hummm”.

-          They were looking right at him – no food that they could see – you hiding a Snickers bar in that robe or something – we’re not getting this


4:33-34  Jesus took this chance to clarify what he meant

-          Because of human nature and worldly understanding, the disciples were confined to thinking materialistically

-          Jesus said, My food . . . is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.

-          This does not mean Jesus had no need of physical food, but rather that His great passion and desire was to do God’s will.

-          He knows that man does not live by bread alone, but “by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3).

-          His priority is spiritual, not material.

-          It is the Father’s work which must be done.


35 “Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.


4:35 Farmers have a period of waiting between their sowing and their reaping.

-          Four months more and then the harvest was probably a local proverb.

o   Like we say, “You don’t like the weather in Memphis, wait a day.”

o   It was likely a phrase that many used and all understood

-          But in the spiritual realm there is no long wait.

-          Jesus has come so now it is the day of opportunity.

-          All that is needed is spiritual vision and perception.

-          Open your eyes and look at the fields

-          If the disciples would look around, they would see people with spiritual hunger.

-          The Samaritans in their white garments coming from the village may have looked like a field ripe or ready for harvest.


36 The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life, so the sower and reaper can rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’  38 I sent you to reap what you didn’t labor for; others have labored, and you have benefited from their labor.”


4:36-38   As reapers, the disciples had the great and rewarding privilege of leading people to faith in Christ.

-          Others had already done the work of sowing.

-          prophets

-          John the Baptist’s ministry of preparation

-          Both kinds of workers—the sower and the reaper—get their pay.

-          Harvest time in the ancient world was a time of joy

-          There is also great joy at the time of salvation

-          The reaper has a greater joy in seeing the harvest, but the sower is equally important to the process

-          The disciples got to see a powerful harvest on the day of Pentecost when thousands came to know Jesus

-          But, John the Baptist, who stirred a whole nation to repent, died before the day of Pentecost


39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of what He said. 42 And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

4:39  A revival broke out among the Samaritans as they listened to the woman testify about what Jesus had done for her

-          She did not have a degree in theology

-          She had never even taken an evangelism class

-          As a matter of fact, just a few hours earlier, she did not even know the name Jesus.

4:40-42  The testimony of the woman made the Samaritans want to get to know Jesus

-          They asked Jesus to stay with them and He stayed there two days

o   The word “stayed” (“to remain, to abide”) is a favorite theological term used by John

o   Indicates the awaiting for something to happen

-          Many more believed because of what He said

-          Faith based simply on the testimony of another is only secondary.

-          It is only the Word of God, the Logos, Jesus, who truly can save

o   For He is the Savior of the world

Three parts of this story to examine:


1.  The Well

Represented the place we all find ourselves at from time to time… hopeless, exhausted, sad, angry, stressed;

Looking for something to fill the voids in our lives.

I believe that deep down inside each of us wants to be significant, wants to make difference.

Sociologist Tony Campolo wrote: “There is a latent desire in every human being to do something of worth that will have lasting significance. There is a longing in most people to do something that will make life better for others.”

According to one Spanish philosopher "There is an urge in every man to render himself indispensable.

 Several years ago, a study was done of people over the age of 95; were asked to respond to one question: "If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?

Three answers constantly emerged and dominated the results of the study.
1. I would reflect more
2. I would risk more
3. I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.

Why were those answers so dominant?

Because those who were surveyed wanted to believe that it mattered that they had lived.

That they had made a difference.

We want to make a difference in the world and God says we should and can:
Ephesians 2:10 declares: "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He prepared in advance for us to do."

2.  The Water

Represents the place and time when Jesus moves into your life and takes you from a dry, thirsty soul, to one who is

-          Filled

-          Cleansed

-          Refreshed

-          Purified

But I don’t feel like I can do anything.

You are probably right and correct in those feelings

2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work."

I don’t know about you but I refuse to accept defeat in any area of my life.


          Sic ‘em

Howard Hendricks of the Dallas Theological Seminary wrote, "I’ve never met a Christian who planned to have a mediocre life. But I’ve met plenty of mediocre Christians."

We get into this mode of just accepting what is instead of searching out what God wants.

Steve Jobs (founder of Apple Computer) once gave John Sculley this challenge when he was trying to woo Sculley away from being President of Pepsi-Cola. Jobs asked him: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?"

God puts the same kind of challenge in front of us… “Do you want to spend the rest of your life on things that may not matter 5 years from now… may not make a difference in eternity… OR do you want a chance to change the world.

Are you happy in what is… or is there a longing to move beyond what is and to what can be in God’s plan?

<<Pierre Lamantagne Testimony>>

3.  The Will


After meeting Jesus, she had the will to:

-          To confront her sin

-          Change her behavior

-          Follow Christ in obedience

-          Have her will altered and molded to His

She became the first Non-Jewish / female evangelist

-          No holds bar in sharing what had happened to her and inviting the town’s people to meet Jesus for themselves

That pattern is STILL the best pattern of saving the world…

-          our testimony of God’s work in our life,

-          combined with the unfaultable Word of God and power of Christ’s cross

-          will result in the salvation of many.

What about you this morning?

You’ve identified the well in your life… the place where you are about to loose it.

You’re hear today and the water is available to refresh you and make all things new.

Do you have the will to respond?

-          To confront your sin

-          Change your behavior

-          Follow Christ in obedience

-          Have your will altered and molded to His

Sometimes God’s plan in our lives does not make sense.

-          God didn’t promise any of us convenient revelation

-          He just says follow me

-          When he called His disciples one at a time, he didn’t tell them everything that would occur over the remaining days of their lives, he simply said to them… follow me

In the spring of 1883 two medical students had just graduated from the University of Michigan.

-          Ben, the more outgoing, cocky one tried to talk Will into going to New York with him to practice medicine where all the beautiful women and the bulk of the nation’s wealth were located

-          Ben told Will that we will make a great team and be rich in no time

-          “We will be the doctors of the rich and famous,” Ben concluded.  “With our talents and good looks, we can’t miss.”

-          Will was naturally tempted by the dreams of Ben, but Will stated that he really what he wanted most was to be the best surgeon that he had the ability to be.

-          “You will,” Ben interrupted, “But why not get rich and have beautiful women at the same time?”

-          Will told Ben how his heart ached for the people in his home town back in Minnesota who had no quality doctors and that he felt that God wanted him to go back there and help them… even if they can’t always pay… or maybe they would have to pay with vegetables from their garden, etc.

-          Ben headed to New York in total disgust.

-          Will headed home to Minnesota with a heavy heart… wondering if he had really heard God.

-          Will was a ‘Junior’ and his dad was William, Sr.

-          Dad was general practitioner… a simple country doctor back home and Will thought that he might work as the surgeon for his dad’s practice

-          Meanwhile, Will’s brother, Charles finished his time in the army as a medical doctor who specialized in traumatic injuries and the nervous system

-          Charles returned home and the three doctors together opened a clinic together in Rochester, Minnesota, under their family name… Mayo.

-          During Will’s lifetime, the Mayo Clinic treated over 1 Million patients from around the world including kings, presidents, celebrities and common people.

-          The Mayo Clinic is still known today (has been recognized now for 17 years in a row) as the leading hospital in the world to diagnose and treat complicated medical cases that baffle other doctors in all specialties.

-          We don’t have a clue what happened with Ben after he moved to New York.

-          But when Will followed God in a plan that just did not make sense… he became the doctor to the powerful, the rich and the famous; as well as the down and out.

Do you have the will to respond to God’s call on you today… or will you just accept what is.

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