John 4:1-15 - The Offer of Living Water
The Offer of Living Water
A. The Mission of Jesus Christ
1. Jesus left Judaea out of necessity (v.1-4)
a) He left for John’s sake (v.1-3)
(1) The crowds were leaving John and coming to Jesus.
(a) The religionists were using the fact to downgrade John’s ministry ( John 3:22-26).
(b) Jesus did not want to create a competitive scene and damage John’s ministry, so He left the area and returned to Galilee.
(2) There must never be competition in ministry for the Kingdom of God!
And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
b) He needed to go through Samaria (v.4)
(1) The word must (edei) means necessity, compulsion, destiny.
(a) Jesus was driven to go through Samaria for the sake of His mission. Samaria needed the gospel as much as other areas.
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
(2) The word “must” is so often used in connection with Jesus’ mission.
(a) John 3:14 – the Son of Man must be lifted up
(b) John 9:4 – I Must work the works of Him who sent Me
(c) John 10:16 – There are other sheep that Christ must bring into His fold
(d) John 20:9 – Christ must rise from the dead
2. Jesus left Judaea to confront a Samaritan woman (v.5-9)
a) He entered Sychar, a city of Samaria (v.5)
(1) Sychar: little is known about the city; however, three significant Biblical events happened there.
· Jacob bought a piece of land in the area (Genesis 33:19).
· Jacob willed the land to Joseph as he was dying (Genesis 48:22).
· Joseph’s bones were buried there (Joshua 24:32).
b) The Conversation (v.7)
(1) Her Reputation
(a) Woman drew water at dawn or dusk, the cooler hours of the day, to avoid the heat (Gen.24:11).
(b) She came at noon, the hottest hour of the day, to avoid other women, hinting her reputation (v.18, 28).
(2) He struck up a conversation by asking her for a drink of water (v.7).
(a) Jesus is as necessary for spiritual life as water is for physical life
(b) She was shocked, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.
(c) Intense racial hatred existed between Jews and Samaritans, much of it centering on religious differences. So great was this animosity that, in traveling from Judea to Galilee, Jews would go miles out of their way to avoid crossing the Samaritan border.
· Jewish rabbis said, “Let no man eat the bread of the Samaritans, for he who eats their bread is as he who eats swine’s flesh.”
· Strict rabbis forbade other rabbis to greet women in public.
· They prayed, “I thank you Father, that I was not born a gentile, a slave or a woman.”
· They prayed, “Lord, do not remember the Samaritans in the resurrection.”
· Prior to the arrival of Christianity in New Guinea, women were considered to be unworthy to worship God. In fact, if a woman would even touch a place of worship, she would be put to death.
(d) She asked Jesus why He would ask her, a Samaritan, for a drink. It was this question, this subject of water, that Jesus took and used...
· to discuss one of the greatest truths of spiritual life, that of living water.
· to present the claims of God upon a life.
B. Living Water is Alive (v.10)
1. Living water is “of God.”
a) Old Testament Pictures God as the One who can supply living water to satisfy the thirst for God.
(1) Jehovah calls Himself…
(a) “the spring of living water” (Jer.2:13)
(b) “the fountain of life” (Psalm36:9)
(c) “with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isa.12:3)
(d) “for I will pour water on the thirsty land” (Isa.44:3)
(e) Several times in the writings of Ezekiel and Zechariah there is a picture of a river of life flowing out from God’s presence in Jerusalem (Ezek.47:1-12; Zech.13:1; 14:18)
2. Living water is “the gift” of God.
a) Salvation is freely given.
(1) It is not earned & is not deserved.
(a) Isaiah 55:1
(b) Ephesians 2:8-9
(a) Man cannot save himself (Eph.2:1-3; 8-9)
(b) Man cannot make God owe him anything (Rom.4:4)
(c) Man cannot bring perfection to God (Eph.1:7)
(d) Man cannot make God forgive him (Rom.3:23; 8:6-8)
(e) Man cannot make God love him (Titus 3:4-7)
(f) Man cannot set himself free from the bondage of sin & corruption (Rom.6)
3. Living water is given by asking for it.
a) Note what Jesus said: “If you knew… you would have asked.”
(1) The woman had never received living water because she had never known about it and had never asked for it. It was now available simply by asking for it.
b) The implication for the Christian
(1) We need to come to Christ and ask.
(a) Failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus.
(b) If we knew who was talking to us we would ask!
C. Living Water is From Jesus Christ (v.11-12)
1. Jesus was claiming to be greater than one of the religious fathers, Jacob.
a) Throughout Scripture Jesus claimed to be…
· greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6).
· greater than Jonas (Matthew 12:41).
· greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31).
· greater than Abraham, “before Abraham” (John 8:53, 58).
· greater than Jacob (John 4:11-12).
· worthy of more glory than Moses (Hebrews 3:3; John 5:45-47).
D. Living Water Is the Only Water that Will Quench Thirst (v.13-14)
1. Men have two thirsts: (1) physical (2) spiritual
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalms 42:1-2)
My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalm 84:2)
a) The Physical thirst (v.13) – “whoever drinks of this water will thirst again”
(1) A statement that should be written over every ambition that you have.
(a) What is it that you are hoping to achieve or attain in life?
(b) What is it that you think will bring you satisfaction and happiness?
(c) What is it that you are pressing towards? The goals that you hope to fulfill?
(d) Whatever it is, write over the top of it, “Drink of this water but you will thirst again.”
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. (Isaiah 55:2)
"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (John 6:27)
(2) It’s the excitement of the pursuit but the achievement is disappointing.
(a) Success really doesn’t mean much to the person who has achieved it.
(b) There’s disappointment when you finally achieve. Because it doesn’t satisfy.
(c) It is like salt water, once you drink you will only crave more & more.
"For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13 cf. 1 John 2:15)
"Then he cried and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' (Luke 16:24)
b) The Spiritual thirst (v.14) – “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst”
(1) Jesus is saying if you are thirsty for God, come to Me and drink.
(a) He alone can satisfy your thirst for God.
(b) He alone can fill that spiritual void in your life.
(c) He then said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38)
(a) The translation of the Greek text here is a little weak, litterally what Jesus said was there shall gush torrents of living water.
(b) Not just a trickle, not just a stream, but a torrent of living water flowing forth out of your life.
(c) From that area of your life that never seems to be satisfied, there now gushes a torrent of living water.
(2) John's commentary on the words of Jesus. "But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given."
(a) Jesus was talking about this `epi or the overflowing relationship with the Holy Spirit.
(a) More than just the indwelling of the Spirit within the believer.
(b) More than being filled with the Spirit.
(c) More than just overflowing with the Spirit.
(d) The Spirit gushing forth out of your life like a torrent of living water.
(e) Does this describe the relationship that you have with the Holy Spirit? if not-
· Then I suggest that God has something more for your life.
· Again I don't care what you want to call it or what you don't want to call it. Call it what you wish.
· More important that giving a name or term for the experience is to have the experience itself.
2. Note several facts about the living water.
a) What is living water?
(1) In Jewish Speech the phrase “living water” meant water that was flowing.
(a) This was like water in a river or stream, as opposed to water that was stagnant, as in a cistern or well.
(b) Living water was considered better. Therefore, the woman thought of a stream.
b) The living water comes from Christ, He alone is its source (John 7:37; Rev.21:6)
(1) Jesus’ teaching is a fountain of life.
(a) “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).
(b) “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (Jn7:37)
(c) “I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (Rev 21:6)
(d) “And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev.22:17)
(2) The water Jesus gives is the Holy Spirit. The presence of God’s Spirit in your life takes away the frustrated soul-thirst and turns you into a fountain where others can find.
(3) Probably both are true. Both the teaching of Jesus and the Holy Spirit satisfy the longing of our souls—Jesus held the Word & the Spirit together
(a) The work of the Spirit of Christ is to make the Word of Christ clear and satisfying to the soul.
(b) The Samaritan woman was offered the Word of Truth and the Power of the Spirit.
c) The living water is “a well of water” placed “in” the man (John 4:14; 7:38-39)
(1) We now have the Spirit of God within us
(a) John 14:16-19
(b) Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30
d) The living water keeps a man from ever thirsting again. His inner thirst is gone forever, it is quenched and fully satisfied (Zech.13:1; Isa.58:11)
(1) Jesus is the Bread of Life—if we come to Him we will never hunger or thirst (John 6:35)
(2) God will guide us by the springs of water (Isa.49:10)
(3) We shall never hunger nor thirst anymore (Revelations 7:16)
e) The living water springs up and continues to spring up and bubble, flowing on and on. It is ever in motion (Isa.12:3)
f) The living water springs up into everlasting live—It will never end (Rev.7:17; 22:17)