1 When Jesus learned that the Pharisees had 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 noon. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give me a drink,” Jesus said to her, 8 because 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.
Jesus’ ministry is making waves in the region.
He and his disciples continue to gain more followers.
And they are now baptizing more people than John.
And Jesus is now on the Pharisee’s radar.
So he leaves Judea and went back to Galilee.
And what John tells us is that Jesus had to travel through Samaria or I do like the KJV version
“Jesus must needs travel through Samaria”
For us this may not seem very important, but the Jewish reader would know that something more is going on here.
The quickest way to get from Judea to Galilee was to travel through Samaria.
The Trip would take about three days going the direct route.
But super devout Jews would rather travel around Samaria than through.
This would add an additional 3 days to their travel.
Why would they rather travel longer than go through Samaria?
They Jewish people hated the Samaritans.
Back when Assyria invaded Israel in 722 some of them settled in the land of Samaria.
That led to syncretism and to intermarriage.
It led to False worship.
It led to the rejection of most of the Hebrew Bible.
So the Jewish People saw the Samaritans as half breeds.
They saw them as unclean.
They saw them as an affront to God’s calling of the Israelites.
So the fact that Jesus had to go through Samaria means that in his ministry he is laying aside all preconceptions and demonstrating that there is no one unworthy of hearing the good news.
Jesus arrives to this well at noon.
He was “worn out from his journey.”
I love how John wants us to remember the humanity of Jesus.
Yes he is the creator of the World.
Yes he is God made flesh.
Yes he is divinity.
But he is also humanity.
Fully God and Fully Man.
He gets hungry, he gets thirsty, he gets worn out.
Jesus has been traveling and he is exhausted.
And a woman approaches the well in the middle of the day.
Did you know that when most people came to draw water from wells it would be either early in the morning or later in the evening.
Because coming to the well in the middle of the day was more difficult.
It was hot.
So if someone came to the well in the middle of the day it was pretty safe to assume that they were outcasts.
So the wells became places of meeting.
They were like the coffee shops of Jesus’ time.
That they didn’t want to deal with the looks from the mobs of people.
That they believed it was easier to come to the well at the middle of the day than it was to deal with the people at the well.
But God had an appointment set up.
The meeting at the well wasn’t an accident either.
Wells play a big role in the life of people dwelling in a desert region.
They don’t have running water in their homes.
They can’t turn on the faucet and have a cool glass of clean water.
And this wasn’t just any well this was the well that Jacob gave his son Joseph.
It ties the historicity of Genesis with the promises of the Messiah.
Not only that, but in the OT many marriage proposals take place at wells.
One of the most prominent stories takes place in Gen 24.
When one of Abraham’s servants is sent out to find a wife for Issac.
And he meets Rebekah at a well.
Anyway, go back and read it, it’s a beautiful story.
Jesus is about to propose to this woman. Not in an Earthly marriage, but in a heavenly one.
He is about to offer this woman at the well an opportunity to be wed the Groom.
This account comes on the Heels of John the baptist saying this.
John 3:29 “29 He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete.”
Remember God’s people are the bride of Christ.
And here Jesus is inviting this woman to find all she is looking for in Him.
And Jesus begins this conversation by asking her for a drink of Water.
And she is taken back by his request.
She knows all the social barriers that Jesus’ is jumping over even to simply talk to her.
There are accounts in Old Jewish Laws that Men would avoid talking to women in public.
Including their wife.
They certainly wouldn’t talk to them about spiritual truths which is where this conversation is heading, she just doesn’t know it yet.
And no Jewish person would share a drinking vessel with a Samaritan.
Why because they were unclean.
And if they shared any thing then they too would become unclean.
But what we need to see here is that when Jesus comes into your life and you believe in him he takes what is unclean and cleanses it.
He is not defiled by what is unclean, he purifies it.
This woman also had what we could call a history when it came to men.
Most likely the only time men would talk to her is when they wanted something out of her.
When they want to participate in some unsavory extracurricular activities.
But here’s the thing, she doesn’t understand the importance of this meeting
So Jesus is going to inform her.
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.” 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.” 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. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.” 15 “Sir,” the woman said to him, “give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”
Jesus once again turns to the importance of water.
The source of this well is a fresh running stream.
So the water would be “living”.
And Jesus says that If this woman knew who she was talking too she could have living water, and she remains confused.
Have you ever felt like you were talking past someone?
That no matter what you say they aren’t actually hearing what your saying.
I imagine that this is what happens here.
Just like with Nicodemus Jesus is speaking about spiritual things and she is focused on here physical needs.
If she had water that would never cause her to thirst again, then she could spend her time doing other things.
She wouldn’t have to travel outside the city to retrieve water.
But Jesus is getting at the heart of what she really needs.
She doesn’t need water that will cure her physical thirst.
She needs water that will quench her thirst for the things of this world.
Here’s what we have to know about Jesus is interested in quenching the thirst for the things of this world.
And we all have things that we chase after that we believe will satisfy us.
We are thirsty people.
Whether it be a promotion at work.
A bigger paycheck.
A new relationship.
Our parents approval.
Our spouses approval.
But everything that we chase after is simply a mirage in the desert.
We all run to the well of worldly satisfaction and temporarily walk away satisfied only to have to return once again.
Because what temporarily satisfied us will not continue to satisfy us.
We need to run to the well of living water.
We need to run to the creator of all things that can satisfy our soul.
We need to turn to the one who knows our deepest need and he alone can satisfy it.
And too often we question whether or not Jesus is actually as good as he claims to be.
Just like this woman does here.
She can’t believe that Jesus is better than Jacob.
She can’t believe that the one asking her for a drink is the one that satisfies.
And before we get on our own high horse isn’t that the same game we play with Jesus?
Jesus are you actually better than money.
Jesus are you actually better than relationships.
Jesus are you actually better than the approval of others.
Jesus are you actually better than the things of this world.
And for us we know on this side of the cross who Jesus is.
We know what he did.
We are in a better privileged position than this woman and yet we still believe that this world will satisfy us.
But Jesus tells her and he is telling us that if we drink from the well of Living Water.
If we give our lives to him that we will be renewed, we will be refreshed, we will be satisfied.
You don’t have to continue searching.
Satisfaction isn’t found in people, places, or things.
Satisfaction is found in God Alone.
That doesn’t mean that drinking from the well of living water will be easy and painless.
Because in order to have satisfaction in Jesus we have to be confronted with our own shortcomings.
We have to understand our own sin.
We have to know what it is we are chasing after so that we can see that it doesn’t satisfy.
That’s what Jesus does with this woman.
He shows her where she falls short.
He shows her where she needs to stop chasing and how she needs to cling to Jesus.
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.”
Confronting the Heart
Confronting the Heart
Jesus is directing this encounter.
He asks the woman to get her husband.
Jesus knew the situation.
Jesus knew that she wasn’t married.
Jesus had a supernatural insight into the life of this woman.
But notice that even with that insight, he wasn’t condescending.
He didn’t mock her.
He didn’t shame her.
He didn’t make her feel like less of a person.
Rather he affirms what she says and gives her the space to reflect on her life.
Gives her the time to think about the fact that she hasn’t lived according to God’s Standards.
When it comes to an encounter with Jesus, It’s important that Jesus reveal to us our sinfulness.
This can be uncomfortable.
This can make us uneasy.
But in order to understand the goodness of God we have to know the reality of our brokenness.
And I want you to know that when God reveals to us our sinfulness, our wickedness, and our brokenness it isn’t to shame us.
It isn’t to condemn us.
It isn’t to embarrass us.
God reveals our true heart so that we can see the real need for salvation.
Because if we don’t see our true brokenness then we don’t know our need for salvation.
Like I’ve said before we often think of ourselves as better than we actually are.
Or we try to Justify our sin.
We try and deflect our sinful state.
We try to use others as the standard.
At least I don’t sin like them.
They are real bad, but I’m not that bad.
But until we see ourselves the way that God sees us, that we need someone to save us we will not recognize our desperate need for salvation.
And one of the ways we hide behind our sin is by simply not owning up to it or trying to work our way around the issue.
That what this woman does.
“I don’t have a husband.”
She’s saying to Jesus, you don’t really know my situation.
You don’t really know me.
You don’t know where I’ve been or where I’m going.
I don’t even have this husband that you ask me to go get.
She hides behind a technicality.
But Jesus sees right through it.
Jesus sees right through our own technicalities.
He sees through our own justifications.
He sees through our own rebellion.
And here’s the thing…He wants us anyway.
That sin and that shame that you hide behind thinking that Jesus couldn’t want you because of what you’ve done is exactly the reason why He’s chasing after you right now.
It’s not your sin and shame that is keeping you separated from God it’s the fact that you don’t believe he’s good enough, gracious enough, or loving enough to forgive you.
And you think that hiding behind that sin is protecting you.
You think hiding behind that sin is protecting him from seeing the real you.
But God isn’t waiting on some future version of you.
He wants you right here and right now.
All the stains, warts, and flaws.
This meeting at the well with this woman is Jesus proposing to her and offering to her the life of her dreams.
The marriage that she hasn’t found yet.
She’s been through 5 husbands.
Now she’s with a man that isn’t her husband.
She has given up on finding love, acceptance, and grace.
But Jesus says if you want to experience a love greater than those found in men, come to me.
You can continue to run after and chase after these men that only want you for what you can do for them or you can come to me and I will cleanse you and satisfy your soul.
You see to be open to salvation.
To be open to forgiveness and grace our eyes need to be open to our brokenness.
It’s not an evil or vile thing to show people their own sin.
It’s a loving thing when done in a loving manner.
That’s what Jesus is doing here.
Revealing to her her own sin.
And yet she still doesn’t quite get it.
She now has a question about what worship means.
Why? B/c she now knows that Jesus has insight.
She now knows that He is more than he seems.
So she thinks that he can settle the debate about Worship between the Samaritans and the Jews.
19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 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 in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Jesus told her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”
I don’t know if she is trying to change the subject about the husbands or what exactly this lady is doing, but she has some questions for Jesus.
Remember the Samaritans did have some of the Jewish Traditions, however they only held saw the first 5 books of the bible, the Pentateuch as authoritative.
So they are waiting for the Prophet greater than Moses from Deut 18 to show up and she may believe that Jesus is that guy.
So she wants to see if she and her fellow Samaritans are right about where they worship.
Or if the Jews are right about where they worship.
But she misses the point of worship.
And Jesus is going to help her to understand that its not just her, but many who miss the point of worship.
The Hour is coming…Refers to Jesus’ death and Resurrection.
And what Jesus tells her next is that when that hour has arrived its not about the place someone worships, but about worshipping in Spirit and Truth.
Now the Samaritans are on the short end of the stick b/c they don’t recognized the fullness of the Scripture that God has given.
They don’t know the true revelation of God b/c they disavow all of the Scripture aside from the Pentateuch.
So they don’t actually fully know the God they claim to worship.
They have also melded with other religions in the area and b/c of that they have lost sight of who God truly is.
And Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise made to the Jewish people.
Salvation was first promised to the Jewish people.
So they worship the God that has been revealed to them.
Unfortunately, they miss the mark on Jesus.
That’s why Jesus tells here there is coming a time when worship isn’t about a place, its about a Person.
Worship isn’t a where, its a who.
For someone to rightly worship God they have to worship in both Spirit and Truth.
And God wants people to worship him.
But that word “wants” better translates into seeks desires people to worship him.
Meaning that if you are seeking the truth.
If you desire the truth then God Desires your worship.
He is seeking your worship.
B/c he is the truth.
God is personal and acts in history on a macro scale.
He created and designed the history of the Jewish people in such a way that Jesus could come to rescue them.
From the calling of Abraham to the Virgin Conception of Mary God was working in History to bring salvation to those who would seek him.
If we don’t understand how God has acted in history then can we really trust that He is who he said he is.
Many Christians want to avoid the OT. They think that it doesn’t apply to them. Or they find it confusing and a little frustrating.
And I can sort of understand that, but you cannot fully understand the gift of Jesus if you don’t know the history of Redemption.
I heard one professor say it this way, “Starting the Story in Matthew is like starting with Act 5 in a 5 act play. You may understand how the story ends, but you missed how it got there and b/c you have missed how it got there you can’t fully appreciate it for what it is.”
And he works in our lives at a micro scale.
The God we worship is not far off he draws near.
And He is Spirit, meaning that he isn’t limited in time and and space.
We don’t have to visit a building, or go to a certain place to worship God.
Those are good things, but we truly worship God when we live our lives in a way that honors him.
We see here again in John’s Gospel that God sets the parameters by which he is worshipped.
He has to be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth.
Those are the guidelines for proper worship of God.
And the woman upon hearing Jesus talk about true worship said that she is waiting for clarification from the Messiah.
Jn 4:25 “25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.””
She was waiting for an explanation from the Anointed one.
Meaning that the story of salvation is found in the OT.,
And how does Jesus reply?
Jn 4:26 “26 Jesus told her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.””
I am the one you are looking for.
I am the one that you are waiting for.
I am the one who is explaining these things to you.
You don’t have to look any further b/c I, the one speaking to you, am he.
This is revolutionary.
This is the first time from Jesus’ lips that he reveals to anyone that he is the Messiah.
He didn’t tell Nicodemus.
He hasn’t told the disciples.
He chooses to reveal himself to a lady who by the world’s standards doesn’t deserve the time of Day.
Jesus is crossing boundaries and breaking barriers.
So what is the woman’s response to this revelation?
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 people, 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.
The Conversation between the woman and Jesus is interrupted by the arrival of his disciples.
And they immediately start thinking to themselves, not yet bold enough to confront Jesus, but still hard hearted enough to think poorly on the Woman Jesus was talking to.
Here’s a real quick principle from these disciples that we really need to grasp a hold of Jesus saves who he wills to save.
Regardless of if we think they are worthy or not.
We should rejoice when Jesus reveals himself to someone one not think in our minds or believe in our hearts that they aren’t good enough for Jesus.
We may not say it out loud but thinking it is just as wicked.
No one deserves God’s grace and yet he will freely give it to all who will call upon his name.
How does the woman respond to Jesus?
She leaves her water Jar and goes into town to tell others about this man.
The whole reason she had gone to the well was to get water, but what she found was the source of living water.
She wasn’t one-hundred percent convinced, but she still became the first Evangelist.
Jesus revealed her sin.
Jesus spoke the truth in kindness and love.
Jesus revealed who he is and the woman responded by running into town and testifying about Jesus.
The people she was trying to hide from by coming to the well in the middle of the day were the same ones she left the well to go find.
She was bold.
She was no longer ashamed.
She wanted others to come and Meet Jesus.
I find it interesting that John the gospel author decided to put these two stories right next to each other.
The Story of the Religious leader, Nicodemus, and the Story of the Sinful nameless Woman.
They are in stark contrast, but they reveal a deep truth.
There is not one person alive that doesn’t need Jesus.
The super religious need Jesus.
Those entrenched in Sin need Jesus.
And he uses us to help tell people about himself.
Evangelism is simple. Telling people about what Jesus has done for you is simple.
That doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
But We should be excited, like this woman, to tell people about Jesus.
We should be bold in telling people about Jesus.
That we have been transferred from Enemies of God to Children of God.
That we were once dead in our sins and trespasses but now we are alive.
That we have tasted the living water and now it wells up inside of us.
If we can see what we have been saved from then we couldn’t help but glorify God.
Amazing Grace, How sweet that sound
That Saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was Blind but now I see.