Like the Woman at the Well
Today please open with me to the woman at the well. In John 4 Jesus has a fascinating talk with a most unlikely candidate for His ministry. No one could have stood in greater contrast to Nicodemus than this woman. He was a Jew, she was a Samaritan, a race that the Jews looked down on as having no claim on their God. He was a well respected man, she apparently was a woman outcast in her own community. Nicodemus was surrounded by those he taught; she came by herself to draw water from the community well. In biblical lands drawing water and chatting at the well was the social highpoint of a woman's day. In this woman's own village she was ostracized and marked off as immoral; an unmarried woman living openly with the fifth in a series of men.
All of us have heard Christ's story of the Good Samaritan. Today listen to Him introduce us to the BAD SAMARITAN. In Christ's day Orthodox Jews avoided Samaria because there was a long-standing, deep-seated hatred between them and the Samaritans. The Samaritans were a mixed race, part Jew and part Gentile, that grew out of the Assyrian captivity of the ten northern tribes in 727 b.c. So intense was their dislike of the Samaritans that some of the Pharisees prayed that no Samaritan would be raised in the resurrection!
Our Lord was no respecter of persons. Earlier, He counseled a moral Jewish man (John 3), and now He would witness to an immoral Samaritan woman! He arrived at Jacob's well at 6 o'clock in the evening, the usual time for women to come for water. In that day, it was not considered proper for any man, especially a rabbi, to speak in public to a strange woman (John 4:27). Jesus did not use a "sales talk" that He adapted to meet every situation. To Nicodemus, He spoke about new birth; but to this woman, He spoke about living water. Jesus pointed out to her that she was ignorant of three important facts: Who He was, what He had to offer, and how she could receive it. Here was eternal God speaking to her, offering her eternal life!
The Greek text suggests that he plopped himself down the way a tired man does at the end of a tough day. Jesus was always expending himself for others. Jesus not only died for her—he sweat for her! This truth must be held in balance. Christians need to sleep and take proper care of themselves. Some are on the verge of collapse because they have not been doing that. They need to take a vacation—to get away and relax. But it is also true that none of us will ever accomplish anything in the spiritual battle if we are not willing to labor to the point of exhaustion.
1. 4.1-7: JESUS REVEALED HIMSELF to her as He comes to us. John 4.7
2. 4.8-12: JESUS OFFERS HER HOPE as He does to us. John 4.10 He offers an INEXAUSTIBLE SUPPLY. His words recall Is. 55:1. thirsts...come...drink. These 3 words summarize the gospel invitation.
3. 4.13-15: JESUS SHOWS THE WOMAN HER NEED.
4. 4.13-14 she was so helpless as He shows to us our frailty. He offers an INEXTINGUISHABLE LIFE.
5. 4.16: JESUS REMINDS HER OF HER SINFUL PAST. John 4.16 as He does us.
6. 4.17-20: JESUS REVEALS HIS ALL SEEING EYES. John 4.17-18 He reveals His INESCAPABLE SIGHT.
7. 4.21-24: JESUS EXPLAINS HIS AVAILABILITY. John 4.21-24 as He does to us.
8. 4.25-26: JESUS SHOWS HER HE IS SALVATION. John 4.26 as He does to us.
THE WOMAN AT THE WELL PORTRAYS THE SPIRITUAL THIRST OF THE SOUL THAT ALL HUMANS SHARE, BUT SO FEW COME TO THE WATER SOURCE! But the Jews had another way of using the word water. They often spoke of the thirst of the soul for God; and they often spoke of quenching that thirst with living water. Jesus was not using terms that were bound to be misunderstood; he was using terms that anyone with spiritual insight should have understood.
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