Pastor Kirk

Reflections from a spiritual pilgrim in Toledo, Ohio

Samaritan

Unquenchable Thirst, John 4:4-41, 24 June 2012

Big Idea: God gave. Seekers can find.

Big Idea: We are all in need of God’s amazing grace, but we must be thirsty.

John provides us with several narratives...and conversations. We have looked at Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. Now He encounters a sinful Samaritan woman.

  Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
(4:4-6)

The first sentence is significant. Jews hated the mixed race of the Samaritans. They would go around Samaria when they traveled.

This was an important place, Jacob’s well. The well has been active for almost 2000 years!

Jesus is tired, He’s in the middle of the desert at noon. He’s hot. He’s thirsty. He pulls off the road to go to a rest area.

Are you tired? Jesus knows what it’s like to be tired.
Are you thirsty? Jesus knows what it’s like to be thirsty.

Normally women came in the morning as a group to get their water for the day. She came at noon, alone, which tells us about her social status.

  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
“Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) (4:7-8)

Jesus surprised her for several reasons:

1. She wasn’t expecting to see anyone at the well. Normally women came in the morning, as a group to get the family’s water for the day. She came at noon, alone, which tells us about her social status. It’s hot in the Middle East, especially at noon, and she was used to a solitary journey.

2. This was especially awkward because He was a man and she was not. Men and women rarely had any interaction unless they were married, and even then rarely in public. Single men never spoke to or touched a woman.

3. This man and woman were alone, which was even more unusual.

4. Jesus was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Samaritans were second-class citizens. Jews were far superior.

When Jesus enters your life, expect the unexpected.

  The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
(4:9)

Actually, Jews did associate with Samaritans, but they were business dealings. They would never share water or vessels.

A Rabbinic law from A.D. 66 said that Samaritan women were considered as continually menstruating and always unclean. A Jew drinking from a Samaritan woman’s vessel would become ceremonially unclean.


She knows this is not normal. Jesus goes there!

They did associate with Samaritans, but they were business dealings. They would never share water or vessels.


  Jesus answered her,
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (4:10)

How’s that for a response?! If you only knew. Most people don’t really know who He is because most people never ask. He created an interest, a thirst.

Living water did not come from a well. It refers to flowing, moving water from a spring or river. It was precious and the only water that could be used for ritual, cleansing washings. There were no rivers or streams in this area, though, which is why Jacob had to dig a well 2000 years earlier to water his flocks.

The prophet Jeremiah said

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
(Jeremiah 2:13)

Our story continues...

 
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” (4:11-12)

Now she addresses Him as “sir.” The animals drank from this well. Jesus knows all about this well! All she could think about was the physical.

Many of us are like that. Many scientists are like that, too.

Just like Nicodeus, earthly questioners cannot understand heavenly things.

He doesn’t have a bucket!

Are you greater than Jacob? In Greek, this question expects a negative answer, but He surprises yet again.


  Jesus answered,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (4:13-14)

He’s not talking about H2O, of course. He’s talking about something—Someone—who can satisfy like nothing else, the Holy Spirit.

 
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (4:15)

He was thirsty. Now she is thirsty.

How thirsty was she? How empty was her life? How empty was her soul?
She’s ready for it.

She has been desperately seeking something or someone to satisfy her thirst.

Her five husbands have not satisfied her...or vice versa.

She hates coming to the well, every day, alone, at the hottest time of day.


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

That’s an odd request? The water is available to all, but there must be a thirst. She had a quick response.

 
“I have no husband,” she replied.

She must have been thinking, “It’s hot, You’re weird, why do you care about my husband, and where’s this great water?”

Jesus said to her,
“You are right when you say you have no husband.
The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

OK, this is really getting creepy. She didn’t even post this information on her Facebook page! She knows He’s special.

 
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
 
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
 
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
  Then Jesus declared,
“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

I love how she changes the subject and gets theological with Jesus!

Have you ever started talking with someone about something uncomfortable and they change the subject? Look, a squirrel!!!

Many people love to talk about religion but refuse to live it. They use it as a smokescreen.

Five husbands. This was not Elizabeth Taylor. In this culture, she did not divorce her husbands. They divorced her. Men could divorce women for any reason whatsoever and just kick them out of the home, leaving them destitute.

This woman was most certainly broken.
She was lonely. She was desperate.
She may have given up on marriage.
The man she was with may have been merely for survival.

She finally meets a man that respects her.

It’s a good thing it wasn’t a judgmental Christian but Jesus that she encountered.

We often say 3 strikes and you’re out. She had five husbands and was loved and accepted by Jesus. He did not give her a righteous lecture but an unfathomable offer.

Jesus reveals His true identity to this outcast woman.

She wanted to know where to worship. We are to worship everywhere, always! God is no longer limited to one place as He was in the Old Testament.

She is expecting the Messiah. Imagine what she thought when He identified HImself!

It’s a good thing it wasn’t a judgmental Christian but Jesus that she encountered.

We often say 3 strikes and you’re out. She had five husbands and was loved and accepted by Jesus. He did not give her a righteous lecture but an unfathomable offer.

Our worship must come from deep within our souls.

Are you just going through the motions? It’s not about our lips, but our hearts.

Are you worshipping 24/7 or just an hour?

  Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

No one asked!

  Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
  Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
  But he said to them,
“I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

She left her water. Jesus is focused, so concerned about this woman. He is fully present.

She can’t wait to tell everyone.
This is probably what she was thinking.

Who did she tell? What kinds of people?

We are to be a hospital, not a country club.

Who do you think you are? I’m one beggar telling others where to find bread.

This sketchy woman tells her village, “I met a man!” What else is new?!

Men and women of passion are contagious following a defining moment.

Do people know you have met Christ?


 
Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
  “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

  Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.

It doesn’t say all of them, but many. Jesus couldn’t get the whole town, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the entire office. Just tell them what Jesus is doing in your life.

He stayed two days. He wasn’t in a hurry.

She was a vibrant evangelist. New Christians are often the most excited and contagious. God uses cracked pots.


  They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

This is what we want people to say to us!

We get healed and He gets lifted in this worship.

The condition is thirst. We must be thirsty. Are you thirsty? Are you desperate for God? Do you need God?

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