Good Morning, I am Pastor Megan and I am the children’s pastor here TVCOG. Many, of you may not know me because I am always hanging out with the kids. I am glad to be here this morning and to have an opportunity to share what God has laid on my heart today.
Several summers ago, a father and his son were out for a walk in a farmer’s field in northern England. The son had brought a metal detector with him, and all of the sudden, it started to squeal. They decided to dig up whatever was buried, and what they brought out of the ground was a metal bowl, that turned out to be over 1000 years old, buried by Vikings, and it was filled with over 600 gold and silver coins! They thought they were just out for a normal afternoon walk – but they ended up finding a great treasure that day.
Today, we are going to be looking at a very similar situation in John 4:1-30. It is the tale of a woman who went out on a normal day’s activity – to get some water from the well — and she found more than she ever expected. More than just some silver and gold coins, this woman had a life-changing encounter with the Living Water.
Some of you today may be thinking, “What kind of water can make that much difference in someone’s life?” But this water will quench your thirst permanently. There may be people here today that believe that this is an ordinary day and you aren’t expecting anything great, but God has something great and life-changing for you today. In this message today, I plan to show you what this life-changing encounter with the Living Water did for this Woman at the Well.
The first phase in her life-changing encounter with the Living Water was…
The conversation (vs 1-9)
In John 4: 1-9 it reads, “Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”
This passage of Scripture reveals several things about Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
There were revelations about Jesus.
-Jesus came specifically to Samaria to meet this woman.
Geography is all-important in understanding this story. In Jesus’ day there were three regions stacked on top of one another. There was Galilee in the north, Samaria in the middle, and Judea in the south. The easiest and quickest way to get to Galilee from Judea was to go due north right through Samaria. Verse 3 says that Jesus “had to” go through Samaria. Now why did He have to do that? The answer is, He didn’t. There was another route He could have taken. Some pious Jews would go east, cross the Jordan River, enter the region of Perea, then go north, re-cross the Jordan River, and they would be in Galilee. This was out of the way, but it meant they wouldn’t “have to” go through Samaritan territory.
So, why did Jesus “have to go” through Samaria when the Jews would either avoid that route or pass through as quickly as possible? The answer is simple, Jesus had intended on meeting this Woman at the Well. This Samaritan woman had no intentions of meeting Jesus, but Jesus came with every intention of meeting her. She was thirsty for the Living Water, and she didn’t even know it.
This encounter that Jesus had with this Woman at the Well was not by chance, but it was God-appointed and planned.
-Jesus came to save all. He didn’t see race. He saw hearts!
The Jews and Samaritans disliked each other. This great hatred for each other dated back to 722 B.C. when the Assyrians conquered Israel. The Assyrian king not only captured and uprooted the Israelites, but he spread them across Assyria. This was a strategy to prevent them from revolting. Then the king imported citizens from other nations which eventually intermarried with the Israelites. Because these Jewish people intermarried with Assyrians and adopted their idolatrous religions, they were considered “half-breeds” and were despised by the orthodox Jews.
In this passage we see the heart of Jesus for all people. He came to save all-including this Samaritan woman. In Luke 19:10 it tells us, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Not only do we gain revelation about Jesus’ love, heart, and mission, but we receive revelation about the Samaritan woman as well.
Revelation about the Woman at the Well.
-She was a wayward woman.
In the passage we see that this woman came alone at noontime. This is something that could be potentially dangerous, and it was unusual for a woman to come alone. Many times, women came together or were joined by a male chaperone. The fact that this woman came alone may mean that her checkered past was well known to the villagers. Perhaps she had been ostracized by the other women.
This woman was an outcast in her own community and to come to the well alone spoke of her reputation.
She knew that Jesus was a Jew by the ribbon of blue that went around the border of His robe. When Jesus spoke to her, she couldn’t understand why a Jewish man would speak to the likes of her. She had three strikes against her: she was a woman, she was a Samaritan, and she was sinful. Any good Jewish man who obeyed the law would’ve never engaged with this woman or came into the town of Samaria. However, Jesus, who knew all these things about this woman, knew she was searching for something that would sustain her. She was focused on the Law and what she had done wrong, but Jesus was focused on grace.
One evening, Pastor Don Smith from Northshore Community Church, was leaving work, and he noticed a young, sweaty man by the footbridge that he used to cross a busy street. The bridge was popular with joggers, so at first, he thought nothing of it, but as he got closer, he realized he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt that was drenched. As he walked past him, he turned to walk next to him, and he said something Don couldn’t make out. At this point, he had determined he figured he was likely wanting money, so he didn’t slow down. But since he was intent on keeping up, he replied with, “What did you say?” He repeated, “Why won’t anyone tell me what is going on? Why won’t anyone talk to me?”
Since he was frequently asked for money on this walk, he expected this interaction would be no different. He decided to beat him to the punch by asking what he wanted very directly.
He replied with, “I just want someone to talk to. I don’t want any money; I just need to talk.”
This poor young man was his opportunity to minister for Christ.
He sensed something was different, but he wasn’t sure what. He told him that they could talk, but they had to keep walking, as he still felt a little skeptical. Plus, he was excited to get home earlier than expected and surprise his family. He walked alongside him for the next fifteen minutes, telling him his story of child abuse, drug addiction, prostitution, mental disabilities, and disease.
Pastor Don suddenly realized this man was an answer to a prayer he had prayed earlier that day, that God would give him an opportunity to be a blessing, to deliver a miracle to someone in their time of need. This poor young man was his opportunity.
And so, he let him talk, and he asked him questions. He found out he had sold himself the night before to get drug money, and he was coming off his high. He had married another man, but the man had divorced him, which left him heartbroken. He had HIV. He hated his life. He had been in rehab but had left. He wanted to break free from his addiction, but it was too powerful. He felt great shame for his life’s choices.
He was also at a crossroads. Should he go home to Spokane or try again to get clean in Seattle? He said he hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. Pastor Don told him he couldn’t think straight if he hadn’t eaten for just four hours and offered to get him food and water. They walked a few blocks to a grocery store and he bought him a sandwich and some water.
He was very grateful but was especially thankful that Pastor Don had spent time talking to him. Pastor Don told him he was a follower of Jesus, and, outside of Jesus in his life, he was not a nice person. Jesus had put His love in his heart, and that was why he was spending time talking with him. He asked him if he could pray for him and he said yes. He put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and prayed, on a busy sidewalk in Queen Anne, for Jesus’ blessing on his life. He asked Jesus to reveal himself to this young man, to lead him where he should go, and to help him find the peace he desired.
They talked a little more and he kept expressing his gratitude for taking the time to listen to him and to pray for him. Pastor Don encouraged him to go to the Union Gospel Mission because they could help him if he was ready.
When he got back in his car, he wept. It was a mixture of tears for this man and the sadness in his life, but also of joy and thankfulness for meeting him under what he considered to be miraculous circumstances. If an earlier meeting hadn’t been canceled, or if he had left work just a few minutes earlier or later, he would have missed him.
You see, Pastor Don was preparing for this God-appointed moment with this young man. Pastor Don wanted to be used by God to be a blessing to someone in need. God placed someone in his path that he could be Jesus to. He came expecting something great to happen. We as Christians should embrace each day, believing God is going to do something good through us. We should be willing vessels that allow God to use us! We should come with the expectation that God is going to do something great each day.
This young man that Pastor Don met was one who was broken. He was bound in sin. This man young man was in search of something more. I believe this young man was in search of every quick fix answer that he could find, but what he truly needed was an encounter with the Living Water. You see, those of you who are not saved and are bound by sin, God has an appointed time for you where He will speak to your heart through a willing vessel.
In our passage of Scripture Jesus’ intentions and His mission were to shine a light in the lives of those who were living in the dark. Pastor Don followed His example when he took time to talk and pray with this young man. When Jesus encountered the sinful woman, He showed her love and grace, just as Pastor Don showed that young man love and grace.
God has called us as Christians to step out and step up to make an impact. He is calling us to live with the expectation that God is going to do something good through us. The revelation for us today is that there are broken people who are living in shame everywhere. They are thirsty for the message we have to share. For those of you who are living in darkness, God wants to meet you with grace and mercy.
The second phase she experienced was…
The Offer (10-15)
John 4:10-15 says, “10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
In this moment Jesus offered this woman something she couldn’t refuse. He offered her the opportunity to never be thirsty again through taking in Living Water. This Living Water that He spoke of was not your average water, but it was and is a water that can break the bondage of sin. He was leading her step by step to saving faith. First, He led her to see her need, then He revealed who He was. He followed that up with an offer to give her something that would change her life. He offered not to quench her thirst for a few hours, but to banish it once and for all.
In these verses we see the simplicity of salvation. For it states in verse 10, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” Salvation is simply asking God to save you and receiving that salvation by faith in return.
There are so many similarities between water and God’s salvation.
Water is a gift from above; so is salvation
Water refreshes and satisfies; so, does salvation
However, this worldly water we drink only satisfies the thirst for a moment, but the Living Water satisfies us permanently.
One of the most famous lines in the movie The Godfather is “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” I googled what the meaning behind this line was. According to the urban dictionary this phrase is defined as to make someone an offer and giving them the choice of accepting and living or refusing and dying.
That is exactly what Jesus did for this Woman at the Well. He offered her the opportunity to accept life when He offered her Living Water. Jesus gave her the option to choose life and not death. He made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
You see, Jesus is making you an offer today that you can’t refuse. He is offering you eternal life if you choose to accept it. However, if you choose to reject his offer of eternal life you are choosing an eternity apart from him. Don’t you think the offer of eternal life is one you can’t refuse?
The third phase that she experienced was…
The Conviction (16-18)
In John 4:16-18 it reads, ““Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth.”
Here we see Jesus telling the woman to call her husband and she replied that she had no husband. Jesus revealed that the woman was telling the truth-that she didn’t just have one husband, but she had five. In this moment Jesus was shedding light on the sinful lifestyle she had been living in. We see conviction unfolding in this passage. Jesus is revealed that we cannot hide our sin from God. Even in her sin Jesus was pursuing her in love. Jesus saw her for what she truly was and had compassion and mercy on her. He loved this woman. He knew her truth and still offered her eternal life.
Here is the wonder of God’s grace. Only someone who truly loves you can look at your past without blinking. Real love means knowing the truth about someone else and reaching out to them anyway. Jesus wasn’t ashamed of her past but he couldn’t help her until she pushed past her shame to admit the truth.
A famous Methodist evangelist named Peter Cartwright was known for his uncompromising preaching. However, one day when the U.S. President Andrew Jackson, “Old Rough and Ready,” came to Cartwright’s church, the elders warned the pastor not to offend the President. In those days, the president had great power to influence a denomination for good or bad. Content that their pastor would not say anything to discredit their church, the elders retired to the back of the sanctuary.
When Cartwright got up to speak, the first words out of his mouth were, “I understand President Andrew Jackson is here this morning. I have been requested to be very guarded in my remarks. Let me say this, “Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent of his sin!” The entire congregation gasped with shock at Cartwright’s boldness. How could this young preacher dare to offend the tough old general in public, they wondered?
After the service, everyone wondered how the President would respond to Cartwright. When Andrew Jackson met the preacher at the door, he looked at him in the eye and said, “Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could conquer the world!” When we appreciate the power of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit speaking from the lips of people with conviction, we will make eternal differences. (Paul Fritz, SermonCentral newsletter)
In this moment at the well Jesus, was being bold by pointing out this woman’s sinful life style like the young preacher, Peter Cartwright. Jesus wanted to lovingly open her eyes to the sin that she was in so that she could be transformed and set free from the its bondage. Jesus couldn’t help her until her eyes were opened. Likewise, Jesus can’t help us with our sin issues without conviction. Conviction is used to open our eyes so that we can see our need for a Savior.
The final phase she experienced was….
The Conversion (19-30)
Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”[d]27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
In this passage, the woman began to change the subject when Jesus brought up her wayward lifestyle. She directed the conversation to the proper place to worship because the conversation about her life was a very unpleasant topic. Nothing is more common than for sinners to change the conversation when it begins to bear too hard upon their consciences.
However, this interaction with Jesus changed her and impacted her through…
The knowledge that He had
-Christ is all-knowing. For He knows the thoughts, words, and actions of all.
-His knowledge of her current lifestyle convicted her and led her to change the subject.
The piercing power of His words
-He revealed himself to her. For the first time Jesus had admitted that he was the Messiah. This proclamation wasn’t to a fellow Jew but to a woman who was sinful and a Samaritan.
-The revealing power of Christ led to salvation and we know this because she left her water pot and went to tell the others in town.
Here is a wonderful lesson in the power of the gospel. One woman with inadequate knowledge and just a mustard seed of faith brought her whole town to Jesus. She met Jesus, He transformed her life, and she couldn’t stop talking about it.
I can remember the day that I found out that I was pregnant with Madelyn. I had been to the eye doctor that day and they had dilated my eyes. Devin and I went to the pharmacy up the street later that evening and I got a pregnancy test. We came home, and I took the test and went to read the test which was one of those that would reveal plus for pregnant or minus for not pregnant and I couldn’t make out the test because I couldn’t see! So, I had to ask Devin to read the test and he handed it back to me and said, “You’re pregnant.” I can remember the joy and excitement that filled our hearts. We couldn’t wait to tell everyone the good news about this life changing event.
When God comes into your life and creates newness inside of you there is much joy and excitement that fills your heart and you cannot wait to tell everyone what God has done for you and what He can do for you! I am sure that this is the same feeling that the Woman at the Well had when she experienced an encounter with the Living Water.
In closing, there are a few things that I want to leave you with today.
Those of you who are saved, I ask you, “Are you living everyday with the expectation that God is going to use you to impact someone’s life. Are you open to be used by God?”
Those of you who do not know the Lord I want you to know that God has an appointed time for you, and the time is now. God sent His Son especially for you. You can hide nothing from God. Even in your sin God is pursuing you.
God is making an offer you shouldn’t refuse. He is promising you freedom from sin and bondage. Are you ready?