Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 Living Water

John 4:5-42

 

Jesus was always on the move, but He never traveled far from the Galilee, where He lived.  However, on the occasion that we are going to look at today, He had come to a city called Sychar, in the region of Samaria, which was about sixty miles south of the Sea of Galilee.  He was not there by accident, but had come to meet with a woman, who had a bad reputation, and to have a conversation with her that will be the subject of today’s Bible lesson.

If you were to ask Jesus today the one reason for his coming to earth, He would sum up his entire ministry in one statement: He came to seek and to save that which was lost.  Our narrative begins at the city well.

Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (John 4:5)

Joseph, the patriarch, and great man of God, had died in Egypt.  Prior to his death, he had been the second most powerful man in the country, even though he was a Hebrew.  In Joshua 24:32, we are told that the children of Israel brought the bones of Joseph up out of Egypt.  They carried his bones for 40 years in the wilderness, because of a promise made to Joseph to bury his bones in the Promised Land.  Why did he want to be buried there?  It was because he believed in the resurrection of the dead, and he wanted to be raised from the dead in the land that God had given to Israel.  His bones were buried in a tomb, just south of the Samaritan city of Sychar.  Jesus has come to that city to keep an appointment that was made in heaven, with a certain woman.

Now Jacob’s well was there, Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. (John 4:6)

The sixth hour, by Jewish time would be twelve noon.

Now this is an amazing thing.  Jesus was worn-out from His journey.  How perfectly human He was.  John tells us, “The word was made flesh.” (John 1:14)  Think of it!  The eternal God, who created all things, left heaven, and came to earth, and now He is tired so He sets down to rest.  “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  He went through Samaria and set down at a well, so that He might meet this woman of Samaria.

Then cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (John 4:7)

We are going to find that this woman had an attitude problem.  She is like the woman who was bitten by a rabid dog, and it looked like she was going to die from rabies.  The doctor told her to put her final affairs in order.  So the woman took pen and paper, and began writing furiously.  In fact she wrote and wrote and wrote.  Finally the doctor said, "That sure is a long will you’re making." She snorted, "Will, nothing! I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite!"

The woman that Jesus was talking to wasn’t going to bite but she was rude and immoral.  Today, some would call her a “hussy”.  However, Jesus is very gentle with her.  He asks her for a favor.  He is thirsty and asks her for a drink.  The one, who is the Water of Life, asks her for water.  Now we are given some more details, for we read:

(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) (John4:8)

Jesus was by himself.  His disciples had gone into town to buy food.  Now there was a Jewish prejudice, which considered Samaritan food unclean, just like swine’s flesh.  Therefore, Jesus must have rejected that belief.  He had said, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (Matthew 15:11)

Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?  for the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. (John 4:9)

This woman has turned down His request.  She is rude and insolent.  But Jesus knows how to deal with her.  He doesn’t give her a lecture or offer some theological doctrine.  He just appeals to her native curiosity and this creates an interest and a thirst.

Do you know why there was such a great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews?  It was because the Samaritans had the same ancestors as the Jews, but back in their past something had happened; they had intermarried with people from the north, during the Asserian captivity of Israel that began in 721 BC.  At that time, the Jews that were not taken captive were resettled in Samaria.  In time they developed their own society and they even had a different place to worship.  They worshipped at their synagogue on Mount Gerizim, instead of at Jerusalem.  The Jews treated Samaritans like low class persons and they believed that any contact with Samaritans would make them unclean.  It was this attitude by the Jews, which caused the Samaritans to hate them.  The woman had asked Him a question, so…..

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

With His answer, He does not respond to her insolent attitude and He avoids the prejudice and hatred that she is pouring out.  But He appeals to her curiosity, and her attitude immediately changes.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? (John 4:11-12)

She now addresses Him as Sir, and that is a word that she omitted when her attitude was surly and disrespectful.  But it appears from her comments, that her thinking is clearly physical and involves the well she can touch and the water she can drink. 

Now, if you ever do a study of Jacob, you will find that he dug a lot of wells.  This well at Sycar has a long history that goes all the way back to that great patriarch, himself.  These people worshipped the God of Israel, because they were Jewish by ancestry.  However, they were far from God, and they needed a Savior to give them the “living water.”

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Jesus made it clear to the woman that He is not talking about the water that was in the well.  He was talking about a type of water that she is not familiar with.  One drink of this water will last forever.  Jesus is talking about satisfying a spiritual thirst, not a physical thirst.  He said that the source for the “living water” will be inside the person and that its overflow will produce eternal life.  He has now created a desire in this woman for the spiritual water.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. (John 4:15)

She still doesn’t get it.  It is still the well water she is thinking about.  Therefore…..”

Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. (John 4:16)

Jesus knew all about her, and very soon He would reveal that to her.  He tells her to bring her husband to him.  The “living water” is available for all, but there is a condition that must be met.  She must have a thirst and a need.  She must acknowledge that she is a sinner.  Her problem is sexual sin, and once again she becomes flippant, when Jesus mentions her husband.

The woman answered and said, I have no husband.  Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saith thou truly.  (John 4:17-18)

The woman was living with a man, but she was not married to him, so she was guilty of adultery.  When anyone comes to Jesus, they must deal with their sin.  Jesus knew this woman’s sin, and He knows my sin and He knows your sin.  It is because of that sin that He went to the cross.  We must deal with our sin or our sin will keep us from coming to Christ.

This woman is shocked, because Jesus knew these things, so she tries to change the subject by starting a religious argument.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. (John 4:19-20)

Many people try to change the subject when presented with the Gospel, and that is what she is doing.  It takes the attention off their sin and their need, so it is important to avoid being sidetracked.  The important thing is the Gospel and that is what the Holy Spirit will use to bring “saving faith” to the heart of any man or woman.  When Jesus answers her, He will take her right back to her need-she needs a Savior.

There are a lot of people who like to argue about religion, but they don’t want to live it.  I believe that there are many people in church today who burn up a great deal energy to cover up their sin.  There are super-duper churchgoers that pat the preacher on the back on Sunday and tear him apart the rest of the week.  Jesus called that type of superficial person a hypocrite.  But there are ministers today that are afraid to preach about sin, because if people feel bad, they may go to another church.  It is easy to leave one church and go to another, and many people do that.  They want to feel good about themselves, so they find a church where the preacher doesn’t step on their toes.

Jesus never sidestepped the issue of personal sin.  He is Truth, as well as the Way and the Life, so I believe that if you have some honest questions or doubts and take them to the Lord, that He will reveal the answers to you.  And He will answer the questions that this woman has raised.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (John 4:21-22)

The important thing to this woman was where you worship.  She worshiped with the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim, but the Jews worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem.  It is the same today; some believe that their church is the only church.  But, the church that is important is the one that does not have a building.  Its name is The Church of Jesus Christ and all its members have been born again.  This church doesn’t have a preacher, but its head is the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is a day coming when He will take His church out of this world.

Jesus explained to the woman that the day was coming when He would not be worshipped in either Jerusalem or in Mount Gerizim.  He explains why, as he continues to talk with her.  Jesus said,

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

It is not important where you worship God.  The important thing is how you worship Him.  God is not confined to a building, because He is spirit.  We are to worship Him in spirit and in truth.  In other words, our worship should acknowledge His holiness and His sovereign power.  We should be thankful and we should love Him, and our joy should be in Him. 

This woman knew the scriptures, and that God had promised to send a Savior, but she did not know that He was right there in front of her.

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will telleth all Things. (John 4:25)

The Samaritans know about the Christ and they were anticipating His coming.  Today, you will find a lot of people in church, and I believe that they are Christians, but they don’t believe in the Second Coming.  There is another group that believe in it, but they are not looking forward to it.  But it doesn’t matter what we believe about this, because God said it is going to happen and He will bring it about.  I will give this woman credit, for knowing more in her time, that most people know today.

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.  (John 4:26)

This is one of the greatest statements in the word of God.  It is His declaration about Himself.  Now, all three members of the Trinity have identified Him.  At His baptism, the Holy Spirit rested upon Him, and God spoke from heaven, and said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)  He is the Savior of the world and this woman is face-to-face with Him.  Now listen to what happened when the disciples returned.

And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said: What seeketh thou? Or, Why talketh thou with her?  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith unto the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: Is not this the Christ? (John 4:27-29)

When the disciples returned, they saw that Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman.  Even though they knew better than to question Him, they did not know why He would have anything to do with a Samaritan, let alone a woman.

The woman had faith in Him now, so she told the men in the city about Him.  She doesn’t go to the women.  They don’t like her, because she is too popular with the men.  She said to the men, “Come, and see a man, that told me all the things that ever I did.”  Some of the men had been involved with her, so they were very interested and wanted to know if He really could tell everything that she had done, therefore the men went to see Jesus. 

Then they went out of the city and came unto Him.  (John 4:30)

There are a variety of reasons for why people come to Christ; curiosity, the witness of others, sickness, poverty and hopelessness, just to name a few.  In this case, the woman brought the men of the town out to see Christ, by her witness, and her witness is evidence of her faith.

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.  But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.  Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him aught to eat?  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:31-34)

The disciples have fallen in the same trap that the woman did.  They have returned with food to share with Him, but He says that He has food that they are not aware of.  They wonder if someone has brought Him food, because they can’t get beyond the physical hunger that they share.  Jesus did not leave them wondering; He told them that His food was to do the will of His Father, and the Father’s will was to reach this woman.  Jesus then used this opportunity to do some teaching, and He said to His disciples…..”

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?  Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:  that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I send you to reap that wherein ye bestoweth no labor: other men laboreth, and ye are entered into their labors.  (John 4:35-38)

Jesus is speaking to His disciples.  In the future, they will be His witnesses to a world that is ready for the Gospel.  Their job is to give out the Gospel, and they will not always see any results for their efforts.  However, “the word of God will not return void”, so others will benefit from what they have sown.  Those that reap usually have no way of knowing about the prayers and testimonies of God’s people that prepared the hearts for “saving faith” to grow.  Our job is to sow the word of God and hope that good churches reap what we have sown.  Jesus had sown to the woman, and she had sown to the men of the town, and the word of God had an impact, for we read,

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.  (John 4:39)

There were a great many people that believed in Him, because of this woman with the “shady” past. 

So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them and he abode there two days.  And many more believed because of his own words; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the savior of the world.  (John 4:40-42)

The woman had brought the men to see Jesus, through her testimony, and some even believed because she said, “He knew everything that I ever did.”  But many more believed, because they heard Him speak, and they received His words with faith.  Today, many people come to Christ, due to the witness of another.  In my own life, I had a godly grandmother that witnessed to me through the life that she led and by reading to me from the Bible, when I was a small boy.  There was no other influence for God in my life, other than my grandmother.  She sowed to me, and a preacher at the Rosedale Tabernacle reaped my soul for Jesus.  I know that they are both with the Lord now, but I hope that they rejoice, because I came to Jesus through their testimony.  It is a wonderful thing to exercise an influence on others for Christ.

There is a true story that may serve to illustrate how we can influence others, and not even know it.  It seams that there were two bicycle repairmen in Dayton, Ohio, who dreamed of flying.  They went to the Dayton Public Library and checked out a book on the life and works of a German man named Lilienthal, who had succeeded in flying a glider.  The two men were named Orville and Wilbur Wright.  They began to explore all the possibilities of heavier-than-air flight.  Almost everyone knows that in 1903 their dream became reality when they flew for the first time at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and launched the space age.  But it was the influence of Lilienthal, and others, who inspired the Wright brothers to try the impossible.

We must never minimize the power and influence for either good or evil that all of us have.   Long after we are dead and gone, our influence will live on.  Jesus’ influence with this woman caused her to believe in Him and be saved.  And she influenced others to believe through her testimony.  If you are a Christian, you may also have influence with someone, which may lead them to Christ.  What a great blessing it is to influence anyone for Christ.

Jesus walked sixty miles to give the “living water” to this woman, and He is here today to offer it to you.  If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, ask Him for the “living water” right now; just whisper this prayer-Jesus, I know that I am a sinner.  Please forgive my sins and give me the “living water” of salvation, for I believe in you.  If you pray that prayer, then you can thank Him for saving you, and you can know that you belong to Him.

 

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