Sermon on John 4:5-26
Text: 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?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 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.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 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?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.”
15 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.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 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.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time 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, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 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. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you — I am he.”
There are certain foods that just make you thirsty. Some of them include pizza and ham. You eat this and it is not too long before you need something to drink. There are many choices out there to quench your thirst, but there are few that really hit the spot like a nice glass of cold water. You find yourself going back again and again to get more water to quench your thirst. This morning, we are going to observe Jesus as he deals with a woman and helps her realize just how thirsty she is and then helps her quench that thirst. We are also encouraged to COME TO THE WELL AND QUENCH YOUR THIRST. 1. Drink The Living Water. Having done so, we want to 2. Give Thanks For The Water In Spirit And In Truth.
Jesus was traveling from Judea in the south to Galilee. Normally, Jews would not enter the region between Judea and Galilee, which is called Samaria. They would cross the Jordan River and travel on the east bank and then cross again to get to their destination. There was a hatred of the Samaritans by the Jewish people. The reason for this hatred goes back to the time when the Assyrians conquered the nation of Israel. While many of the people were taken into exile, others were left behind. To replace those taken, Assyria brought in their own subjects from various parts of their empire and settled them in this area. These people intermingled with the Israelites who were left, resulting in a mixed race. In addition, these people brought in their own gods, and, eventually, the people mixed their religions, so that the worship of the true God was mixed with the worship of these heathen gods. This animosity grew over the years. This is why it would be rare for a Jew to travel through Samaria. Yet, Jesus did, because he had an important meeting with a woman of Sychar.
It was around noon when Jesus and his disciples came to the village of Sychar. The disciples went into town to get some food. Jesus, showing his humanity, was tired from the walking and sat down at the well outside of town. A woman from that town came out to draw water. It would be unusual to get water at noon, the hottest part of the day, but, as we will see, there were extenuating circumstances.
Jesus addressed the woman and asked for a drink. The woman saw that Jesus was a Jew and, due to the national animosity, was shocked that he would ask her for anything. Then Jesus said to 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.” (Verse 10) Jesus continued in this conversation with the woman, but he began to shift the emphasis, as he talks about the gift of God and living water. When the people of that day heard the term “living water,” it was synonymous with running water, as opposed to water from a well. The fact that Jesus was talking about giving her living water confused the woman. She said, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” (Verse 11) The woman knew that the well was deep, approximately 130 feet deep. How could Jesus possibly give her water when he had no bucket or rope?
Jesus continued to lead this woman to see the wonders of this water he was offering. He said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Verses 13&14) Jesus was helping the woman understand the nature of the water and the nature of the man that offered it to her. He promised something that would quench thirst forever.
It is obvious that the woman still did not understand, because she said, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (Verse 15) She heard in Jesus’ words a way out of this arduous task of having to come out and drawing water and carrying it back home.
Then Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” (Verse 16) Although, it might seem, at first, that Jesus was changing the subject, Jesus said this to help this woman see her true thirst. She replied, “I have no husband.” (Verse 17) You can well imagine the shock and perhaps a bit of fear as she answered. The reason for this is shown to us by Jesus: “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.” (Verses 17&18) She had five broken marriages and was now living with someone who was not her husband. No wonder she came out at the hottest part of the day to draw water. That would mean that the others in town would not be there. She was a social outcast. Now this stranger is here, pulling back the sheet on her life. His words may well have been a dagger that pierced her heart.
Why did Jesus do this? He did this to show the woman her desperate need for what he had to offer her. He does the same thing for us, as well. This is the preaching of the law. We need to hear the law’s pronouncements because we, all too easily, become comfortable with our sins. What offended us, at first, no longer bothers us quite as much. We become comfortable using language that we should not. We think it is OK to gossip about other people or think the worst about other people. We become lazy in our relationships, whether it be husband and wife or parent and child or neighbors. Then, we try to excuse it by saying, ‘Everyone does it,’ or ‘It’s just one of my character flaws,’ or ‘I can’t help myself when I get tired.’ We come up with many different excuses as to why we do these things and can become comfortable in them.
Jesus still comes to us with his law to show us, in plain terms, that we have broken the laws of God. God tells us that every word that comes out of our mouth is to be pleasing to him. Jesus tells us to love those around us as we love ourselves. He is also clear about the consequences of these actions. There is only hell for us if we continue in these things. The fact that we have even done them in the past is already enough to condemn us. Jesus does this, so that we will see our absolute need for the living water that he offers to us.
Jesus quenched our need by coming to the earth to be our Savior. Where we lacked the perfection that God demands, Jesus stepped in and lived his life in perfect compliance to his Father’s will. Everything he said, did or even thought was perfect. He did this for you and me. Then to pay for our sins, Jesus laid down his life on the altar of the cross. He was punished for us. He paid our debt. Then, as he rose on Easter morning, he announced to the world that he had accomplished everything necessary for our salvation. He provides the living water that quenches our dehydrated souls. May we stop and take an honest account of our lives every day. When we do so, we will see how many times we have strayed from God’s paths. When we do so, we will run to Jesus and ask him for that living water that quenches our soul’s thirst. Jesus revealed to this woman the place where her thirsty soul could find refreshment. He told her he was the Christ that had been promised for centuries. We thank God that this wondrous knowledge has been revealed to us, as well.
As Jesus met with this woman, she, too, felt the great thirst that comes from having sins exposed. She wanted to do something about it. As a result, she asked Jesus about worshiping God. The Samaritans said that you were to worship on Mount Gerizim, which was near Sychar. The Jews said that the only place where worship could take place and sacrifices could be offered was Jerusalem. If she was going to worship God and take care of this need that her soul felt, where was she to go?
Jesus answered this question by saying, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem . . . Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (Verses 21, 23-24) There would come a day, in the not too distant future, when the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Roman army. In other words, Jesus told her that the location was not nearly as important as the attitude of the worshipper. The worshipper does so in spirit and in truth.
This gives us a good opportunity to think about our worship life. Do we always remember that we gather to worship God? Our services are not just a time to get together to catch up on the latest news or to see friends that we do not get to see for the rest of the week. Do we get a sense of awe as we come into this place? We are coming into God’s presence to hear his Word and to praise him. We worship God in different liturgies and hymns. Yet, they all serve the same purpose. We are coming to worship our almighty God, who loved us so much that he sent his Son to be our Savior, so that we would be with him forever in heaven. When we consider that, our services take on a completely different atmosphere. We, whose souls have been quenched with the living water, lift our voices to praise and honor our God.
However, our worship of God does not end the moment we leave this place. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” The entire life of the believer is worship, which means it is to be done in spirit and in truth. We want to put our whole heart into everything we do, because we are worshiping our God. So, when you pray, put your heart into it. Think about what you are saying and trust that God hears your prayers and will answer them in the way that is best for you. Your family life is worship, so put your heart into it. When you are the best husband, wife, parent, or child that you can be, you are worshiping God. Look for ways to be improve your family life to glorify God all the more. The way you work at your job is worship, so put your heart into it. Do the best job that you possibly can. You do not do it for the praise from your boss, but because it gives you opportunity to worship your God. If you are a student, put your heart into it. Do not just do the assignments to the best of your ability because you will get a good grade, but because you are worshiping God by making use of the talents and abilities, he has given you. We want to worship our God, for he has given us everything we need. He has given us the forgiveness of sins. He has given us salvation. He has quenched our fevered thirst with his life-giving water. How can we ever begin to thank him for all that he has done for us?
We need water to live. While you can live for three days or so without it, your ability to function will be greatly diminished before that. If you go beyond those three days, you will die. This is the case with physical water. Without it, we will die. We thank our God that he has given us the living water of Jesus Christ. Without him, we would certainly die. Because of him, we have eternal life. Dear friends, let us continue to come to him and drink deeply of the living water that he gives to us. Then, having been refreshed, let us go forth and live our lives to his glory. Amen.
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