If you have a bible go to John 4 we are going to read starting at verse 5 to verse 30 and then moving on to verse 39 – 42. I’m going to read from The Message version. This is the word of God.
Now, there is no way we can even scratch the surface of this chapter in 15 minutes so I’m only going to look briefly at a couple of points.
We meet Jesus in this story coming from a situation which must have been incredibly frustrating where the Pharisees were deviously trying to turn baptising people into a competition between the “John” and the “Jesus” camps, and he walked away because to stay would only damage the Kingdom of God.
So, exhausted, Jesus arrives at Jacobs well, the disciples have been dispatched to get food. But look at how Jesus positions himself, if this was us I think we would have found a shady spot under a tree where we wouldn’t have been disturbed and grabbed 40 winks surely?? But not Jesus, he doesn’t sit under the shade of a tree instead he sits down at the well in the noon-day heat. God is always prepared to meet you wherever you are.
The Samaritan woman on the other hand, well she is trying to avoid people. During biblical times drawing water and chatting at the well was the social highlight of a woman’s day. However this woman was obviously ostracized as she chooses to go to the well at noon, because everyone else would be inside taking refuge from the midday heat. We can see from this action alone that she is already aware that she is a sinner.
The Samaritan woman would have been considered by Jews to have been doubly outcast, she was firstly a woman and secondly a foreigner. For a Jewish man to start a conversation with a Samaritan regardless of gender would have been unheard of, they were loathed by the Jews who considered them “half breeds”. But Jesus was not to be confined by the social and religious norms of the day. I think when we read the Bible we forget that 2,000 years ago Jesus teaching was radical.
So its no surprise the woman is taken aback when Jesus asks her for a drink.
So before words are even exchanged, we can see from this initial glance at both parties that the woman is aware of her sin and that Jesus positions himself so that she can encounter the living God, whilst her community doesn’t esteem her Jesus sees her as a person of worth and value. His grace is already evident to us.
SO WHO’S THIRSTY
So what is “living water”?? In the old testament many verses speak of thirsting after God Psalm 42 verse 1 is a really familiar one “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, Oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”. God is also referred to as the fountain of life and the spring of living water in the old testament.
In offering her “living water” Jesus is claiming that the age to come has already arrived and he revels to this pagan woman that He is the Messiah”.
Later on in Chapter 7 38-39 John records Jesus words and provides clarification of what Jesus means when he talks about living water
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (NASB) John 7:38-39
The woman still thinks that Jesus is taking about physical water and she’s intrigued, imagine never having to draw water again!! Then it gets interesting, when she askes for this living water, without understanding what it is, he says “Go call your husband and then come back”, what he says next changes and deepens the conversation. Jesus speaks truth without judgement, and as a Christian community we need to learn that rhythm of grace. Truth without judgement.
So she rebuffs him and tries to steer the conversation away from herself and on to the hot topic of the day and the bone of contention between Jews and Samaritans; which was were should God be worshiped. But Jesus will not be drawn into an argument but he addresses it by revealing this truth – that what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. Its who you are and the way you live that count before God.
Jesus the source of all living water extends an invitation to all who thirst. The longing for God is met with God’s invitation to come and be satisfied.
This pagan woman is the first person to whom Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah. For a woman who has been looking for love in all the wrong places, Jesus displays extravagant love when he revels himself as the Messiah.
Love always demands a response, and when the disciples arrive back and she sees the looks on their faces she forgets the reason she came to the well, leaves her pot and hurries back to her village, and the upper most thought on her mind is to share this good news with all those people who previously had ostracized her. She relays what happened and invites them to “come see a man who knew all about the things I did”. Because she shared with them the abundance of the goodness of Jesus many in her village entrusted their lives to him.
What I have learned over the last few years is that increase comes only when we give away what God has given us.
Jesus tells us in Mark 38 again from he Message version, “If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendour of God, his Father with an army of the holy angles’.
The treasure is in the risk. We are willing to die for Jesus, but are we willing to look foolish for Him?
Increase in the Kingdom comes when we give away what God gives us.
If the Samaritan woman had kept the good news to herself, her community would have missed out on receiving the gift of eternal life.
For God to use us we have to be willing to be interrupted and available, God isn’t necessarily looking for qualified people; He’s looking for available people whom He can use. He doesn’t grab us by the collar and make us pray for someone or tell them about Jesus. He wants us to desire to step into Kingdom work.
What’s God going to say to you tonight, Is he building in you a desire to have a conversation with your friends about your faith, perhaps he has given you a word of encouragement for someone, will you brush it of or will you obey.
God’s gift to you is ability and your gift to God is availability.
Church – is not a spectator sport it’s a body of people who move in response to the call of our Father.
So to recap
The meeting demonstrates that God actively seeks us and to Him everyone is valuable.
The conversation leads us to understand that the “living Water” is the Holy Spirit which can only be obtained through Jesus. Jesus speaks truth without judgement and He invites us to become part of His story when we give our lives to Him.
Treasure is in the Risk
Are you willing to risk looking foolish for the Kingdom??