Monday, April 02, 2007


John 4 The Woman Who Ran Away With A Well


Throughout the life of Jesus we see the importance and love He had for people. After all people was and is His business.
A widow whose son had died … Luke 7:12-15
A soldier with a dying daughter … Mark 5:22-24, 35-42
A woman with an issue of blood … Mark 25-34
Ten lepers … Luke 17:12-18
A thief on the cross … Luke 23:42-43
You cannot look at the life of Christ without noticing how much He loved people and saw how important they were to Him.
The Lord’s Personal Needs are not as Important. Jesus would not allow His physical need to become more important than the people.
John 4:31-34 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." 32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?" 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
1. The Lord Intentionally Touches A Life
a. he had to go through there. Joh 4:4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
The journey to Samaria was a divine assignment (v. 4). Jesus "had to pass through Samaria." The necessity lies in the mission of Jesus. He "must" go to see a woman. It was "a compelling divine necessity," says Leon Morris.
G. Campbell Morgan reminds us that Jesus didn't take the usual road to Galilee on this trip. "Those of Judea practically never traveled to Galilee through Samaria . . . if they had to go to Galilee, they generally crossed the Jordan, traveled up through Perea, and entered Galilee that way." They completely bypassed the region. However, Jesus "had to pass through Samaria." It was a divine "must."
Jesus made an intentional break in His ministry in Judea, and returned to work in Galilee. Judea had rejected Him as the Messiah. Their hearts were hardened and indifferent.
Jesus and His disciples arrived at Jacob's well near the city of Sychar. The disciples went on into town to purchase some provisions. Jesus was weary and tired so He sat down on the top stone edge of the well that also served as a seat for the weary travelers. John, who consistently brings out the deity of Jesus, makes us aware of the true humanity of Jesus, as well. He got tired and thirsty just like we do.
While Jesus is sitting there a Samaritan woman came to draw water from Jacob's cistern. There is ample archaeological data on the well and its location. It is a hole about 100 feet deep today, probably deeper in Jesus' day. The water in Jacob's well was good water, but it could not satisfy one's thirst indefinitely. There was no rope there and the woman came with her rope and leather bucket to contain the water. A modern traveler watched an Arab woman come down from the arid hills to draw water at the well. The tradition has probably been carried on down through the centuries. "She unfolded and opened her goatskin bottle, and then untwined a cord, and attached it to a very small leathern bucket which she carried, by means of which she slowly filled her skin, fastened its mouth, place it on her shoulder, and bucket in hand, climbed the mountain."
The woman was a Samaritan (v. 7, 9). She was a member of a race of people who inherited the general area. Bitter hatred existed between the Jews and Samaritans ever since 721 B.C. The Assyrians swept through the Northern Kingdom of Israel and took the captives to Assyria. Only the poor people were left in the land. Into this area, the Assyrians brought captives from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath and Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:24-41). It wasn't long before the foreigners began to intermarry with those left behind in the Northern Kingdom. This was the unforgivable sin among the Jewish people. They were no longer racially pure, and they took on the gods of the foreigners. The Jews who were carried away to other geographical locations in the Assyrian kingdom never came back. They were also assimilated into the countries to which they were taken. Both groups lost their Jewish identity and the right to be called Jews.
When the Southern Kingdom of Judah was captured and carried away into exile in Babylon in 586 B.C. they did not lose their national identity like the Northern Kingdom. The very exile made them obstinate Jews among their captors. After seventy years these exiles returned to Jerusalem. The Samaritans, the half-bred Jews of the captivity in Northern Israel, offered to help their southern kin to rebuild the Temple and repair the city. Because they were no longer pure Jews their help was neither wanted nor needed. Non-Jews were not allowed to work on the rebuilding of the Temple. The Samaritans stopped the work of rebuilding the wall under Nehemiah, led by Sanballat.
Because of this openly hostile, obstinate attitude of the people of Jerusalem and Judea the Samaritans bitterly opposed the Jews even until the days of Jesus 450 years later.
The bitter opposition and hatred became even more heated when a Jew by the name of Manasseh married a daughter of Sanballat, a Samaritan. He set up a rival temple on mount Gerizim in Samaria.
And the rivalry and the bitterness between the two in the north and the south was unspeakable. The Samaritans, for example, would try to interfere with the fires announcing the feast days. They would take dead men's bones and creep into the Temple at Jerusalem and scatter, to defile the temple.
They would waylay the pilgrims on the way to the Passover and assassinate them, murder them. They refused the Bible, except Moses’ Pentateuch.
The resentment went both ways. During the time of the Maccabees, there was Jewish vengeance on Samaria -John Hyrcanus, destroyed Temple 128 B.C.

Jewish rabbis of that time said, "Let no man eat the bread of the Samaritans, for he who eats their bread is as he who eats swine's flesh." A popular prayer was, "And Lord, do not remember the Samaritans in the resurrection." This was shear hatred that went from insult to injury. Another command went, "If any one receives a Samaritan into his house and ministers to him, he will cause his children to be carried into captivity."
To make matters worse it was a Samaritan woman who came to the well. A Jewish rabbi would never speak to a woman in public, even his wife, daughter or sister. This woman was a Samaritan, a notorious Samaritan woman. Moreover, the Jews would not drink from a Samaritan's vessel for fear of becoming ceremonially unclean. It was a religious thing with them. One rabbinical saying went, "Let no one talk with a woman in the street, no, not with his own wife." Another taught, "Better that the words of the law should be burned than delivered to women."
What a contrast those ancient ideas were to true Christianity which is not anti-womanhood. Jesus Christ is the great liberator of women.
b. The Shepherd searches for the lost sheep.
c. The Shepherd has sought you out.
It is not by mere chance that you are here thisw morning. God has made this appointment with you today. You are here to meet the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The Lord Intimately Treats A Life

She was not game to come to the well when the other women would go there, early, before the ehat of the day made the chore of drawing water uncomfortable. Perhaps there was someone there she did not to meet. Maybe there were 4 ladies there she just didn’t want to meet.
So the Lord draws her out about her need for water.
After five centuries of hostility and hatred, would Jesus risk His reputation by speaking to this woman? Jesus broke the ice that afternoon with a simple request. Jesus said to the woman, "Give Me a drink" (v. 7). The Jewish man appealed to her kindness. This is the reason for the divine must to go to Samaria.
Godet said, "He is not unaware that the way to gain a soul is often to ask a service of it." Jesus engaged her in conversation.
The woman was amazed and bewildered. "What? You are a Jew, and you ask me for a drink––me, a Samaritan!" (Moffatt).
Jesus crossed the cultural barrier. He tore down the ancient prejudices and subdued her stubborn will. The woman's coming to the well was no accident. There are no chance meetings in the world that is notpresided over by a living God.
Jesus tenderly and patiently led this sinful woman, step by step, touching her heart, searching her conscience, awakening her soul to a conviction of her desperate need for spiritual water. Spiritually she was poverty-stricken. She was bankrupt. Jesus confronted her helplessness and awakened within her a sense of spiritual poverty.
"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water" (v. 10). The "gift" of God stresses the "freeness of it all. It is a matter of bounty. Jesus is referring to the new life He brings." We could translate it "free gift" (Morris).
What was her thirst? There is a thirst in the human heart that only Jesus Christ can satisfy. "In every man there is this nameless unsatisfied longing; this vague discontent; this something lacking; this frustration," observes William Barclay. Augustine said that our hearts are restless "till they find rest in Thee." God put a longing for eternity in the human heart. That "thirst" will always be in the human soul until Jesus Christ fills it with Himself. The soul's deepest thirst is for a living relationship with God.
Jesus lead her to see her sins.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” she answered. “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’ ” Jesus said. 18 “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet.
Macartney Great Interviews with Jesus writes:
"Call thy husband!" What was the purpose of that? It was to awaken her conscience, to reveal the woman to herself as a sinner. He was going to bestow a real gift on this woman, but no one can receive that gift until he feels his need. No one can take Christ as the Great Physician until he knows himself as sick. No one can take Christ as the Saviour until he confesses himself as the sinner.
Now watch this woman. Her pale, still beautiful face flushes a little in surprise and embarrassment. "My husband! What has a husband to do with the water of life?" Instinctively, involuntarily, she throws up her guard— just as you and I would have done—to protect herself, to cover the secrets of her soul. "Husband!" she exclaims, her poise and assurance now recovered, "I have no husband." She means, of course, to lie, to deceive. But Jesus takes her words literally, as referring to the present, and in that sense what she has said is true. Jesus tells 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 saidst thou truly." The woman has had five husbands, and probably the less said about her record with those five husbands the better, and now she is living in sin with a man who is not her husband. "Go, call thy husband!" It costs something to be in the fellowship of Christ and to receive his greatest gift. That something is to part with every sin in our life. Jesus said to this woman at the well, "Go call thy husband." To another he may say, "Go call thy wife, whom thou hast wronged." To another, "Go call thy child, whom thou hast neglected." To another, "Go call thy father or mother." To another he says, "Go call thy bankbook." To another, "Go call the record of that business transaction." To another, "Go call that slander which you uttered against another's name." To another, "Go call that hatred or enmity which you treasure up in your heart." To another, "Go call that secret habit which stains and defiles thy soul." Can you meet these tests?
Here we see the first sign of change, yet she still tries to sidetrack Jesus again with the religious issues of the day. Not only did she think Jesus was a prophet, but she is beginning to realize that He is the prophet of whom Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. The Samaritans only accepted the first five books of the Old Testament. Moses was the only prophet they accepted. He wrote, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you . . . the LORD said . . . I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him."
The woman told her companions in the city, "Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did." John shows the woman and us an example of Jesus' more than human knowledge of people and events. He reveals some of Christ's deity to his readers. He is no ordinary person; He is God with us.
Jesus lead her to see her need.
The question about worship is a deep question, deeper than Jacob’s well. The issue is how can a man or woman offer to God acceptable worship? Can a man or woman know God? Can a man or woman have contact with God? Can a woman who is a sinner ever be acceptable to God?
Jesus lead her to see her Saviour
22 salvation is from the Jews.
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that • Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”
26 “I am [He],” Jesus told her, “the One speaking to you.”
The woman understood, "The Messiah is a supernatural person who will declare divine truth to men" (Barrett). The Messiah had to be a Jew. Jesus is a Jew. He could not be a Samaritan. The only salvation God promises is realized in His incarnate son.
When Jesus acknowledged to her that He was the Messiah He used the emphatic pronoun in the style of deity (cf. John 8:58). There is no "he" in the Greek text. Jesus says literally, "I that speak to thee, I am" (Morris). Jesus is God's answer to the sin of the world. Only the Messiah can give "living water" of salvation.
42 And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”
God is for us. He's not against us—fallen and sinful and depraved humanity—but brings from the heart of God tears of compassion and love and kindness. That's God. And that's Jesus, our Lord.
He loves you and wants you to know He will receive you if you’ll come to Him!

3. The Lord Impressively Transforms A Life
There was immediate evidence that this woman believed on Jesus Christ as the "anointed of God" who came to save her from her sins and give her eternal life. "The water of life had been poured into her soul," says W. E. Vine. She left her water pot and ran to tell others about the living water. She believed in her heart and confessed Him with her mouth.
The apostle Paul stated what she need to do succinctly when he wrote: "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heat man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Romans 10:9, 10).
10 He would give you living water.”
14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”
Like the woman at the well I was seeking For things that could not satisfy
And then I heard my Savior speaking Draw from my well that never shall run dry
Fill my cup Lord I lift it up Lord Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of heaven Feed me till I want no more Fill my cup fill it up and make me whole
There are millions in this world who are craving The pleasures earthly things afford
But none can match the wondrous treasure That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord
Fill my cup Lord I lift it up Lord Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of heaven Feed me till I want no more Fill my cup fill it up and make me whole
So my brother if the things this world gave you Leave hungers that won't pass away
My blessed Lord will come and save you If you kneel to Him and humbly pray
Fill my cup Lord I lift it up Lord Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of heaven Feed me till I want no more Fill my cup fill it up and make me whole Richard Blanshard

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

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