Tuesday, February 7, 2012

John 4:9-26

As we look at this dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, let’s note how Jesus is able to keep the discussion focused when she tries to sidetrack it.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

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.)

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.” (John 4:7-10)

While we know that Jesus came to serve, not be served, there were times in His ministry when He allowed others to serve him, and this is one of those times. Instead of gallantly offering to get the water, he asks her to draw it for Him. It is so much easier for us to give sometimes than to be on the receiving end. It requires humbling to allow another to do something for us. However, when we do this, we are often providing an opportunity for blessing that the other person would have missed otherwise. Don’t be afraid to allow others to serve you once in a while. It may open the door to sharing the gospel, as it did in this case with the Samaritan woman.

This woman was surprised when Jesus spoke with her. After all, she was a despised Samaritan - and a woman to boot! Rather than get into an ethnic discussion, however, Jesus provoked curiosity in her by suggesting that He was the source of living water. She took Him literally, thinking He was speaking of physical water. Then she displays her knowledge of Old Testament history specific to the well.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “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.” (vs.11-14)

Jesus was leading her into a spiritual discussion, showing her that her physical needs were not really what He was concerned with. He wanted to make her thirsty for His living water, because nothing the world has to offer will satisfy like Jesus does. Through the indwelling Spirit, He gives us a well that NEVER runs dry! And the Samaritan woman took the bait! But there was one issue that needed to be dealt with first: her sin. In order for her to receive this living water, she first needed to acknowledge her need through confession:

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.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “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.” (vs.15-18)

I wonder how hard that was for her to admit that. I wonder if she said it in a whisper, in shame. I’m thinking that Jesus’ love and the compassion He was showing just broke down those barriers and that confessing was probably a relief! But when He showed her that He knew the WHOLE truth about her ugly past, she was amazed! And maybe still a little uncomfortable, because she once again tried to turn the conversation from a personal issue to a general religious discussion about where to worship, rather than HOW to worship.

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”(vs.19-26)

Okay, when we are finally confronted with the outright claims of Jesus Christ, it is decision time. Jesus had gently drawn her to the main issue. Jesus said that we are required to worship in spirit and in TRUTH.  It matters WHOM and HOW we worship.  Now that she knew who He claimed to be, what was she going to do about it? This is the only question that will matter in eternity: Who is Jesus to you? He is offering living water, because He IS the Living Water! Are you thirsty? Jesus says, “Come.”


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