HG034-35. Luke 3:19-20, Mark 1:14, Matthew 4:12, John 4:1-42
1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “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.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” 27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him. 31 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. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
If we read all the readings of the Gospels this week we will find out that whilst we see in today’s passage that Jesus heard the rumour that they were baptising more people than John the Baptist and sought to return to Galilee it was right in the midst of this that John was arrested and put in prison. We have the Jewish historian, Josephus, recording this matter and the excuse given by Herod for arresting him for he: “feared lest the great influences John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion.” Of course, we know that this was never going to happen but because he had been rebuked by John over his relationship with his brother’s wife. This was a revenge action as we often find when people have excessive power they use excessive force.
The result of all this, though, was a trip made by Jesus that was to go through a non-Jewish part of the land, through Samaria to the North, which, it so happens, was where John the Baptist had also been, preparing the way, as usual. Now Jesus came to Jacob’s well after this exhausting journey and guess what? He was tired, thirsty and hungry. How human is that! Who else here gets tired after a long journey? I’m sure that you have felt very tired if you have had kids in the back of the car going ‘are we there yet ?’ every five minutes.
So, there He is sitting at the well. Now there was a woman heading out of the city and the well is over 0.5 miles away and she spotted Him some ways off. Now, this is the kind of thing she would have been thinking:
Great! Here I thought by coming out at noon I was going to avoid everyone - I mean ‘only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’. Oh, and not only that he is alone and has nothing with him. Pff. I bet he’s going to ask for a drink. Oh, hang on this guy is a Jew too, well, at least He won’t ask me for a drink! At least he won’t talk to me and frankly I am in no mood for a conversation anyways.
But Jesus did indeed ask for a drink. So much for being ignored! Of course, the One asking is not a typical Jewish man as she was about to find out.
Whilst I have asked you for a drink, He says, you should be asking me for one for what I give you will be eternal spring water. This kind of reminds of of the legends of the holy grail and drinking water from it gives eternal life, which, of course, is nonsense, but what Jesus is offering is not nonsense but serious. She misses the point thinking He is still talking about physical water. We have to put ourselves in her shoes. How would she know that this is a spiritual conversation?
Call your husband. This is where the penny is going to drop. We think that only today have we a divorce rate so high. This woman was going for a record - 5 of them and the present one she was cohabiting with, the Elizabeth Taylor of her day. This is the reason she is going to the well at midday instead of early in the morning with the rest of the women. She was either ostracised or had placed herself under sanctions out of shame. The blame is probably on her ex-husbands for the only way to live in those days was to have a husband. And the man she was now with did not marry her and so was under no obligation to look after her though he probably did.
But Jesus knew all of this. Notice that He did not tell her off, He did not have a go at her, did not reject her as a sinner, for though He already knew this, as only God can know these things; and it does seem to be a theme in John’s Gospel that Jesus has insight into the hearts of others; although He already knew all about her He had already offered her eternal life if she would but ask. But he awakened in her the need for forgiveness.
Because Jesus was getting too close to home in the conversation the woman changes it to one about worship so it was a nice diversion. They believe it should be in this mountain and the Jews believe in Jerusalem. But this is not as important as where the heart is. God is after worshippers for they will only fulfil their life’s potential then. Jesus doesn’t brush off what she says but answers her question for it is one that could stand in the way of her understanding. God is after worshippers who will do it in truth not because they are born into it. Here came the revolutionary idea:
How one worships is more important than where one worships.
Often it is said that this is a Christian Country, I think David Cameron was the last one to say it out loud.
57.6% of people here in Wales defined themselves as Christian in 2011 but this was 71.9% in 2001, a drop of 14.3%.
If the same rate continued till now then only 49% will consider themselves Christians but some figures say that this rate has accelerated to the point it is now below 42%.
But no matter what these numbers say how many of them are true worshippers of God?
Less than 2.1% go to what we would call evangelical churches and only a further 2.7% go to other Churches here in Wales. We are not a Christian nation.
And we will hear more about this this evening, God willing.
It is time to wake up out of our malaise. The disciples comes back when the woman goes back to her city to tell people that the Messiah has turned up. And what did Jesus say to his disciples?
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
God is looking to increase the numbers of worshippers who will worship Him not only by saying that they are a Christian but in Spirit and Truth. The desire of God is that we know Him, love Him and serve Him for He is both our Creator and Saviour. Are we true worshippers? Are we seeking to live our lives in the light of His word?
He is wanting to pour out living water upon those who do not yet know Him for they are already thirsty. And this thirst continues unabated even in hell. Give me this water the woman says and she was satisfied for she knew she had met the Messiah.
He is saying here, that the harvest is ready. It may not seem it to you but it is ready. The conversion of one person is leading to the conversion of a whole city. One conversation that God leads can have wide repercussions.
When Irena and I were in Macedonia in September 2011 we went to the mid-week Service…I prayed, Lord speak to me…though I was expecting the whole service to be in Macedonian and I have difficulty following because of the speed of what is being said. But at the end of the worship an American was invited to say something. He started off by saying that we should be praying for Macedonia. Pray for Macedonia! Then, oddly, he spoke about a woman who went to a particular church…Moriah Chapel where Evan Roberts was based for the Welsh revival of 1904…and whilst this woman was in the church she had a vision. This vision was of an angel. And that angel was sleeping. So she prayed and asked why the angel was sleeping. And the answer was that this angel is the angel of revival and it was sleeping because no one was praying for revival anymore. His whole sermon was about praying for Macedonia – and he was talking about Wales! And here I am, a Pastor in a church in Wales but here I was in Macedonia and he is talking about Wales – the coincidences could not have been more obvious.
Could it be that the reason we do not have revival in Wales is because we are not praying for it? We are not praying for opportunities or seeing them when they arise.
This conversation with the woman could have been over as quickly as it started. Perhaps his prejudices could have been there: I am not of the same ethnicity as you therefore I will not speak to you as you are not Jewish. I am a follower of Judaism and you are not so I will not speak to you. Are we putting barriers up between us and others in the world when it might actually be an opportunity to speak to say a Muslim from Pakistan. Jesus allowed for no barriers to get in the way of an eternal conversation. Why? Because God is calling people out of every tribe and tongue and nation for He came for everyone and they are outside of His Kingdom until they have been introduced to Jesus.
Please give me a drink. That’s it. All that started it off. And Jesus deliberately intended for the conversation to be about God and Himself pointing to the eternal life that is available. Do we turn our conversations towards God? I mean, do we even do this with each other? If it is not practice with us then it is going to be harder in the world, surely? Why not deliberately turn conversations we have to those about Jesus this week?
Now whilst the woman despite her reputation did cause everyone to come out to meet Jesus. And He appeared to change His plans so that He could stay with them for two days and many came to faith in Him. Our plans should not be so set in stone that we cannot continue a conversation just because we have things like shopping to do.
Genesis 24:27 Being in the way, the LORD led me.
These kinds of conversations are the most essential that we can ever have with people.
The harvest is here and available but maybe we are the ones not ready. Maybe we have got used to a comfortable Christian life so much so that we do not offer this living water to others nor invite them to taste and see that the Lord is good as is our experience. We had an evangelistic service just 3 weeks ago was anyone invited? What is stopping us inviting? Is it fear? Is it complacency? Is it that we just can’t be bothered? Did we forget?
We are well fed as Christians and will continue to be so but we also need to be much more outward looking and this is going to make all of us nervous. The mission for Jesus and doing God’s will was more important than eating food. Jesus pointed out to His own disciples that the harvest is ready. Why? Because they did not see it. Are we committed to following Jesus in His footsteps? Then we need to do what Jesus did; purposely, deliberately. So let us go and do likewise. And God will produce the results as He did with the Samaritans then and when Philip went there after Pentecost and revival broke out. The next person we could share the Gospel with is the next Billy Graham.
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Exported from Logos Bible Software, 09:12 06 August 2017.