Summary: Three things happen in the process of salvation: 1) there is a confrontation with the Savior, 2) there is a confrontation with sin, and 3) there is a transformation in the believer.
Title: Living Water
Series: The Harvest Is Ripe
Text: John 4:7-18, 28-29, 39
Illustration: Only Through Christ
Muhammad Ali writes: "My mother was a Baptist. She believed Jesus was the Son of God, and I don’t believe that. But even though my mother had a religion different from me, I believe that on Judgment Day my mother will be in heaven. There are Jewish people who lead good lives; and when they die, I believe they’re going to heaven. If you’re a good Muslim, if you’re a good Christian, if you’re a good Jew; it doesn’t matter what religion you are, if you’re a good person you’ll receive God’s blessing."
The truth is that Christianity by definition is an exclusive religion. The belief that there is one God and only one way to God stands at the center of the Christian gospel. Nowhere does the New Testament teach that there is any other way to God but through a personal commitment to Jesus as the Messiah. (Mark Wingfield, “Ali’s Appeal for Tolerance is Intolerant,” Western Recorder, April, 3, 1997, 5.)
Note: If you were a visitor to Chattanooga and became lost, you might stop to ask for directions. If I gave you the wrong directions, you would continue to be lost. Even if I sincerely believed that the directions I gave you were valid, you would still be lost. You could go back and retrace your path over and over again, but in the end you would still be lost. Likewise, there is only one way to Heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ. If you follow someone’s wrong directions, you will still be lost and you won’t get to heaven.
I. THERE IS A CONFRONTATION WITH THE SAVIOR. (John 4:7-9)
Two things to note here:
1) Jesus initiated the confrontation. He needed to go through Samaria so He could confront this Samaritan woman. And when the woman arrived at the well, Jesus began the conversation. A confrontation that leads to salvation is always initiated by God (John 6:44; Romans 10:14-15).
2) This confrontation was considered inappropriate by everyone except Jesus. The woman questioned why a Jew would ask her for a drink. The disciples marveled that Jesus spoke with her (v. 27). And John even notes that the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Still today Jesus will go wherever there is a need to conquer sin. He came, after all, to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:10-13).
A. Jesus Offers Living Water. (John 4:10)
1. Living water symbolizes eternal life through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. (John 7:38-39)
3. All those who are thirsty may drink of this living water. (John 7:37)
B. Jesus Is The Source Of Living Water. (John 4:11-12)
Illustration: Finding God’s Resources
The Amazon River is the largest river in the world. The mouth is 90 miles across. There is enough water to exceed the combined flow of the Yangtze, Mississippi, and Nile Rivers. So much water comes from the Amazon that they can detect its currents 200 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.
One irony of ancient navigation is that sailors in ancient times died for lack of water--caught in windless waters of the South Atlantic. They were adrift, helpless, dying of thirst. Sometimes other ships from South America who knew the area would come alongside and call out, "What is your problem?"
And they would exclaim, "Can you spare us some water? Our sailors are dying of thirst!"
And from the other ship would come the cry, "just lower your buckets. You are in the mouth of the mighty Amazon River."
The irony of ancient Israel and the tragedy around us today is that God, the fountain of living water, is right here and people don’t recognize Him! (Earl Palmer, James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 242.)
1. The woman did not recognize the source of living water. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
2. She did not understand the power that Jesus had. (Luke 5:17-24)
C. A Drink Of Living Water Becomes A Fountain Of Living Water. (John 7:13-15)
1. Drinking living water brings eternal life to the one who drinks.
2. It springs up into everlasting life, not only for the one who drinks, but for those who benefit from their witness. (John 4:39)
II. SALVATION REQUIRES A CONFRONTATION WITH SIN. (John 4:16-18)
Note: We have to have a confrontation with sin because we tend to believe that we are not really all that bad.
A. Salvation Is More Than A Decision. (Isaiah 64:6-7)
1. Too many people have simply said a prayer or made a decision for Jesus without regarding the sin in their life.
2. An attitude of “I’ll try it to see if I like it” does not in any way confront sin in a person’s life.