Summary: Sometimes we have to face certain barriers that will try to keep us from quenching our spiritual thirst. This sermon deals with conquering those barriers and coming to the "Living Water."
Pataskala Church of the Nazarene
March 14, 2010
A Meeting with the Messiah
Scripture Reading: John 4:6-7
One of the most significant encounters recorded of Jesus' ministry was his meeting with the Samaritan Woman at the Well.
She was known as a sinful woman who was headed to Jacob's well for a bucket of water.
I was reading Max Lucado's book, entitled: Six Hours one Friday. I found it fascinating to read chapter two of his book that dealt with this encounter.
Max Lucado recounts the story that he always wanted to stop at a plot of ground that he passed daily. "Someday I need to stop there." he told himself.
Finally that day happened and he drove under a sign that said, "Locke Hill Cemetery."
He parked his car, the darkened sky threatened rain.
He walked a lonely path looking at hundreds of tombstones.
Have you ever done that? I have!
Max says it in the way that only he can, "The fatherly oak trees arched above me, providing a ceiling for the solemn chambers. Tall grass, still wet from the morning dew, brushed my ankles.
The tombstones, though weathered and chipped , were al.ive with yesterday.
I stood on the same spot where a mother wept on a cold day some eight decades past. The tombstone simply read, "Baby Boldt - Born and died December 10, 1910."
Then I saw it. It was chiseled into a tombstone on the northern end of the cemetery. The stone marks the destination of the body of Grace Llewellen Smith. No date of birth is listed. No date of death. Just the two names of her husbands, and this epitaph:
"Sleeps, but rests not.
Loved, but was loved not.
Tried to please, but pleased not.
Died as she lived - alone."
Words of futility from a life lived in despair and loneliness.
I wondered if she wrote the words of her own epitaph, or did she just live them.
I wondered if she deserved the pain.
I wondered if she was bitter or beaten up.
I wondered if she was plain or beautiful.
I wondered why some lives are so fruitful while others are so futile.
What broke her heart?
Loved but was not loved ...
Long lonely nights.
No response from messages left.
No return to letters written.
No love exchanged for love given.
Tried to please, but pleased not ...
I can hear that hatchet of disappointment
How many times do I have to tell you? CHOP
You'll never amount to anything. CHOP CHOP
Why can't you do anything right? Chop Chop Chop.
Died as she lived - alone.
How many Grace Smiths are out there?
How many people will live in the loneliness in which they are living.
The homeless in Columbus, Ohio/Pataskala, Ohio.
How many have become victims of futility?
What about the Samaritan woman as she looks outside on a sunny day and she stoops under the weight of a water jug?
Maybe she bowed her head so she can dodge the stares of the people.
She is a Samaritan.
She knows the feeling of racism.
She's been married to five men.
Five different men/five different marriages.
Five different rejections
Five different instances of unfaithfulness.
She knows what it means to give love and not receive love in return.
The man who is in her house right now won't even give her his last name. Rejection!
On this particular day, she was going to the well at noon. Why hadn't she gone in the early morning with the other women?
Possibly she went to escape the sharp tongues of the others. Can you possibly here them?
"Here she comes."
"Have you heard? She's got a new man!"
"They say she'll sleep with anyone."
"Shhh. she's coming - she might hear us."
She comes to the water well expecting to be there by herself.
Instead, she found somebody who knew here better than she knew herself.
It doesn't tell us what position Jesus was in.
Perhaps He was sitting on the ground.
She looks at Him. She looks around. There's no one else there.
I. The Perplexing Problem
Jesus' meeting with the woman at Samaria was full of problems.
For all of us to understand this we have to understand the geography and history of Israel.
The pious Jews would not go through the land of Samaria.
Following the northern kingdom of Israel's captivity by the Assyrians in 722 BC the land was inhabited by Israelites and foreigners.
They intermarried, which was repulsive to pious Jews and therefore the pious Jews avoided Samaria.
John wrote, "Jesus had to go through Samaria." John 4:4
Already there were barriers that existed for Jesus and the woman.
1. First, there was the ethnic barrier.
Jewish people were tolerant of other races, but the Samaritans were contemptible to the pious Jews.