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Summary: Seven steps toward receiving the promised Living Water, gleaned from the text.


Read John 4:5-26

[Thematic Statement]: “Jesus promises the Samaritan woman living water. Today, by the preaching of His word and the powerful operation of His Spirit, He promises that living water to you as well. Will you take it? Will you drink it in and finally, finally, satisfy that longing, that unfulfilled desire that has haunted your entire life? I pray that you do.”

I. What we have in this passage

a. A Sinner

b. The Savior

c. The Savior’s solution to the Sinner’s biggest need: Living Water

II. ILLUSTRATION: A pastor of mine recently moved out of state, and I miss him dearly. Before he left, though, he threw a dinner party at his house. Now, that sounds very uppity, but you must understand. This guy was born and raised in the Bronx around WWII. He grew up fighting and getting beat up regularly and generally scrapping to survive. He went into the Navy at the order of a certain official of the New York State judicial system. Eventually he got some discipline in his life and wound up flying jets off of carriers in combat missions during Vietnam. What I’m trying to tell you is that this pastor was a “man’s man” by anybody’s standards. So as you might expect, the men at that dinner party, though all unique and different, were basically cut from the same cloth. (I am surprised I was invited.) A lot of us were ex-military types. Man’s men, all of us. As you also might expect, there were times when the conversation got a little too “colorful” for polite company. But what horrified me was that at one point in the evening, I suddenly realized that here we were, nine or so manly men and what was the conversation about? Cake recipes. That’s right. And not just stuff like, “Dang, my grandma had a great cheesecake recipe,” but detailed stuff like, “Grandma used to add a teaspoon of vanilla to her cheesecake.” Yikes. I’m glad no one was watching us at that moment.

Here’s the point. Any young, robust, manly man can appreciate a great cake. But it takes some wisdom, some maturity to really come to grips with the fact that a great cake doesn’t happen accidentally. It starts with the recipe.

III. In this passage, if we will see it, we have a recipe for something even better than a fantastic cheesecake, as outlandish as that may seem. We have here a recipe for living water.

STEP ONE (v.9-10): Ignore human classifications like race and social status and reputation.

Why ignore them? Because Jesus does. These things are totally irrelevant, not even worth His comment on them. Don’t allow them to stand between you and his offer.

These classifications are really all methods of comparing one person, one sinner, to another. The only person you need to be compared with is Jesus.

STEP TWO (V.10,14) Hear the offer Jesus makes.

Everlasting life

Holy Spirit

Satiating spiritual thirst/dryness

STEP THREE (V. 17) Be real.

The Samaritan woman makes no excuses (e.g. first husband was a no account drunk who was never home, second husband couldn’t hold a job, third husband and I just “grew apart”, etc.) She simply acknowledges that Jesus is right.

That’s what we need to do: agree with God about our sin. Don’t dress it up.

Jesus knows the truth anyway!

STEP FOUR (V. 20) Don’t demand perfect understanding.

The woman tries to get it all worked out in her head first.

Go ahead and ask your questions, but understand: there is a vast difference between legitimate questions and questions meant merely to delay your decision/release you from your duty to decide.

ILLUSTRATION: One Christian speaker writes of a time of preaching and explaining the truth of the Bible at a particular college campus. After each meeting one young man kept coming to him and asking questions. “Yes, pastor, but what about this…?” and “Yes, pastor, but what about that…?”

Eventually, the preacher had enough and asked the man point blank, “If I could give you a perfectly reasonable answer to all of your questions, then would you follow Jesus?”

The young man thought about it and confessed that he probably would not.

The preacher then suggested that the man’s problem had more to do with an unwillingness to obey than with any lack of understanding.

God’s under no obligation to make sure you know how it all works before you are required to obey. The offer is on the table. Living Water! Take it, or don’t, but don’t use your lack of understanding as an excuse.

STEP FIVE (v. 24) Be ready to change from the inside out.

Don’t know if you’re ready to be saved or not? Here’s a question to help you tell. Are you hoping that God can come into your life and help you turn things around, help you fix your problems, help you live a more moral life, or feel better about yourself? Or, Are you hoping that God can come into your life and change WHO YOU ARE?

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