Summary: Each one of us is on a Journey. At certain points in our journey each of us face decisions, a crossroad if you will. Which way will we go? In what direction will the next step we take be? Often it is at these crossroads of life that the Lord meets us
Steps along Life’s Journey
A Step into Hope - Sermon 1
John 4:4-29, 39-42
I just had my birthday this past week. I turned 46. Not to be morbid, but as I look ahead, I realize that most likely I am more than half way through my earthly life.
Birthdays for me are times when I take a step back and try to grasp a better perspective of my life as a whole. As I look back I can see points in time that were crossroads in my life. Some of them I knew at the time would change my life, while others, I did not realize, would have the major effects.
But it is all of those steps in my journey that have brought me to where I am today.
I am not unique. We all have a journey we are on in this life. And it is the individual steps that we take that lead us to where we will end up.
New Series Intro
Today, we are beginning a new series called “Steps along Life’s Journey.”
We will be looking at some different steps that each of us will face during this life and it is my hope that this series will be an encouragement and help to you for your Life’s Journey.
This morning we are going begin by looking at someone who was facing a life of disappointments, of loneliness, and of bitterness, but in the midst of her life, she came face to face with Jesus and took a step into hope.
Turn with me to John 4
We are going to learn about a woman that Jesus met journeying through Samaria and how the step she took changed her direction from one of hopelessness to one of hope.
So let’s begin in John 4:1-8
1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
Let’s pause here and pray
Now I want us to consider a couple of interesting facts that we see right away in this story.
Take a look at this map. Jesus was in the Judean countryside (John 3:22) baptizing when he decides to go to Galilee.
Now Jews and Samaritans did not get along. Samaritans were of mixed origin; part Jew and part Assyrian (primarily), they were not only half breeds according to the Jews, but they did not practice pure Judaism, but a mixture of Judaism among other religions.
So, because the Jews and Samaritans did not get along, the Jews would normally go around Samaria
When they went from Jerusalem to Galilee and back.
It was not the most direct route, but it kept them away from becoming contaminated by the Samaritans, so they thought.
But in our text today, it tells us that Jesus “had to go through Samaria”
Now it was the more direct route, but it was not the normal route at all.
But since the Scripture tells us he had to go through Samaria, he must have had to go for some other reason other than that being the only way to get there.
I believe that he had to go through Samaria, because there was someone who was ready to take a step of hope and He was ready to meet her wherever she was.
Second interesting fact
Another interesting thing we learn in this section is that this woman is coming to get water “about the 6th hour.” That would be about noon. This would be at the very height of the sun and the very hottest part of the day. This is not the normal time that women went to get the water. Normally they would do that in the early morning hours, when it was cooler.
Why is this woman getting water at this time?
I want us to get a glimpse of what may be going on with this woman and what she may be feeling and experiencing as we consider some of the customs and manners of the time.
The story begins…
Imagine for a moment that this woman is in her room. She picks up her clay jar and opens the door and the heat of the day hits her face. Taken back for a moment, she peaks her head out the door and looks up and down the dusty street.