Summary: When a five times divorcee who now has a live in boyfriend meets Jesus, what do you think will happen? John’s gospel reveals that honest hearts, even those laden with sin, can still hear His call.
Beyond all Hope?
1 Tim. 1:12-16 records Paul’s confession and testimony of God’s grace in his life. Paul basically says, "If Jesus can save me, he can save anyone!"
Have you ever known someone who was beyond help?
Here in John 4 Jesus meets a woman whose life is a string of broken relationships. She’s a foreigner with a life that speaks of failure in marriage, failure in morals, and failure in faith. Just imagine, five husbands and now a live in. It almost sounds like modern America, doesn’t it? Let me tell you something. Spiritual failure has a high price tag!
Listen, this world’s water is dry. It doesn’t quench thirst, it makes you come back for more. The more you get of this world’s water the more you have to come back and refill. It never satisfies. Never! It only deadens the pain for the moment. When the intoxication wears off, you only find yourself worse off than before. Every step into sin leads towards it’s reward... ultimate, eternal death.
Does Jesus have anything better to offer to a world that runs to the shallow wells of sin for refreshment? Look at John 4 with me and lets see...
John 4:3b 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.)
This is the meeting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Let’s picture it. The trip from Judea to Galilee was quite a hike. It is 76.4 miles from Jerusalem to Capernaum according to my Bible atlas. That’s if you travel in a straight line. Jesus and the disciples must have walked for a couple of days just to get to Jacob’s well in Sychar which is over 29 miles from Jerusalem. The Bible says he had to go through Samaria. Had to go? Some commentators say this means Jesus mission included this trip through Samaria. Others see it as the shortest distance between Judea and Galilee includes the dreaded Samaritan passage. Either way, God was at work in it and Jesus finds himself in the company of this Samaritan woman and as best we can tell, they are alone by the well. It is a good guess that she is not interested in conversation with this Jewish man, but Jesus is.
Everyone who studies this encounter finds the treasure of God’s heart in action with a sinner who most would write off as beyond hope or help spiritually. Jesus was not beyond writing people off. I think of Judas. Jesus clearly calls him a devil and the son of perdition.
John 6:70 Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"
John 17:12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction (kjv son of perdition) so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
You see, Jesus knows us. He knows what is in our hearts. He knows who will accept him and who will not, and yet the offer of his saving grace goes out to all. Some have hearts to receive him... others don’t.
But this woman, who has a life wrecked by sin, Jesus refers to as white unto harvest for eternal life! (Vs 35-36).
How does one approach such a person? What appeal would win her heart to God? Jesus the master Teacher shows us with several appeals, how to bring life to those in death, how to bring light to those in darkness, how to open the door of ones heart to God.
He starts where she is. He gives her a chance to use what she has. He appeals first to her kindness. He opens the conversation with a question. Would you give me a drink? The KJV is weak here. Give me to drink, is too strong. His wording is a request. I know that because she says, “Why do you ask me for a drink?” Jesus is asking. He is appealing to her sense of kindness. It was the gentlest and most natural approach to take. Besides, he is probably thirsty. Her response is surprise and a little reproving. Men didn’t speak openly with women in those days, and especially Jewish men with Samaritan women. Jews didn’t eat or drink after Samaritans either. They considered them and their dishes unclean. It wasn’t conventional. But Jesus was certainly not a very conventional person. When a leper asked Jesus to heal him, Jesus touched him. Highly unconventional! And when Jesus met this woman with water at this well, he broke cultural rules and spoke to her. It worked. She returned the conversation. His appeal to her kindness got her attention and opened the door for the light to shine in.