Summary: Every broken vessel needs Christ to put them back together.

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Do you recognise anyone in that video clip? Could you identify with any of the emotions stated? Maybe the words of the song resonated in your heart. This morning I want to take a few minutes to share with you from John’s gospel an incident at a well when Jesus met a woman who would not have been out of place in that video clip. Turn with me to John 4 verses 4-26. As you turn to the passage let me set the background to it for you.

John places this incident immediately after Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus, a religiously upright, educated, wealthy man of society. The stark contrast comes in the form of a woman from Samaria with a flagrant disregard for the Law of God, especially in the area of relationships. John wants us to see that irrespective of where you stand in the eyes of men this morning you need Christ Jesus. The religious and the irreligious, the moral and the immoral, the educated and the uneducated, male and female – need Jesus Christ. Jesus has left Judea (vs 1-3) and in order to reach Galilee he must travel through Samaria, not something a Jew would do unless they had to. The hatred of the Jews towards the Samaritans and vice versa stretched back over 700 years to the time immediately after the death of Solomon and the conquering of the land by the Assyrians. The people of the north, thus conquered, soon intermarried and lost their racial purity and their religious purity in the eyes of the Israelites. Around 400BC the Samaritans, as they came to be called, built their own temple at Mt Gerezim. The Jews and the Samaritans had no dealings with one another. Some strict Jews would even travel many 100’s of miles out of their way rather than stray into Samaria and so avoid becoming ‘unclean.’ So that is the background to this incident in John 4.


I am sure you have on many occasions said or thought ‘there is something different about … but I can’t quite put my finger on it.’ That is exactly what happens here. John tells us that Christ Jesus is weary from the travelling and sits down at the side of Jacob’s well (vs 5-6), whilst the disciples head off to the nearest town to purchase some provisions – v8. Whilst they are away a woman comes to the well and Christ asks her for a drink of water (v7). To you and I this seems like an innocent enough request but set against the background of the hostility between Jews and Samaritans it meant crossing over social barriers. Then added to this for Jesus, a Jewish man, to speak to a woman, no mind a Samaritan woman, in public was forbidden. One rabbi had even gone as far as to say that man should speak to a woman in public, not even his own wife. That is why the woman is so shocked when Jesus speaks to her (v9). She points out the obvious anomaly here. She is taken aback that Christ should speak to her – not because she is aware of who He is, she isn’t, but because He is a Jew and she a Samaritan. Isn’t it funny how people can be looking straight into the eyes of Christ and yet see only the reasons for Him not to speak to them, not to associate with and to have nothing to do with them. This woman could not raise her eyes above the temporal and yet there was something different about Jesus.

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