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

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JOHN 4.4-26: BROKEN VESSELS

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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.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

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.

Here was a man speaking to her in public. The rest of the village of Sychar despised and rejected her, hence coming to the well in the heat of the day when no one else is around. She knew their gossip. She heard their whispers. She was familiar with her reputation, the stares and the snide remarks. They hurt her deeply. They wounded her spirit and hardened her heart. She would rather face the fierce heat of the midday sun than risk meeting one of the townspeople in the street. What a dreadful place to be. What an awful situation to find yourself in. Hiding away from people for fear of what they might say, what they are thinking and those piercing looks. Truth is that is some of you right here this morning. You may not be afraid to go out in public but this is how you feel in your heart and soul this morning. This woman thought – if this man knew my reputation he would not speak to me. He would not associate with me and he certainly would not ask me for anything. Some of you this morning are thinking that right at this moment. Some of you have thought that at least once in this past week, and many times in this past month. If people really knew me they would not want anything to do with me. Even worse some of you have bought into the lie (of satan) which says ‘even God doesn’t want anything to do with you.’ When this woman responds to Jesus request with: ‘How can you ask me for a drink?’ she was stating more than the social barriers between them – she was revealing something of her heart to Jesus.

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