Summary: Jesus knows how to get our attention through ordinary things in order to make spiritual truths come alive to us. Jesus is willing to cross all barriers in order to help us to come to spiritual understanding.

April, 2007

Deep Wells and Missing Water Pots

John 4:1-15

INTRODUCTION: The woman at the well was a little sarcastic with Jesus. You might say she seemed like a person with a “chip on her shoulder.” Why would He even speak to her let alone ask her for a drink? She was a despised Samaritan, a person from the hated mixed race, a person who had a poor reputation. No respectable Jewish man would talk to her. Women generally came to the well twice a day in the morning and in the evening--this woman came at noon perhaps to avoid meeting others who looked down on her.

In this account Jesus crossed all barriers to share the good news with her. He does not become offended by her remarks. He just goes on talking with her as if he doesn’t notice. The conversation led to His offering her living water. She, not understanding spiritual concepts, replied, “You don’t even have any way to draw the water out of the well; and besides, the well is deep.”

It is true that the well was more than 75 ft. deep, and He had no water pots. Her responses did not stop Him from further explaining more about the well, the living water, or His ability to do what looked impossible.

So much of the time our thinking is very much like that of the Samaritan woman. We, too, look at our situation and say something very similar. When we get into difficult circumstances we say, “Of course He can’t do anything about this problem. He doesn’t have any way to get to the bottom of this problem--it’s so deep that I don’t see how He could possibly solve it. He doesn’t even have a “Bucket.” “Sounds good,” but “Lord, I’m afraid this one is just a little too difficult for you to handle.” “Jesus, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep“…Sounds current doesn’t it?

How does all of this relate to us?

1. DEEP WELLS: Try to think of the depth of the wells in you. It might be a deep well of hurt and trouble inside you that goes back to childhood--when you were mistreated, and you never quite got over it. Now you think it is buried too deep to do anything about it. It has shaped your life. Or it might be current trouble or sickness, finances, or depression and anxiety. Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” You say, “But Lord the well is too deep--the trouble is too far down--too complicated. I’m afraid that even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it. Thanks for wanting to help, though, Lord, but I can’t expect you to do anything about it now.” We pray and say, “Well, I guess it can’t hurt to pray.” Sometimes we remember what we have allowed Him to do in the past. Yes, He could do some things, but it is only partial. There’s no answer for this problem. It’s terminal. He has answered prayers up to a point, but He has never gotten into the deep wells of our lives. We continue to limit Him. We may believe He CAN do it--He will do it for OTHERS--but I don’t think He can do it or will do it for me.

When we get into difficult circumstances we struggle to get to the bottom of our well trying to get water for ourselves, but it is never enough. It never satisfies. The well of our own incompleteness runs deep but we continue to struggle. The well is deep--how in the world could the Lord do anything about it? Sometimes we try to shrug things off by saying, “That’s just the way I am or that’s the way I was raised. Things can’t change now. They are too deeply ingrained. This is about the best I can be.”

Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear.” He can reach down into our deepest well. Nothing is too difficult for him. There is a song that says, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, is too difficult for Him.” His arm is not too short--the well is not too deep.

How many times a person will ask someone, “How are you doing?” and they say, “As well as can be expected.” We’ve got to raise our level of expectation! Of course we have deep wells, but the God we serve knows how to get to the bottom of them.

2. NO MEANS: The Samaritan woman was quick to tell Jesus that she didn’t SEE any way for Him to get the living water. First, she doesn’t think He is capable of furnishing her with any water, not in this well. He didn’t have any means of causing it to happen. She didn’t SEE any water pots. Water had to be drawn up with a lot of hard work. He had to at least have a water pot to put it in.

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Kenneth Paris

commented on Apr 27, 2007

This is an excellent sermon about the woman at the well. You have added a new dimension to the depth of the story and I am going to use some of your ideas for my congregattion. Thank you for letting the Lord use you in such a mighty way.

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