Summary: Explores Jesus' leading the woman at Jacob's well to faith and how we can apply the same principles to win people to Jesus
DON’T HUNT WITH YOUR HEAD DOWN
A. Jesus told the disciples to lift up their eyes to the fields that were white unto harvest (John 4:35-38). The fields being white unto harvest then does not mean that every field is white unto harvest now, simply because millions are unconverted. However, we will not see that for which we are not looking.
B. The term “lift up your eyes” reminds me of my youthful days in the woods learning to hunt with my dad. He always killed more squirrels than I because he was looking up into the trees where the squirrels are found instead of on the ground at the mother skunk and her eight little ones following in single-file behind or the long line of ants winding their way through the leaves, or all of the other great distractions for a boy.
C. Let’s follow Jesus on a journey from Judea to Galilee to see what we can learn about seeing prospective converts where others may see none.
I. JESUS GOT OFF THE BEATEN PATH (VV. 1-6)
A. The disciples might have thought that Jesus was taking the shortest route because of fatigue.
B. Modern disciples might think it strange, because he left success (vv. 1-2).
C. John says, “He needed to go through Samaria.” Merrill C. Tenney wrote:
The word “must” implies logical necessity rather than a personnel obligation. It is the term one would use in saying, “A triangle must have three sides.” Why should it be used here is not immediately clear, since there were other roads that Jesus could have taken to Galilee. In the light of the general tenor of the gospel, the word suggested that His reason was not geographical necessity nor social pressure, but the underlying compulsion of the Divine Will that sought out the lost Samaritan sheep. That little phrase, “He must…,” makes this interview to glow with the light of destiny (The Gospel of Belief. 1948. Eerdmans Pub. Co., pp.91-92).
D. Jesus also needed to go through Samaria to begin breaking down the barrier of racism and sexism, preparing for the future, when Philip would enjoy great success when he opened up Samaria to the Great Commission (Acts 8:4-6).
II. JESUS CHALLENGED HER COMFORT ZONE (vv. 7-12)
A. The woman is surprised by Jesus’ asking her for a drink because she was a Samaritan woman.” The prejudice between the two groups was deeply embedded in their history. She might have been familiar with the common prayer of the time, a prayer which is still prayed by many Jews today:
"Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile."
"Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave."
“Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman."
B. Jesus pushed her even further out of her comfort zone by offering her something she had not asked for and didn’t know she needed (vv. 10-15). This woman was much like many in America who, while embracing certain moral teachings of the N.T. and laying claim to some of the promises of the gospel, have never really come face to face with Jesus and are therefore cultural Christians only.
C. Jesus challenged the carnal-mind barrier, but she thought that the living water would do away with her need for H2O.
III. JESUS CHALLENGED HER SINFUL LIFESTYLE (vv. 15-18)
A. Some people like to justify sinful lifestyles by referring to Jesus’ breaking with tradition on other occasions and eating with sinners, even allowing a sinful woman, perhaps a prostitute, to anoint his feet (Matt 9:9-11; Lk 7:37-39).
1. They ignore other words of Jesus:
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt 9:11-13, ESV).
2. Jesus’ words to the woman taken in the act of adultery are those which must be spoken to every forgiven sinner: “Go and sin no more” (John 8:10).
B. In challenging prejudicial barriers, we cannot open the door to postmodernism’s acceptance of all lifestyles as equally valid.
1. In dealing with the barrier of sinful lifestyles, we must not demand preconditions to our presenting Christ to the lost. A local preacher had ask a visiting evangelist to talk to a couple with whom the local man had been trying to convert. The mission failed, and after the two left, the visiting evangelist said to the other: “I wish you had told me that they had been married and divorced, because I would not have wasted my time with them.” Assuming that the evangelist’s position on marriage, divorce, and remarriage were valid, he showed little confidence in the power of the gospel.