Summary: God's grace is not an exclusive grace... it is an all inclusive grace that knows no barriers.
Today is the Third Sunday in Lent. On the First Sunday of Lent we discovered that God’s grace extends beyond Eden. On the Second Sunday in Lent we were reminded that God’s grace is a better way than our works way. Today Jesus teaches us that God’s grace knows no barriers.
Title: Enough Grace to Go Around
Text: John 4:1-26 (4:5-42)
Thesis: God’s grace is not an exclusive grace… it is an all inclusive grace that knows no barriers.
There four “Rules of Threes” an average human can survive:
1. three minutes without air
2. three hours without warmth in extreme cold
3. three weeks without food
4. three days without water
Fortunately we have water on tap and beyond that we can buy all the bottled water we can drink. Starbucks Ethos Water (PepsiCo). Evian. PepsiCo’s Aquafina. Coca-Cola’s Dasani. Fiji Water. Propel Fitness Water. Arrowhead Water (Nestle’). Nestle Pure Water. Perrier (Nestle’). Eldorado Springs Water. No-Name Waters… Contrary to what we would like to believe, much if not most of the bottled water on the market today is simply purified faucet water. The thirst for bottled water is a $4billion industry in the United States alone.
In our text today we find Jesus tired and thirsty… asking a woman for a drink from a well. That encounter led to a much deeper conversation about physical thirst and spiritual thirst. But for our purposes this morning, the thing we need to grasp as we begin this discussion is that God is at work… Jesus is there by a well near the Samaritan village of Sychar and he is talking to a Samaritan woman.
The key elements are the facts that Jesus was in Samaria and talking to a Samaritan woman. Jesus is demonstrating that God’s grace breaks down barriers. There are no barriers that grace cannot penetrate or cross over.
During the Season of Lent it is good to be reminded of that both on a personal level as well as on a missional level.
I. Grace breaks down every barrier, John 4:1-9 and 27
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 4:9
Palestine, where Jesus spent his life, was an area 120 miles in length that ran along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestine had three designated areas: Judea (Jerusalem) was the southern area. Galilee was the northern area. And Samaria was the area separating the two. We could think of it as Ft. Collins to the north, Boulder in the middle and metro Denver in the south…
In our text Jesus is planning to go from the southern area of Judea to the northern area of Galilee. In order to get there he had to go through Samaria. Going through Samaria was a problem. Good Jews did not associate with Samaritans and vice versa. Centuries earlier the Israelites were taken into captivity by the King of Assyria who then repopulated the region with other peoples (displaced foreigners or aliens) from his kingdom. The “other” people eventually intermarried with the Jewish population that remained and the people were then known as Samaritans. They were so despised by the pure Jews that they were forbidden to help in the rebuilding of Jerusalem when the King of Babylon allowed Nehemiah to return and rebuild the city. So the Samaritans, who could not worship in Jerusalem, had their own place of worship at Mt. Gerizim. We are talking about centuries of historic social, racial and religious tensions.
In Jesus’ day there were barriers that separated people.
A. Barriers in Jesus’ Day
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with the Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” John 4:9
1. Race – Jewish bias toward the Samaritans and vice versa
2. Gender – Jewish man and Samaritan woman
The love of ethnic or racial purity is not uncommon. In an earlier congregation we served, an elderly Swedish woman’s widowed and very Swedish son was getting remarried. And when she was telling me about the upcoming nuptials she could hardly contain herself when she said of the bride, “And she’s a Swede too!”
Back to the account… in going from Judea to Galilee Jesus had to go through Samaria or go around Samaria. Most good Jews went around. Going around meant going east of Judea, crossing the Jordan River into Perea where they traveled north along the Jordan River to where they could see Mt. Gilboa. When they could see Mt. Gilboa they crossed back over the Jordan into Galilee. They were willing to extend their trip an additional day in order to avoid contact with the Samaritans.