Summary: When we look for satisfaction in life, we expereince satisfaction from worship.

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John 4:1-26

After church with his father one Sunday morning, before getting into bed that evening a little boy kneeled at his bedside and prayed, "Dear God, we had a good time at church today, but I wish you had been there."

That boy experienced dissatisfaction with his worship that morning. I suppose there is no part of the church’s program with which more people express more dissatisfaction and disagreement over how it ought to be done than with worship.

Robert Webber, author of Worship Is a Verb, said he came in the early seventies when he first became interested in worship to identify four deep-seated concerns about worship: (1) He began to see it as dominated by the pastor or minister; (2) He began to feel that the congregation was little more than an audience; (3) He began to sense that "free" worship was not free, but fixed and often dead; (4) He began to feel that the mystery was gone.

Worship can be a terribly dissatisfying experience, but that feeling develops, more often than not, from a dissatisfying life. Having and maintaining satisfaction in life has a dramatic effect on our worship. We see this quite clearly in John 4 through Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well. Jesus demonstrates quite clearly how worship is related to satisfaction with life.

The experience of the woman at the well, as revealed in her conversation with Jesus, raises a question that is tremendously important to our lives and our worship.


The account of the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus is a familiar one: Jesus went through Samaria on this trip from Judea to Galilee. This was unusual, even though the route was more direct. Normally Jews would go many miles out of their way to avoid the Samaritans. John specifically says, though, that Jesus "had to go through Samaria." There was a mission for him there.

Jesus had stopped at Jacob’s well when the woman appeared at about noon, and Jesus asked her for a drink. Now Jews and Samaritans did not mix, especially men and women. The Samaritans of the Southern Kingdom had intermarried with the Assyrians who had taken them captive. The Jews despised this race, even though they had tried to maintain their Jewish heritage, even begging the Jews for a priest who would teach them the true worship of God. Their request was rejected. They thus established their own place of worship, building a temple on Mount Gerizim. By the time of this encounter, that temple had been destroyed for a century and a half. They continued to worship there, though, and even today, while there are less than 500 Samaritans left, they gather regularly on the mountain to worship.

Jesus offers her the opportunity to have satisfaction in life - living water. She raises the question, "How?” how can he give satisfaction?

Have you ever been really thirsty? Thirst is what kills people in the desert.

In his book Sahara Unveiled, William Langewiesche tells the story of an Algerian named Lag Lag and a companion whose truck broke down while crossing the desert:

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