Summary: This sermon examines the characteristics of Jesus’ love and asks if we have experienced it and if we are evidencing it.
Feb. 13, 2000 John 4:1-38
“Fountain of youth found!”
In the early 1500’s, soon after the discovery of the New World, Europeans began making the long journey across the ocean in hopes of finding something. Some were hoping to find a new life. Others wanted adventure, the chance to explore a place where no white man had ever been. Some wanted religious freedom. But there were others who came in search of gold. One of these was a spanish conquistador by the name of Ponce de Leon. Ponce de Leon and his men were the first Europeans to explore Puerto Rico, parts of Mexico and Florida. In his quest to find gold, he had many encounters with the Indian tribes in the area. These Indians had stories not only of gold but of a spring that bubbled up out of the ground. This spring was said to have magical powers. Anyone who drank of it would be healed of any disease or physical problem that they might have, and their bodies would be restored to youth once again. It was appropriately called the “Fountain of Youth”. Though he made it his life-long goal to find this fountain, he was obviously unsuccessful. He died from a poisoned arrow in 1521.
Here in the almost 21st century, not much has changed. We are still looking for the mythical fountain of youth. Women try to find it in make-up and facials. Men and women try to get it by having their faces lifted and their bellies suctioned. Now is the time of year when the diet craze is about to take effect because everyone wants to look good when they put that new bathing suit on. And then we’ll spend time out in the sun this summer to get just enough color on our faces to give us that “youthful glow”. By the way, the youthful glow of today leads to the elderly leather of tomorrow. Isn’t it amazing that a century or two ago, the goal was to become aged so that you could enjoy the respect and wisdom that old age brings. But today, the goal is to look as young as you can so that you can feel good about yourself. As much as we try, and as many breakthroughs as science hands us, our search for the fountain of youth will end the same way that Ponce de Leon’s search ended. It will end with out death.
Fifteen centuries before Ponce de Leon, a woman came to a well. She wasn’t searching for the fountain of youth. She was just looking for enough water to get her through another day. We don’t know how old she was physically, but we know that she was very old emotionally and spiritually. People and life had used her up, and when she had out-lived her usefulness, they had thrown her away.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt old, worn-out and used-up? Do you feel like every one around you is draining you dry of any life that you have? The kids are always making constant demands on you, the boss gets raises and promotions as a result of work that you have done, your teacher expects you to have time to do 5 hours of homework every night and your spouse never seems to be satisfied with what you do around the house. At the end of the day, no matter what the calendar says is your age, you feel old. You’re just making it from day to day.
On the day that the woman of John 4 came looking for a jar of water, Jesus told her that He could give her a fountain springing up with eternal life – eternal youth. Jesus was the only person that she had ever encountered that loved her completely not because of what she could do for Him but because He was love. He was the only one whom she had encountered in a long time – perhaps ever – that offered her something of value without expecting her to do anything in return. Jesus had a different kind of love.
On this Valentine’s Day eve, I want us to examine the way that Jesus displayed His love for this woman. I want us to see what “Jesus love” is like. And then I want you to ask yourself these questions: first, have I experienced that kind of love in my life? Am I experiencing it now? Second, am I showing that kind of love to other people?
1. “Jesus love” won’t be stopped by anything. (vs. 4-9)
- not by weariness When I walk in the door at the end of the day, usually one of the first things that I hear is Ben saying, “Will you play with me?” Playing with Benjamin is the last thing on my mind at that particular moment. I want to sit down on the couch, take my shoes off, and just vegetate for at least a few minutes. That’s probably the way that Jesus was feeling on that day. He and his disciples had been traveling by foot over rough terrain since early that morning. The sun was beating down, it was 12 noon (the sixth hour), and someone had forgotten to pack lunch for the group. One of the group got the idea of going into the next town to get some food. All that Jesus wanted to do was get some rest. So He sent them into town, and He sat down by the well. Can you picture him there? The disciples are heading off in the distance, Jesus sits down with His back to the wall, and He closes His eyes to get a little snooze. After a little bit, He hears a noise. First, he hears footsteps, and then he hears someone set a jar down on the stones of the well. He really doesn’t feel like saying anything. He just wants to sleep. But instead of remaining quiet, He speaks up and involves himself in the life of this woman. Jesus considered the woman’s need for what only He could offer to be more important than the replenishment of His energy through rest. Why did He not allow His weariness to stop Him? Because He had “Jesus love” for her.