Summary: This is about Jesus and woman at the well.
This is a rich passage. I could spend a couple months preaching from this passage. Give background of animosity between Jews and Samaritans. Women were marginalized.
Read John 4:1-42.
What does it mean that Jesus had to go through Samaria? Was it divine or geographically necessary? Both.
She was IMPACTED by Jesus.
She was surprised that Jesus would even talk to her. To the Jews Samaritans were half-breeds, both culturally and religiously. It was also inappropriate for a man to converse with a woman in public. A man wasn’t even supposed to talk to his wife.
Jesus crossed a social taboo to meet with this woman. Most Jews went around Samaria. Jesus didn’t harbor that hatred toward the Samaritans.
She MISINTERPRETED Jesus initially.
People tended to miss what Jesus was saying at first. Nicodemus was like that when he talked of the new birth. Later in this passage, the disciples are confused about the food comment v. 32).
The woman, like many of us was more concerned about her physical and material needs that she was with her spiritual needs. Nothing physical can satisfy our deepest spiritual needs. We should be thankful that Jesus would embrace us on our level.
She was IDENTIFIED as a sinner.
Jesus exposed her as a sinner. What’s interesting is that she didn’t run and hide from her sin. There is something comforting about Jesus exposing her.
We must come to grips with the fact that we are sinners. We must come to grips, if we have been forgiven, with the fact that we aren’t flawless. This is called conviction, which is a word that many people don’t like.
She INQUIRED about authentic worship.
The woman had an inadequate understanding of worship. This was the major flash point between the Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans were selective about their worship. They picked and chose what the wanted. They only acknowledged the first five books.
They were ignorant about what they were worshiping because they didn’t embrace all of God’s Word. They were also highly superstitious. Ignorance leads us to superstition.
Sometimes I think we, as Christians are superstitious about the way we carry out our lives. Why do we come to church? Is it to encounter God, or is it to appease God so he won’t smite us?
Authentic worship is when our spirit encounters the Spirit of God in a truthful manner. We have to be truthful about why we worship. It doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether or not we come to church if we don’t expect to encounter God. Jesus wasn’t repudiating temple worship. He was repudiating fake worship. Is your worship authentic?
She INVITED Jesus in.
She recognized Jesus as the Christ (the Messiah). She still had some doubt. Doubt is not wrong, as long we seek to address it. Even if in baby steps, she accepted Christ as her Savior.
We invited Christ into our lives when we accept him as our Savior. Have you invited Christ into your life?
She INFORMED her friends about Jesus.
She was so excited about the disruption to her daily life that she left her water jug right there and hustled back to town. She exclaimed to the townspeople, “Come, see…” This sounds a lot like Philip’s words to Nathanael.
Are we willing to drop our physical needs to reach out for the spiritual needs of others? Jesus had forgone his thirst and hunger to speak with the woman about spiritual matters. The woman forgot her immediate physical needs so she could tell others about Jesus.
She INTRODUCED her friends to Jesus.
The townspeople were initially intrigued by the woman’s testimony. They didn’t stop there. They went to see Jesus for themselves. They asked Jesus to hang around for a couple days. “Many…believed…in him because of the woman” (v. 39). “Many more believed because of his word” (v. 41).
Like I said last week, we can argue people into Christianity. It’s not our job to convince people to accept Christ. It’s our job to introduce them to Jesus, and let Jesus do the work.
She IGNITED a fire.
This encounter lit a fire in Samaria. Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). After persecution broke out in the early church, Christians were forced out of Jerusalem. One of the first places they went was Samaria. It would seem, although we don’t have direct evidence, that some of these people had been affected by the woman were still around.
We are called to light a fire. It takes only one person to light a fire. A few years ago, a park ranger out West was accused of starting a massive forest fire because she burned a letter. A small fire on a small piece of paper was fanned into an out of control forest fire. When we light a fire, we can see it spread across our world. But, fires must be fanned. We have to continue to fan the flames. We can’t sit back and wait for something to happen. The townspeople believed not because of the woman, but because of their encounter.