Sermons

Summary: Examines worship that is pleasing to God, from John 4. Part of series preaching through John.

John 4 (1)

- Read John 4:4-42

Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Samaria. He is tired, so He sits down by a well, while His disciples head into town to get something to eat. After He sits down, a woman from the town comes out to get some water.

When she comes out, she is surprised to find a strange man sitting at the well. She is even more surprised when He asks her for a drink of water. She’s surprised for several reasons.

First, she’s surprised that a man would speak to her. IN those days, men didn’t usually speak to a woman publicly, who wasn’t accompanied by male family members.

Second, she’s surprised, after He speaks, to realize that He is a Jew speaking to her. The area where they were, had been invaded in the past. The conquerors took the upper and middle class folks from the area and left only the poor. Then they moved folks from other countries into the area. Those folks intermarried with the poor jewish folks who remained behind and so the Samaritan people were mixed race; so the jews wanted nothing to do with them.

Third, he asked her for a drink of water. No Jew in the world would drink after a Samaritan person. To do so would make them ceremonially unclean.

So this woman is very surprised that this man would speak to her.

In verse 16, Jesus tells the woman to go get her husband. She answers that she doesn’t have a husband. Jesus says, “You are right when you say you don’t have a husband. You have had 5 husbands and the man you’re living with now isn’t your husband.”

What woman in the world would dream of such a thing? What woman in the world would dream of being married and divorced 5 times, only to end up lying with a man she’s not even married to?

That is not what dreams are made of. You’re young, you dream of finding that one special person, someone you will love and someone who will love you as you grow old together. You dream of home and family.

I wonder how she ended up in this situation. Did she compromise once in her youth and become a marked woman so that no good man wanted to take her home to Mama? Did she keep picking bad men, or settling for men who would not treat her well, only to become dissatisfied with them after a while and moving on down the road?

What did this Elizabeth Taylor of Samaria look like, that after so many failed relationships, and failed marriages, that men would continue to court her?

The original text tells us that she went to get water at the 6th hour. According to the Roman way of telling time, that would be at 6 in the evening, but according to the way the Jews told time that would be at noon.

I tend to understand the traditional way of interpreting this text, that the woman went to the well at around noon to get water to carry back to her house. At noon, the middle of the day. In the heat of the day. There were no other people, there were no other women there trying to get water, and that was her intent in coming at that time in the first place; because she didn’t want to see other people. She didn’t want to hear the whispering of the other women as she got water. She didn’t want to see their condemning and judgmental glances. She just wanted to be left alone in the tatters of her broken life and shattered dreams.

I wonder if her parents were still alive. I wonder when she first went astray and what her parents’ reactions were at the time.

I called an old friend last night, as I was coming back from a late job. It’s a man I worked for at one time; worked with another time, and who’s son once worked for me. I haven’t talked to him in about 6 months and was wondering how he was doing. We caught up and visited for a while. He asked about Gladys and Drew and then told me about his family.

His son, in his mid 30’s, recently got out of prison. 2 days later, he was arrested and is now sitting in jail awaiting trial for threatening his father. Over the years the dad has started and run several successful businesses, hoping to find something his son would be interested in, something he could pass on. To hear the pain and heartache in that dad’s voice.

Oh, the pain of mistakes we have made, and the grief we feel when those we care about are making mistakes and we are unable to fix them.

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