Summary: The story of the woman at the well tells us why we must confess our sins to the Lord, and why we must believe we are instantly forgiven to free us from ourselves.

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Word Count: 2464,

This sermon was delivered to both St Oswald’s in Maybole, and St Johns in Girvan, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 23rd March 2014

(Scottish Episcopal Churches in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

Summary: The story of the woman at the well tells us why we must confess our sins to the Lord, and why we must believe we are instantly forgiven to free us from ourselves.

Exodus 17:1-7 Romans 5:1-11 John 4:5-42 Psalm 95

“Please join me in my prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)

There is a region with Galilee to the North, and with Judea to the south called Samaria … and in Jesus’ day, the Jews would do whatever they could to avoid travelling through there, even if it meant taking the longer route around it; … because the Jews and the Samaritans just did not get on.

The Samaritans were a mixed race, and the Jews being so holier than thou by their allegiance to the Law, considered Samaritans impure … and unclean.

The Samaritans, on the other hand, refused to accept the Jewish law, and in particular, the great Temple of Jerusalem as a place of worship and so, tensions between these two were ever present.

In spite of this, or perhaps maybe because of it, Jesus decided to pass through Samaria, where he arrived at a city named Sychar; and when he arrived there, he understandably felt hot and tired and sat down by a source of water, known as Jacob’s well. After all it was mid day, and the sun was at its hottest, and the city was deserted, with everyone indoors having a siesta.

Now the water gathering normally took take place at dawn or at sunset when the sun was at its coolest, but midday was the perfect time for this certain woman, to gather water, when nobody was about. So it took no great revelation from God to tell Jesus that this woman had problems, her attire and attitude certainly revealed one thing or another.

Anyway, this woman must have been quite startled to see a Jewish man sitting there at the well; as she must have wondered what he was up to, or what he was after … as she was probably used, and abused by men; but all Jesus asked for was a drink of water.

But that too was strange in itself … ok Jesus was thirsty, but to the woman, Jewish men just did not talk with Samaritan women, because Jewish men were all superior to all Samaritans, particular the women.

But unlike every other man that this woman has ever come in contact with ... Jesus wasn’t on the take, Jesus wasn’t trying to take something away from her ... Jesus was trying to give her something; Jesus was trying to help her ... and as she was of dubious character, Jesus proceeded cautiously, and he must have said, something like, “Could you get me a drink, as I have no means of doing so, the well is deep and I have no bucket”.

The woman then must have heard something in his voice, as women do, which suggested that he was sincere, and she asked him, and I paraphrase, I will do a lot of that today, she asked him “How is it that you a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria”? But Jesus turns the tables and tells her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is speaking to you, you would ask for living water in return".

The woman replied, "But Sir, you have no bucket to return this living water and the well is deep. Where are you going to get living water? What is living water anyway … and who are you to talk about such things … are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well in the first place?

But Jesus replied, "Everyone who drinks this water in the well will be thirsty again, but those who drink my water, the living water … will never thirst again. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."

Jesus is obviously using the water as an analogy for the Holy Spirit, as even today, the Holy Spirit is difficult to talk about and understand.

But Jesus is talking to this woman about being born again, or born of the Spirit, so she can enter the kingdom of God, just like Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3: “That which is flesh is flesh. That which is Spirit is Spirit. You should be … born again.” So understandably, the woman did not know what Jesus was talking about and replied, "Ok then, give me some of this water, so that I may never be thirsty … so I don’t need to keep coming here to to this well.".

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