Summary: 3rd in the series "Conversations with Jesus." Jesus offers unconditional love to the woman at the well.

Clip from final scene of "Shrek"

Fiona: "I was supposed to be beautiful"

Shrek: "But you are beautiful"

Unconditional love. It’s the deepest longing of our hearts, because each of us harbors deep inside the fear that if others really knew us, that they would want nothing to do with us. In today’s conversation with Jesus, a woman with a past meets up with Jesus and finds that here is someone who loves her even though he knows her deepest darkest secrets.

Transition: In spite of all of the flaws in her, Jesus offers what counselors call unconditional positive regard. Jesus loves her

In spite of Her Pedigree

v. 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

The Jews of Jesus’ day considered the Samaritans something almost subhuman. You see during the period of the exile the jews of Samaria had intermarried with the gentiles that the Assyrians had resettled there, because of this the people were "mixed race" and the Jews who had kept themselves "pure" throughout the exile had nothing but disdain for the "half-breed" Samaritans.

When traveling from Jerusalem to Galilee they would cross the Jordan river to avoid passing through Samaritan territory. It was said that to eat with a Samaritan was like eating swine’s flesh.

So when Jesus spoke to this Samaritan woman, she was taken aback--why would a Jew speak with a Samaritan? She was supposed to be inferior. But Jesus doesn’t seem to have any interest in her heritage. In spite of her Pedigree...

Jesus Offered Her a Possibility

v. 10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Jesus had room for people like her, he wasn’t concerned with what the world said about her status. He was concerned about here as a precious soul--as precious as the souls of the Pharisees who took such pleasure in considering themselves superior.

You know Jesus still has room for the outcasts of society--and for the outcasts of religion. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in a church going home or in the home of an alcoholic or both, it doesn’t matter if you’ve dabbled in the occult or Wicca or even if you’ve never been to church before this morning. Jesus offers you a possibility, He offers "living water" a drink that satisfies not just the body but the soul and fulfills our deepest needs.

In spite of your Pedigree He offers a possibility. Next we see that Jesus cared for the woman at the well...

In Spite of Her Past

vv. 16-18 He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." "I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

Here were all the secrets of her life--known by a stranger. All the things she wanted to keep hidden from the world, because if people knew--they’d want nothing to do with her. In fact in the text itself there seems to be evidence that this was exactly the case. It is midday when this conversation with Jesus takes place. Not the time of day that you would expect a woman to be coming to draw her water for the day--that was a morning chore, but it’s likely that this woman came so that she could avoid the other women who knew her secrets and probably made little attempt to hide their feelings about her.

But here is a stranger, Who somehow knows about her past yet he...

[Jesus] Offered Her a Promise

v. 14 whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

To a woman with a past Jesus offers a promise of a never-ending future. Jesus hasn’t reserved this promise for the select few who are good enough. Jesus said the healthy don’t have need of a doctor but the sick. He also said that he had come to seek and save the lost. Jesus doesn’t ask you to clean up your life before you come to Him--you’re not able to do that on your own. He wants you to come to Him just as you are so that he can change you from the inside out.

Last week I mentioned briefly a man named John Newton, but this morning I’d like to share more of his story. John Newton was born in London England on July 24, 1725, the son of a merchant ship commander. When John was eleven years old he went to sea with his father. After his father retired, John signed-on as a crew member on a British war ship. Finding the conditions aboard the ship to be harsh and difficult, John deserted ship only to be captured. He was then publicly flogged and demoted from midshipmen to seaman and then reassigned to work for the captain of a ship carrying slaves from Africa to the new world (America).

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