Summary: An exposition of the story of the woman at the well in John 4, focusing on God’s grace and our response.
When did you learn the truth about Santa Claus? I have to be careful here, lest I betray something in the sermon that I should not, but I¡¦m sure that all of you remember the day. For me, it had to do with the Easter Bunny. I happened to see some Easter baskets on the stairs one evening before Easter, and after I figured that much out, the rest just seemed to fall into place. I guess at 16 I was wise enough to figure things like that out.
We¡¦re a long way from Christmas, although if you drive down Darrah La. in Lawrenceville you will actually see some Christmas lights up and burning. That¡¦s crazy. But the whole Santa thing¡K it¡¦s great to get presents, but there is a hook. You are supposed to be good to get them. You know, the old ¡§He sees you when you¡¦re sleeping, he knows when you¡¦re awake, he knows if you¡¦ve been bad or good so be good for goodness¡¦ sake¡¨ thing. I wonder if that causes trauma for kids. This guy sees everything you do in a day, a week or a year? Wow. Not sure I can handle that kind of pressure.
Last week we looked at the story that has become known as ¡§the woman at the well¡¨, and I told you that there was far too much material here for only one week¡¦s study. Last week we considered two principles. The first is that God has a way of arranging divine appointments. It was no accident or coincidence that Jesus and that woman are together at the well in Samaria. John tells us that Jesus had to pass through Samaria, which is a bit of an overstatement unless you understand that he was keeping a divine appointment.
The second principle we looked at is the fact that religion is not the answer. Not the answer to what? It¡¦s not the answer to anything, unless you plan on working out your guilt for the rest of your life. Religion destroys people, while Jesus gives abundant life.
But this week we have several more things to consider. And if you are really spiritual and are taking notes, the first point is this:
Being known by God is inescapable.
Oh-oh, the ¡§he sees you when you¡¦re sleeping¡¨ thing. That¡¦s a tough one.
13Jesus answered, ¡§Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but 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.¡¨
15The woman said to him, ¡§Sir, give me this water so that I won¡¦t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.¡¨
16He told her, ¡§Go, call your husband and come back.¡¨
17¡§I have no husband,¡¨ she replied.
Jesus said to her, ¡§You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The 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.¡¨
This has been the most bizarre encounter that this woman has ever had. She shows up at noon, in the heat of the day, so that nobody will see her or know her story. A Jewish Rabbi is there. Not good. He talks to her. Not good at all. She begins a banter about religion, he responds with some kind of talk about a special kind of water. Then he says the thing that she had most dreaded, the thing that had her out there in the heat of the day to begin with. He asks about her husband. Of course she has none, but she does have a past and a present. Something that she would not be excited for Santa Claus to know, much less a Jewish Rabbi.
How about you? What is true in your life that you don¡¦t want Santa Claus to know, much less the God of the universe?
It is said that D.L. Moody once ran an ad in the city newspaper that said, ¡§Everything has been discovered, flee at once.¡¨ And half of his friends left town.
You and I really are desperately wicked. Oh, we clean it up real well and we look pretty good in church. But that¡¦s the outside. The inside is not so great, is it? Jesus said to the Pharisees, who, by the way, were much better folks than you and I are,
¡§You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men¡¦s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.¡¨
In Genesis we are told that ¡§every inclination of our hearts is evil from childhood¡¨. Jeremiah is told by God, ¡§The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?¡¨ The list goes on and on, and there is nobody here who would dare to dispute it if we are honest.