Summary: This message examines the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
Have you ever experienced those moments when you feel all alone? To make matters worse, it seems as though that there is no one in your corner. When someone finally notices you with a passing glance, it seems as though it was more of a judgmental stare than a simple glance. In that moment you just knew, that the stare meant they had already passed sentence on you. The problem is you already wrestle daily with the pain of past mistakes, what gives anyone else the right to make you pay every day of your life. So to avoid feeling that pain and rejection, you simply withdraw into your own private prison, trying to avoid contact with others as much as possible. It’s not because you want to live a solitary life, it is just because you want to keep the pain from getting any worse. In our text we meet a woman who knows exactly what this feels like. Her past mistakes in the eyes of most keep her from being of any use to the Kingdom of God. Each morning she wakes up with a scarlet letter attached to her, but what hurts the most are those stares and comments made by those who may pass her on the street. Despite these issues she will play a significant role in leading many to accept Jesus Christ. With her story immediately following that of Nicodemus, we are given one of the most significant messages of the Gospel. That is, “no one’s pedigree or past mistakes are of any value in determining one’s worth in the Kingdom of God.” Today we are going to see that God loves us and we can still serve Him despite our past mistakes. In fact it was for mistakes just like ours that Jesus died.
I. A chance meeting with an unexpected person.
A. Jesus’ growing popularity put Him on the radar screen of the Jewish religious leaders.
1. The Pharisees have noticed Jesus’ growing popularity and any growing Messianic movement would be interpreted as a political threat.
2. The Pharisees information was faulty because they thought Jesus was baptizing but that was not the case, only His disciples were baptizing.
3. Jesus realizing that His time had not yet come, He chooses to avoid any conflict by leaving Judea and heading back to Galilee.
4. The most direct route from Judea to Galilee required that Jesus pass through Samaria.
5. The problem lies in the fact that strict Jews believed that they would be defiled if they stepped on Samaritan soil. To avoid defilement they would take a route around Samaria through Perea which was east of the Jordan River.
6. After a thirty mile journey on foot, Jesus arrives at Sychar in Samaria and sits down to rest at Jacob’s well and His disciples run into town to pick up some food.
7. This sets the stage for a much unexpected meeting.
B. Jesus has a conversation with a person who already has a couple of strikes against her.
1. Jesus and His disciples arrived about noon and as He rests, Jesus encounters a woman coming to draw water.
2. There are three things quite unusual about the woman coming to draw water.
a. There were wells that were located much closer to the town.
b. Women generally would go to the well to draw water in groups.
c. Noon was the hottest part of the day and women normally came to draw water later in the day to avoid the extreme heat.
3. This leaves us with the impression that the woman wanted to avoid running into any of the other women of the town.
4. Jesus definitely encounters a woman with two obvious strikes against her without considering her past.
a. Women were considered property and men would not normally strike up a conversation with them.
b. Samaritans were hated and avoided by the Jews.
5. This woman comes to this well at this time to avoid being reminded of the great shame she lives with, so this man at the well is more than just an inconvenience.
6. Jesus makes a surprising request of her because normally Jews would not share anything with Samaritans especially an eating or drinking utensil. This opens the door for her to be drawn into a conversation.
II. A conversation with an unexpected promise.
A. Jews and Samaritans both were eagerly awaiting the coming of the Messiah.
1. Jesus directs the conversation in a way that the woman would learn about two important things.
a. The gift of God which is life.
b. Who it was that was speaking to her.
2. Many Samaritans were just as zealous for the things of God as were the Jews, the fundamental disagreement was over where one should worship.