Summary: Jesus knows how to get our attention through ordinary things in order to make spiritual truths come alive to us. Jesus is willing to cross all barriers in order to help us to come to spiritual understanding.

April, 2007

Deep Wells and Missing Water Pots

John 4:1-15

INTRODUCTION: The woman at the well was a little sarcastic with Jesus. You might say she seemed like a person with a “chip on her shoulder.” Why would He even speak to her let alone ask her for a drink? She was a despised Samaritan, a person from the hated mixed race, a person who had a poor reputation. No respectable Jewish man would talk to her. Women generally came to the well twice a day in the morning and in the evening--this woman came at noon perhaps to avoid meeting others who looked down on her.

In this account Jesus crossed all barriers to share the good news with her. He does not become offended by her remarks. He just goes on talking with her as if he doesn’t notice. The conversation led to His offering her living water. She, not understanding spiritual concepts, replied, “You don’t even have any way to draw the water out of the well; and besides, the well is deep.”

It is true that the well was more than 75 ft. deep, and He had no water pots. Her responses did not stop Him from further explaining more about the well, the living water, or His ability to do what looked impossible.

So much of the time our thinking is very much like that of the Samaritan woman. We, too, look at our situation and say something very similar. When we get into difficult circumstances we say, “Of course He can’t do anything about this problem. He doesn’t have any way to get to the bottom of this problem--it’s so deep that I don’t see how He could possibly solve it. He doesn’t even have a “Bucket.” “Sounds good,” but “Lord, I’m afraid this one is just a little too difficult for you to handle.” “Jesus, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep“…Sounds current doesn’t it?

How does all of this relate to us?

1. DEEP WELLS: Try to think of the depth of the wells in you. It might be a deep well of hurt and trouble inside you that goes back to childhood--when you were mistreated, and you never quite got over it. Now you think it is buried too deep to do anything about it. It has shaped your life. Or it might be current trouble or sickness, finances, or depression and anxiety. Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” You say, “But Lord the well is too deep--the trouble is too far down--too complicated. I’m afraid that even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it. Thanks for wanting to help, though, Lord, but I can’t expect you to do anything about it now.” We pray and say, “Well, I guess it can’t hurt to pray.” Sometimes we remember what we have allowed Him to do in the past. Yes, He could do some things, but it is only partial. There’s no answer for this problem. It’s terminal. He has answered prayers up to a point, but He has never gotten into the deep wells of our lives. We continue to limit Him. We may believe He CAN do it--He will do it for OTHERS--but I don’t think He can do it or will do it for me.

When we get into difficult circumstances we struggle to get to the bottom of our well trying to get water for ourselves, but it is never enough. It never satisfies. The well of our own incompleteness runs deep but we continue to struggle. The well is deep--how in the world could the Lord do anything about it? Sometimes we try to shrug things off by saying, “That’s just the way I am or that’s the way I was raised. Things can’t change now. They are too deeply ingrained. This is about the best I can be.”

Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear.” He can reach down into our deepest well. Nothing is too difficult for him. There is a song that says, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, is too difficult for Him.” His arm is not too short--the well is not too deep.

How many times a person will ask someone, “How are you doing?” and they say, “As well as can be expected.” We’ve got to raise our level of expectation! Of course we have deep wells, but the God we serve knows how to get to the bottom of them.

2. NO MEANS: The Samaritan woman was quick to tell Jesus that she didn’t SEE any way for Him to get the living water. First, she doesn’t think He is capable of furnishing her with any water, not in this well. He didn’t have any means of causing it to happen. She didn’t SEE any water pots. Water had to be drawn up with a lot of hard work. He had to at least have a water pot to put it in.

She, like so many of us, will only trust the Lord as far as we can see and will not believe His promises unless the MEANS of the performance is visible to us. Where are the water pots? Where are the buckets? How is He going to perform this? How is He going to accomplish this difficult task??? We have a million questions. We try so hard to figure out how the Lord is going to do things. When we think we have it all figured out, He totally baffles us and does something else.

STORY: There was a magician who was hired to do his act on a cruise ship. He had been there for several years and did the same act over and over because the crowd was continually changing. He enjoyed the good life, spending most of his time out on the deck working on his tan rather than new tricks.

One day the Captain bought a parrot and the parrot came with him every night to see the magic show. The bird learned all the tricks as to where the cards, flower, etc. were hidden by the magician in his act. The bird would say, “the card is up his left sleeve, the flower is under the pot, he hid the money under his shoe…”

Because the parrot caught on fast, it was getting harder by the day for the magician to come up with new tricks. The magician hated the parrot for giving away all of his tricks, but since he was the Captain’s, he couldn’t just weigh the bird down and throw him overboard.

Late one night the engine room exploded and the ship sank within minutes. Miraculously, the magician found himself clinging to a log. He was the only one left alive. As the sun came up in the morning, he turned around and here at the end of the log was that parrot. They just glared at each other and said nothing. This went on for three days.

On the fourth day the parrot finally broke the silence and asked, “OK, I give up--what did you do with the ship!!!”

We may read the scriptures and feel that Jesus’ ideas are lofty and impress us, but we conclude that He is not in touch with reality. After all we are living in the age of technology. We think what Jesus proposes to do can’t happen today where I live or work. Not with MY family. This is a different age. This is a different time. Things have changed. Even if He had a water pot it wouldn’t work in my situation or with my deep well. Some things we can figure out, but why not let Him work things out however He wants to?

Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts and misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God and on to the problem. How am I going to have enough money to pay my bills? How am I going to get well? How am I going to…? The problems become bigger than Jesus to us. We say, “It’s easy to say trust in the Lord, but a person has to live realistically” and besides Jesus has nothing with which to draw water--no means to do this.

Isaiah 55:8, 9 says, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

The Lord is looking at things from an entirely different perspective. A lack of water pots does not bother Him in the least. He has other means to supply our needs.

The Samaritan woman could not understand how He could provide this living water without having any means of drawing it from the well. Are we really that much different from her? I don’t think so.

3. LACK OF UNDERSTANDING: Because of this woman’s non-spiritual perspective, her interests were selfish. She said, “Well, give me to drink that I may never thirst again--that I won’t have to come back to this well every day and work so hard to draw water and then carry these heavy water pots back home. There was so much she didn’t understand, and it’s the same way with us. Jesus said to her, “if you had known you would have asked.” If we do not seek Him, it is a sign we do not know Him. She didn’t know Him. She didn’t comprehend these truths. She didn’t SEE any living water. She didn’t SEE any way to draw water from the well. We limit Jesus so that He is unable to work in our life because we can’t SEE. Things are not always as they seem in our life. We see one thing, but the Lord knows the full story. He doesn’t leave us with partial information. Praise God!!

STORY: (pilot) The airline announced a 45 minute delay and everybody on board was getting ticked. By the time they got to Sacramento, the flight attendant explained that there would be another 45 minute delay. People could get off and walk around and reboard in 30 minutes.

Everybody got off the plane except for one man who was blind. He regularly traveled on this airline and the pilot knew him. The pilot called him by name and said, “Keith, we’re in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs for awhile?”

Keith replied, “No thanks, but maybe my dog, Roy, would like to stretch his legs.”

Picture this: All the people in the gate area came to a completely quiet standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with the Seeing Eye dog. The pilot was even wearing sunglasses.

People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, they also were trying to change airlines!!

The Lord did not leave this woman at the well with a lack of understand. He began to fill her in on the full details. She began to see Jesus in a new light. She began to understand that the well is not too deep for Him because He doesn’t need to use our human methods to accomplish things. It is at this point that she began to understand what LIVING WATER is. We begin to see Him in a different light, and we begin to realize that things are not the way they look on the surface. Living water is different from the water from the well. We are so quick to misunderstand at first, but then we find out differently. This water is never failing--springing up WITHIN US--not just a bucketful that runs out. Jesus has enough for us in spite of deep wells and missing water pots. The well is not too deep or inaccessible for Him to reach. He is the Source of this living water.

What causes us to take the limits off of Him when it comes to our own deep wells? One specific thing that stands out in these verses is that we find out, as did the Samaritan woman, WHO HE REALLY IS and WHAT HIS QUALIFICATIONS ARE. Jesus told her, “if you knew the gift of God and who it is that is telling you this, you would ask Me to give you the living water.” In this verse He is making His claims of who He is and what He is capable of giving.

4. WHO HE IS: We often come to Him as our sympathizer and comforter, but we do not see Him in His fullest dimension--as Almighty God. We, like the Samaritan woman, can’t seem to understand His power and His ability. We limit Him at every turn; but Christ, the Almighty has enough for us. He can reach the most critical need we have. The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is because we have failed to recognize that the Lord we serve is Almighty. Genesis 18:14 asks the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Jesus answered that in Matthew 19:26 when He said, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Again in Luke 1:37 it says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Why is this? Jesus says in Matthew 28:18, “ALL POWER is given to me in heaven and in earth.” This is why Jesus has the capabilities to handle our deep wells. You will know that it CAN BE DONE if you look to Jesus in a different way and focus on His capabilities. He is Almighty. Look away from your deep wells and missing water pots and focus on Him. Look away from your limitations and to Him who is the Source of living water. You will begin to know IT CAN BE DONE when you look to Jesus. The Samaritan woman began to understand--maybe her understanding was limited, but she was moving into a new dimension. She said, “Give me this water that I may not thirst. Whatever it is, let me have it.”

Oswald Chambers said, “The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do.” We impoverish and weaken His ministry to us the moment we forget He is Almighty. The impoverishment is in us rather than in Him. The Samaritan woman was spiritually impoverished. She heard His words but missed His meaning. Living water to her was nothing more than fresh water from Jacob’s well. In fact she could not understand how he could possibly give her water that would be any better than that from Jacob’s well. She even asked Jesus, “Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well?” Jesus gave this woman an extraordinary message about fresh and pure water that would quench her spiritual thirst forever. It wasn’t something at a distance, for He said, “the water that I give you shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life--right inside you.” It is at this point that we begin to understand what living water is. We begin to understand that it is never failing--springing up from within--not just a bucketful that runs out. Christ--the Almighty--has enough for us to reach to the depth of our thirst, the depth of our trouble and into our deepest well. And it is not available to us just once in awhile. This LIVING WATER is within us--the Almighty God and His power is within us as a well, never failing, that springs up enough to help us with whatever problems we go through, whatever trouble, whatever dilemmas. It is not that He promised to remove our deep wells, but He promises His LIVING WATER to change the hopelessness of our situations, to help us a step at a time through them.

CONCLUSION: How do you see Jesus? Have you asked Him to give you the Living Water and to come into your life? Have you asked for His forgiveness and His salvation? Are you still limiting Him in your life because you do not understand His qualifications and His power?

We are all at different stages in our journey of faith and we are in the process of growing in our knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:18 speaks of the “eyes of our understanding being enlightened that we may know the hope to which he has called us, the riches of the glorious inheritance and his incomparably GREAT POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE.” God’s POWER is available to help you. Won’t you ask Him to make Himself real to you, to open the eyes of your spiritual understanding just as he did the eyes of the Samaritan woman. Open our eyes Lord that we may SEE Jesus and His unlimited power and ability to reach into even the deepest of wells--to change even the most hopeless of situations--to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.