Text: John 4:3-30, 39-42 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 So Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee.
4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The Salvation of a Scarlet Woman and The Nature of True Worship John 4:3-4:30
This morning I want us to consider a conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
This passage of the Bible is perhaps one of the high points of John’s gospel, because included in this conversation is a priceless revelation about true worship and the message of salvation.
The people in this passage were a despised group — Samaritans, half- breed Jews.
They were people rejected by society, both Jewish and Gentile. But they were not rejected by Jesus!
They needed him, so “He had to go through Samaria on the way. ” (John 4:4).
Most Jews travelled around that region, but Jesus felt compelled to go through there.
How can we reach the people of Rayleigh with the message of salvation?
One way would be for someone to be saved who could witness to the rest. This is the method Jesus chose for this village.
Although it could seemed like an accidental meeting - God does not do coincidence - God has a perfect plan and perfect timing.
This woman, comes to the community well at high noon. The hottest part of the day, the time when everyone would be somewhere else, somewhere in the shade.
She was lonely and she was empty.
Certainly she did not dream that a miracle was about to happen — and to her!
This encounter with Jesus did not take place in a hushed, sacred setting, but in Samaria, and she was a woman whose life was jaded with moral sin!
But then, this is the glory and beauty of God’s truth: It knows no limit of time or place or person.
God’s glory is always revealed to those who are ready to receive it,
whoever they are and wherever they are.
So by God’s Spirit the truth was revealed to this Samaritan woman.
Actually, she tried to change the subject as Jesus began to probe deeply into her life.
The popular evasive question in her day seemed to have been, “Where is the proper place to worship—in Jerusalem or on this sacred mountain in Samaria?”
Jesus did not ignore the question.
He used it as a springboard from which to reveal to her the real nature of worship, the pattern for all true worship.
Jesus spoke about man made worship and then Jesus told the woman about a God-centred worship.
I. First of all, Jesus spoke about manmade worship.
Three basic weaknesses of manmade worship are revealed in Jesus’ words to the woman.
Manmade worship is artificial.
It is the result of people adding a little here and taking away a little there until they have turned the worship into something they are comfortable with.
This is what the Samaritans had done in their insistence that true worship must be conducted on Mount Gerizim.
They adjusted history to suit themselves by insisting that it was on this mountain that Abraham had been willing to sacrifice Isaac, and that it was here that Abraham had paid tithes to Melchizedek.
They tampered with the Scriptures themselves when they taught that it was on this mountain that Moses first built an altar and sacrificed to God in preparation for the entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 27:4 clearly states that it was Mount Ebal, not Mount Gerizim.
Every cult has done this same thing in twisting and distorting the Scriptures.
A contrived gospel is a false gospel and will lead people to destruction.
Not only is manmade worship artificial; it is also ignorant of the truth.
Jesus said to this woman ’You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship”
The Samaritans accepted only the Pentateuch.
They rejected all of the great messages of the prophets and all of the beauty and inspiration of the Psalms.
They had a partial revelation of the truth, and a fuller revelation was available to them, but they would not accept it.
They chose to remain in spiritual darkness.
There is no excuse for people who believe in Jesus Christ to be ignorant of what they believe or of the basic teachings of God’s Word.
There was a time when people were ignorant of spiritual things because they did not have the full revelation of God.
But that time is no more; Jesus has come and has revealed God’s true nature to us.
We have the Bible and the ministry of the Holy Spirit available to interpret it to us.
So manmade worship is artificial and ignorant of the truth it is also superstitious.
The Samaritans had adulterated the pure worship of Jehovah by recognizing the pagan gods of the foreigners who had come to dwell among them.
They had mixed in with their worship of God all of the superstitions of the pagans.
You know, many Christians have allowed superstition to become a basic part of their worship.
Some will attend church, not out of a genuine sense of need, nor out of any real desire to meet God in a worship experience, but because they are afraid not to!
They feel that, if they do not go through the motions of worship, something bad will happen to them.
They may even contribute to the church and give tithes because they are afraid some calamity will befall them if they don’t.
That is worship out of fear (not reverential fear), and such an attitude is the same as superstition.
A true worship experience is motivated by love for God and by gratitude for what God has done in our life and family.
II. Jesus spoke about manmade worship then Jesus told the woman about God-centred worship.
In telling the Samaritan woman about God-centred worship, Jesus gave her the eternal formula for true worship:
Listen to John 4:23-24 - “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
The first thing Jesus said about worship is that it is God-initiated.
God makes the first move toward people in establishing a true worship experience.
People do not have to seek after God or beg and plead with him to meet them in worship.
That is what the prophets of Baal did on Mount Carmel in that famous contest with Elijah.
They begged and cried and worked themselves up into a hysterical state— finally cutting themselves and shedding their own blood in their fanatical frenzy — trying to attract and coerce Baal to hear them and answer their call.
But what did Jesus say? “The Father is looking for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth”
People do not seek God; God seeks people.
In other words, privately or publicly when we come together, God is waiting, eager to meet us!
He is seeking us, to enter into the worship experience with us.
But not only is God-centered worship initiated by God, it is a spiritual experience.
Listen to John 4:24 again. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
For thirty-three years, in a mystical union we cannot fully comprehend, God entered human flesh in the person of his sinless Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then, in an even greater miracle, God died in the person of his Son and rose again the third day to conquer death and pay the price for our sin.
But even during that amazing time of identification with man, God was still omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
Because God is spirit, his omnipresence makes it possible for us to worship him anytime anywhere.
In the privacy of my room, I can worship God;
in the midst everyday life, I can worship God.
Meeting together as church, we can worship God.
God-centered worship is a spiritual experience and we not only are we to worship in spirit, but also in truth.
Jesus praying to Father God in John 17 said:
“Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth.” (John 17:17).
I cannot read God’s Word properly without having a worship experience every time I do.
For as I tune my heart to read his words, the Holy Spirit begins to open my understanding.
God’s Word, the truth of God, is the compass of my life.
It keeps me on the pathway of righteousness,
it guides my daily walk with the Lord,
it leads me in His ways.
in His words there is truth and light and life.
A question, What is the worship of the church?
God’s Word helps me to keep God at the centre of worship, and at the centre of my life.
Genuine Worship of God requires a friendship with God - an intimacy with Him - a relationship with Him.
If we want to truly Encounter God, we need to draw near to Him.
The glory and beauty of God’s truth is revealed to those who are ready to receive it,
whoever they are and wherever they are.
And God’s truth was revealed to this Samaritan woman.
There’s five “C’s” I would like us to briefly consider about this encounter:
I. Curiosity aroused (John 4:4-14).
The woman was full of curiosity.
And I think as she stood there would have been many questions running through her mind.
Why? Why would this Jew travel through Samaria?
Why would he talk to her?
For a rabbi to talk to a woman in public was a violation of custom. And to talk to a sinful Samaritan woman was totally taboo.
But Jesus broke the racial and social barriers because all people are equally important to Him, and He wants to save all.
What? What was this living water?
Jesus certainly spoke truthfully when he said that water from the community well would satisfy thirst only temporarily.
But his water would stop thirst forever.
Living water? What was that?
Who? Who is this man?
“Are you greater than our father Jacob?” she asked (v. 12).
Her curiosity was aroused.
Many are curious about Jesus.
The offer he makes of eternal life intrigues them.
Does your transformed life, from your trust in Jesus make your unsaved friends wonder if Jesus could do the same in their life too?
II. Craving awakened (John 4:15).
“Please sir, give me this water.”
The woman’s soul desired something that satisfied.
She could have understood his meaning.
She seemed to have some understanding of the Scriptures, and the term living water could have had a meaning for her.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Psalms, and Zechariah all used it to refer to salvation and messianic blessings.
Her words “I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
may have been words of jesting or sarcasm to cover her deep craving for salvation.
Her craving for life was unexpected.
The people of the village expected nothing good of her.
No one dreamed that she would have a hunger for cleansing and salvation.
III. Conviction felt (John 4:16-24).
Her sinfulness was revealed.
When craving for forgiveness awakens,
then sinfulness must be revealed.
Salvation comes when we ask Jesus to deal with our sins and confess our guilt and need.
Without repentance, there is no salvation.
Jesus knew this woman needed to face herself as a sinner, so he said, “Go and get your husband,” v16.
He then informed her that he knew she had been married five times and now lived with a man who was not her husband.
Her escape from admittance of sin was blocked.
She tried to change the subject to religion rather than her sins.
She wanted to discuss where people should worship, but Jesus talked about how people worship. “God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (v.24).
IV. Conversion experienced (John 4:25-26).
“Christ: when he comes.... “As the woman heard Jesus tell her that the way to God did not depend on place or race, but upon the heart, she thought about the promised Saviour, the Christ.
Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah, the Christ.
“I am the Messiah”
Jesus is the one who shows us the Father.
He is the way. He is the truth. He is the Life.
This woman realised she was in the presence of the Messiah.
She forgot her thirst and even her waterpot and went into the city.
Her inner thirst had been satisfied.
V. Confession expressed (John 4:28-29).
This woman was unashamed to talk about the one who had revealed her sins.
Telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”
Her confession was powerful in its effect.
So the people came streaming from the village to see Jesus for themselves.
And the result was amazing When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Every person in this world,
whether they recognise it or not,
is thirsty for the living water - salvation from sin.
Everyone desires the fountain of eternal life. But it is available only in Jesus Christ.
If we are curious enough to recognize and confess sin and guilt, and have faith to experience salvation, then it should also be natural for us to confess Christ as Saviour and Lord.
The salvation of this woman shows the pattern for the conversion of all who need to be saved.
Friends, we come to church… surrounding by the ocean of “Living Water”
We can buy Men’s Study Bibles, Women Bibles, Devotional Teen Bibles and we are thirsty.
We can buy Christian stickers and t-shirts; go to the Christian bookshop regularly. Thirsty.
We come to church sing the songs that quench our souls listen to the Scripture that waters our lives and we still are thirsty!
We walk thru a Coca Cola culture of opportunity with a Sahara desert soul?
Why don’t we drink from the well that never runs dry.
Why do we allow are our souls to be shrivelled and dehydrated?
Thirst is one of the most powerful spiritual symbols in all of scripture.
As dehydration draws the whole of our physical being to a longing for water, so a spiritual void will draw our spirits into a search for deeper meaning for our lives.
The Psalmist expressed it this way, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1-
You see, before we can really have a close relationship with God, we’ve got to thirst for God.
I mean we’ve got to thirst like the Psalmist .
We’ve got to cry out as David cried out…”God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
We must come to a point where we can get before God and say, “I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land” (Psalm 143:6).
We will never have a close relationship with God until we thirst after Him.
That is why Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
We must capture that type of spiritual thirst!
We must thirst and long for God and for spiritual living!
Isaiah gives the promise in 58:11 “ The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fails.
Are you thirsty?
Are you thirsty for God?
just come to Jesus and drink,
and He will fill you until you overflow and become a river of living water that will bless others as well.
His invitation has one requirement
Come whoever is thirsty!!!