Summary: Message about what worship and how it is our purpose.
Purpose of Worship
John 4 is a unique and intriguing story. It seems to be that Jesus leaves Judea and goes to Galilee to get away from the division that the Pharisees were trying to create. They were trying to divide the camp of John the Baptist and Jesus. They were going in the same direction and Jesus was not going to allow division, so He leaves.
A Necessary Stop
Vs. 4 seems to indicate that there was a drawing to Samaria. Not because of a road that leads there to get to the destination (we quickly learn that Jews did not associate with the Samaritans) but a leading of the Holy Spirit. Or as we learn later in vs. 34 Jesus was doing the “will of His father”.
So He meets this woman at Jacob’s well. This was at Jacob’s well. Jacob had dug this well located in Shechem during his journeys. It was a place to provide provision and life to his family. It is not hard to imagine the importance of a well to a family and a community. Water brings a refreshing in life.
To me this a beautiful symbol of the church. A place of refreshing, a place of hope. A place where we gather to meet others. We don’t go at this alone. Jesus finds this woman meeting here alone, why? We are not told but the timing she meets and the fact that she is alone tells us that she is trying to avoid people. Maybe guilt, maybe judge mentalism.
This refreshing place had become a burden. Yet Jesus meets her where she is. Right at the place of need. He asks for a drink to remind her of the purpose, that banter back and forth about the judgments of the different cultures then Jesus make a most intriguing offer “living water”.
John 4:13-15 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." (15) The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
There is so much more at stake than just a drink but life changing living water. This peaks her interest. It peaks all our interest when we know we can come to God to bring a refreshing.
Jesus takes it a step further. He gets into her personal life. Why? So she can see how unsatisfied and unfulfilling her life has become. She has lost hope of a good relationship. She has lost hope of peace. She had given up on being happy just being settled.
Why did Jesus ask her to call her husband? Because there is no true conversion without conviction. - Courson
God wants us more than just to be settled or as we said last week to survive. Just barely looking for a little bit of satisfaction or joy to keep us going. He wants to bring a new life, life refreshing, life of hope.
Paul’s Prayer “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” —Romans 15:13
Let’s Settle this
In the next part the woman wants to get to the bottom of a question that has been troubling her. This is the idea of worship. In my mind I imagine her mulling over this question in her mind often. She knew something was missing when she would attempt to worship.
John 4:19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
This is the missing piece. The idea of worship.
(21) Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
The Jews had the person and the system right but they missed the personal connection.
God is seeking
(23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
Could it be that the woman was not simply raising a theological question? Could it be she was also revealing a subconscious desire within? Could it be that her question was not meant to sidestep the issue of her five husbands, but that she was saying, "I want to worship—but where? And how? What does it mean to really worship?"