Summary: So many people in our world are running on empty, but God has come so that we can live life to the fullest, an abundant life. God wants to quench our spiritual thirst.
If you have your Bibles this morning, please turn with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 4. This morning, we’re going to look at a story of life-changing proportions. We’re looking at the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. So, pull out your Bibles and let’s go, John 4, starting in verse 3. We’ve got so little time and so much to cover. I’m reading from the New Living Translation this morning and it’s up on the overhead, as well:
Read John 4:3-30
If you’re observant this morning, you probably noticed the overhead behind me with the title of my message. I called the message: “Running on Empty: God’s Cure for the Thirsty Life”.
I think a lot of people today can relate to that phrase: the thirsty life, or the empty life. Because all around us, believers and unbelievers alike, people are living lives on empty. They have nothing to fill them: no purpose, no drive, they’re just running on fumes.
Have you ever been in a car that’s running on empty? I was driving one day back in my old stomping grounds of Quispamsis. Now, where I lived in Quispam, there was a huge, steep hill to get from my house to the main part of town where I worked. So, I’m driving my parents old 1994 Pontiac Trans Sport. Do you remember those? They were the Pontiac equivalent to Wayne’s van…ours was even the same color and everything.
Well, I’m driving up this hill, listening to music and generally not really paying a whole lot of attention… until suddenly, I stop going up the hill. I’m like, “Huh…that can’t be right”. Then, you see, I start going backwards. Now, I’m thinking to myself, “What am I, an idiot? Did I put the van into neutral or something?”. Nope, it’s in drive. FEAR! I can go forward. My car is now going backwards down a hill. What am I going to do? Luckily, I had the presence of mind to jam on the breaks (yes, they worked. Praise the Lord) and somehow guide the van to the side of the road and jam on the emergency brake. Turns out, the transmission was dead. Toast. At least that’s what I was told. I know nothing about these things! I think that was the day I learned what a transmission really does.
You know, so many times in life, we are like me in that van, we’re driving uphill without a transmission. We’re running a car without fuel. We’re running our bodies without water. We’re living our lives on empty.
Jesus used this opportunity to give us this illustration of living water. Jesus’ purpose on earth was summed up well a little later in the book of John in chapter 10 when he says: I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus’ desire is for us to live life to the fullest. There are so many times when we live empty lives when we could live full lives. There are so many times that we live unfulfilled lives when we could live abundant lives.
Jesus wants to quench our spiritual thirst. He wants to fill us up. He wants to give us life to the fullest. But how can we do that, how can we quench our spiritual thirst. I believe there are three things we can learn from the passage to help us quench that spiritual thirst, to help us live our lives to the fullest, to, as John 7:38 says, have, “rivers of living water [flowing] from [our] hearts”.
The first thing this morning is this: recognize your need to be filled by Jesus. Recognize your need to be filled by Jesus.
In our passage this morning, the words of Jesus resonated with the woman because she knew she was living an empty life. She was thirsty and she wanted what Jesus had to offer.
The woman in this story, we’re told, has had five husbands and was living with a man that wasn’t her husband. In retrospect, she was kind of the Elizabeth Taylor of her generation.
This woman was looking for something to fill her. She was looking to have purpose. She was looking to have importance. And this desire, improperly addressed, led her into the arms of all these men, but left her unfulfilled.
And when we look around the world today, we see the same kind of thing: people looking for fulfillment; people looking for purpose, and looking in all the wrong places.