Summary: 3rd of 6 In John 4, we meet a woman at Samaria. She is doing a chore she’s probably done every day of her life—gathering water from the local well. But on this day her life is transformed because she encounters Jesus. It all starts with an invitation fro
Free Ice Water
The depression took the fun out of 1932. It was no time to go into business. But Ted and Dorothy Husted bought the little drug store in their town. The little village of Wall, South Dakota was barely surviving. Grasshoppers had eaten all the crops in the region. It was a dust bowl because of a long drought and temperatures (often for ten days at a time) of over 100 degrees. Their little drugstore was not making it. They were about to quit.
One hot afternoon with no customers in sight Dorothy went home to rest but she couldn’t sleep because of the constant noise of traffic going by on the highway near their house. In that moment she realized that most of these travelers were hot and tired. She went back to the store and worked out a fantastic marketing strategy.
Ted went 25 miles in each direction and put up signs that read, FREE ICE WATER AT THE WALL DRUG STORE, Wall, S.D. They put up signs at 10 miles; and at 5 miles the sign read: HOLD ON! IT’S ONLY 5 MILES TO THE WALL DRUG STORE AND FREE ICE WATER.
Before he even got back to the store people were stopping for free water. Some bought ice cream and other things. They struggled to keep up with the constant flow of people.
Today, decade’s later, signs all over the world telling you just how far it is to free ice water at the Wall, S.D. drugstore. On a hot summer day more than 20,000 people crowd the drugstore that covers most of a city block. This happened in a town of that has never had more than 800 residents. It remains the most spectacularly, successful drugstore in the entire industry. Druggists had been handing out free water for generations. But Ted & Dorothy were the first people who ever thought of advertising it.
Jesus offers water that quenches the deep inner thirst every person has felt. He offered it to a woman in Samaria and it changed not only her life but also the life of everyone she knew in her village.
The Woman at the Well
The well was the most public place in the community.
Today we don’t have a well we go to for our water. We pipe it into our homes instead. We may not have wells anymore but we have shopping malls, supermarkets, community centers, classrooms, and office buildings.
And they are chock full of people like this woman that Jesus met at the well.
Jesus went to a woman lost in darkness
Here was a person who was lost and unaware of it.
Is that possible? Can you be lost and not know it? Of course you can. It happens all of the time.
I once visited with a couple in Xenia, Ohio who had been guests at the church where I ministered. After a time the husband said, “Last week in church you said that we could be saved. We don’t understand. Saved from what?”
They didn’t know that they were lost. They didn’t understand the condition that they were in. They thought the emptiness and hunger in them for something spiritually satisfying was normal. That you just lived with it. In fact they got so used to it that they didn’t even consider it a problem. They were living in darkness – unaware of the light.
My Grandma Grubbs used to say that they were like the fly in the vinegar jar that thought it was the sweetest place in the world because he had never been anywhere else.
People get used to the dark
Have you ever been in a theatre in the middle of the afternoon and then walked out into the light?
We get used to the dark; and even familiar with the darkness that surrounds us. When we live in the dark it eventually becomes our companion and friend. The darkness becomes our every day life.
Isn’t it interesting that bars and nightclubs are never well lighted? The dirt, grease, grime, the broken fixtures, worn furniture, and scratched woodwork is all hidden in the dimness of the place. In the same way that the murky light hides the physical flaws of the room the human blemishes are covered. Somehow, the wrinkles of aging, the puffiness of too much drink and not enough sleep, and the sallow skin that hasn’t seen much sunlight is smoothed over in the shadows. The problem with spiritual darkness is it dulls you to truth.
The 1st job of every Christian is to go to those who are lost in the darkness
What makes that very challenging and incredibly simple at the same time is that most people are in the dark and don’t know it. Here is a woman that was spiritually thirsty and didn’t realize it. She thought that the water of the well would satisfy her needs but Jesus saw the real thirst deep inside her. He saw into the darkness of her soul and addressed it directly…