Summary: How Jesus led the woman at the well to eternal life.
That Fountain of Life
Rev. Sean D. Lester
Text: John 4: 4-14
Put yourself in the place of the Samaritan woman. You are going to the well, you see a stranger sitting next to the well. You assume he is thirsty, and that he needs help getting some water out.
What do you do?
This seems like a no-brainer to us. You take your ladle and get some water for the man. He says, “Thank you,” you say “You are welcome.” Then, you go home. That is what happens if you put a normal, well-adjusted person in the story instead of the Samaritan woman.
So, let’s ask why she didn’t do that. There must be some reason why she felt a need to make something out of the encounter.
1. She harbors racial hatred. I have seem genuinely prejudiced men be kind to people of another race who were in need. This woman seems to say, “You don’t really want a drink from me, so don’t make me do it.”
I have known many people with deep racial and socio-economic prejudices. I have learned the deeper the hatred, the greater the sin that is being covered over. Hatred is the flash of smoke and light a magician uses to draw your attention away from the fact that he is sneaking a rabbit into the hat. Hatred against people, and against sin deflects people’s attention away from the truth about one’s true character.
This woman’s reaction gives us a clue that she has something to hide, something dark and embarrassing. The more righteous sounding, the worse the feeling of shame.
2. She has allowed her hatred to manifest as rudeness. What does she expect to happen to this guy? He isn’t going to die because she didn’t give him a drink. She isn’t going to unnecessarily prolong his life by giving him a drink. She is simply being rude to someone she has never met. Do you know people like this?
I have known plenty of these people. Obviously, I am introduced to people as “Pastor Sean.” Now, I am not hung up on titles. The use of titles like “pastor” and “reverend” are cultured titles that have been used for centuries. There is nothing wrong with it, and nothing sacred about it, either. But it always takes me back when the person I am meeting responds with a congenial, “Hi, Sean.” Instantly, my skin begins to crawl as it has been made very clear to me that this person does not like something about me, without actually knowing me.
Now, how would you react if you are in Jesus’ place? Once again, if you put a normal, well-adjusted person in this place, the scene plays out like this:
Woman: “You don’t really want a drink from me, New.”
Normal person: “O.K., sorry to have imposed on you.” End of scene.
“Normal” people aren’t going to get into it with this woman. They won’t probe deep into her personality because it isn’t their place to do so. They are going to get away from her because she gives normal people the creeps. And, in today’s time and task conscious society, normal people will simply move on to where their needs will be met.
But, Jesus isn’t a normal person. He looked beyond the littler performance that he has been given to see the truth of her heart. And, he doesn’t move on. He says with her because He has compassion on her, and wants to replace her hatred with the love of the Father. Which brings me to my point.
Proposition: Jesus Christ heals hurting hearts.
Interrogative: How does Jesus Christ do that?
Transition: Jesus Christ notices what people do to try to escape the pain of broken and hurting hearts.
I. Jesus Christ tells you the truth about what people do to escape the hurt.
A. Jesus told the woman plainly, “If anyone drinks this water, they won’t be thirsty again.”
1. First, he disarms the woman’s’ rudeness. He says, “It doesn’t matter to me if you are rude. But I care enough to tell the truth to you.”
2. Second, he draws her into a discussion about spiritual things. By her example he shows us that the problems of hatred and pain are spiritual in nature, and that we must take people out of the realm of the flesh and into the realm of the spirit.
3. Jesus is honest. He isn’t going to affirm her, sidestep the issue, or even attempt to feel her pain. He is going to take tackle the issue head-on.
B. The church is not in the business of providing affirmation and empathy. We are in the business of reconciling people with God so they may be saved. To do that means we must preach the truth of scripture.