Summary: Jesus points the Samaritan woman toward a relationship with God as the source of life.
I. THE STORY IS SAD AND ALL TOO FAMILIAR.
Nobody knows it better than a woman who lived nearly two millenniums ago in a remote village in northern Palestine. She had made what she thought was a good decision, to marry the man of her dreams.
However, it was not long before she started having problems. At first, it was a generalized irritability, but eventually their arguments erupted into violent clashes of opposing wills. The hurt and anger ran deep. Eventually, they decided to get a divorce.
Failure is always painful, but some say that divorce is the most painful kind of failure. She experienced a deep anguish. She believed that she would never again allow a man to enter into her life.
With time, the pain diminished and she found herself with another man. This time, he seemed to be everything she needed. As she commented to one of her friends: "When I’m with him, I feel so alive."
They got married, and very soon, the same problems began to emerge. It was not long before she had her second divorce.
This time, it did not take as long for the pain to go away. She soon found herself with another man who made her feel a lit up inside. They quickly found a judge to marry them. She did not even invite her family this time. She reasoned, "If it does not work out, we will just get a divorce."
That is what happened. She got her third divorce and then her fourth and fifth divorce. With the sixth man, she did not even bother to get married. They just moved in together.
You know what happened next. She met Jesus.
II. HER PROBLEM IS COMMON TO THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
[MAIN POINT]: She was looking for the SOURCE.
--> Life, Meaning, Love
Song: "Looking for Love in all the wrong places."
Illustration: [With a lamp in hand] Jesus used water to illustrate His point. Let’s change the metaphor for a moment and think of it as light. Many people go through life trying to plug into something they think will "turn on their light."
Some, like this woman, go from relationship to relationship, thinking that, some day, they will find that special someone who will light up their life. All we have to do is listen to the popular songs.
Others look for it in PLEASURE, MONEY and POWER or simply by drowning themselves in a constant barrage of ENTERTAINMENT.
The point is that none of these things are capable of fulfilling the longing that we have in our soul.
The only thing that can do that is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
III. LET’S LOOK AT THE TEXT.
A. PHASE I: THE TEASER
1. Jesus asks for water (v. 7).
The woman is amazed. There was a deeply rooted antagonism between the Samaritans and the Jews that went back centuries. It is a long story, but in essence, the Jews thought of the Samaritans and half-breed heretics, wallowing in the filth of paganism. It was so bad that a decent Jew traveling from northern Palestine to Jerusalem, would take the much longer rout of crossing to the east side of the Jordan and then recrossing, just to avoid setting foot on Samaritan soil.
2. The First Teaser: "If you knew the gift of God . . ." (v. 10)
The woman does not understand. She is thinking "physical water."
Yet, she senses something more . . .
"You are not greater than our father Jacob, are you?" (v. 12)
3. The Second Teaser (vv. 13-14)
"Shall never thirst."
A spring . . . the SOURCE
A boundless, limitless, immeasurable source of life and light springing from within the inner person.
Jesus is offering her nothing less than a direct connection with God.
B. PHASE II: REALITY CHECK
1. She is ready to say "YES". . . "Sir, give me this water" (v. 15). What would most of us have done?
2. But, there are some ISSUES.
"Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."
One of my favorite verses.
A classic case of avoidance. The human mind seeks to protect itself from the pain of facing up to one’s personal failures.
She changes the subject.
3. She wants to talk RELIGION.
"Our fathers worshipped in this place . . . (v. 20)
There’s a principle here: It is far easier to talk about religion than it is to admit our estranged relationship with God.
C. PHASE III: JESUS’ NEW PROGRAM
1. Jesus does not press the issue. He respects her reticence. I like that about Him. He has this amazing ability to bring to the surface our most heinous sins, but He does it in such a gentle, loving way that, instead of retracting into the protection of our denial, we allow ourselves to be exposes to His light and we find healing in that exposure.