Summary: Three aspects of this woman’s encounter with Jesus were crucial to her transformation. These same 3 elements are vital to every conversion. 1- Acceptance 2- Convictaion 3- Revelation
Transformation of a Scarlet Woman
Fortifying the Foundations # 9
Read John 4:1-30 (For text in NIV go to end of this manuscript).
Sang “Fill My Cup” with verse taken from this text.
In text we see a Radical Change occurring in this woman’s life as she encounters the Lord. She arrives burden by guilt and shame. She leaves full of joy proclaiming the good news of Christ.
Jesus has taken long journey from Jerusalem to Samaria on his way to Galilee.
He is tired and thirsty. He plops down at this old well relishing a moment of rest. And that is when his opportunity to witness occurs. Have you noticed that ministry does not always come our way at a convenient time?
This is a Defining Moment in this woman’s life. It looks like a chance encounter (a random intersection of two lives). But this event does not come into this woman’s life by chance. It has been planned by our loving, heavenly Father. This is a divine appointment.
Here we are this morning--not by chance but by divine providence. What will God say to you and me during the next thirty or forty minutes? What wonderful changes might He make in our lives?
There are three aspects of this woman’s encounter with the Lord that were crucial to her transformation. Three grace factors:
that are vital to every conversion. Consider with me how each of these factors worked in this woman’s encounter with Christ.
1st Love and ACCEPTANCE
As Jesus sat there, he looks up the dusty trail to see a woman approaching the well.
She has no spring in her step as she drags herself up the path. On her shoulder is a large, clay jar. Its heavy—but her weariness is not just because that load. Life has worn this woman out.
As she gets closer, Jesus looks into her eyes and sees the pain she carries in her heart--
painful memories of dashed hopes, failed relationship, and guilt ridden conscience. I would guess her to be about 40--old enough to have experienced five troubled marriages. She looks older than that—but isn’t that one of the things sin does to a person? It steals away his or her spark for life. It robs the energizing hope for tomorrow.
It was high noon—the sun’s heat was beating down mercilessly. Other women had gotten water during cool of morning. They had enjoyed a visit with one another in process as a part of their daily social activities. But, this Scarlet woman would rather endure the blistering heat of sun than the judgmental stares of self-righteous town’s women.
She was not wearing a Scarlet Letter, but everybody in town knew what she was.
I wonder what kind of abuse this woman has gone through--five disastrous marriages –perhaps proceeded by abuse when she was a child. What were her first thoughts when this man, Jesus, first spoke to her? What does this man really want? She is street smart and has been approached by men before. But she will soon discover that this man is altogether different than those who have pillaged her life in the past.
When Jesus asked her to give him a drink, it was not what she was expecting. “You are a Jew speaking to me, a Samaritan—what’s wrong with this picture? You people have been turning up your noses at us for years. So what’s up?”
The parenthetical note in verse 9 could be understood to mean, “You Jews do not drink out of the same vessel as we Samaritans” Since the Samaritans were mostly a mixed race of Jews (intermarried with other ethnic groups imported to the area by the Assyrians after their conquest of northern Israel in 722 BC), the Jews considered them half breeds.
The racial prejudice held by Jews against Samaritans was exasperated by religious and political factors as well. The Jews considered the Samaritans to be apostates because they did not come to the temple in Jerusalem to worship. The Samaritans even resisted Ezra and Nehemiah when they rebuilt Jerusalem and the temple.
So, this woman was surprised that Jesus, a Jew, would even speak to her. Jewish men normally would not speak to women in public, let alone a Samaritan woman—and think of it in their culture a Rabbi talking to this kind of woman. No wonder in verse 27 the disciples marveled that this was going on.
Jesus asked her to give him a drink of water. Let me share with you a little secret about Jesus. If he asks you to give him something, what he really has in mind is to give you something better. Some of you know by experience what I’m talking about. He asks this woman to give him natural water so he can engage a conversation with her out of which he will ultimately give her “living water.”