Summary: Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well, speaks of living water, true worship, and the fields white for harvest.
John 4:1-42 “Water for Dry Times”
The writer of John paints a stark contrast between the Jewish leader, Nicodemus in chapter three and the Samaritan woman at the well in chapter four. The Pharisee and religious leader has a name, the woman is unnamed. The man was a Jew and the woman a Samaritan. Nicodemus approaches Jesus in the middle of the night. The woman encounters Jesus in broad daylight at noon. Nicodemus is confused, the woman is insightful. Nicodemus returns to his home still in the dark still not convinced that Jesus is the Messiah. The woman goes and tells the people of her village that she has found the savior of the world.
WATER (John 4:1-15)
We who live in the Valley of the Sun know what thirst is like. We, also, know how delightful it is to drink a cold glass of water. When we were thirsty, we might have recalled seeing people in undeveloped countries drinking water that looked horridly dirty. At the time we had told ourselves that we would never drink water like that. When we were thirsty and without water, the thought may have crossed our minds that even that water would taste good.
The woman who met Jesus needed to come to the well to fetch water regularly. She met Jesus and after a brief conversation Jesus offered her living water—he offered her himself.
We are a thirsty people—not only physically but also spiritually. Saint Augustine is credited with saying, “You have created us for yourself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in you.” We attempt to slake our thirst by filling our hearts with the dirty water of this world—power, prestige, comfort and security. Jesus offers us himself—living water—but we do not discipline ourselves to take the time to drink the water Jesus offers so that we will never be thirst again.
WORSHIP (John 4:16-26)
Jesus’ comments to the woman about her not having a husband cause her to realize that Jesus is at least a prophet. She asks him where the proper place for worship of God is located. The Jews worshipped at the Temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The Samaritans worshipped at the temple on Mount Gerizim.
Jesus replies that the days are coming when the temples will be obsolete. It will not matter where a person worships because God is spirit and people will worship God in spirit and in truth. There are many ideas about what Jesus meant when he said this. I think Jesus is saying that the point of our worship is the Holy Spirit who present in our lives. His reference to the truth doesn’t mean correct beliefs or proper rituals. Instead, I think Jesus is talking about lives of integrity and authenticity that are lived in response to God’s love and grace.
WORD (John 27-30, 39-42
The disciples return from their shopping trip and are astonished that Jesus is talking with a woman. The woman leaves her water jar—she has more important things to do than collect water—and she returns to her village.
The woman tells the people what has happened to her and invites them to come and see Jesus. The people follow her back to Jesus. Jesus stays with the people for a couple of days. When he leaves the people comment that at first they believed because of what the woman said. Now, however, they say that they believe because they have seen and heard Jesus.
The woman is one of the first evangelists in the Bible. She can be a model for how we share God’s love and grace with the people around us. We invite our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to “come and see.” Jesus will meet them where they are and offer them living water as he has us. One sip and they will realize, also, that Jesus is the savior of the world.
Seekers come in every shape, color, nationality and age. Like us, they come because they are thirsty. Together we come and see—not once but daily. We live in God’s grace and love and drink of God’s bottomless well of living water.