Summary: This is the 13th sermon in a series we are doing on the Gospel of John. In this sermon we look at the woman at the well and how the things of this world can never bring lasting fulfillment.
Water, Worship, Work – Part One (Gospel of John Part 13)
Text: John 4:1 – 26
Just to remind everyone, before the Easter Holidays, we were going through the Gospel of John. We took a break from that, over the last two weeks and had our Palm Sunday Sermons and Resurrection Sunday Sermon. So that means… we’re back in John’s Gospel this morning. And we’re going to be looking at chapter 4:1 – 26. So let’s go ahead and open our Bibles to John 4 and let’s read the passage and see what the Lord has for us this morning (READ TEXT).
Now the first part of this passage starts off with John telling us about Jesus deciding to take a trip northward to Galilee. And he tells us why that is… it’s because Jesus has heard that the Pharisees were becoming interested in the fact that His disciples were baptizing more people than John the Baptist was. And we talked about this in our Palm Sunday sermon a couple of weeks ago. If you remember… we talked about how Jesus had a set time in which He was to go to the cross and die for our sins, and until that time came, He had to make sure to stay under the Pharisee’s radar so to speak. And so, He’s starting to be a “blip” on the Pharisee’s radar, and He’s like – “Time to pack up and go up to Galilee for a while.”
Now Galilee was north of Judea, but Samaria was in-between the two regions, and at this time, no self-respecting Jew would travel through Samaria. In-fact; John points this out in verse 9 where he writes as a footnote, “(For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans)”. So what the Jewish people would typically do if they were traveling from Galilee to Judea, or from Judea to Galilee was… they would cross over the Jordan River to the east, and travel to the other region, bypassing Samaria. That would sort of be like you or me saying, “Instead of taking the shorter route through Moreland to go to Enid, I’m going to take the longer route through Fairview.” And if you know your Old Testament you know the reason for this. You see; the OT tells us that both the Jews and the Samaritans originally came from Jacob. They were both part of the 12 tribes of Israel. And when King Saul, and King David, and Solomon reigned over Israel they were all one nation. But then Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king, and he was wicked and cruel, so 10 of the 12 tribes separated from the other 2, and they became their own nation… They were actually called Israel at the time, and the southern nation was called Judah. In the northern kingdom of Israel, there was one wicked king after the other, and they fell into idol worship and paganism. Finally; around 722 B.C. the Assyrians came in and conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. And what the Assyrians did was brought their own people in, and started having mixed marriages in order to breed the Jews of the northern kingdom out. So they were no longer a pure line from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They basically became an entirely new people group, who were called Samaritans. In the southern kingdom of Judah, though they kept their bloodlines pure.
Now what’s so interesting about all of this, is that our text says… in verse 4 that Jesus “HAD” to go through Samaria. Not because it’s the only way to Galilee… but because Jesus is going to have this providential meeting with this woman.
And as John’s writing this, he’s doing it in a way that parallels chapter 3. He’s almost contrasting the meeting with Nicodemus with the meeting with the woman at the well. Think about it for a second… Nicodemus was a Jewish man… He was a Pharisee. He’s one of the respected, orthodox leaders of Israel. He was religious. He was honorable and well known. But here in chapter 4 it’s a woman… not a Jewish woman, but a Samaritan woman. We don’t even know what her name was. And not only that… she’s not a moral person. She’s had 5 husbands, and the guy she was with at this particular time isn’t her husband… and actually; the implication here is that he’s someone else’s husband, but he’s shacking up with this lady. So she’s an obvious sinner. Nicodemus was a sinner too, but he probably wasn’t thought of in that way. With this lady, there’s no doubt. And so she comes to the well to get water. It’s probably something she did every single day. It was part of her routine. But this time, it’s going to change her world. Because this is why Jesus HAD to pass through Samaria.