John 4: Come Thirsty
As Jesus ends his encounter with Nicodemus, let us once again listen in to the end of this conversation as Jesus makes the following statements about which there can be no confusion. He tells Nicodemus, “ For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him , the world might be saved.” Jesus then says almost bluntly to Nicodemus- “… whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Remember what Paul said in Romans 8? “ There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” The trial has been held in the council of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the verdict is read: “ This is the verdict (condemnation, KJV) Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
We see a brief mention of an argument between John the Baptist’s disciples and a certain Jew about who is baptizing the most converts, John the Baptist or Jesus. John’s disciples are fearful of everyone going to Jesus and his ministry shrinking. John the Baptist says Jesus must become greater and he must become less. And John the Baptist confirms, “ Whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whosever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods’ wrath remains on him.”
Now we move from one remarkable conversation to another. This difference between these two people could not have been any further apart to the people of that time. Nicodemus was a Jewish man, a Pharisee, a religious, respected ruler. The next conversation is with a Samaritan woman, immoral, disrespected and ignorant of spiritual and religious truths.
Jesus and his disciples are headed back to Galilee. We read, “ Now he had to go ( must needs, KJV) through Samaria. He did not have to go through Samaria to get back to Galilee, and most Jews would not travel through Samaria. Just so we understand, Samaritans were despised by Jews. Samaritans were mixed breed of Jews and Assyrians, a result of the Assyrian captivity of the northern tribes in 721 B.C. They were not allowed to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem and had set up their own synagogue on Mount Gerizim. Now remember earlier in John 2, Jesus told us mother, “ my hour has not yet come.” Jesus is following His Father’s will, on His Father’s divine time schedule. His decision to take this route through Samaria we will see is in order to do his Father’s will. Jesus and his disciples have arrived at high noon. The disciples have gone into town to obtain food. Jesus is tired and resting by the well. The Samaritan woman comes to draw water at noon, an unusual time to draw water, but probably a time chosen by her to avoid the women from town.
Have you ever noticed most relationships begin with a conversation? Jesus starts the conversation. He will start a conversation with what is at hand, the common denominator, the simple need for water. They both need water. This woman lacks the knowledge which Nicodemus had. Jesus is going to impart three of the most important facts every person on the face of the earth needs to know:
1. Who He ( Jesus) is.
2. What He has to offer.
3. How anyone can receive it.
Jesus is about to cast the seed, the incorruptible seed, the Word of God. We will see as Jesus tells us in the parable of the seed and the sower, the seed will land on one of four types of soil, which represent the condition of one’s heart. The four conditions are: hard heart, shallow heart, crowded heart, and prepared heart. We will see as the story and conversation unfolds, she has a shallow heart, which hears and interest springs up , but the soil will need to be prepared, deepened, plowed up.
Jesus starts the conversation with a simple request: “ Will you give me a drink?” He is respectful, putting himself in the lower position of asking her a Samaritan woman for a drink. Remember there is a deep racial barrier of hatred and animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans. She wants to begin a civil rights debate: “ you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman, how can you ask me for a drink?” It is as if she wants to bait him, to cause him to grow angry and debate these racial differences .
Jesus, however, responds using the natural to describe the supernatural, the spiritual. He tells her “ if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”
Notice her reply- for instead of harsh words, his gentle manner of respect has created a similar change in her attitude toward him. First she had called him a “ Jew” and now she calls him, “ Sir.” The whole expression of her face has changed along with her attitude toward this unusual man. “ Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and flocks.” She is puzzled but interested.
Jesus replies: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks this water I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus who created oxygen and hydrogen and combined two parts of oxygen with one part of hydrogen created water. He is using the physical truths to demonstrate spiritual truths.
So by now, she has encountered two marvels, first of all things, a Jew had asked her for a drink. Second, he claimed to have living water , which he was quite willing to give her. She replies, “ Sir give me this water, that I may not thirst again, nor have to keep coming to the well to draw water.” THIS WOMAN HAD COME THIRSTY.
Now Jesus is offering her eternal life a gift. But Jesus always has to deal with the question of sin. If we say we have not sin, the truth is not in us, and we lie. But if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jesus must put his finger on what causes our thirst which cannot be quenched. The cause of this thirst: sin.
The soil of the heart must be broken. The plow of conviction must do the work. You see, if one wants eternal life, the cause of death – sin- must be removed.
Jesus says to her, “ go call your husband.” This woman who has been most talkative up until now, offers her briefest exchange. “ I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “ You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” No lecture on sexual immorality, no verbal “ raking her over the coals”, no stern lectures or harsh words. He wanted her to know He knew her sins, and she had to admit them.
From calling Jesus a Jew, to the respectfully calling him “ Sir,” now she adds another as Jesus knew all about her, she calls him: Prophet. But now she is uncomfortable because he knows her history. She attempts to change the direction of the conversation to a religious debate. She talks about her religion. “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is Jerusalem.”
She resorts to tradition and the claim of heritage, the same as the Jews did. She goes back to ‘ our fathers.’ But Jesus takes her remark and uses ‘ the Father ‘ over against her fathers. Now in today’s environment of re-defined tolerance we are told not just to accept another’s right to believe what they want to believe, but to accept what they believe, especially in religions, as being equal. When marriage was redefined, President Obama, said we should accept the marriage of a man to a man or a woman to a woman as being as honorable as the traditional God ordained marriage between a man and a woman.
Jesus is saying in plain, clear language: all religions are not equal, nor acceptable to God. They who do not have the Son, do not have the Father. They worship in ignorance and unbelief. Jesus said you Samaritans worship what you do not know. He tells her the truth: you do not know who to worship, where to worship or how to worship. This is not hate speech. This is speaking the truth in love. The only faith God accepts is the faith which came through the Jews. Through the seed of Abraham, through tribe of Judah, of the family of David, of the city of Bethlehem. The Bible is of Jewish origin. God gave His Word through them. They were faithful to write it down and preserve it. (God chose Abraham and his offspring to be the people, the vessels through whom He would bless the world. )God the Son came to earth in a Jewish body prepared for him. God chose to send the Lamb of God through the Jewish people. This is why Jesus said, “ Salvation is of the Jews.” God’s offer of salvation is available to all who believe. To all races, to all genders, to all backgrounds. It is an all inclusive offer. God is not willing that any should perish , but all would come to repentance. But it is an exclusive offer, no one comes to the Father except by Jesus Christ.
Jesus then tells us, “ Yet a time is coming and now has come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” We must have the Spirit of God which comes at conversion in order to know the spiritual truths, for the natural man cannot understand the supernatural, the spiritual. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts who leads us to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth which is found in God’s Word and poured into our hearts. We engraft His Word into our hearts and souls and then the Spirit of God is able to lead us into true worship.
Now the woman had received some knowledge somewhere in her teaching, she knew about the Messiah, but she did not know who he was. She says, “ I know that Messiah, called the Christ, is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Now Jesus reveals to this woman, an immoral Samaritan woman, he is the Messiah. He has told there the three most important truths she needs to know:
1. He Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the World.
2. He controls the gift of salvation, forgiveness of all sins and eternal life.
3. It hers for the asking. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10)
“ For by grace are you saved by faith and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” ( Ephesians 2: 8,9)
“Therefore , just as sin entered the world through one man( first Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…” But the GIFT is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the GIFT that came by the grace of one man , Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again the GIFT of God is not like the result of one man’s sin.” ( Romans 5)
Guess what happens next? Just at the critical moment of their conversation- an interruption as the disciples come back from town with the food. But guess what- our role is to cast the seed, break the soil, water it, but it is God who gives the increase. The Holy Spirit will not be hindered by interruptions.
Now John in his gospel draws attention to how Jesus was teaching the disciples in private moments those truths which the needed to know. This trip was not just for the Samaritan woman the well or for the citizens of Sychar who come out to hear Jesus. This trip was for His disciples also. This was Jesus’ ongoing discipleship and training program using every moment every day to teach them through example. The disciples have returned with food. They ask Jesus, aren’t you going to eat, Rabbi? Jesus said I have food to eat of which you do not know. What is that food? Did someone bring you something? Again Jesus uses the natural and physical to teach the spiritual. My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish the work. Finish the work of what was God’s plan of redemption even before He created the world. Jesus is on His Father’s time table to finish the work His hour has not yet come.
Jesus then talked about the harvest and told the men to look at the fields for they were already white, ripe for the harvest. Yet the harvest was in a place they would have never looked. And I believe even as Jesus spoke these words, they looked up and saw the crowd coming out of the city to hear Jesus because of the woman’s witness.
Revival would come to Sychar in Samaria and Jesus would stay two more days. They came because of what the woman said. But watch what happens: “ They said to the woman, “ We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” Their faith had found a resting place. It rested not on someone else’s testimony, but on the word of Jesus. Unlike the Jews who asked for a sign in order to believe. The Samaritans asked for no signs. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
Do you see the impact just one person can have on another person’s life? Remember we are salt and light. Salt not only preserves, salt makes you thirsty. Sin cannot quench your thirst. To drink alcohol in excess will dehydrate one and they awaken the next morning more thirsty than ever before. In Luke 16, in the story Jesus tells about the rich man and Lazarus, where the rich man ended up in Hades in the Place of Torment. Listen to what this rich man, who seemingly in life had everything, asked Father Abraham for: “ Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip his finger in the water and cool my tongue, because I am in torment in this place.” A place of perpetual and unquenched thirst.
This woman came not knowing:
1. Who Jesus was.
2. What He had to offer
3. How she could receive it.
Jesus said if you knew the gift of God and who controls is , you could ask Him and He would give it to you. Now repentance was required, sin had to be confessed. For after all it was sin which had left this woman so thirsty. She had come to the well that day- SHE HAD COME THIRSTY. She went away satisfied, forgiven and now knew who Jesus was, what he had to offer and how she could receive it. To receive the love of God , we must receive His Son. The GIFT that keeps on giving.
“If anyone thirsts , let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” ( John 7) “ Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters” ..Isaiah 55:1