A reoccurring theme in the gospel of John is to “come and follow me and receive life.” This book is about how Jesus came to save us and give us life. Jesus came to earth so that people may have life, but we look for it in all the wrong ways.
In chapter 3, Jesus met Nicodemus, a great religious leader. He was a member of the religious elite, one of the best educated in the community, and was in desperate need of life. Chapter 4 tells a story about a culture, Samaria, that cares very little about a person, and Jesus shows up and flips the script.
The Samaritans were a despised group by the Jews. The hatred started when the Northern Kingdom seceded from Israel and went their own way. They strayed from the One True God. In 722 B.C., God disciplines them by allowing the Assyrians to conquer them.
In those days, when an empire would conquer people, they would assimilate the people into their culture with the objective to kill their cultural identity. History shows that the Northern Kingdom of Israel fully embraced this and became a new people that made up Assyrians with Jewish flavors. They became the Samaritans.
People from the Southern Kingdom thought they were pure. They looked down on Samaritans as impure. The Samaritans built places for them to worship. They saw the temple in Jerusalem as a corrupt place. They hated the Jews so much that they got rid of any pro-Jewish chapters or books in the Bible like Psalms.
The relationship between Samaria and Israel was so damaged that Jews would not travel through Samaria, they would travel around Samaria and add six extra days to their journey. It’s in this context, that Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at a well.
“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give me a drink,” Jesus said to her, because his disciples had gone into town to buy food. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.”
All women came to get water from the well in the morning, the Samaritan woman came to the well at an unusual hour. She was an outcast, despised by her own people.
Then Jesus asks her: “Give me a drink.”
She answered: “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.”
She did not like that there was a Jewish man at the well asking her to give him some water. Her society had put into place certain social constructs that created lines of division between people. The gospel blows up every social construct.
Two Ways the Gospel Obliterates Every Social Construct
1. The gospel has its sights set on giving grace to everyone
Just like Israel and Samaria, people put into place certain things that separate us from other people. We are not as far away from John 4 than we think we are.
The gospel explodes the moral constructs of one person being better than another based upon some genetic disposition or choice. Everyone one of us has been created on purpose and for great purpose in His image.
The scope of the grace of God is big enough for all humanity and everyone is within its sight.
Why is this so important?
- You are never above or below the grace of Jesus Christ.
- Believers will come from every facet of society.
2. The gospel’s depth of love and grace will never run out
“Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.” “Sir,” said the woman, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’? You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.”
Jesus starts talking about salvation.
“Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.”
Then, a mind shift occurs.
“Sir,” the woman said to him, “give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”
Jesus does not waste an opportunity and gets right to the point.
“Go call your husband,” he told her, “And come back here.” “I don’t have a husband,” she answered. “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said. “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
They were talking about wells, water, and then Jesus calls out her sin. Why does He do that?
The Samaritan woman came every day to the well to get water and she drank that water until the jug was empty. Then, her craving for more water comes back. She goes back day in and day out to fill her craving for water. She acts the same way with the desires of her flesh. She goes from man to man hoping to find fulfillment and life.
She keeps looking for life, but the jar of fulfillment keeps running out.
“Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus is talking about heart problems; she deflects it and talks about the social constructs and differences.
Why is she deflecting? She wanted to be found, but she was afraid to be seen. This is a human struggle. We all want to be found, but we do not want to be seen because of the darkness of our hearts, so we deflect.
The beauty of the gospel is that there is enough grace for all of us and all our sin. His love and grace meet you where you are.
What we see here is a woman’s journey of sin on her way to redemption. When Jesus pulls back the curtain of what is going on there, she starts to deflect where God wants to work so He can purge and cleanse to bring about life.
“Jesus told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Jesus told her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”
Everything she knew to be true, everything she was hoping for was right there in front of her. She had met the Messiah.
“Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the people.”
She left the jar that she used to quench her thirst. She started spreading the gospel in her town. A lot of people came to know the Lord because of what she said, because of her testimony. Her response to redemption was to worship and then to go on mission.
If you are in Christ, you have a testimony. It is your mandate to go and tell.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.