Wednesday, January 22, 2014

John 4:1-26, Introduction, Part II

Here is our passage again:

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.Now he had to go through Samaria.So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered 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.”“Sir,” the woman said, “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 the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”“I have no husband,” she replied. 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.”“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time 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, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

We began our introduction on Monday, and we'll continue our thoughts on this wonderful passage.

We looked at a story in Genesis about Jacob and a well . . . the next story we'll look at is in Exodus. In that book of the Old Testament, Moses did something very similar to what Jacob did.
Moses was in the desert, hot and parched and lonely. He sees a cloud of dust and hears bleating -- a large flock of sheep comes into focus, and he can just make out a beautiful woman guiding them toward the well. It was the lovely Zipporah, his future wife. Well, some of her sisters were there, too, but she was the only one that Moses could see. (Grin) Some other shepherds tried to chase the women away, but Moses stood up for them and saved them . . . and helped her to water the flocks. Again, at this well in the desert, it was Step One in winning a bride.

Moving on to another story, later in Exodus, we see Moses leading the people of Egypt out into that same desert. They were parched with thirst. I think we would be, too, traveling along by foot in a large band of people, every footstep kicking up a cloud of dust. The dust and sand would be in your nose, your mouth, your clothes . . . oh, for a drink of water! The people grumbled bitterly that the Lord could not be trusted to care for them and guide them. The Lord stood upon a rock, and commanded the angry, frustrated Moses to take his rod in his hand and (instead of striking those grumblers) strike the rock upon which He stood. Water came out of the rock to quench the thirst of the people! The Lord is just like that rock; He is our Rock; he can quench our thirst.

Lastly, in Jeremiah 2, there is another picture of water in the desert. Let's look at this verse:
“Be appalled at this, O heavens and shudder with great horror” declares the LORD. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own wells, broken wells that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:12-13
Picture this in your imagination . . . The Lord is standing before His people with outstretched arms; He is offering to them living water. They (and we) have all walked right past Him, and because of our overwhelming thirst, we've dug our own little wells. Wells that can't hold the water that we crave. Broken wells. And all the while, He stands there, ready to provide eternal satisfaction for our thirsty souls, as we keep our puny shovels working and working. We're trying to make our broken wells a little less broken, and ignoring the Fountain of Life.

We're like a desert people, looking for water everywhere. In John Chapter 4, Jesus meets a woman by a well, during the heat of the day. This woman is like us; she's not just thirsty for physical water.
Jesus tells her:
 "Everyone who drinks this [physical] water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
What is the deeper thirst for this woman He met? Verse 18 reveals that this woman has had five failed marriages, and now she is in a sixth relationship! What broken well is she digging? Well, she's been trying to find life and contentment in the arms of another man. Each time she has tried it, it has turned out to be another broken well. The satisfaction just didn't last. The well ran dry . . . and so did the next one . . . and the next one.

What are our broken wells? Let's give it some thought -- where is it that we try to find our ultimate happiness, meaning, contentment? Where are we searching for reputation, status, and satisfaction? Where are we digging with our little shovels?
Hmmmmmm . . . if we try to complete this sentence: "My life will be fine as long as I have _______." Whatever we put in that blank, whatever that is, that is where we find life. That is the well that we are struggling to drink from, whether the water is clear or muddy.
The same Lord of Jeremiah 2 is the Lord of John, the fourth chapter, too. He says that we keep on digging and going back to broken wells.
And you know what? It works for a little while. Just like it did for this woman in the verses above.
But after a while, the pleasures fade, the money runs out, the great idea doesn't pan out, or someone that we love leaves us by death or by choice -- and we get a mouth full of mud instead of water.

And the whole time, He is standing there, offering us Living Water.

When we look at the Samaritan woman, we might think of the country and western song, "Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places" . . . but you know something else? So are we. So next time, let's see how Jesus deals with this woman, and perhaps we'll learn how He can help us, if we will just turn to Him.


Cathy said...

The sad thing is, even those of us who have been given those living waters, and know how satisfying they are, still go chasing after all the other wells. How can we ever forget what it is like, to have our Saviour provide that water for us, yet so often, when we are thirsty, and burdened with cares, we search for relief in other places, before coming to Him, rather than running to Him first.

Belinda said...

You said it Cathy! Most of the time we ask everyone else for their advice or help, and don't turn to the ONE who has the answers until we hit the wall.