Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 4:14b (Holman) AIn fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.@
The new life Jesus gives is a vigorous, active principle. A true spring never ceases to flow. Unfortunately, Christ is obviously not Agushing forth@ from most of our lives. Much of what we do for Jesus is often done under a sense of compulsion.
Does our life bubble from within? Is it attractive?
John 4:15 ASir,@ the woman said to Him, Agive me this water so I won=t get thirsty and come here to draw water.@
The Samaritan=s response is showing no trace of spiritual understanding, but is showing a better attitude toward Jesus.
She has progressed from AThou hast nothing to draw with@ to AGive me this water.@ She doesn=t understand all the details, but can at least ask for the gift she thinks has been offered her.
Something about Jesus was drawing her. She was responding to His words and His acceptance of her.
John 4:16 AGo call your husband,@ He told her, Aand come back here.@
The woman was being drawn to the beauty of Christ, but had to see the ugliness of herself. Jesus had to awaken in her a spiritual need, because salvation begins with a sense of sin.
Remember two vital truths about these seemingly harsh words from Jesus. One, He spoke like this only after the woman knew she had been fully accepted by Him.
Two, His purpose was cure. He only wanted to help. True conviction is Acriticism based on hope.@ If our witnessing drives penitents to despair, something is wrong with our approach.
John 4:17a AI don=t have a husband,@ she answered.
Jesus had touched a sensitive nerve. The Samaritan=s curt answer exposed her reluctance to deal with this issue. She wanted to stop a dangerous conversation at once, but Jesus was determined to bring her sin out into the open. She had to be reminded how unchaste her past life had been. Witnessing is incomplete until there is this kind of confrontation.
John 4:17b-20 AYou have correctly said, >I don=t have a husband,=@ Jesus said. AFor you=ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.@ The woman replied, AI see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.@
Jesus= reply was devastating. He knew all about her. Jesus had touched a sensitive nerve. She liked Jesus, but did not like what He was doing to her. His supernatural knowledge of her past scared her.
To stave off more, and possibly worse, revelations, the Samaritan used two ploys: flattery and diversion. She desperately wanted to keep the conversation away from the unpleasant discussion of her sin. The woman was, like many lost people, not angry at the Gospel, just afraid of it.
Wanting to avoid specific application, she tried to change the subject to one of a vague and general nature. It is always easier to talk about religion in general than to apply the message to self.
Samaritans believed Gerizim was God=s chosen site for worship. The Jews disagreed. They felt Jerusalem was the holy city.
John 4:21-24 Jesus told her, ABelieve 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 is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.@
Jesus refused to argue with her. He told her the controversy is irrelevant. The rival claims of Gerizim and Jerusalem will soon vanish in light of the revelation He is about to unveil.
The Father seeks true worshipers. Hence, all who are seeking His face should be striving to become sincere worshipers. The place does not determine worship. God can be worshiped anywhere and everywhere people are in the right condition to worship.
John 4:25 AThe woman said unto Him, I know that Messiah is coming )who is called Christ). When he comes, He will explain everything to us.@
The Samaritan woman tried another ploy, procrastination. Realizing she was no match for Jesus, she in effect put the conversation on hold. The cry of the world is too often, AGive me this water, but not yet. I want it . . . later.@
John 4:26 AI am He,@ Jesus told her, Athe One speaking to you.@
In Samaria, Jesus claimed to be Messiah. He hid His true identity from Jewish teachers and leaders, but revealed Himself to this lowly fallen woman. A Samaritan, a woman, a sinner, was the recipient of the first clear confession from Jesus of His Messiahship. The Lord=s ways are mysterious.
The Lord loves to use unlikely vessels. This assures He will have all the honor, and forces all onlookers to look to Him for help.
Jesus= standards are not our standards. We seek respectable vessels. He seeks true worshipers.
John 4:27 Just then His disciples arrived, and they were amazed that He was talking with a woman. Yet no one said, AWhat do You want?@ or AWhy are You talking with her?@
The returning disciples were surprised to see Jesus speaking to a woman. Added to their shock was the fact she was a Samaritan and a sinner.
Their response to the Samaritan was sad. It is always disappointing when saved ones attain super-fine spirituality, put on airs, and turn away from the very ones Jesus would welcome.
The disciples eventually changed, but at this point were caste-bound male chauvinists. The stretching of the disciples= own hearts to care for all nationalities would take years, be personally painful, and come only after seeing the examples of Jesus, of Philip the deacon with the Samaritans and Ethiopian Eunuch, of a converted Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus, and of Cornelius and Peter.
John 4:28-30 Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the men, ACome, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?@ They left the town, and made their way to Him.
With Jesus= announcement of Messiahship, the conversation reached its climax. There was nothing more to say. It was time to accept or reject.
The Samaritan woman accepted. Instead of responding with words as before, this time she replied with action.
Suddenly overcome with excitement, she left to tell others about Jesus. Christ had told her to bring her husband. She took it upon herself to invite everybody.
She left her waterpot, no small detail in a dry, barren land. Things of earth no longer mattered. Leaving the waterpot bespoke her urgency. She was in a hurry, intending to return quickly.
Note one huge, albeit subtle, contrast between the woman and the disciples. They had known Jesus longer and better than she had, but when they went to the town, they brought back only loaves. The woman brought converts.