RS: We’re in John chapter 4. Really, I don’t know about you, but I have enjoyed going through this. It’s been very beneficial for me doing the preparation, but if you would, turn to John chapter 4, and not knowing when or if you’ve read this, we’re going to take just a minute and let everybody read through it silently. Then I’m going to kind of walk through these 30 verses. John chapter 4, verses 1 through 30. What do we know about the Jews and the Samaritans?
Unidentified audience member: They didn’t associate.
RS: They didn’t associate. What else? A little stronger than that.
Unidentified audience member: They hated each other.
RS: They hated each other. Now, let me read you this, just so you kind of get a little understanding. Steve Roe, who was here yesterday, he went to Israel a year ago and spent time in the area, and, in fact, saw Jacob’s well. They said this was one of the only wells in that region, so they know for sure that this was the well, you can go to it today and see it. But the Samaritans are adherents of Samaritanism, which is a religion closely related to Judaism. The Samaritans believe that their worship was based on the Samaritan Pentateuch, which is that they believe in the first five books of the Bible, but that’s it. They believe that they are the true religion of the ancient Israelites from before the Babylonian captivity preserved by those who remain in the land of Israel, as opposed to Judaism, which they see as related, but altered, and an amended religion, brought back by those returning from the Babylonian captivity. The Samaritans believe that Mount Gerasene was the original holy place of Israel from the time that Joshua conquered Canaan. The major issues between Jews and Samaritans has always been, and you see it in here, has always been the location of the chosen place to worship God. Mount Zion in Jerusalem according to the Jewish faith, or Mount Gerasene according to the Samaritan faith. So, basically what you have is each of them claim to be the truth faith of the ancient Israelites, and, basically, because of that, they hate each other. And I didn’t realize this, but there used to be this, you know, large population of Samaritans, but today there’s about 800 or 900 of them left in the world.
Now, as we look at this woman, we learn a lot about her, and first and foremost, just so you’ll understand how unusual this is, this conversation that Jesus has with this lady, you know, this was a patriarchal society. I mean, men didn’t really speak and fraternize with women out in public. And so, she comes to the well not expecting anybody to say anything to her. Particularly a Jew who was a man. That he would speak to her. And then you have to add one other thing to this. This was what was interesting as I was researching. She was also a moral outcast. She had been married five times and she was currently living with a man. So, think about in that culture there, everybody probably knew who this woman was, and there were five men out there who were her former husbands. And in verse 6, it says, and this is what scholars say, makes, gives the Bible such validity, is some of the details that you see. “Jesus, being weary from the journey, was sitting at the well, and it was about the sixth hour.” Now, the sixth hour in Jewish time was high noon. The heat of the day. And every commentator that I’ve read say that the women, this is the way things were worked. They didn’t have running water. This was the only well in the area. They had a lot of little springs, but this was the only well you could come to, and the women would come and bring these big buckets and fill them with water and then use it throughout the day. But the women would usually all come together early in the morning, one, before it was hot, and two, it was a way that they kind of would socialize, so to speak. I mean, I think you can understand that. But not this woman. She was excluded. She comes at high noon. And they say that she came in the middle of the day because she was a moral and social outcast because of the life that she was living. None of the women wanted to have anything to do with her. And, in verse 7, you see where Jesus asks her for a drink of water, and she is surprised, because what you see Jesus really doing is breaking through all the barriers that segregated people back then, and really, which kind of segregate people even today. There was a gender barrier, there was a racial barrier, Jew, Samaritan, and there was a morality barrier. And so, she was surprised, maybe really even pleasantly surprised, that this strange man speaks to her.
But look at what Jesus says to her. Go down to verse 10. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is Who says to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Now, that word “know”, where He says, “If you knew”, the word literally means “understand”. Now, He wasn’t being arrogant about it. He was just saying matter-of-factly if you only understood what I have to offer you. And this is crucial to recognize, guys. What does He say? If you knew what the gift of God. I think that is so important, and I think it’s so easy to kind of overlook it. He calls it a gift. He doesn’t say the wage of God that you earn, it’s a gift.
And as I was preparing, I couldn’t help but think of that verse in II Corinthians 9:15, where Paul says, anybody remember it, says, thanks be to God for His indescribable gift to us. It’s so wonderful. It’s indescribable. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. I think we’ve probably covered this plenty of times that salvation is clearly a gift, and that you have to receive it, you receive a gift. It’s not a wage that you earn, but clearly guys, it has to be received, and yet, isn’t it incredible that God gives us this incredible, indescribably gift, and yet many reject it. They either say I don’t need it, or I don’t want it. And, if you think about it, that’s, when you get right down to it, that’s an arrogance. That the God of the Universe gives us this indescribable gift and we reject it, and say, I don’t want it, I don’t need it, and do away with it. And that’s why, ultimately, coming to Jesus requires humility. It requires coming on the basis of, Lord, I need Your forgiveness, in other words, I am a sinner, and I surrender to You, and I receive this wonderful gift that I so desperately need. It’s not only a gift that you enjoy. It’s something that we desperately need. And you remember what God says back in John 1:12? John says back in John 1? As for me who received Him, to them He gave the right to become Children of God. Any comment?
Unidentified audience member: Richard, it seems to me the point being made here is the universal access of this gift. If He will offer it to her, He will offer it to anybody.
RS: That’s a great point. It is. It’s offered, for God so loved the whole world, that He gave…
Unidentified audience member: And a message to us to do the same.
RS: Amen. Amen.
Unidentified audience member: I’ve got a question.
RS: Who? We don’t take questions. No, go ahead, I’m sorry.
Unidentified audience member: Well, I wondered how Jesus knew that she was a Samaritan. How did she know that Jesus was a Jew?
RS: That’s a really good question. I’m going to guess the way He was dressed, maybe the way He spoke, I don’t know; I’m ill-prepared to answer that question, but it’s a good one. Maybe it was the language He spoke, you know, I’m sure He was speaking in Greek. Anybody, I don’t know?
Unidentified audience members: Greek? Greek?
RS: Do what?
Unidentified audience member: You said he was speaking in Greek.
RS: Well, everything was recorded in Greek. He spoke Hebrew, excuse me.
Unidentified audience member: Well, they don’t obviously record every detail of the conversation, He could have said I’m a Jew resting here from my journey to so and so. Who knows?
RS: Warren is nodding his head. That very well could be the case.
[Multiple unidentified comments and related chatter]
RS: Ben said they may have, he said they may very well have had different types of clothes.
Unidentified audience member: Yamaka.
Unidentified audience member: His accent too, probably.
RS: Yeah. So, it was clear that she knew He was a Jew, and they were traveling through Samaria. They didn’t have to, but they chose to. In fact, usually Jews would not go through Samaria. They would go the long way. All right? Now, Jesus then speaks out of the blue about this living water in verse 14. First of all, He tells her about living water in verse 10 and He would give you living water, and then in verse 14, we get a view of what He says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I will give him will become a well of water, springing up to eternal life.” He said, I have a water, that if you drink it, you will never be thirsty again. In other words, He is saying, My salvation, the Holy Spirit that will accompany it, is as necessary to you spiritually as water is to you physically.
I read an old sermon by Tim Keller, and he says that the role of, and, of course, I don’t know any of this, but think about the role of water as far as your body goes. He says, your body is 50% water, and that if you are deprived of water, and if you die of thirst and dehydration, it’s one of the most horrible and agonizing ways to die. Now, we don’t see that around here anymore, but basically, guys, thirst is a physical deprivation because you’re made of water, and therefore, you crave it, and you need it. But, in the same way, Jesus, in using living water, is saying to this woman, your soul is craving for something that you don’t have and I’m the only one who can give it to you. It comes from me.
Now, when I teach the Investigative Study, which I’ve been through with a number of you, in the very first part, and this always seems to impact people, because this is the first one that we do, and when we’re done, they want to come back for the second one. But, I always talk about the issue of purpose, and the reason for our earthly existence, which we have said, on numerous occasions, to know God. That God put us here to live in relationship with Him. For the same reason that you bring children into the world. To anticipate a relationship with them. And so, as I go through that, and we look at what the Scripture says, the way that God designed each one of us. And then I ask this question. If this is true, if this is why we’re here, if this is the purpose for our earthly existence, then why do so many people miss this? And one of the main reasons I tell them is I use the same logic that Jesus is using here. And I say, you know, we come into this life with a physical dimension, a body, and a spiritual dimension, as well. And therefore, we have certain physical desires and needs, the desires of the body, but then we also have certain spiritual desires and needs, the desires of the soul, if you want to use that terminology. And then I say, think about the desires of the body that you and I have. We get hungry, and so we eat. We get thirsty and so we drink. We get tired and so we rest and sleep. And then, we hit puberty, and your sexuality kicks in, and you have sexual desire. And those are the four basic desires of the body. The sensual side of life. And think about how we in the Western world have elevated these desires, and, for so many people, the desires of the body, the sensual side of life, becomes the center of their earthly existence. It becomes what drives them. Satisfying the desires of the body. And think about how that’s been accentuated in our modern culture. I mean, think about eating, how it’s changed over the years. You’ve heard me say this. You know, when I was a kid growing up in Crestline, there weren’t any restaurants. There was a Davis’, which was a delicatessen, remember that, any of ya’ll remember that? And then Pasquale’s finally showed up. Everybody remember Pasquale’s?
RS: How many restaurants in Crestline today? You could go to Britling’s in Mountain Brook Village and get a meat and three vegetables. That was kind of, most people ate at home. Eating was kind of simple. I mean, look at it today, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it just kind of shows you how much emphasis is placed on eating. And think about drinking, all the things you can drink. And resting and sleeping, I mean, think about all the vacations that are built around resting the body. And then, what do you say about sex? I mean, we are a sex-saturated society. And what, basically what’s happened is people have forgotten that we’re not one-dimensional. We’re not just a body. We’re not just a physical body. We have spiritual needs and spiritual desires, as well. And I contend that the soul of man yearns for love, and for joy, and for peace, and for security. For contentment, and these yearnings, Jesus is telling us, these yearnings can only be satisfied by the Spirit of God, what Christ calls living water. That’s what David says. “My soul thirsts for God, the living God.” Psalm 42:2 But this is what I want to point out to you. Do you see what happens? Why do we miss this? And this is, in my opinion, is what Jesus is really trying to drive home in this encounter with this woman. Human beings are attempting to satisfy the spiritual yearnings of the soul with the physical, sensual pleasures of life and it won’t work. It can’t work. The physical pleasures of life can never satisfy the spiritual longings of the soul, and that’s why Jesus says, you need the living water, the gift that I give to you. It’s a gift. And you have to receive it. Comments or questions?
Unidentified audience member: There’s that verse. My people have committed two sins.
RS: Two evils.
Unidentified audience member: Two evils, and have rejected me…
RS: The fountain of living water, to make for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13. To me, that’s one of my favorite verses in the Old Testament, because it says what we’re talking about here. It’s consistent with what you see here. Anybody else?
Well, let me just say this. At this point in the Investigative Study, after I’ve just shared what I’ve just shared, we then go and read this scripture in John 4, Jesus’ encounter with this woman. Because Christ is telling her, you are looking to satisfy your thirst in the wrong places, and you’re not finding what you’re looking for. It’s almost like Jesus is saying, how’s it working out for you?
You know, this is kind of interesting, guys, in the book that I love so much, The Question of God, by Armand Nicholi, this is really kind of interesting. We talk about this thirst of the soul, and one of the things, and I’ve always remembered this from the book, Armand Nicholi compares the life of C.S. Lewis with Sigmund Freud, and he did an in-depth study of each of their lives, and he’s a psychiatrist, teaches psychiatry at Harvard, and he’s a Christian, but he tried not to, basically he tried to do an objective study of Freud’s life with Lewis’ life, in fact, Greg Pyburn, after we talked last week, I was going to recommend that would be a really good book for the person that you were meeting. It’s one of my very, really, almost all-time favorites. But it’s just a very objective look at these two men’s lives and their world-view and their view of happiness, their view of death, their view of relationships, and what you end up seeing, he comes out, is that Lewis was an incredibly man, and Freud was messed up. He really was messed up. But one of the things that you learn that says, Freud said, you can read this in one of his biographies, that he recognized that he had a deep longing in his life. It was a deep longing, that he could never figure out what it was, and he was never able to satisfy it.
Nicholi says, “Freud said that this yearning to seek to satisfy this yearning haunted him all the days of his life.” And it makes you wonder if that’s not true in all the people in the world that we see and encounter who haven’t found that living water. Now, it seems to me that He’s saying I’m going to give you more than just this living water. Because what does He say it’s going to be like in verse 14? It’s going to be in him like a well of water that springs up to eternal life. It’s like what Jesus is saying. I have what every human soul longs for, and it’s not just to satisfy you. Think about it. It’s to give you a new purpose. A new joy, a whole new dynamic in your innermost being.
But the problem with this woman is, she doesn’t get it, does she? Right, initially, she doesn’t get it. Because she’s still focusing on the physical, external. He’s focusing on the spiritual need in her life and she’s thinking about not having to come to this well to drag water back to her house every day. As someone pointed out, it’s kind of like Nicodemus, Jesus is talking about this spiritual new birth, and he’s saying, how do you go back into your mother’s womb, I don’t get this. And this seems to be part of the human condition, is that we focus so much of our lives on the outer, our outer public life, that everyone sees, and so much of our earthly experience. It’s the part of us that is visible. It’s measurable, particularly as it relates to how successful we are as men. But, in the process, we clearly and easily neglect the soul and the health of the soul and our inner life. And that’s what Jesus always seems to laser back in on, the inner life and what’s going on in here.
Unidentified audience member: Richard, I can’t help but think, when you say, the human condition, there’s different ways to describe that, one is original sin, another is the ego and self-centeredness. You talked about what’s in the box. Are we on the throne in our heart or is God on the throne of our hearts?
Unidentified audience member: That’s what we’re talking about.
RS: Amen. Right on. Anybody else? Everybody with me here? Look at verse 16. What does He do there? Now, some people reading this think Jesus is changing the subject when He asks her where is your husband? But He’s really not. This is part of the conversation, a very important part. What’s that about? What do you think that’s about when He asks her where is your husband?
Unidentified audience member: Exposing her sin.
Unidentified audience member: But, He’s making a point.
RS: He’s making a point, but what’s the point?
Unidentified audience member: He’s about to let her know that He’s a prophet.
RS: Okay. All right. And what do you think the significance is, I mean, she doesn’t have a husband, does she? But she’s got a man in her life that she’s living with.
Unidentified audience member: He’s exposing to her the fact that she’s looking for a source of her satisfaction that’s not going to bring what she needs in life.
RS: Yeah, she is saying, basically, I think what he’s trying to point out to her is you are looking to sex and romance. You are looking for a man to come into your life and satisfy all the yearnings of your soul. He’s trying to explain to her that she’s trying to settle the thirst of her soul through these relationships with men. And nothing has really changed. And, you know, if you think about it, in one sense, it’s true with people today, don’t you think? Ernest Becker, who, very famous anthropologist, was an atheist, except apparently he may have become a Christian right before he died, you know, wrote that Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Denial of Death, and then he says, “Modern people are looking to sex and romance to get a sense of meaning now that they used to get from God. In other words, God has been displaced by sex and romance. So, in one sense, as we read this, human beings really haven’t changed. This woman is not a real aberration. And then we’ve talked, look at verse 13, we’ve talked about this a lot over the years, because Jesus is revealing that the physical, central, in fact, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago when we talked about idolatry, that the physical, central pleasures of life don’t satisfy. Why? Because you thirst again. You remember we talked about the law of diminishing returns? That’s one of the great limitations of the physical, sensual side of life. As we experience the sensual, physical pleasures of life, they bring great delight, but then the next day, you’re thirsty again. And that’s one of the problems, that’s one of the limitations of this earthly life. Now, if you’ll remember there is a second problem with the physical dimension of life. It’s limited in its ability to satisfy. It can’t satisfy. But, you know what else? There is another problem with it. Anybody remember? Keep your finger here, and turn real quick to II Corinthians 4:16. Robert Jolly, you want to read that for us?
Robert: “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.”
RS: So, what’s the second problem with the physical side of life?
Unidentified audience member: We get old and die.
RS: We get old. And, you know, the New American says, “our bodies are decaying”, the NIV says, they’re “wasting away”. At once Paul is kind of concurring with Jesus, and you know what I love about that verse? It is so true. People lose heart over this. They lose heart because their bodies, their careers, everything that’s precious to them, is wasting away. But what does he say? As Christians, we don’t lose heart. He says we have an opportunity to be renewed day by day. We have a spring of water that springs up, bubbles up, and so we can be renewed and refreshed day by day.
The question is, guys, is that happening in our lives? I mean, we’ve got to be seeking that fountain of living water. That’s why basically, the first thing we studied this year is the significance of seeking God and really connecting with Him and letting His Spirit work in our lives and being renewed day by day so that we don’t lose heart as we get older. Now, I realize we all, there are all kinds of ways that you can work at trying to slow this process down. Exercising, plastic surgery tries to do a real good job of masking it, but, you know, it always, it’s just a matter of time before it all fails. We’re wasting away. Comments or questions?
Let’s go down to verses 19; go back to John 4, go back to verses 19 and 20. She says, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain and you people,” meaning Jews, you people, you Jews, “say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Basically, most commentators think that she’s trying to say He’s talking to her about her personal life, she’s living in sin, and she tries to change the subject, but she speaks of the difference of belief between the Samaritans and the Jew. And then, in 21 and 22, Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, an hour is coming where neither this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know. We worship what we know for salvation is from the Jews.” In other words, what He’s saying is the Jews have it right. And then 23 and 24 are very significant. He says, “An hour is coming, and now is when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For such people, the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” The Samaritans worshipped in a temple on Mount Gerasene. It had been torn down but they rebuilt it. The Jews worshipped in a temple in Jerusalem, which was there at the time, which was torn down in 70 A.D. by the Romans, and has never been rebuilt. He’s saying but the time is coming when all this is going to change, when the divisions between the Jews and the Samaritans, and even the Gentiles, will cease. And temple worship is going to be replaced, and Jesus is basically saying I have begun My work that is leading to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
You see, guys, the old covenant with its ceremonial and sacrificial aspects were temporary. Only there for a period. They were very provisional. The New Covenant involved the work and the role of the Spirit without the need of this temple, really a temple of any kind. Now, the great commentator, Rodney Whitaker, says to worship God in spirit and in truth could mean several things, but this guy is a great theologian, he says this, “The thing people always wonder is what does it mean to worship, when he says worship in spirit and in truth. I don’t think it’s probably as complicated as we want to make it. To worship in spirit and in truth is to worship as one who is spiritually alive, living in the new reality that Jesus offers, referred to here as the gift of God, which is living water. For behind the earthly things are Heavenly things, that is, God Himself. Worshiping in spirit is connected to the fact that God is Spirit and worshiping in Truth is connected to Jesus the Messiah who explains everything. This picture of Jesus will be developed more when it is said that His Words are Spirit and Truth,” in John 6:63, which we will get to, “and He refers to Himself as I AM the Truth, so when we are worshiping in truth, he’s talking about Jesus. So, worshiping in spirit and in truth is related to the very character of God and the identity of Christ. It is to worship in union with the Father Who is Spirit and according to the revelation of the Son, Who is the Truth. Indeed, it is to be taken into union with God through the Spirit.”
In the Old Covenant, you approached God through the high priest. In the future, in the New Covenant, you will approach God through Jesus, the truth of life. And then, in verse 25, basically, look at verse 25, you know what she’s saying? I don’t really have any idea what you’re talking about, but when the Messiah comes, He’s going to explain everything. He’ll explain it all. So, she believes that a Messiah is coming. And you see that in the Pentateuch. But, guys, Jesus then says something incredible to her. In verse 26, what does He say?
Unidentified audience member: I AM He.
RS: I’m the man. I am that Messiah that you’re referring to. You know, the only other time He says this, comes up and says, I Am the Messiah, he says it to His disciples, and He says it at His trial. Remember, what does He tell Pilate? Yes, I am a King. I am that King. And the only other person He says it to is this moral outcast, this Samaritan woman. You know, now the first thing, I was thinking about this, if I had been Jesus, after performing these great miracles, I mean, He did some unbelievable miracles, that’s when I would have stood up and said, “All right, I am the long-awaited Messiah,” but, He never does. And that’s why God’s ways, truly are not man’s ways. They’re not my ways. Yeah, Cobb?
Cobb: You know, there are three things that struck me about those two verses, and the first is that she knew that a Messiah was coming. I mean, she’s a moral outcast, but obviously, the fact that a Messiah was coming was a pretty pervasive thought amongst everybody. And, the second thing is, in the same way that Christ came from Nazareth, Christ was born in the stable, I mean, everything about Him was humble, and the first person He told He was the Messiah is somebody who was a total outcast. And then, the third thing is, He told her to go tell everybody, you know, she goes in and says, come see this guy who I’ve seen, but, you know, not to be trivial about it, but I’m sure when this woman went in and told everybody I’ve found the Messiah, they just went b*s*. I mean, how are you the one who discovers that the Messiah is here? The humility of it, really.
RS: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. That’s the one thing, that throughout the Gospels, as you look at Jesus’ life, I mean, it was, He always does the unexpected, and He berates the religious, the high and mighty, and yet, like with this woman, He shows real tenderness. And you don’t see any moral, you don’t see Him condemning, that’s the one thing that’s always struck me, you see no condemnation towards this woman. She’d been married five times and she was living with a guy, and you don’t see Him say, Lady, no wonder you’re so messed up. You’ve been married five times and you’re living with a guy. You don’t see any of that. He lasers in on the spiritual need in her life, and I think that is significant. So, I appreciate that, Cobb. Anybody else?
Sonny: Doesn’t the record show that really weren’t any fiction writers in this era, and there’s no way somebody could really come up with this line?
RS: You’re right. I mean, the only thing you had was like people who wrote about the Norse legends and things like that, but, you’re right, there wasn’t any fiction. I tell you what, I read something the other day that, and this was an incredible brave person who knows, he says, to have invented the Holy Spirit would be almost a human impossibility. For somebody to come up with that, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, one God, three persons, almost impossible. So, that’s an interesting thought, Sonny. Anybody else, Jim?
Jim: I think the timing and the manner in which He reveals Himself as Christ is very significant, because I read something recently that said one of the temptations that the devil presented to Christ after He went into the wilderness was, I’ll make you King of the World, and every time He would do a miracle, rather than standing up and saying look at me, I’m the Christ, they were trying to make Him a King, He would retreat until right at the very end. He was doing the opposite of what the world would expect.
RS: It kind of reminds me of John the Baptist. He didn’t want, as we talked about last week, He didn’t want the limelight, because He understood His purpose, and basically, His purpose was to go to the Cross.
Unidentified audience member: I think it also, He’s telling those people to go back and declare it, which is what He’s telling us, that our commission is, He does it with a guy who’s possessed.
RS: Yeah, go back to your home. That’s a good one. We’re kind of getting down here to the end. You know, the disciples come back, and they were shocked that He was talking to this woman. Look at the end of verse 27, he says, why are you talking to this woman? It’s almost like they’re chastising Jesus for talking to this Samaritan woman who’s a moral outcast, not that they might have, I don’t know that they knew the issue of moral outcast. And look at verse 28. What does it say? “So, the woman,” this is significant, “she left her water pot,” now let me say this. Water pots were very important and very expensive. I mean, they were essential to life back then, and she leaves the water pot and went into the city, and this is what’s interesting. Everybody look at 28. Some translations say, she went into the city and said to the people. Does anybody have anything else without “the people”?
Unidentified audience member: Mine says, “And said to the men…”
RS: To the men. Mine does, the New American does, it says, “To the men.” Isn’t that interesting? I’ve just met a man, and He’s told me everything that I’ve done, to all the men. Now, I looked up the Greek word, and it’s the word “anthrópos”, and it literally means, “a man”, but it’s also the same word that’s used in John 3:19, that, you know, “men love the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil” and so, it can be kind of a gender-neutral word. So, we don’t know if she went to a bunch, but you know, the men kind of hung out together, and the women, so, I can see her going to a big group of men and saying, “Ya’ll need to come see this man. He’s told me everything that I’ve done.” Some of her ex-husbands might have been in that group, for all we know. But, do you see what she was doing? Every commentator that I have read believes that this woman had become a Christian, because she had heard Him declare that “I Am the Messiah”, and she didn’t think, she didn’t think, you’ve lost your mind. And she leaves her water pot and goes and says to them, “Come and see Him.” She’s really evangelizing. She’s inviting them to come and see, and they come. And even though we didn’t get to this today, look down in verse 39. From that city, many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I’ve done.” So, when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two more days, and then, in 41, “And many more believed because of His Word.”
Guys, she was doing what God is calling all of us to do. Again, we talked about this. We’re not told to go and ram Christianity down people’s throats, so we just call and invite them to come and see. And it strikes me, as you read these 30 verses, it strikes me that if you think about water. Think about, you know, we take it for granted. Whether you drink coffee, or water, or tea, or whatever, we take for granted the fact that it’s in such abundance. But it’s quite clear, if we don’t drink real water every day, we will die of dehydration. And I think Christ is saying quite clearly, if you don’t have living water that I offer you as a gift, you too, will die. And C.S. Lewis brings this point home very powerfully, in The Chronicles of Narnia as a metaphor for Jesus’ teaching here in John 4. I’m convinced of that. And I’m going to close, because I think this is a wonderful way to close this.
It’s a great story, and I think some of you have heard it because I’ve read it before. I’ve read it at The Club before. He has, in The Chronicles of Narnia, I think there are five different stories and this one is from The Silver Chair, and it’s just a beautiful picture of what we’ve just read, and it’s about a girl named Jill, and Jill kind of, it’s an allegory, she’s a representative of the human race, and she’s consumed with herself, she’s convinced that she knows what’s best, and she wants to have nothing to do with Aslan, the great and magnificent lion, who represents Jesus. And yet, Jill, in the story, is desperately searching for water. It’s a picture of the human search for this living water. And I love the way Lewis puts it.
He says, “Jill has grown unbearably thirsty. But she can hear a stream somewhere in the forest. Driven by her thirst, she begins to look for this source of water, cautiously, because she is fearful of running into the lion. She finds the stream, but she is paralyzed by what she sees there. Aslan. Huge and golden, still as a statue, but terribly alive, is sitting right there next to the stream. She waits for a long time, wrestling with her thoughts, and hoping that maybe he will go away. Then Aslan says, with real kindness, ‘If you are thirsty, you may drink.’ Jill was startled, and refuses to come closer. ‘Are you not thirsty?” said the lion. ‘I’m dying of thirst,’ said Jill. ‘Then drink,” said the lion. ‘May I? Could I? Would you mind going away while I do?’ said Jill. The lion answered this only with a look and a very low growl, and just as Jill gazed at its motionless hulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience, but that delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her near frantic. ‘Will you promise not to do anything to me if I come?’ ‘I make no promise,’ said the lion. Jill was so thirsty now, that without noticing it, she had come and stepped nearer. ‘Do you eat little girls?’ she asked. ‘I’ve swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. The lion just said it. ‘Well, I dare not come and drink,’ said Jill.
This is so powerful. This is what Jesus is saying to the world. This is what Jesus is saying here.
“‘I dare not come and drink,’ said Jill. ‘Then you will die of thirst,’ said the lion. ‘Oh, dear,’ said Jill, coming another step nearer. ‘I suppose I must go and look for another stream, then.’ And the lion said, ‘There is no other stream.’”
I am the fountain of living water. There is no other fountain. And if you don’t come to Me, you will die. And yet, I think we all know, guys, that men spend their lives looking for some other stream to finally and forever quench the thirst of their souls. However, Jesus says, there’s no other stream. And He’s very clear about the fact that if we do not drink from this spring, the fountain of living water, we will die.