Beth Moore - Meet Me At The Well
From the very top tonight, we're going to the book of Genesis. That's the very beginning, go there with me, Genesis 24. I'm going to do something a little bit frustrating because I'm not going to teach the passage in its proper context the way it deserves to be taught. I'm going to let it show us something that we're going to circle around the whole time we're together, and then it's going to send us elsewhere. So, I'm going here to set with you the scene for where we will then circulate.
So, Genesis chapter 24, let me tell you what's happening here. And you can see this is where captions come in really, really handy. You can see at the very beginning of it that it has the caption Isaac and Rebekah. This is Abraham getting really, really old, and he's starting to get worried because Isaac is still not married, and he's wanting to make sure that Isaac is going to marry someone from among their people so that that promise of that generation through Abraham, that what they would have considered to be pure seed would be fulfilled and kept. So, he sends his servant back to their land, and he says, "Go seek out a wife for my son Isaac".
I want you to pick up with me in verse 10. So, Genesis chapter 24, verse 10, "Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor. And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when the women go out to draw water". That will become very important to us. "And he said, 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by at the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the young woman to whom I shall say, 'Please let down your jar that I may drink,' who shall say, 'Drink, and I will water your camels,' let her be the one whom you've appointed for your servant Isaac.'"
Don't you wish it always worked exactly like that? Like, I'm going to say this, and would you have them say this? If this is the one, if that is my man, would you... I'm going to say this to him, have him say this. And then I'm going to know you are my man. I mean, it would just be absolutely fabulous if that's the way it came down, but oftentimes it's not. However, it is how it happened here. "'By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.' Before he even finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel of the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder". And it happened just exactly as he asked.
Now, did you know notice with me, and I know you did because I tried to emphasize it and then reemphasize it, that it was the time, what time of day? Tell me again. And what happened in the evening, the time when who comes out? The women, the women. What you and I are going to do is that we're going to come out and we are going to gather around the well.
Now, I did a little study on the background of these women coming to the well at this particular time of day, it would've been in the cooler part of the time of day. Heavy vessels that they're carrying back and forth, gets them out of a little bit of the midday sun, coming to do what is quite an arduous task. And I learned that it was mostly at this particular time in ancient history, it was primarily the women that did this task. They were not only the water fetchers and carriers back to their households and their villages, but very often they were also shepherding.
Now, of course, needless to say because we see them all over the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, men of course also shepherded. But it's just very interesting in this early, early time that we would see the women that were taking on this particular job in this part of the world. And so, they would come, they would bring their animals. Other times, we see men bringing their animals to it, and we'd see them asking the women would they help them with them. We're going to gather around the well. Now, what I also learned is primarily the women that would be sent to gather the water were the unmarried women.
And so, this is the reason why he was going to go to that particular spot, because it was back home where they wanted to find a wife for Isaac, back to his people. And so, he was going to go at the time when the women would've been congregating around that well. Now for us, it's going to be single, married, widowed, divorced, separated. Whoever you are, you and I are going to gather around the well. And what we're going to do all throughout our time together is look at one scene after another that happens in the context of a well. I've never done it quite this way before, and it was fascinating to me to see what kinds of things were foreordained to take place right there. And it should not be a mystery to us because, of course, water was the huge deal. Water is a deciding factor about where people will build their lives and build their towns. It was all about the water.
If you wonder if you've ever flown over just acres and miles and miles and miles and miles of fields and forests and wonder, "Why, why aren't there people living there? There's so much of a population here, no one here". Well, then as of yet, one of the reasons that it would not have been inhabited is because there would not have been water dug in that place. The first thing that's got to happen is there's got to be water. Before there is even anything for food, there has got to be water. So, they were completely dependent on the fact that everything else, every crop they had, everything else they did was dependent on the water.
Tonight in our lesson, we're going to look at a couple of places that are pretty familiar to us. And here's what I want to say to you. Scripture speaks of water in three different ways, and it's all over the place. It is the, of course, the number one earthly resource, material resource rather, that is talked about in the Scriptures: water, water. So, we'd see it in very literal terms in being a material resource. But we'd also see it used metaphorically and we'd see it used symbolically. So, it gives very wide birth to application.
The reason why I'm bringing that up to you is because we're going to do the same thing. The Scriptures we're going to look at, we will look at them sometimes in very literal terms as wet, a moisture upon a tongue. And then we'll also look at them in terms of things that are spiritual, and have imagery, and are used in metaphor for us because we have a very, open open space in order to do that. So, we'll look at it all three ways while we're here together. But this is what I want you to get in your head from the very beginning because it was their constant concern, but I also want to convey to you and suggest to you that it would be ours as well. Because water is not just a desire, it's not just a hope. It is an absolute necessity for life.
You need and I need water more than we need food. We will die of dehydration before we will die of starvation. It is the first thing they start looking for when we've been tremendously sick, the first thing when you get to an ER that they are going to check is are they dehydrated? Because that is going to be an immediate issue. Cannot live without it. Water is second only to the air we breathe. So, you and I are studying a little hydrology theology, anybody? A little hydrology theology. The word "hydrology", hydra, you know that that word is going to be for water. The ology is coming from the word "logia", a Greek word, "logos", the word "communication". It is going to be the communication, the expression, it can even be in terms of Merriam-Webster's the science, the science of water.
So, here's where it begins. I want to differentiate between several hydrology terms in Scripture. So, sometimes between the first two, there is not a lot of differentiation, but where they differentiate is going to be what I'm about to give you to write down. So, three different things, three different terms that are associated with hydrology in the Word of God. And the first one is a cistern. Now, a cistern is a hole dug to collect water from above. A cistern, you know, it's everything I can do not to call you cisterns this weekend, everything I can do. I'm just that corny, that kind of thing works for me, it just works for me. Cisterns, brethrens. A cistern is a hole dug to collect water from above.
You would see all manner of reference in the Scriptures to cisterns. Tell me what a cistern is again. All right, so very, very different from our well up here. It would very normally be cut out of limestone. In Jerusalem, for example, there is just ample limestone, so it's just right there where they can cut it out and make pools, and all sorts of vessels that can collect the water that's coming from the rain. So, it's some kind of water that's coming down, it's collecting it from above.
So, it has no hole in it, except what seeps out and where it's broken. But it's collecting water that's coming from above. That is what a cistern is, and we will see verses about it this weekend. It's going to be, of course, I just want to make sure you know it, it's manmade. That's an important little factor to us. And very often was done in... oh, I saw lots and lots of pictures, were often done in like an oval, just a cover very often of a large rock that they would put over the top of it. They were even very basic attempts at netting to filter out the debris coming into it.
And I read that about 1300 BC, cisterns, so 1300 BC, cisterns were beginning to be plastered with a very archaic kind of a seal on them to try to keep them from cracking. So, just a little bit of understanding, that's a cistern, it's going to come from which direction? It's going to come from above. Next we have a well. A well is a hole dug out for accessing a water source below. Again, sometimes there's an overlap and it's not really, really clear where the line is between a well and a cistern in the Word of God. But where there's a distinction, this is the distinction. The cistern, the water is coming from where? All right, and a well, the water is coming from where? Below. It's tapping into some kind of source below it.
I thought it was interesting that the Hebrew word commonly translated well is be'er, is B-E, and you have an apostrophe, E-R. Like when you see place names, city names, village names in the Word of God, you would see sometimes Beersheba, Beer-Elim, Beeroth. Anytime you see that, they're naming the place after a particular well, because why? Because the village is being built around the well. So, that collects people around, wherever they can find water, that's going to be where the city is built. So, it very often was named after the well, that is how important it was, how vital it was to the life of the city.
So, then that brings us to the third one, and it's a spring. So, tell me what the first two were, we have a what? And then we have a what? And the cistern is water from where? The well? And then we have a spring. Now, a spring is not manmade. The other two were manmade. This one is nature made, and we could just say God made. This is a hole where water bubbles up freely from the ground. So, with that in mind, would you turn with me now to John chapter 4? I'm going to start reading at verse 4 and I'm going to read all the way to 19.
"And he", of course this is Jesus, "had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?'" That would've been the double wrong. "For Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. And Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink", you would've asked him, and he would've given you living water.' And the woman said to him, 'Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.' Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.' Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered, 'I have no husband.' And Jesus said to her, 'You are right in saying, "I have no husband", for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.' And the woman said to him, 'Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.'"
One of the most beautiful things about the Gospel of John is no gospel shows the divine Jesus more than this gospel. He also shows us that he who was very God was also very man, all in one person. Imagine that you are God, you have spoken the universe into being, ex nihilo, out of nothing. Suddenly, you are subject, and you know what it was like, he remembered what it was like. In John 17, he refers to the glory he had with God when he's praying an intercessory prayer. He refers to God, it's almost like he's saying to him, "Remember when? The glory that I had with you before time began". He remembered. Suddenly, he's subject to about what, can we guess it? What, 165 pounds of human flesh and blood? Subject to hunger. He who had never slept had to sleep. Subject to all the same natural laws in order to exist in his body that we have. Because he came to bear it as we have borne it.
Now, I want you to notice something with me because this is the foundation of everything we're studying together, so that when he says, "If you only knew the gift of God", we have come here to find out what he means when he says, "If you only knew the gift of God that I would give you if you would let me". We are going to figure that out. And we are going to find out what is stopping up our wells. Can I hear an amen from anybody in the house? Anybody in the house. John 4:13: "Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.'" This is it, "The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life". A spring of water welling up.
Now, we know that this is a spring that he's talking about. He's using what she's standing at in order to make a point. So, listen to the kind of spring he's talking about when he draws it into spiritual terms. He's using something physiological with the woman at the well to teach her something that is dramatically transformative and theological. And that is about living water. And so, there is a kind of well that is not just attached to an underground body of water, but is attached to a spring. This is what we would call when you see the word or the compound word "wellspring", that's what we're talking about. There is a well that is just tapping in, for instance, I'm sure that the well that we have back home is a well that is just tapping into a body of water underneath the ground. But there is also a different kind of tapping into, and there is the well that taps into an actual spring.
Now, let me tell you what makes the spring different. It is constantly bubbling up fresh water, constantly. It's springing it up. And this is the imagery that he is drawing for us to understand what happens within us when we have the Holy Spirit. I loved this. One of my commentaries, Leon Morris, scholar Leon Morris in a very extensive commentary this thick on the book of John, he says that the NIV's welling up, if you have the NIV and it's also in the ESV, I just read it to you, when it says welling up, he says that's not at all the picture that the Word is lending. That it is a very, and I'm quoting him, "It's a vigorous springing up, springing up". In fact, it's a leaping up.
Now, the reason why I want to make this point besides the obvious is because I've got to show you another place where it's used. Would you go with me to Acts chapter 3? I'll start at verse 3: "Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, 'Look at us.' And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. And Peter said, 'I have no silver and gold, but what I do have, I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.' And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong".
I love that picture 'cause he tells him to rise up and walk, but he does offer him a hand. Anybody? Sometimes, people do need a hand, just a little, I think of it if you can go here with me, just like a handful of faith, just a handful of faith. Just I mean, I'll give you a hand. I'll give you a hand. And watch what happens next because about about to see the Word translated. It says then, verse 8: "And leaping up, he stood and began to walk and enter the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at all that had happened to him".
Do you see that leaping? That is a rendering of the same Greek word that is used for what a spring does in the context of what living water Jesus is giving. It doesn't just well up and overflow, it leaps up, it leaps up. It's a fountain spurting within us, and it just begs so many questions. Is it begging a question to anybody in the house tonight? Because what I want to know is, why don't we have some of that leaping going on inside of us? Why are we bored half the time? Why don't we have more effectiveness than we do in the gifting of the Spirit? Why is it we're always looking for something else to drink? Why? What is it we're not understanding, and what's stopping this thing up? Would anybody want to get to the bottom of any of that?
Because I'm going to tell you something, I don't know, I often limp a whole lot more than leap. And it shall be living water limping within you. I don't know, the thing I keep saying, and I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm probably going to keep saying it until the Lord takes me home. Really, the New Testament conveys something different than most of us are living.
And this was what was promised to us. Oh no, I'm going to wait for somebody to catch up here because I don't know if you thought if you have it, why aren't we experiencing the life of the Holy Spirit through the all manner of chaos in this world? Why, why, why, why? We were promised things. And I think we ought to be staring into the Scriptures instead of going, "Well, you know, he just, it's all different now". Wait, this is when it ended. When Revelation ended, it was done, it said, "You can't add to this. You can't take away". This is what it still says. I want what it says. I want what it says.
Go back with me to John chapter 4. So keeping in mind sixth hour is noon, very unusual time for a woman to be drawing water, remember, you tell me what the typical hour was for a woman to be drawing water at the well. Evening. It would have been sunset. Sunset. So what I learned this time that I had never ever learned before about it was that there were much closer wells for her to go to. Why did she come to this one? She passed, there were closer wells. I mean, many of us know from previous sermons and lessons that she was probably trying to avoid the other women. She wasn't one to come with the rest of them. Why? Because of her reputation.
How many people knew her track record with men? But I just want to ask you a question. Wouldn't it be fair to say that sometimes our willingness to go further than we'd have to is more about what we want to avoid? Anybody? Anybody is still letting your kids take the bus? Like, you're going to drive them 10 miles further because you're trying to avoid something closer. Is that fair? How many of us would not go to a particular place of business because we're going to go much further than we have to because we'd have to run into so and so. How many of us drive past how many churches to get to another church because we don't want to have to run into so and so? Something awkward at the near one, if not something really, really, really uncomfortable and embarrassing. There's just nothing like...
I don't know. Maybe this hasn't been you, but it's been me. Nothing like having to return over and over to a place where we have embarrassed ourselves. Maybe I'm the only one in the room. But, you know, we'll just have to keep showing up. And in a lot of ways, I'm glad I had to because what it kept me from being able to do is like run from it. In other words, I just had to hope that over time my life would show some healing and maybe they'd be able to stay, "You know, Beth used to be such an idiot, but I don't see the same idiocy in her today. I mean, I see a little. I see a glimpse of it, but not quite"...
Anybody? Anybody? Because if I stay and work it out honestly and just bring my messed up self back in, well, maybe over time, but, man, she's trying to avoid everybody. So she's not going to the place. She's going to go where other people from other towns, if anybody else is going to show up, it's going to be somebody else. God forbid that she go where the rest of her neighbors' wives are going. Also very possible that it had significance to her in a religious context because she pounds on it and pounds on it and pounds on it.
Now look at verses 20 through 34. "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.' The woman said to him, 'I know that Messiah is coming, he who is called Christ. When he comes, he will tell us all things.'"
In other words, "Save it. I'm going to wait for him". "'I who speak to you am he.' And just then the disciples came back and they marveled that he was talking with a woman". Not the woman, not that woman, a woman. Aren't you thankful for Jesus? Aren't you thankful for Jesus? Do you know what a revolution he caused where our gender was concerned? This is Jesus. This is Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman who'd been sexually sinful. That is three strikes and she's out, only not to Jesus because you can't be unclean enough to get Jesus dirty. You cannot do it. You can't be the kind of woman he's not going to talk to.
"They saw that he was talking with a woman and no one said, 'What do you seek?' or, 'Why are you talking with her?' So the woman left her water jar", that she brought to get her water. "She left her water jar, went away into the town and said to the people, 'Come,'" this part just kills me, "'see a man who told me all that I ever did'". Can you imagine being happy about that? I mean, what is that? Does it tell you anything about Jesus? Does somebody need to know that about, somebody doesn't know him here this weekend and you don't realize that this is the Savior who could tell you everything you've ever done, and he gives you his dignity instead of taking yours from you. Who does that? Who does that? Who does that?
I was thinking that, you know, I'm the worst ever at invitations. I'm the worst ever because one of the things that just drives me crazy, and by that I mean going through the right steps that you should when you're talking to someone about how to come to Jesus because one thing that frustrates me, I for the life of me, for the life of me don't understand why anybody would not love Jesus. Who's going to do that for you? I just don't see it. I don't see it. No matter who you are, no matter where you've been, no matter what you've done, no matter what you've been through, that this is a Savior who says, "Listen, I have already bled and died for you and been raised from the dead. You ain't got nothing I cannot handle. Absolutely nothing. I could raise you up anytime I want to". It says then, "'Come, see a man who told me everything that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?' And so they went out of the town and were coming to him. and meanwhile"...
Oh, I love this so much that I want to cry about it. It says, "Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, 'Rabbi, eat.' But he said to them, 'I have food to eat you don't even know about.' The disciples said to one another, 'Has anyone brought him something to eat?' Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.'" Okay, I need somebody so badly to stay in here with me because I want you to understand. When the woman... oh, somebody needs this tonight. Oh, somebody needs this tonight. Look at somebody and say, "You may be the one that needs this tonight".
Okay, so the woman meets the one who is the living water. So she's got her jar. She leaves it, goes running into town. Not even tell, why? Because her jar is full. Because see, she's become the jar. Anybody get that with me? She's become the jar. She is the vessel. The jar just springs up some feet and goes running in, goes running into town. But you know what may be the very best part? Oh, somebody needs to know this about Jesus. Maybe the very best part is that she was so satisfied. She was satisfied for the first time in her life.
Does somebody see that he was too? Not the first time as her, but he was satisfied that the work he had done he wasn't hungry any longer. She wasn't thirsty any longer. He wasn't hungry any longer 'cause he was like, "You know what? Beth, I'm going to tell you something. When I get to bless you and fill you up, it fills me up too". Thirst issues a reckoning. Learn to recognize it so that you can reckon with it before it reckons with you. Because if you do not learn how to recognize that you are thirsting for something that you do not have, that reckoning will become the wreckage of your life; and trust me, I know of what I speak.
And so what Jesus was using with the woman was the physiological need to teach her about a soul need. Soul thirst is mentioned numerous times in the Scriptures. I'm going to throw out a few to you so that you will know how common they would be. Psalm 42:2, the psalmist says, "My soul thirsts for God for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God"? Psalm 143, verse 6: "I stretch out my hands to you. My soul thirst for you like a parched land". Matthew 5:6: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied". Our soul was fashioned with thirst.
Genesis chapter 16. We're having scenes at the well, and both of the ones we're studying tonight are in the context of God meeting women at a well. Genesis chapter 16: "Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, 'Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant. It may be that I shall obtain children by her.'" Now, this is just totally out of anything you and I have any kind of context for, any kind of context, but it was not out of this ancient culture's context because their descendants were everything. That lineage that that line would go on was a paramount importance to her. "And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai".
Now, that would have made me mad right there. If I was going to mention it, he sure better not say that he was willing to do it. He better say, "Never. Never. I would rather be childless". But no, no. He believes that he will. Verse 3: "So after Abram had lived 10 years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, 'May the wrong done to me be on you.'" I mean, suddenly it's back on him like, "You see what you did to me? Look how she's treating me". "'I gave my servant to your embrace. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me.' But Abram said to Sarai, 'Behold, your servant is in your power. Do to her as you please.' Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and so Hagar fled from her".
Let this fall afresh on you. Let this come as a living Word alive and active. "The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, 'Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?'" Both of which he knew. "And she said, 'I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.' The angel of the Lord said to her, 'Return to your mistress and submit to her.' The angel of the Lord also said to her, 'I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.' And the angel of the Lord said to her, 'Behold, you are pregnant and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael because the Lord has listened to your affliction. And he shall be a wild donkey of a man'".
She didn't care. I mean, all she needed to know, she just needed this word that he was going to have some kind of blessing on his side, some kind of future. "And he shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone, everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over all of his kinsmen". Verse 13: "So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'truly here I have seen him who looks after me.' Therefore, the well was called Beer-lahai-roi". Remember? Well. Well. "Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael".
Did you know that the name Hagar means stranger? I don't know where you may be feeling like a stranger, like you don't belong, but I'm going to tell you this. You have been found, and you have been found by the God who sees; and he knows everything you've suffered, everything you've been through. As I was preparing this lesson, it occurred to me to compare Hagar and the Samaritan woman a little bit, and I just started writing down a little bit of a list. It's not something for you to take down. Just listen up for a second. They both were dealing with a stigma, both of them were; that each was considered the lesser woman, that both of them were trying to avoid other women, and both had been grievously disappointed and hurt by both men and women. I also want to interject to you, maybe because it just, you know, misery loves company. Maybe because it just appeals to me because it applies to me in my past as I look over my own journey with God. Each of them, both Hagar and the Samaritan woman, bore some responsibility for the mess that they were in.
Now, here's where I want to, we know, I mean, we can look at the Samaritan woman and there's no doubt in our minds. Hagar is a little bit of a different story because she is a slave. So we don't know what choice did she have when her mistress said, "This is what I want you to do". What choice did she have in the matter? We don't know. Did she or didn't she? We have no way of knowing that in the text. Here's what we do know. Did you notice that when she got pregnant it says she started treating Sarai with contempt? That word means in Hebrew, the word contempt, it probably means this in English. It is a word that means to diminish or to make small. It means to belittle somebody, to trivialize someone.
So suddenly, can't you just imagine? Because, you know, as her tummy began growing, because here's an old woman childless, and suddenly she's like, "Oh, oh, I think I felt the baby kick". You understand? I mean, is anything meaner than a mean woman? I mean, anything, anything. Just those little, "mm, mm". One has something over the other. "Oh, I didn't mean anything by that". You went, "You rat. You know good and well you did". That's contempt when now because of what I've got, I mean, like, "You were all on top of it and now look what's happened to me, and now you're the one on the bottom and I'm going to make sure just very subtly to remind you. I will diminish you. I will trivialize you. I will make sure you see the round of my abdomen, you barren woman".
And when she started treating her with contempt, Sarai then started mistreating her. So don't tell me she had no play in it at all. Both women differing degrees and entirely different ways, I don't know, maybe you are, but in most of my conflicts I hardly ever I'm just completely innocent. I see one hand waving at me. She and I, you know what I'm talking about? Now, I'm not saying that it could be that I had none of the intention, but honestly can I look at it afterwards and go, "Okay, there's nothing I could"... Every now and then, and, man, I love it when it happens. But then the Lord will come down on me because then I feel prideful over it 'cause I like, "Oh, I loved suffering innocently". Well, you know, because I just, we love to be able to say, you know, that they've done me wrong, but a whole lot of times can't we own something in it? And we take that to the well, and right there trying to get away from everybody Jesus shows up in a kind of scene that makes a scene feel seen.
Now look at 21:8 through 20. "And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned, but Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham". You know, for one thing, I don't think she felt well. It's not easy to wean. You know what I'm saying? I think maybe it would have been better not to have a weaning party. "Let's let a month go by, then have a party".
I'm just not sure the timing was right. Sarah didn't feel well. She was sore. I could get all into it, but I know you understand. "So she said to Abraham, 'Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.' The thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. And God said to Abraham, 'Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do what she tells you for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.'"
So Ishmael had been there for the length of time he should have been. Now, there's already a promise of blessing on him, but I want you to see what happens. "'And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also because he is your offspring.' So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered into the wilderness of Beersheba".
Do you recognize it? There's going to be well. There's going to be well. "When the water in the skin". Here's the beauty of it. She does not know that there's going to be a well. So he gives her a skin of water, which would be a little bit like this, but it would have been made with animal skins. Filled up with water. And so this is what Hagar gets here, and off she goes with his son. And it says one of the most heartbreaking sections in the entire Word of God. "When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes and she sat down opposite him a good way off, about a distance of a bowshot".
Do you understand how far that is? So she's trying to sit far enough away where she can see him, but she can't hear him. "'Let me not look on the death of the child.' Then she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, 'What troubles you, Hagar?'" He knew. John chapter 20, Mary Magdalene having looked into the tomb and Jesus's body is not there, "Woman, why are you crying"? 'Cause sometimes he just wants us to tell him. "Can you word it? Can you tell it to me"? "Fear not", he said, "'for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up. Lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.' And then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water".
Sometimes we don't even know it's right there. It's so amazing to me when you put it as a juxtaposition to the woman at the well in John chapter 4 because there he brought a woman to a well and here he brings a well to a woman. What are you going to do with that? What are you going to do with that? She went and she "filled the skin of water and gave the boy a drink". And I love it. I just love it. I love it how it says, "Hold him fast by the hand". You know what I believe? That God is looking for, of course to raise up mighty men.
We are living in a time when we would be tender-hearted as we are faint of heart in this chaotic world gone absolutely mad. Our heart's breaking. We can barely tolerate the news some days. It causes us to be women strong, mighty. "Take that person and hold them fast by the hand, and you lift your chin up and you put your shoulders back because I have given you provision". Remember this? "Off you go, Hagar. You and Ishmael, off you go". All man can offer our thirst is a skin of water.
Anybody understand what I'm saying? We're talking about hydrology theology. Everybody just go ahead and say it. It's such a fun thing to say. Hydrology theology. And we're looking at all sorts of vessels for water. We're talking about cisterns. They collect water from where? We're talking about wells. They collect it from where? And then what does spring do? Just bubbles up. And then there's of course always this.
Because see, man was not created by God to answer to the soul thirst of another human. They can't do it. This is what they can do. They can get water from the well themselves. The more I go to the well and the more I draw from it, then the more I have to give and then I'm able to pour a little something in for my daughters, for my grandkids, for my staff or people I serve, somebody in the grocery store. I got this. I got this. This I can give you, this I can give you, but I can't give you this. All I can do with this is tell you, "That's where I got it. That's where I got it".
I was thinking this morning, I was replaying in my mind when Keith and I were in Angola some years ago and we were there to do a mission feeding program, Famine Relief. That country, I cannot begin to express to you the devastation and the starvation and how many people were just at the brink, just the very edge of death, what the condition of that country was like, just been through a civil war in the early 2000s and just the ravages of it were still so apparent in every way.
And we were there in the capital city and we stayed in the nicest hotel there was but you just have to understand in a city that's been through that much, that the nicest hotel there was would have been something that was still very, very basic to a lot of us. 'Cause it's certainly everything we needed but just basic: a small room with a bathroom with a sliding door and a tiny, tiny, little bathtub in it. And my husband was with me and I don't know exactly how to explain this to you but it, like, freaked me out that there wasn't any kind of lock on the sliding door for the bathroom because I am modest. And just the very thought and he says, "I'm not going to come in there". I don't trust him not to. What if he thinks to himself, he forgets I'm in there and he just comes barreling in?
I know all the things you're thinking right now. That will not reason with me. I just, for some reason, this is just me. If I cannot lock that bathroom door, then I'm gonna be freaked out the whole entire time. And there's something I, this is really gonna be unexplainable to you but I don't know, I just really don't like for Keith to know that I'm going to the restroom. I know that's hard to understand and somebody's taping me right now and that's what's gonna go on the YouTube right there. Right there. So it doesn't make any sense. I'm just modest. I'm just modest. I don't change in front of him. I just don't. I just don't. Don't try to talk me out of it, it's just me.
So, you know, it was evening and I thought to myself, "I need to go to the restroom". And my husband was in there and there wasn't any fan or anything. And so I just thought, "I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna slip out of the room and I'm gonna go down to the lobby. There's always a public restroom in the lobby. That's what I'm gonna do". And so I just slip out and so I go downstairs to the lobby and so, sure enough, the bathroom is in there so I go in the stall of the bathroom and when I get in there, there is a blackout in the town.
And you have not experienced a blackout until you experience a blackout like that where there is not a single light on in the entire city. When I am saying that you cannot see your hand in front of you, when I tell you that my heart lurched into my throat, my husband does not even know where I am. And so I start doing this, 'cause I can't even see to get out of the little bathroom and I start going, and I open the door and I just stand there and I can hear voices, men's voices, but I can't understand them. And something about it was creepy, like, there was like a, kind of, they were sort of like whispering a little bit and laughing and I knew that they had seen me come down there and I don't know, I was probably perfectly safe but I was just, I was paralyzed. I could not move and I am not a person that is driven by fear at all but, I mean, I could not move a single muscle.
And I tell you, I had no idea, no idea what to do, no idea what to do, and I can hear steps coming toward me and I can tell they're still a little bit distant but I can hear the steps and, I mean, my blood, I can feel every bit of my blood all in my head and I am so freaked out and I hear Keith Moore's voice say, "Elizabeth. Baby, I'm coming to find you". And I just said, I reached out my hands like this. I couldn't see anything. Neither could he. I was reaching out, I go, "Okay, okay, okay". He literally got me, I mean, held me like this so we could walk back up the stairs but I'll never forget it because I thought, "He doesn't know where I am. He doesn't know where I am. He doesn't know where I am. How will he ever find me? He doesn't know where I am".
I need you to know something: he found me. He found me. And that was just my husband who can only offer me... Do you remember that it said that the angel of the Lord found Hagar at the well? Found her. Doesn't mean he didn't know where she was. It is conveying the search. I need somebody to know, your God knows where you are. He very much has found you and he's brought you to this well to make sure that you know you have very, very much been found. Thirst issues a reckoning. By the time it is intense enough, you are going to deal with it and I am going to deal with it. And we've got to be on to it because we understand physical thirst, okay?
We know, "I've got to have something to drink. I've got to have liquid in my mouth. I've got to". But what the Word of God tells us is that every single one of us were created with a soul-thirst and nothing can get us in more trouble than being confused about what can satiate that soul-thirst. And so many of the disastrous relational decisions I have made in my life have been out of that undefinable soul-thirst, to be able to give it a name, this craving and this longing.
And I wonder today, do you make it a conversation, a dialog that you have with God on an ongoing basis? Say, for instance, you are 40 years old, you have never been married, you have always wanted to be married. We have women in this room that are single and 40 who have not had that same compelling. They didn't desire that to begin with. They're satisfied with exactly what God has called them to. Somebody else, I mean, you have wanted this for years. And there is this thirst, there is this thirst, there's this thirst. He may be such a physical, physiological thirst, it's for physical intimacy.
Whatever it may be, a thirst to be known by somebody, a thirst to be loved and to be noticed and to be desired. These are things that were created within us but we have to be able to identify them before they derail us. And this is a very normal thing I'm dealing with here. But I've got to be able to bring this safely before God and dialog about it, and I cannot exhort you enough in the name of Jesus that if your sexuality has caused a lot of thirsting for things that have gotten you in a tremendous amount of destruction and pain, I just implore you with everything I've got in me: do you dialog openly with that, with your Christ?
Because, listen, you can tell where we're in defeat because it's gonna be the thing we do not wanna talk to him about. And that could be anything. That could go with anything but where we're in defeat, when we do not bring it under the umbrella of his authority, let me tell you something, that thing is going to eat us alive. And you and I have to be able to call it what it is. I have a soul-thirst. Lord, I'm gonna bring this before you. You know where I'm tempted. You know what my desires are. You know what my yearnings are. I just bring you this whole vessel and I'm gonna tell you what. If I have ever needed you to spring up within me and you to bring some satisfaction to me in the state that I am in, that you would bring me, Father, into a place with you where I'm not set up for some kind of self-destruction. God, would you do it? Would you do it?
Dialoging with him about the most intimate things in your life. Places of addiction when we're just... there are people in this room, all over this room, that are dealing with addictions to compulsive behaviors, to all sorts of substances, to alcohol. My family is just eaten alive with alcoholism, my family of origin. It just is our thing, it's just our thing. That is the struggle of several of my siblings and, I mean, I'm talking about intense, intense, severe alcoholism that turns families belly up. Those are cravings, physiological, and soul cravings. What do you do when you thirst for something that is flat out going to destroy your life? Anybody know what I'm talking about today?
See, if we're not gonna get honest with him, the work won't get done. But if we get in here and we would get bone deep honest with God, what he would do among us would absolutely blow our minds. All man can offer our thirst is what? All man can offer our thirst is a skin of water and we appreciate it. We're thankful for it but it's not gonna cut it. I thought to myself, you know, I love the whole idea of a skin of water because, you know, we're mostly water and we're in this skin. And I think, this is what people are to us. They're wonderful, we love 'em, warm old skins of water. But they're not the living water. They can testify of it, but they can't give it to us. We have to go to Jesus for that. "Jesus alone abounds enough", (say the rest of it with me) "to reckon with our soul-thirst". Say it again. "Jesus alone abounds enough to reckon with our soul-thirst".
Okay, I wanna hear the three distinctive terms, or hydrology terms, from the Scripture. Tell me what the first one was. Tell me what a cistern is. All right, it's a hole dug to collect water from above. In other words, it's gonna come from the rain and it's just gonna sit in, it's almost like a small pool, that it would just collect that water and it would just sit there. Then we have, what's next? And what's the definition of it? A hole dug out for accessing a water source below. That is a well. We've got a cistern, we've got a well. And then we've got our big one and that is a what? A spring. And that is a hole where water does what? And do you remember with me that we discussed that word that the commentator said, "Welling up is not strong enough". It is something that we would more see in a metaphor of what? What was the word? Leaping. Leaping. It is water that's leaping up. It's a fountain. It's a fountain of water, effervescent, fresh water.
So what you and I are gonna do in this session is we're gonna ask God to shine some light on our spring stoppers where for whatever reason we have stuffed a stopper or somehow a stopper has come where that fountain is and it's not getting all in us and all over us. Now, listen, nothing can stop Jesus. Nothing can stop the work of his Spirit. But we know that we can quench it because in using a different metaphor, a different imagery, in the New Testament, we are told in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 not to quench the Spirit's fire. So we know that once we are born again in Christ the Holy Spirit comes and takes residence in us. Then we are sealed to the day of redemption, in other words, nothing else is getting in us.
But the Holy Spirit is in us as a deposit, we're told in Ephesians chapter 1, of what is to come, of the full inheritance, and so what happens is that when we yield to him and yield to his authority, he fills us up and that there's no stoppage to that well flowing. But that there are things we can do that stuff that thing down, that stuff the Spirit's flow down, and we wanna get to the bottom of that. And so here's right where I wanna start. You see, in the Bible there is a name for a well that has no water in it. It's called a pit. So we've got a cistern, we've got a well, we've got a spring. But when you have a well or you have a cistern that has no water in it, it's got a whole different name to it. It is called a pit. Sometimes we're in a pit instead of at a wellspring.
So, I mean, like, there's no wellspring down there. There's not even any water down there. It's just like, we're way down there, way down there, in a dry well that you call a pit. And here's the thing. Sometimes you and I can just go, like, hauling off and jumping into a pit and yelling, "Yee-haw". You know what I'm talking about? Sometimes we mean to get ourselves in a pit. We plan it, we put it on the calendar, we decide with our friend on Tuesday, "Let's go get into a pit on Saturday night". "Okay, what time shall I pick you up to go get in the pit"? "Well, pick me up, let's see, half past a pit, amen"? You know what I'm talking about? Just like, "Pick me up at 6:15. We'll head right on over".
I'm not throwing a stone at anybody. I have lived this. I have planned, I have scheduled, I have dated, I have put on my calendar, "I plan to sin on Saturday night". Now, I'm sorry if that is disappointing to you but most of you have done exactly the same thing. And I don't mean just sin, I mean being a stronghold of it where you're just like, "This is your pattern". So I mean, it's just like jumping into it with all we've got. But we don't always get in a pit because we jumped in it. Sometimes we don't get in that pit by ourselves. We get a little push. Anybody know what I'm talking about? So you got a pit-pusher anywhere? 'Cause we're about to fire them. We're gonna fire us some pit-pushers. So in Genesis, would you go with me, we're gonna see two occasions where it happens.
Genesis 37:24 first of all. We are gonna jump right in the middle of the Joseph narrative. He is the favored son of Jacob and all sorts of things happen when there's a favorite in the family. He's the one that had the multicolored coat and in the practice of the ancient world at this time, a multicolored coat wasn't just so he could look nice and bright in his coat. It was a conveyance of royalty, in other words, his daddy was calling him the prince. The prince of the family. And he had dreams and, you know, we have dreams, vision that God puts on us. But let me tell you when you get into trouble: when you start telling people what those things are. And so that's exactly what he did and so his brothers despised him, absolutely despised him.
In 37:24, I want you to look at this verse. It says, let's see where I can, I will go to 18. So the brothers see him. He's got to go check on them. His daddy's told him to go check on 'em so he's not there with them, working. He is checking on them and he's wearing, when his dad said, "Would you go check on your brothers"? "Where is my coat? I need to wear my coat". So what do they see? They're sweating, they're working, and in the distance they see a multicolored coat coming their way. There's just nothing quite like that. "They saw him from afar, and before he came near they conspired against him to kill him". You understand what I'm saying? Because they're like, they've worked hard, they're exhausted. Here comes the coat and it's, like, "We're killing him. That's it". They said, "We cannot deal with this guy. We cannot deal with him another second".
"And they said to one another, 'Here comes this dreamer. Now, let us kill him and we'll throw him into one of the pits. And then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, nd we will see what becomes of his dreams.' And Reuben heard it, and he rescued him out of their hands, saying, 'Let's not take his life.' And Reuben said to them, 'Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, do not lay a hand on him' that he might rescue him out of their hands to restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe", first thing, of course, "the robe of many colors that he wore".
Don't think that the writer is not telling us that, make sure we know, he had worn it, the multicolored coat that he had worn strictly so that he could see them in it and they could see him. And it says in verse 24: "And they took him and they threw him into the pit. And the pit was empty and there was no water in it". I loved what one of my commentaries said because it told that it is making, it's saying the same thing two different ways. It was empty and there was no water in it, to emphasize. Anytime in language that something is said again intentionally, it is to press it in so in case we missed it the first time. No, empty. Empty. It was just empty. There was no water in it. Crazy thing is, look at 25: "Then they sat down to eat". "What d'y'all bring for lunch"?
They're sitting by him like at their picnic table, having their lunch. This is how cold their hearts have gotten and there's Joseph in a dry and empty well. So there's that. And there's nothing quite like being pushed in a pit by people who are supposed to love you. I need somebody to get a word today, somebody. By my own flesh and blood, my own people. Somebody in this room feels despised by her own people. You need to let Jesus tend to that. It's a dangerous place to be, dangerous place to be. You can't fix them, but you can come before Jesus and you can say, "I'm gonna need you to tend to me because this puts me in great danger and I've been thrown into a pit where I am dying of thirst".
Now turn all the way to Jeremiah chapter 38. Jeremiah chapter 38. The point we're building on right now is that sometimes we're in a pit instead of at a wellspring so we're thinking, like, "I don't know what stopped all of this up for me"? Well, because instead of us being at a wellspring, we are in a pit. So we don't always know when we're in one. Sometimes we need somebody to define it for us. What does a pit look like? Well, it looks like this. It looks like what you're in right now. And I know a little bit about a pit because I've lived a good measure of my earlier life in one.
Can anybody else go with me there? Anybody else confess to having been in one, to having jumped in one and having been pushed in one? Jeremiah 38, verse 6. Jeremiah is the primary prophet of God right now to the king and, I mean, he is despised, despised by the religious aristocracy, absolutely despised because he keeps telling them the truth and they keep telling him, "You say to us peace, peace". And he goes, "I cannot say to you peace. There is no peace. I'm gonna tell you, this is what's going to happen and then God is gonna restore us but you need to hear what we have coming and you need to hear the cry to repent".
And so it says in 38:6: "So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern at Malchiah, the king's son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes". Down by ropes. "And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud". Can I see anybody's hand? At the deepest part of my despair, that is where I was. It wasn't just that it was dry. It was that I felt like my feet were in quicksand. It was not a place I wanted to be, but I felt like I was so knee-deep in it that there would never be a way out.
There was a time in my life when I was absolutely convinced I would die in defeat. I thought, "Girl, you don't have it in you. This will always be your pattern. This will always be what you do". And what a lie. No matter how we got into that pit, whether we fell in it or we jumped into it or somebody pushed us into it, I wanna promise you this in the mighty name of Jesus, not one single soul of us has to stay in it. Not only do we not have to stay in it, you get to get out of it today. I need somebody to hear what I'm saying to 'em. No, I said you can get out of it today. Like, you don't have to, gonna really need you to pray for the next month that God will really... no, no. I'm saying today, today, I'm saying that way down in that knee-deep mud you can get out today.
I want you to turn with me to Psalm 40 for just a moment. I want to show you something. This is one of my very, very favorite of all the Psalms. It's my testimony in so many ways, and I think somebody else will be able to say the same thing, you just may not have known it was right here in writing, that your very story is right here in print.
Psalm 40, "I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, he set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, and to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, they are more than can be told. In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.' I have told the glad news of deliverance".
Don't you love that it's glad news? In my translation it's not good news, it's glad news. See, good news is what it is, glad is how I feel about it. Come on, somebody. I need somebody to understand. I'm asking you, I'm not just asking you if you've had good news, I'm asking you how you feel about the good news because most of us in the room are not very excited about the good news. I'm saying, if we really got it, we'd be glad about it. We'd be glad about it. Psalm 32 says, "Happy is the man who knows his sins are forgiven".
I think one reason why we're not very happy is we don't know our sins have been forgiven. Look what happens. It says, "I have told the great congregation; I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation". Look at these words, look at these words because I'mma tell you something.
Remember John chapter 4 when the woman runs back into town. She's living exactly this right here. See, she came to the wellspring, but what she really was, was in a pit, and Jesus freed her from that pit. And she became the vessel full of that effervescent, living water. I'mma tell you something right now, deliverance testifies. I'mma let that fall for just a minute. If you don't testify, if it doesn't just come naturally to you when you get in a situation where you realize you've got an open door to tell your story, or you realize somebody's suffering the same way that you did, or you just got, listen, deliverance testifies. If we don't testify, it's because we don't really believe we were delivered. I know we'll start thinking later, "You know, I think I just had done the right thing, I just did the steps. I just, you know, and did, you know"?
So, we don't really think it was Jesus who delivered us, so why are we gonna go tell it? Once you know to your bones my God performed a miracle on me... here's what I'mma tell you: this morning, I put my mascara on a miracle. I am a miracle wearing mascara. Does anybody understand that with me? I'm positive because I'm telling you as I began to live in consistent victory, not sinlessness, consistent victory, I honestly would go look in the mirror and go, who are you? I don't even know you. I don't even know you. I can't even believe this.
Okay, y'all have got to go with me to Deuteronomy 8. Deuteronomy 8, I want to keep it in context, so I'm gonna read Deuteronomy 8:7 through 17. "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out of the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and the Lord your God shall bless you in the good land that he has given you. Take care", it says, "lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you".
This is the verse I want you to see, "who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and my might have gotten me this wealth.'" I want you to see something. Did you see that verse? Because, to me, it's so profound. It says in verse 15, "Who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its fiery serpents, scorpions, thirsty ground, where there was no water, and he brought you water out of a flinty rock".
I want to say something to you, this is, of course, talking about the children of Israel in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. We are living on a globe in a terrifying wilderness, scorpions, serpents, dry and thirsty. But I want to tell you something, and I pray in Jesus's name because it's the Word, not because I'm gonna say it to you, that you will never forget it as long as you live. That's where the miracles are. I don't know.
I want to be so careful how I say this because what I am implying is enormous in your tremendous suffering. When we are the most setup for miracles is when we are the most desperate to have them. When we're not, I mean, we have the provision of God and we're thankful for it for a while, and then we forget, and then we find ourselves in a terrifying, terrifying place. And if you are in a terrifying place, you start asking God for miracles because I'm gonna tell you something, once they got to the Promised Land where all of this prosperity was, they did not drink water from a rock. Anybody getting that with me?
There's the most wonderful verse, if you've got your pen handy where you can jot it down somewhere, you got to jot down 1 Corinthians 10:4. 1 Corinthians 10:4 because it says this, it's talking about the wilderness wanderings under the leadership of Moses, just exactly where we were just reading, and it says this, "And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them and the Rock was Christ". Wait a second. What Paul is saying under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and writing in 1 Corinthians 10:4 is you know that rock that had that water gushing out of it, that solid rock.
So, it would be easy for us to think oh, well, he's talking about when rocks break open and there's a spring underneath it. No, no. Isaiah 48:21 adds perfect commentary to it. It says, "They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out". He split a solid rock and water gushed out. There would be no other explanation. Where is this coming from? Where is this coming from?
Now, I want you to watch as we see another way, a man is at a spring and has a different experience but the same kind of miracle. This is Samson, he's just fought the Philistines until he does not have one single drop of energy left. And it's just he's like beaten all of these Philistines just holding the jawbone of a donkey, the jawbone of a...you can see for yourself. You can see it there in 16. Now, this is Keith's favorite verse. You have to understand my husband because it uses, in the King James Version, a different word than donkey and so he's always talking about it. He says, "You know good and well", 'cause I'll tell him, I said, "Honey, watch your mouth". He'll say, "You know good and well Samson killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of"...
You know, just, he just has to. He just absolutely, he cannot keep himself from it. And it says in verse 17, "As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand". And it says in verse 18, "He was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, 'You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?'" So, you hear what he's saying? This is so typical. This is a reality that we will go through a fierce battle and then we'll think, "I'm gonna die on the other side of it, that I literally lived to fight the battle".
I need to see somebody's hand if you've experienced this. That it's not when you would have expected that you're gonna fall apart, that, like, you stayed in there through the whole battle. You fought that thing ferociously. Now it's gonna be on the other side of it, now am I gonna die of thirst? The devil didn't kill me, and I'm gonna die of thirst? The Philistines didn't kill me, and I'm gonna die of thirst? And it says in verse 19, "God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and revived. Therefore the name of it was called En", you know that en, spring of, En-hakkore, the spring of him who called.
Did you notice? Do you see the difference? Children of Israel in Exodus chapter 17 drank water from a solid rock. Right here, Samson is drinking water from a hollow place, just empty. Whether you have hardened or you are just hollow, there's no one in this room, no one in this room that Jesus cannot fill with a fountain of living water. Whether you have gotten as hard as a rock and you have become so callous that you feel like nothing can break you, oh, he can bring water from that rock. If you are as hollow, you think there's nothing in here. I'm a shell of a person at this point, he can bring water from that rock.
I want you to write down point number five, point number five, and we're gonna turn and see a little portion of Genesis. Point number five is this, "Sometimes we've stopped the well up with dirt". Anyone know what I'm talking about? Sometimes the problem is we've stopped the well up with dirt. There is the oddest little portion in Genesis 26 where Isaac decides to go dig up his father's wells because Abraham had dug these wells, and he decided, I'm gonna go dig the dirt out of them that the Philistines had put in them, and I'm gonna use them again.
And it says in verse 18 of Genesis 26, "And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. And when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, 'The water is ours.'" And so the name of the well was called Esek which means contention, "Because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and then they quarreled over that one, and so he called that one Sitnah, which means enmity. Well, he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over that. So he called it Rehoboth, saying, 'The Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.'"
Let me tell you something, sometimes what's stopping up our well is pure contention, just pure contention. Maybe it's because somebody is being contentious with us, but let me tell you something, contention is contagious. Anybody know that with me? You got one really contentious person in the house, everybody's gonna be fighting, everybody's gonna be fighting. Everybody's gonna be throwin' the dishes, anybody, anybody? Because that's the way it goes. And we get into all this contention. Look what he's doing. Everywhere he goes. You know, I thought isn't it interesting he said, "The water is ours".
I thought how true this is. Listen, I love the church. I love the larger church. I feel very, very called to interdenominational ministry. I love it, I love it, but I'mma tell you, if this is not the streams of Christianity, I don't know what is, that we go, "The water is ours. The water is ours". We're gonna contend over the well because we don't like the way they do it and we don't just say, "You know what, that's just really not the way I like it". We go, "The water is ours". Every stream is claiming that the living water is... You know what, God's out there going like, "The living water is mine. I let you drink from it. Do not tell me where I can house my Spirit". All this contention, all this contention.
In Galatians chapter 5, it tells us, Galatians 5 tells us how we can quench the Spirit. It says, just listen to it, "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity", listen to all the enmity. So, I think we get all the rest of that. I think we understand that that's gonna get us into trouble. "Enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions".
Let them contend with themselves. Even if you have to come to a place where you say with your open mouth, You're gonna have to go there without me, while you spin around like a weed eater cutting everything in your path. "I love you, but you know what, I'm gonna stand back from you a little bit. Because a person can get hurt in there real close when you're spinning around like a weed eater. So I'm gonna wait, I love you so much, but here's the thing, I'm not getting in there with you. No, no, I'm gonna be right out here, and Jesus can deliver you and I'm going to be here interceding that he will, but here's the thing, I'm not in there".
Their arm will come up and they'll try to grab your neck. Don't you do it, don't you do it. Don't you do it. We're not getting in that pit. "Sometimes we forsaken the living fountain for broken cisterns". Sometimes, while we don't have that living water flowing within us, bringing us effervescent, fresh life is because we've forsaken the living fountain for broken cisterns. Jeremiah 2:13 says this, "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hold for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water". Every substitute from him, it's just a broken cistern. It's gonna crack. It's gonna crack.
And here's how we know that we've got a cistern on our hands is because that thing just gets more and more stale when it just doesn't keep working for you, when I mean it's the same water and the same thing you've been drawing from for years, instead of fresh living water of the Holy Spirit. Man, you know you got yourself a cistern, and it can be church, it could be all manner of religious thing. In fact, that is the most, the slyest one of all because we associate, we think that has to be the same as the living water. No church is a wonderful thing. I love church, I am devoted to my church. I believe in being invested in our local church. It is not the living water. Jesus alone is the living water, Jesus. We can do all that. We can work ourselves silly for the name of Christ and still be as dry as a bone and knee deep in mud.
I want you to stand to your feet and I want to tell you a story. We'll read it straight out of Scripture, John chapter 19. Jesus is hanging on the cross, been there for hours now. He's seen his mother grieving at the foot of the cross. John, who's believed to be the youngest disciple not far from her, everybody else is gone, he entrusts them to one another, and then it says in verse 28, "After this, Jesus, knowing all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), 'I thirst.' A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit".
So much in play here if we read it too quickly because he had earlier been asked, according to a different Gospel, the Gospel of Mark, if he wanted a sip of a drink, and he said no. And there are many that believe that the reason why I said no to that is because it would have dulled the pain and he was there for the full wrath, the full measure of pain, and the burden of our sins, and the tearing of his flesh to be upon him. But here, here he takes it, why? Because he knew it was now finished. He says, "I thirst". They touch his lips and then he says, "It is finished".
Do you know in Matthew's Gospel when you put it next to one another, Matthew 27:48 through 50 says that after he took the sour wine, he cried out in a loud voice. Doesn't say what he yelled. It says it here in John, and he yielded up his spirit. So, I just wonder if the reason why he, in his thirst, took something on his tongue was to swallow just a little bit, just enough after all his suffering to, as loud as he could possibly cry out, say, "It is finished". And it's not a word that means to be done, over. It is a word that means to be accomplished. He bowed his head, yielded his spirit. It says that he bowed his head and died.
You know what we think of that no, no, we die and then we bow our head. No, no, his death was an offering. He bowed his head, and yielded up his Spirit. He had said earlier, "No one takes my life from me, I give it. I gladly give it". Do you know this living water? He cries out, "I am the living water, everyone who comes to me will drink freely from this well". I want that. Whatever Jesus is giving, man, I want that. I've been so dry. I've been so hollow. I've been so hard. I've been in the deepest, driest well. I've been knee deep in mud. Let me tell you, there is a Jesus who saves.
I could tell you something, Trav, do you know that yesterday I found out from someone who tweeted me that had been here 20 years ago, that I was speaking on the same thing, that I'd spoken on living water 20 years ago. I nearly fell flat out on the floor, and I'm gonna try to tell you why. Because I felt like that the message of God to me was, "Go back and teach it again, this time with 20 more years of experience, 20 years more Bible study, 20 years more of all manner of disappointments and heartbreaks and shattered naivety".
You told him 20 years ago what you hoped, but you can go back and you can tell them 20 years later what you know, not just what you hope. "Tell them that you have thirsted all your life, and I have been the only thing that has ever quenched your thirst. Tell them that you have been like Hagar, you have been like that Samaritan woman, and you have met me there".
I'mma tell you something, girls. I have been driven by passion all my life. I'm a yearner, I'm a yearner. I crave life, I crave it, and I am going to tell you I have looked in some terrible places to get it filled. And I have looked in good places that still couldn't fill it. I have loved lots and lots of skins of water, but they could not give me living water. I am telling you for this woman, there has been one thing, one thing in all the world that has ever cut it for me, and that has been Jesus Christ himself, Jesus Christ himself.