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Jack Graham - At the End of the Broken Road

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    Jack Graham - At the End of the Broken Road
TOPICS: His Story Your Story

This message series is called His Story, Your Story, and it is my prayer, our prayer that each person would experience Jesus in their lives. To know the story of Jesus is to know Him and His power to save. And today's message is especially illustrative of that fact. Jesus often spoke with individuals. Yes, He spoke to great crowds and had compassion upon many people, but many of the most important and significant things that Jesus said, He said one on one, face to face, heart to heart with people. And so over the next several weeks we're going to be looking at some of those encounters and meet Jesus as people met Jesus so long ago. Now true, what happened, this is an old, old story, and I love the story of Jesus. The Gospel song says "Tell me the story of Jesus; write on my heart every word". And I say Amen to that!

Just keep telling me the story of Jesus. And as we go and meet person after person who encounters Christ, we're going to learn more and more about Jesus: who He is and why He came. But we're also going to see ourselves in the story; that His story would be our story: your story and mine. And as we meet people one by one, we're going to see ourselves, because even though these stories happened 2000 years ago we still have the same needs in our lives today after all these years. We all are broken by our sin. We all are empty spiritually. We all have a craving, a desire to know God. And we all know there's an eternity to face, that everyone is going to die, and what happens after death. We all have these questions and these needs in our lives. We all have hopes and hurts and successes and struggles and doubts and fears and problems and possibilities. All of this is our story.

If you have a good story, you've got a good book in the making. It's a good story that makes a great movie that you enjoy. And it's the great story of Jesus that brings us in so close to Him. And it is these stories that we welcome into our lives these days. John chapter 4 is a great example. And every story if you read a book has chapters, and so I've got three chapters in this story. It's a conversation between Jesus and a woman by a well outside of a Samaritan village known as Sychar. And so chapter one is "A Divine Appointment". Let's look at the first 8 verses. "Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John". In other words, there was a Jesus movement going on in Israel, and many were following Christ and were being baptized in His name. "(although Jesus did not baptize, but only his disciples), He left Judea and departed again for Galilee". Judea is the Jerusalem region, so He's leaving Jerusalem and Judea and departing to Galilee which is His hometown and home base for His ministry.

So verse 4: "And he 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", amazing, isn't it, the Son of God, God the Son is tired and thirsty? "Wearied from his journey, was sitting beside the well. And it was about the sixth hour. (It was the middle of the day, it was hot and it was high noon.) 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.)"

Now let me note that this is not a chance meeting of strangers. Jesus is on the way back home from Jerusalem, and on His way back there were a couple of routes, three actually, that He could have taken from Jerusalem to the Galilee. He could have taken the long route around, because many Jews refused to walk through Samaria, especially pious and religious rabbis and like. They views Samaria as contaminated and here's why: prejudice. The Jews and the Samaritans despised one another. You might think of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians today. The tension was in the air. And therefore, most people who were Jewish would go all the way around, take the long route so that they wouldn't go through Samaria.

Why did Jesus go through Samaria? Because there was a woman at an old well outside of this Samaritan village who was broken at the end of road. In fact, as we read more about her later in this passage we discover that she was a five time adulteress and was living with a man who was not her husband. She was in many ways a sinful and shamed woman. She is broken. And she comes to this well. Now we don't have to wonder about the mission of Jesus, what it is; and, therefore, what we're suppose to be doing as followers of Jesus. Because Jesus said: "That I have come to seek and to save the lost". God in Christ came seeking to save the lost. And so on this heat-seeking missile of a mission Jesus came. And He went through Samaria. He had to do it! It was a must because there was a broken, burned-out woman there who needed to know that God loved her, even her. And there was an entire village of people outside of the religious system of the day who desperately needed to know Jesus!

Now Jesus was always on a schedule, a timetable, God's timetable. And He was always at the right place at the right time with the right person. And what was true then is true today. You may think that you're here by accident or chance, but we are not; we are here by divine appointment. And the Lord is looking for you. In this case Jesus was looking for this woman. This woman wasn't looking for Jesus. She didn't initially know who He was, but He was looking for her! She came to the well to draw water, but she found Jesus at that well because He was looking for her. Jesus refused to ignore the people of Samaria because He had this divine passion and mission, and He did not allow social barriers, cultural barriers, racial barriers, political barriers, religious barriers to keep Him away from a person who desperately needed Him. And neither should we! Prejudice of any kind is based on arrogance, pride and ignorance. And we must always go and find people, whoever they are, and bring them to Jesus, everyone.

Now the Scripture tells us that this woman came alone at noon. Now that's interesting why this woman would come by herself at high noon. But you could probably imagine why. Being an adulteress, she had quite a reputation and therefore, was most likely ostracized and alienated. She was on the low rung of the social strata of Sychar. And maybe she was just tired of the stares and the sneers, and the other women of the village who would gather early. You know, it was like a trip to Starbucks to go to the well, to have a conversation and talk about the day, talk about whatever. But she would go alone to avoid all of that. So here she is; she's an adulteress, she's alone, she's abused and used by men. She'd been passed around like a pack of cigarettes over her lifetime, moving from one relationship to another, hoping not to find sex but to find love! And she's alone, she's abandoned, she's alienated!

And Jesus begins a conversation with her. It was shocking really that He would talk to this woman. It's just like Jesus. And the conversation begins with a simple question. Jesus said, "Would you give Me a drink"? He appeals to her sympathy, her human sympathy. "Give Me a drink". He's tired, He's thirsty, and He asked for a drink of water, that she would draw her some water from the well. But He had the water that she needed. Now this woman knew this well well. She had been to this well many times and spiritually speaking, she'd been to the well many times as well. And spiritually she was empty because her life was not satisfying. She was, no doubt, disillusioned with life by now. She must have been, at least in one point in her life a beautiful woman so many men were chasing her down. But now she's drawn and tired and no makeup can cover it up. She's wearing her sin. And she's also wearing a mask like many people do to cover up the person that she had become. I'm sure she never thought she would end up at the end of a broken road like this.

If she was like my little granddaughters I'm sure she dreamed of growing up to be a princess. She had great dreams, and now her dreams are gone and here she is, she's broken by her sin. You need to remember that sin may gratify but it doesn't satisfy. Sin promises pleasure but delivers pain. She's broken and burned out. Sin, you see, will break us. You say, "I want to break one of God's commandments". You don't break God's commandments; you're broken on the commandments of God. And she's broken and no longer beautiful. But to the heart of God she was beautiful. She was unsatisfied because she had been living on artificial substitutes. That's why Jesus offered her living water. I want us to look at that again. Verse 10: "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 have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'"

You have to identify who Jesus is. He said, "If you knew who I was, if you knew the one who is asking, then you would ask for this water". There in lies a big problem because most people don't have a clue as to who Jesus is. And I just say to you, if you knew my Jesus, if you knew Him, if you knew what He was like, if you knew how wonderful He is, you would ask, simply ask for the salvation and the life that He gives. Wouldn't you? If you just knew. If you only knew! Jesus said, "Ask and I'll give you this living water". It's a simple illustration about salvation. The prophet Isaiah said, "Everyone who thirsts, let him ask of Me". The last page of the Bible gives an invitation. And the invitation, Revelation 22, "Whosoever will let him drink of the water of life freely".

In just a moment I'm going to give that invitation to say whosoever will let him drink of the water of life freely. Anyone can drink water. If you want to know Jesus as your Savior, know that your sins are forgiven regardless of your past or your present, you can be forgiven, you can be saved, satisfied deep within by simply receiving and believing Him. Simply asking. "You would ask and" He said, "I would give it to you". Just ask. There's an old Gospel song we used to sing, "Like the woman at the well I was seeking the things that could not satisfy, And then I heard my Savior speaking, draw from the well that never will run dry. Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up, Lord; Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill my cup and make me whole".

Because I guarantee you at the end of the broken road, this woman's broken road and yours, there is grace, waves of grace even for a scarlet woman there is the scarlet blood of Christ! God's grace is greater than our sin! "Just ask," He said, "I will give you living water". She's resistant. She's fighting, you know. She's had many offers from men, obviously. Here's an offer she hadn't heard. But she's resistant. So Jesus, He goes for it. He says in verses 16 through 18. Well we need to read them. Look at it: "Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband and come here.' The woman answered him, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, (You got that right!) '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 though He's serious, of course, going for the heart of this woman, to bring her to Himself, I can't help but believe that a smile is creasing His face when He says, "You're right. You don't have a husband. You've had five husbands. I know you. And the man you're living with now is not your husband. How's that working out for you"?

Now, lest you think Jesus is being cruel here, I mean, you know, if you're a salesperson, you might think well, this is the wrong approach. I mean, He had her, you know, right there, talking about living water, it's so good, it's so great, and drink, just ask, just drink, it's there! And then He starts talking to her about her sin, exposing her sin. But He's not being cruel. You know, I don't want to go to a doctor who lies to me about whether I'm sick or not. Have you ever been to a doctor and they start probing. You know, you're hurting somewhere, maybe kind of all over more than anywhere else, and the doctor starts punching around. He finds that spot, ugh! Well, Jesus, the Great Physician and the Great psychologist, He found the spot. He knew what was in this woman's heart. It's what's in all of our hearts! It's an emptiness because of sin, and a brokenness because of sin.

So He's aroused her curiosity now. He's confronted her with her sin. Because I need to tell you: There can be no conversion without conviction and confession of sin. And we must never dilute the message of the Gospel. We must never soft-pedal it just so because we think people will come if we don't say anything about sin. Jesus said something about sin. It was awkward for sure. It was tense. But now she's ready and she's responsive to hear of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "Drink it". This pivotal statement. Stop defending your sin. Stop covering it up. Take off the mask. Own it! And when you own your sin and confess it, He is faithful to forgive every sin. You want water. Jesus said, "It's a drink that satisfies, and drink it". There is a fountain that flows from deep within. She's getting more now, getting it more. And verse 19 she says: "Sir, you must be a prophet. He was a prophet, but more than a prophet, He was Messiah". And in verse 26 He confesses that He is the Messiah.

If you ever doubt whether Jesus claimed to be God and Messiah or not, here's one example among many. "Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.'", speaking of the Messiah. She said, "The Messiah's coming. We've heard the Messiah's coming". Jesus said, "You're looking at Him! I am the Messiah"! So now she knows who Jesus is and what her sin is all about, and how she can simply drink of the wells of salvation. Because the wells of this world never satisfy, whether it's the wells of success, the wells of pleasure, the wells of profit and money and the wells of sex or immorality, the wells of alcohol, the wells of drugs. All those wells are dry holes and artificial beverages. Now she knows that. She says, "I'm taking the living water".

You say, "how do we know that?" Look at verses 27 and 28, and this is the third chapter; it's what I'm going to call a dramatic acceptance. There was a direct appeal and then came this dramatic acceptance. In verses 27 and 28: "Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, 'What do you seek?' (or why are you talking with her?) So the woman (look at this, verse 28) left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?'" Go on to verse 30: "And then they went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, 'Rabbi, eat.'"

Now this is somewhat comical to me, part of this, 'cause here are these boys, the disciples, His followers, and they've been in town for a couple of hours. They'd been to In-N-Out, they'd been to the Dairy Queen. They've got sacks under their arms, they're coming back. Judas, you know, the keeper of the bag; he was especially generous that day, gave a little extra meal money. They're coming back; they're having a great day. And they see Jesus talking to this woman at the well. And they're going, "Whoa! What's this about"? "Jesus, eat something"! And in the meantime this woman leaves her water pot, She left it behind because she had living water. It's a symbol, of course. She didn't need that water pot anymore. She didn't need that well anymore. She had the well of life in her. And she goes back and she says, "Come meet a Man who told me who I was, what I'm about! Come meet a Man! Could this Man be the Messiah"?

Now she doesn't have it all down yet, but she's already a witness; she's already testifying; she's already telling a story. His story is her story! And think about it. Now the city comes out. Everybody in the town it seems is coming out to meet Jesus! Now these disciples, they've been in town half the day, and they didn't bring one single person out there to meet Jesus! It took a brand new saved woman to go out and bring her friends and bring her family and bring everybody. It must have been hard. You say, "Who's going to believe me"? She didn't care. She was so in love with Jesus by this time she went out, she got her friends, said, "Come, meet a Man"! Could we not do just that? Anybody could do that right?

Let's not be like those disciples, more interested in what we're going have for lunch than people coming to Jesus. Who spend all day doing stuff that doesn't really matter, when what really matters is getting as many people to Jesus as fast as we can! We can all say, "Come and meet a Man". She had no theology here. She was not trained in evangelism. She had no course on how to share her faith. She said, "Come meet this Man". And ultimately it says in this passage that many believed because of the testimony of this woman. She was believable. She got saved! First, it was just, "Could this be the one"? "Come meet a Man", and now people are seeing that Christ has changed her life. She left the water pot behind because there is fountain flowing deep within. She found grace; she found Jesus at the end of the broken road, and so can you.

Would you bow your head with me in prayer, every head bowed and every eye closed? Just a conversation, not even between me and you but right now between you and the Lord and He is inviting you to drink. He is saying, "just ask me, just ask me and I will save you and forgive you and change your life if you will come to me, if you will believe in me". Own your sin, confess it, you're convicted of it, you know it. Confess it to Him, you don't need to confess it to me, confess it to Him and then ask Him to convert you, to change you, (that's called repentance) and receive Christ into your life. Pray a prayer like this:

Lord Jesus thank you for loving me, finding me where I am, loving me in spite of everything. I ask that you forgive my sin, come into my life, I drink deeply. Lord, I take, I'm thirsty, I'm empty. Lord, come into my life, wash away my sin, fill my cup, fill my life Lord with You.

Invite Christ into your life right now. You don't have to pray all of those words. The Bible just says call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved. Drink! Take a drink, it's a drink that satisfies.
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