Skip Heitzig - John 3:22-4:24
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Let's open our Bibles or we already did. John chapter 3. We made it down to verse 21 last time. Then we stopped. Now verse 22. Let's just start taking a peek at it.
"After these things, Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there he remained with them and baptized. Now John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison, and there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said, Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan to whom you have testified, that is Jesus, behold He is baptizing, and all are coming to him."
Now let's stop right there, and let's go through some of these verses. Let me begin by saying pride is a cancer to the human soul. Nothing is more destructive to humanity than pride. Pride is what kicked Lucifer out of heaven. Pride is what took Adam out of the garden. Pride is what took Saul, the king, out of the kingdom. Pride destroys relationships, friendships, marriages, families, work colleague relationships, ministries, churches.
And at this point, pride is tempting John the Baptist. John the Baptist had had a very, you might say, successful ministry because people from Jerusalem and all around Judea heard about this crazy, bug-eating, long-haired, weird-dressing preacher down by the Jordan River, and they flocked just to see what he was about and to hear him. Even the religious big wigs came. People, more people, more controversy, more people.
But now, now Jesus' ministry is gaining more attention. John the Baptist baptized Jesus as our Lord identified with us in the waters of baptism. But now Jesus' ministry is beginning to overshadow that of John the Baptist, and John's disciples, his senior staff, is noticing that. Hey John, you know Jesus' church is growing bigger than yours. He's got a lot more people coming to him. They're flocking after him. They're following him.
And we get here then John's response to this issue. What he says about this temptation to become envious of what's happening with Jesus and with the disciples. John had a very lonely ministry. He was a voice crying in the wilderness. Make straight the ways of the Lord. And he will be put into prison. And while he's in prison, he's going to have second thoughts, even sending a messenger asking, Jesus, are you the one we're looking for or should we seek another?
But at this point, a controversy is stirred up because of what is happening with Jesus and John the Baptist. And here's what you're going to see, that John the Baptist has a very mature response, one that we can learn from. And I would say, especially if you're the jealous type. If somebody else, if the spotlight is shining on them, if somebody else's life or ministry is eclipsing yours you're feeling those tendencies toward bitterness or envy, John the Baptist provides good fodder for a cure to that. So there arose, verse 25, a dispute. But let's go back.
In Verse 22 it says, "His disciples came to the land in Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized." Now before you think Jesus was out there baptizing, He was not. Because if you go down to chapter 4 verse 1, "Therefore when the Lord himself knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John." Now notice the parenthetical statement that follows. "Though Jesus Himself did not baptize but His disciples, He left Judea and departed again to Galilee."
So Jesus wasn't doing the baptism. His disciples were doing the baptism, but the activity brought anxiety, and that's why in verse 25 there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. And it was that dispute with the religious elite, the religious leaders of Judaism, that caused those feelings of animosity toward Jesus' disciples. And even Jesus Himself to arise in the senior staff of John the Baptist. And that's why they came to Him and said, "Rabbi, he who is with you beyond the Jordan to whom you have testified, behold, he is baptizing and all are coming to him."
You probably already know this, but in case you don't know this I want to save you from becoming disillusioned about the Church. Many people do get disillusioned with church. That it is because they assume that these are all saved people, and we are. If you're in the church, you are a saved individual. If you belong to Christ, you're saved of your sin. However, it doesn't mean that you are sinless. It doesn't mean that you are perfect. And the disillusionment comes in when all of a sudden I'm a brand new believer. I'm in this church thing. I'm following Jesus. I'm with brothers and sisters who are following Jesus. And then we discover flaws in our new family.
And so some respond by looking for a different family. They bounce around from place to place hoping that they'll find the perfect church. But every time they find the perfect church, they ruin it, cause they join it. You see, the Church is not a society of the perfect. It's a society of the redeemed. And there's a huge difference between that. It's not perfect people without fault. It's redeemed people who express their spirituality through human personality. And whenever you express your spirituality through human personality, that's a tainted faucet. It's a tainted pipe. It's going to come out with that personality around it. It's how the Lord designed it, by the way.
I know, you're going but, but, but wait a minute, we're a spiritual family. And if we're a family, we shouldn't have disputes. Really? What family do you come from? Yeah. I'd like to know what planet you were born on. Because listen, I love my family, but I remember family vacations in the back of a Rambler station wagon for hours and days. And though I loved my brothers on that vacation, I had second thoughts about my love for them.
In fact, I am sure during that confinement in the backseat with my brothers, I swore I hated them. That's being a family. That's just the reality of family. So don't get disillusioned. In fact, if you're a Bible student. You are not disillusioned. You read that throughout the Bible this stuff happened. You go back to Genesis 13, you have Abraham and you have Lot. Those are relatives. They're in the same family. But we keep reading and we discover that Lot's herdsmen and Abraham's herdsmen had a conflict, and it was a conflict that caused them to separate company from one another. That's severe.
And then we read the Gospels, and we have Twelve Apostles. You think, oh come on, the apostles. Jesus chose those guys. He only chooses perfect people. Again, I don't know what planet you're from. No, Jesus chooses sinful people, and he takes raw stuff. And he renames people, not because they're perfect, because this is what I'm going to make you into. You're just a bunch of sand, but I'm going to make you into something solid, Peter. So I'm going to give you a new name.
And those apostles, we discover, argued about who's going to be the greatest in the kingdom. Not just once, but several times. As the Church moves on in the Book of Acts. In the 15th chapter, we find the great apostle Paul, and his buddy in ministry, Barnabas, had a dispute, an argument. And it says the contention was so sharp between them that they parted company. They went in two different directions. You say that's tragic. No, actually it's quite wonderful because there will be a reconciliation, but in the meantime now you have two groups that the Lord can use in two different places.
And so there can be multiplication, even by division, even if it's imperfect and sinful the Lord can use that. Listen, I want you know this. God reserves the right to use people that disagree with you. Newsflash. God reserves the right to use people that disagree with you. And there was a disagreement. There was a dispute that arose, and a little bit of envy and jealousy between the senior staff of J the B, John the Baptist, and Jesus. And so they bring it to Him.
Now listen to John the Baptist's answers. Very revealing. It reveals the maturity of this cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist. John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven." Now stop right there with that statement. Man can't receive anything unless God gives it to him.
This reveals that John had a proper theology. John would say, I believe God is sovereign. God is in charge. God is in control. And because God is sovereign and God is in control, nobody gets really away with anything. God does what he wants through people. Nobody can receive anything unless God gives it to him. So if God is doing this, who am I to stand in the way? If God has given me this place, that's what God has given me. God is sovereign. He has a proper theology with that statement.
He continues, "You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him." Now this reveals that John has a proper understanding. He would say, I know my calling. I know who I am. I told you I'm not the Christ. I told you I'm just a voice calling in the wilderness, that my job is to point to the One. I have a proper understanding, not only of who God is, but I have a proper understanding of who I am. And I am not the Christ. I'm not the Messiah. I can't solve all the problems. I'm just a servant. I know my calling.
Then he says this. "He who has the bride," he's using an analogy now of a Jewish wedding, "he who has the bride is the bride groom, but the friend of the bride groom." We would call that the best man today. "Who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bride groom's voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled."
This reveals John had a proper attitude. He's saying, I'm just so glad that I'm Jesus' best man. And I'm so happy for Jesus the Messiah, the Word. I'm just the voice. He's the Word. And I'm glad that he has a bride, that he is calling out his bride. I'm just happy my friend, to use the analogy, is getting married.
What kind of a best man would it be if he's at a wedding grumbling and complaining. Man, I'm just so bummed out. This guy's getting married, and I'm not. So the wedding party comes into the church. The bride and groom come up, and the best man's standing right here just scowling and just angry because this guy's getting married, and he's not you. That's the worst man, not the best man.
So John has a proper theology, a proper understanding of his calling, he has a proper attitude. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled. And then verse 30. "He must increase, but I must decrease." This shows he has a proper relationship to what God is doing through him and through his cousin, Jesus. Since I know that God is sovereign, since I know who I am and who I'm not, since I'm happy that I'm just the best man at this wedding and the bridegroom is calling out his bride, I realize that it's about Him, not about me. Less of me, more of Him. That's the proper relationship. Less of me, more of Him.
John the Baptist was the herald, the announcer, the voice. And a herald was one in olden times who would announce the presence of the king. Once the herald announces, the king is coming, the king is coming. Once the king comes, the herald doesn't need to stand around going, look at me. The King is coming. Look at me the k... We see the king. That's old news now. Get out of the way, herald, announcer. Let the star come on the stage and assume his rightful place. He must increase. I must decrease. It's like the moon and the sun.
The moon in the sky is wonderful at night, but it diminishes at sunrise when the sun begins to gain strength, we would say. Even though it's 93 million miles away from the Earth, that little ball can shine brightly and cover the land and do a much better job than the moon. So the moon naturally diminishes so that the sun might do its thing.
So John understands all of this, and he shares it. He must increase, and I must decrease. William Carey, most of you know the name William Carey. He was one of the great missionaries in mission history to the nation, the subcontinent of India. Very effective. I visited the place in India where he landed and set up his ministry, and he made a great impact in that land.
Well, by the time did that he died, William Carey was well known and well respected. And he was on his deathbed in India, in the subcontinent of India. And when he was dying he said to those around his deathbed, when I'm gone don't talk of William Carey. Talk of William Carey's Savior. Talk of William Carey's Savior.
He says, I want to make sure that He alone is glorified. That's a John the Baptist attitude. Talk of William Carey's Savior, and so they did. And to this day, the gospel is still being spread around that area.
"He who comes from above," verse 31, "is above all. He who is of the earth is earthly. He who speaks and speaks of the earth, He who comes from heaven is above all, and what He has seen and heard that He testifies, and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
We have a little bit of a problem, not really a problem. We have an issue with these verses. There is an issue with these verses. You see in my Bible, and I don't know if it's so in yours, but I'm guessing it is if we have the same version, I'm noticing that verse 31 begins with quotation marks. Do you have that in your Bible, little quotes? And then it ends at verse 36.
Now that indicates that the one who has been speaking, that is John the Baptist, is continuing to speak. So we would assume in reading this by looking at the quotation marks, that John the Baptist is simply continuing his speech after He must increase, I must that John keeps talking all the way down to verse 36. That's the assumption.
The issue we have, the problem we have is it doesn't actually sound like John the Baptist. That is the style and the grammar sound more like John the Apostle, rather than John the Baptist. You look at all the words of John the Baptist recorded in the Bible and match these up to it, especially if you looked in the original language, you would discover that's not John the Baptist. He doesn't talk like that. He doesn't use that kind of sentence construction, syntax, and grammar. But it sounds a lot like John the Apostle.
So why am I making a deal of this? Because in the original Greek, there are no quotation marks. The original texts of the scripture had no quotes like we have in English and in Western language. So it had to be inserted. And when you insert that, you are making an interpretive statement. You are interpreting that as John the Baptist.
By the way, do you know that chapters and verses weren't in the original manuscripts, let alone quotation marks. There weren't like chapter 4, chapter 3, verse 1, verse 2. They didn't come along till 1227 when Stephen Langton, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury, to make things easier decided to format the Bible so people could find things in it. That's when chapters and verses came along. So the first printing of a Bible that had chapters and verses were in the 1300s. It was the Wycliffe translation of the Bible.
Now I'll tell you what I believe. I don't believe John the Baptist said these verses at the end. I believe this is John the Apostle, the author of this book's commentary, his editorial comments on chapters 1 through 3. And he's summing them up and saying, here's why Jesus Christ was and is so unique, and this is why so many people believe in Him. And this is why you should believe in Him. And I told you before in our previous studies that this is one of the marks of John's writing. He will often do this. He'll include a thing, and then he'll sum it up. He did it at the end of chapter 2, talking about the response in Jerusalem before he turned to Nicodemus in the third chapter. So I believe these are John's comments, and let's just read them again with that in mind.
"He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth," speaking of John, "is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard that He testifies and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true." That's very Yohanan. That's very John the Apostle like in authorship.
"For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God for God does not give the Spirit by measure," that is to Jesus," "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides in Him.
Therefore," verse 1 chapter 4, "Therefore, when the Lord, that is Jesus the Lord, knew that the Pharisees," that religious gang in control of Judaism, legalistic Judaism, conservative Judaism in Jerusalem, when he heard that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. "Though Jesus Himself did not baptize but His disciples, He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But he needed to go through Samaria."
It's interesting that when it talks about the baptism of Jesus that it makes the point that Jesus Himself didn't baptize people which is wise. It was very wise for Jesus not to personally baptize people, in my opinion. And here's why. Can you imagine how heady it would be, how spiritually superior one would feel if, well, there's John the Baptist, he baptized. Peter baptized a few, Philip, but Jesus baptized me. You can hear the conversation. They're having a Turkish coffee and a felafel in Jerusalem.
Somebody says, yeah, I was baptized by John the Baptist himself. And somebody goes, well, that's cool, but Jesus baptized me. Heady stuff. So He let His disciples do it. But do you know? Even with that, divisions grew in the early church. When Paul writes a letter to the Corinthians he says, I thank God that I didn't baptize any of you, except for Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanas. Beside that, I don't know if I baptized anyone else. For Christ didn't send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, not with the wisdom of words but the power of God, that the cross of Christ be made of no effect otherwise.
In that same chapter he says, I've heard that there are divisions among you, contentions among you. Some say I'm a Paul. Others say, I'm of Appolos. Other say I'm of Sefus. And others, the fourth group are saying, I'm of Christ. So already in the early church, the church at Corinth, there were groups of people dividing up over their favorite preacher personalities.
I'm a Paul. I love Paul. Paul the Apostle. He's that great rabbi who had that radical conversion. And Paul, he's radical. I like the radical Paul. I like his radical approach. I'm radical like him. I Identify with Paul. Others are saying, well, Paul was good, but we love Apollos. Apollos has the golden tongue. He has the communication skill. He's an orator par excellence. He's intelligent. We like that intelligent approach.
And then there's a third group saying, I know. All that stuff is good, but Peter. Now he's blue collar. He's a fisherman. He just says it like it is. He uses words we can all understand. And we mean, that's a man of the people. We love Peter.
But then there was a fourth group. They were probably the worst because they felt superior than all of the other three by saying, we're of Christ. No, we don't believe in any human institutions or anything like that. We just follow Christ. And Paul wrote to them and said, some say I'm a Paul, of Apollos, I'm a Sefus of Christ. I want you know you're all carnal because you are taking the body of Christ and dividing it into personalities. And he says, was Paul baptized for you? Is Christ divided? And he said, we've all had various ministries, but it's God who does the work and God who brings the increase. So that whole mentality has been with us a long time. It's with us here.
So Jesus wisely did not baptize, but his disciples did. So it says He left Judea, and He departed again to Galilee. So He's been in Jerusalem. He moves to Judea, and he's going then to Samaria. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria. I'm bringing that up for a very important reason.
In Acts 1:8, before Jesus ascended into heaven He told his disciples, go into all the world and share the gospel. Wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit from on high. And you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the outermost parts of the earth. And that was the strategy they undertook.
They began in Jerusalem. They moved to Judea. They were scattered around Samaria and elsewhere. So what Jesus told them to do, He Himself did as a model. He modeled it. He instructed it. And they did it. But notice verse 4. So it's going north, He's going to Galilee, but on the way to Galilee He needed to go through Samaria.
If you and I lived 2000 years ago and we were reading this, he needed to go through Samaria. We'd say, one question. Why? That'd be like saying, I need to go to Los Angeles, but I need to go through Juarez. You need to go through Juarez to get to Los Angeles? That's out of your way. There's a direct route you could take. Just take I40. Go west, young man, go west.
But it says Jesus needed to go through Samaria. And why? Well, we find out as we read there's a woman at Samaria that Jesus has an appointment with. She doesn't know this. The apostles don't know this. Jesus knows this. It's in the Providence of God. He wants the lesson to be known that God loves Samaritans as much as He loves Jews. He loves all people, no matter who they are, no matter what their background, no matter what they've done.
And there's only one woman. You go, why would He go out of his way to Samaria to speak to one woman? Why not do a mass crusade? Because interestingly, one woman is going to be affected by this conversation. She's going to believe in the Lord. And she will carry the gospel to Samaria. And many more in her village and the surrounding towns will believe because of her testimony.
And then later on when the church scatters from Jerusalem, Judea, into Samaria, the pump has already been primed. The ground has already been tilled and fertilized, and Jesus did it. He needed to go through Samaria.
There's a little background you need to get this. To really understand the impact of this, there's a little bit of background that I just need to bring you up on. Some of you know this already. If you do, just bear with me. For 700 years, by this time, 700 years, there has been animosity between Samaria and Jerusalem. The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. The woman will rightly say in a few verses. Jews on their way north would go away from Samaria. If you're going north, if you were Jewish, especially if you were a very compliant, even I would say legalistic Jew, you want to stay away from Samaria. They would actually go across the Jordan River out of the land of Israel into the land of Perea, and go north, and then re-enter from the north to get to Galilee. They would stay away from that central ridge of mountains, which is Samaria.
Now why is that? Because of this longstanding animosity. Let me begin. In 722 BC, the Assyrian Empire took over the world. They swept down through the north from the northeast, and they took over the 10 tribes in the north. Now Israel was split.
Do you remember how Israel was split in the Old Testament after Solomon's kingdom? Jeroboam effectively split and Rehoboam split the kingdom to two tribes in the south, 10 tribes in the north. Jeroboam introduced idolatry in the north and placed golden calves for the people to worship at. Two of them. One in the far north of Dan and the second in the area of Samaria in Bethel. In Bethel and Dan, golden calves were there for worship. That really angered the people of Judea and can I say the Lord God, because that's idolatry.
So they continued doing their idolatry. In 722 BC, the Assyrians took over the world, took captive the 10 northern tribes, and when the Assyrians took places over, here's what they did. They would remove the population base away from the land. They didn't just take over. They took you out of your homeland and brought you to another place.
And they brought, in the place of the population, people from other areas they conquered. They wanted to really mix it up. Because it takes the nationalistic spirit away if you're away from your homeland. You feel very defeated, very depleted. You're not buying into this land. That's not your land.
So he took away the people, except the Assyrian policy was always to keep the people of the land, the farmers, the poor people, let those people stay. So the Jewish people, some of them remained, the poorest of the land while floods of new people came in from other countries. You follow?
The floods of new people, non-Jews from other places populating the northern area of Samaria, intermarried with the Jews who remained in the land. Now there was a syncretism, that is a meshing together of ideologies, belief systems, foreign gods and goddesses. So it wasn't a pure bloodline. And it wasn't a pure religion, not that it ever really was. But it's getting worse. It got so bad that after the Babylonian captivity down south, you know that in 586 BC, the Babylonians took over the area of Judea, 70 years after that they came back to Judea to rebuild their temple.
When they wanted to rebuild their temple, some Samaritans came down. Sanballat was one of them. Tobiah. And they said, we want to help you rebuild this temple. And the people of Judea said, no way. We're not letting you help at all. We the people of Judea from these tribes, we're building it on our own. We want nothing to do with you because of the idolatry and the pollution that was in their system, in their lives.
Well, that didn't help matters. They got so angry with the people of Judea for not letting them participate in that, that they built a rival temple on another mountain. See, the one in Jerusalem is on Mount Zion. The one in Samaria, they built on Mount Gerizim. Mount Gerizim, remember that? Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, the blessings and the cursings that were shouted in our study of the Old Testament.
So they build a temple on Mount Gerizim. Interesting fact, it is believed that the son-in-law of Sanballat was the one who built that temple in 330 BC. So now there's a rival temple. And Josephus says, the rival temple in Samaria was almost exactly like the temple in Jerusalem. So you have Samaritan worship in Samaria, and the Jerusalem worship in the temple. And they're at odds with each other.
So the people in Judea, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, all of them, they don't like the Samaritans. They have no dealings with the Samaritans. It's a rival religion. A rival temple. God said, only worship and sacrifice animals in the place that I choose. That was Jerusalem. Everybody knew it. They had their own priesthood, their own high priest. They offered sacrifices. And they only believed in the first five books of Moses, not the whole Old Testament. So they had their five books. Their Pentateuch, their Torah, the Samaritan Pentateuch.
Another just quick little fact. There are still Samaritans alive today. Just a few years ago the oldest high priest died, and they elected a new one in his place. Part of his family. Part of his lineage. There's only a few hundred of them left, but they're there in Samaria. Very interesting. And they still perform their worship systems every year. And they still sacrifice in that area. So that's Samaria. Area Jesus needed to go through Samaria.
"So we came," verse 5, "to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus, therefore, being weary from his journey sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. And Jesus said to her, give me a drink, for His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food."
Don't miss that phrase. Jesus was weary from the journey. We believe in Christianity that Jesus was fully God, and at the same time, fully human. And here is the human side of Jesus weary from the journey. Can I rephrase it? Weary in the pursuit of souls. Weary, tired. It's a long walk. He's not on a tour bus. He didn't have a tour guide. It's not air conditioned. It's not hotels and meals and falofel lunches.
He's walking. It's 12:00 noon. He goes to the well, Jacob's well. I've been there. He's tired. And a woman is drawing water. Now women typically didn't draw water at noon. They drew it in the morning and in the evening. If she comes at noon, why? I believe she's not liked. She doesn't want to be seen with everybody else.
And we'll discover why as we go through the story. She's a woman with a reputation. She's been around the block with men. She's had several men in her life. She's had five husbands, and she's married now to number six. But Jesus weary in His pursuit of souls. What do you get weary in? Is there any spiritual pursuit that you are willing to put your hand to the plow with and get tired doing it?
Oswald Sanders once said, the world is run by tired man. Now he wrote that in his day. We would say today, it's run by tired men and women. And that's true. Show me a successful VBS, and I'll show you a group of tired women. Show me a successful women's retreat, and I'll show you a group of tired women. Any time something spiritual is done and an event takes place, there's a group of people, staff and volunteers, who get tired in the journey.
Missionaries will go to the other side of the world to the hardest places, weary because of the journey, weary because they don't have the creature comforts of America. They don't have air conditioning in this place. The food is different. It's hard. They're not respected by the people. And they stay there, sometimes for a lifetime. What drives them? The satisfaction of knowing you're right in the center of God's will. There's no feeling like that.
"So Jesus says, give me a drink, for the disciples had gone to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, how is it that You being a Jew ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman, for the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans?"
That's true. That's a fact for all the reasons I just stated. But notice the question. It's not why are you talking to me, a Samaritan? It's you're talking to a Samaritan woman. Jewish men, especially Jewish rabbis, wouldn't talk in public many times to another woman at all. It was forbidden unless her husband was present and allowed it. Why is that you are talking to me, a Samaritan woman, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans?
"Jesus answered and said to her. If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you give me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. The women said to him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock"?
Can you imagine saying that to Jesus Christ? Hey, who do you think you are? You think you're better than Jacob, our father? She's looking at the one who made Jacob, who created him, who gave life to the world. She doesn't know that. He's just a Jewish guy, and she's befuddled that He's talking to her. Are you greater than Jacob?
Now Jesus begins the conversation with a simple request, give me a drink. It was standard protocol to ask for a drink from someone at the well, though this is a Samaritan woman. So anybody seeing this, like disciples, would say ew, He's talking to a woman and a Samaritan woman.
But here's what you're going to notice. Again, not only are they're not punctuation marks in the original. Not only in the original are there are no chapters and verses. But in the original you don't get the voice inflection by reading something you don't know.
It's just like an email or a text. It's the worst way to communicate because you don't get the body language, the voice inflection. It's not a complete communication, so we don't hear it all. But if I'm not mistaken, I believe that you are dealing with a woman, and you see it reflected in her answers. Her answers are terse. They're curt. They're short. They're snide. They're cynical. She's burned out on life, and I think you see that reflected.
So follow me here. What are you doing talking to me? Jews have no dealings. And so He gets right to the heart. If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, give me a drink, you'd have asked Him and He would have given you living water.
Do you know what living water would have been in her mind? A stream. Living water was a typical Jewish expression for water that is not stagnant or sitting in a basin or a pool, like a cistern. They collect water. That's just regular standing water. The best water is living water because it's flowing. It's fresh. So a river or a stream was called moving or living water.
So that's why she says, are you greater than our father, Jacob? Now she knows the history that Jacob, they didn't have a stream there. He had to dig way down into the rock just to find water and provided a well. So they had to lower their buckets.
The well is still in use today in Sycar. You can go visit it. And so look at. Jacob didn't find living water. Jacob didn't find a stream. He just dug a well. You think you're great? You have living water? You greater than Jacob? I think you get the point now of the conversation.
The woman said to him, verse 11. I think you'll pick up now on her voice inflection in this verse. "The woman said to him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do you get the living water?"
Now if you were to read it this way, like she's just a simple little, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with. Where are you going to get this living water?" You think, oh, it's just a nice response. But I'm going to read it the way I think it's being said. "Sir, you got nothing to draw with." First of all, you have nothing to even pick this water up with, to get it with. "And the well is deep." Where then are you going to get this "living water"?
Ooh, living water. Where you going to get it? "Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave the well and drank from it himself as well as his sons and livestock? Jesus answered and said to him, whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give them will never thirst, but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst nor come here to draw."
Hey, I want plumbing in my house. I don't want to have to walk from the village and come all the way up here to draw water. If there's a stream of water, pipe it over where I live. Now verse 13, "whoever drinks of this water will thirst again," we're dealing with a woman who has a condition like everyone you meet in the world, Some at a more advanced stage than others.
The way people mature in life, when they're young, when they're teens, when they're in college, they're idealistic. They're going to conquer the world. And that's great cause that's people who get motivated to do lots of different things. But they think everything's great, and they're going to find satisfaction in this and do that. And so they seek their paths, their career, their relationships, et cetera. But so many of them, as they make progress, become callous, embittered, angry at the system, suspect, suspicious.
I think this is the condition of this woman. She is so thirsty, and every relationship she has tried has not given her satisfaction. She's parched. She drank from all these wells of pleasure, of relationship, and she came up empty. Drink of this water, and you'll thirst again.
You should write that verse over every earthly pursuit, over every earthly relationship, over every materialistic item. Go ahead. Drink of that water. You think it'll satisfy you, but you'll be thirsty again. You know it's true. There is something we could call the if only syndrome. You know what if only syndrome is, begins when we're quite young.
If only I was a teenager. That's what I said when I was a little kid in grade school. I saw my brothers who were, if only I was a teenager. Man, if I was a teenager, I'd never thirst again because I'd be cool. Then you become a teenager. Oh, if only I had a car. If I had a car, I'd never thirst again. Well, if you saw the car that I first drove, you'd thirst the day you got it.
You grow up a little more. Oh, look at that beautiful girl. If only I could marry her, I'd never thirst again. They get married. And he's saying, if only I wouldn't have married her. I wouldn't be so thirsty. If only I had that new model, I would never thirst again. That car, that item, that new iPhone. Man, that new model. I need to have the new one because if I had that one, my life would be so much better. I'd never thirst again.
Over every single earthly pursuit you could write, "drink of this water, and you will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst, but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman said to her, Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst nor come here to draw.
Jesus said to her, go call your husband, and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. And Jesus said to her, you have well said I have no husband for you've had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband. In that you have spoken truly. The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive you're a prophet."
It's a classic conversation. Go call your husband. This is called going for the jugular. See up to this point, Jesus had been very patient with this woman, her little snide remarks coming out. And Jesus understands. He's patient. He understands she's speaking from a life of pain, and He's letting that pain seep out and just talking. But enough is enough. So all of the cover up, all the cute little answers. Finally He says, go call your husband.
Now here's a stranger she has never met before, never seen in his life, who knows all about her past. You're right. You're right. You don't have a husband. You've had in your past five different husbands. And now you're just living with a guy who's not your husband. And that's why she said, "Sir, I perceive you're a prophet."
Now it's an interesting case, five husbands. We don't know what happened to them. You might say well, they may have all died. Maybe, but I doubt it. First of all, if you had a husband number one, two, and three die, I think husband number four is just going to say, I don't think I'm going to do this. Or if I do, please don't make me coffee in the morning.
She's had five of them. I think we're dealing with a woman, when she was a young lady she met a man, they fell in love. They went through all of the typical social rituals to get them a betrothal and a marriage, and she thought it would last forever. It would be peace and prosperity till death do us part. We'll live happily ever after, but there were problems, and there was a split. And then number two and then number three and then number four and then number five. And after that she thought, forget it. I want to enjoy the benefits of a relationship without the commitment.
So now she's just shacking up. Now she's doing what people do today. Let's not like get married. Let's just like live together cause everybody else does it. So they do that. Jesus knows that. Now we have a question. Why would He tear the scab off this poor lady who has suffered through all of this emotional relational drama? To get her to realize how thirsty she is for living water.
See, all of this stuff has been a cover up. All the stuff has been layers, deflection. We're all good at that. We don't want to deal with personal stuff. We know how to deflect and get it on something else and talk about other stuff. But the reason Jesus pulls that scab off and gets right to the heart, right to the pain, is because you won't drink of the living water until you know you're thirsty for it.
I got to show you your need. I have to create this need within you. And when you see your need, when you see your pain, your sin, your awfulness, you look for a Savior then. You look for a Savior. That's why He does it. Now He does that with her. He may approach others of us differently. For some of us, what if the Lord would have said, hey, bring me your last three years of tax returns? Oh. Ow. How would He know that I cheated on my income tax?
Or if you were to say, hey, bring your phone records to me or your internet activity. I'd like to see that. He exposes her down to the very heart. And she says, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet." And then she gets very spiritual. She deflects once again onto a worship system. And you've had this happen. "Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, Mount Gerizim, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem it's the place where one ought to worship.
Jesus said to her, Woman believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the father. You worship what you do not know. We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews." They had the first five books of Moses only. They added their own worship system. They had a lot of mythology tied to it. "But the hour is coming and now is when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for the Father is seeking such to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and when you get really personal with them, so personal that it's becoming uncomfortable, the thing that most people do is turn and deflect the conversation onto something else. They go from the personal to the theoretical. So what she is doing is contrasting the worship systems in Samaria versus Jerusalem.
It'd be like saying, you're witnessing to someone, you're talking about their needs, you're getting really close to them, and suddenly it's just too close for comfort. So they go, hey, how come there's so much argument in the denominations of Christianity? Have you noticed there's such division. Everybody says, they have the right church and denomination, and they're fighting it. That's deflecting the battle onto the theoretical.
We worship up here. You guys say Jerusalem is the place to worship. And I love Jesus' answer. He said it's not about where you worship, it's about whom you worship and how you worship. You have to worship according to spirit and truth. You've got to have knowledge to be able to do it right. Otherwise you're just feeling really good about what you're doing, and you're missing the mark.
So you need to have spirit. Has to be authentic. Has to be real. Has to be all involved. Not ritual, not religion. Has to be in spirit. You're involved. It's authentic and according to truth. You have to have the Bible to inform you of your worship. It's not about where you worship. It's not about which temple. Well, our temple's cool. Look at the art. Most people make it about the art rather than the heart. Jesus makes it about the heart, not the art of worship.
The Father is looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. People make an error thinking that God is near or far in terms of space. That's why people go on pilgrimages to places and shrines, cause God is in this place in a real special way. No, He's not. Where two or more gather in My name, I'm with them in the midst. Anywhere. It doesn't matter where.
You don't have to go to some sanctuary or some church afar and spend lots of money. I have a lot to say, but the time's up. The Lord is seeking some of you tonight. He wants you to be God worshippers. He wants you to be truthful about who you are and about what you need and about whom you will deal with ultimately, that is Him. And He wants you to be all in. Not ritual, spirit. Spirit and truth.
Father, thank You for the time we were able to spend going through this section of scripture. We love this part of John where Jesus deals with this woman, and His love for her, and how she will believe in Him and tell others about Him and spread the news about him, and her thirst will be quenched. Her neighbors' thirst will be quenched. The same neighbors who derided her for years will come to the same faith and the same Lord and be in the same body of Christ because of Jesus' love and His dispensing of living water. And I just pray in closing for those who have parched souls. They have looked to relationships. They have looked to things. They've had pursuits, but what they thought they were going to get was never delivered to them. And tonight they are thirstier than ever, like the sailors who get delusional out at sea and drink seawater thinking it will satisfy them. It only pronounces a death sentence and increases their thirst. Lord, if we've been drinking from other cisterns, other wells, bring us to that place where we want nothing less and settle for nothing less than living water from the living Lord.
Before we close this service, or as we close this service, if you don't yet personally know the Lord, you're thirsty. You're here tonight. You're thirsty. You've had drinks from several other water fountains and cisterns. You've come up empty. You are disillusioned by life.
Jesus Christ, who has risen from the dead and alive tonight, is here to meet you. Take him at His word. Receive what He wants to offer you, forgiveness of your past, hope for your future, and satisfaction for your present life. Living water. If you are willing to turn from your past and turn to Christ, or you need to come back to Him, right now in this place would you just raise your hand up so I can acknowledge you as we close this service.
Say yes to him tonight. God bless you. Keep it up in the air for a few moments. And you and you. I see a few of you right there. Right up here to my right in the front. Right on. God bless you, sir. Yes, ma'am. God bless you. Who else? Raise those hands up. Acknowledge Him. Reach out to Him. Anyone else? Anyone else?
Father, thank you for these lives, these men, these women. Thank you Lord that we're witnessing this heartfelt thirst. Strengthen each one in the commitment they're making in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Would you stand to your feet? We're going to do this quickly. But if you raised your hand, I saw hands go up, I want you to do something else. I'm going to ask you to find the nearest aisle, even if you're in the middle of a row. Find the nearest aisle. And then come right up here and stand in the front where I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ as your Savior and Lord. Jesus called people publicly.
I want you to come and join our counselors, our team. God bless you. No matter who you are, where you are. Would you please make your way this way. Just stay right here. Come on out. Even if you didn't raise your hand. We want to give you that opportunity. You know you need to come to Christ. You know you need to be forgiven. You need living water. They're tired of dead religion and dead things and dead promises.
Come on and get some life. Jesus is life, and He offers you living water. You say well, how do I know it's true? Well, you'll never know if you don't drink from it. If you just sit there are wonder all your life and die in that condition, that won't help you.
Who wants to take Jesus at His word? Anybody else? You come on up. We'll wait for you. But just say yes to Him. Quit fighting Him. You know what you need. You know it's true. Come and surrender your life. Anybody else? Anyone else?
Those of you who have come forward, I want to lead you now in a prayer. And the prayer is inviting Christ to come into your life, making Him Lord, Savior, Master of your life. So as I pray this out loud, I want to ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Say these words from your heart. Say it to the Lord. Let's pray. Say:
Lord, I give you my life. I know that I am a sinner. I'm sorry for my sins. I believe that Jesus died. That he shed His blood for me. And that He rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin. I leave my past behind. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to follow Him as my Lord. Help me. In Jesus' name. Amen.