I’m sure the first few moments were awkward, for he was a Jew and a rabbi. She was a Samaritan and a woman. Rabbis never engage in conversation with women and a rabbi certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with a Samaritan. Still, he strikes up a conversation with her. “Can you give me a drink?” he asks. She looks around to see who this man is talking to for surely he can’t be talking to her. Yet, the only two people at the well are her and this man. There’s something about him she can’t put her finger on. Finally, she replies, “Why do you ask me for a drink, you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan.”
Then the man surprises her. He says, “If you knew the gift God has for you, and who I am you would ask me for living water.”
Ok, maybe it’s the hot sun and this man is delusional. This man has nothing to draw up water from the well and he’s going to give me living water, she thinks. “Where will you get it? The well is deep,” she asks. “Are you greater than our father Jacob?” Little did she know he was greater. “How can you offer me better water than the water that is in this well?”
The stranger replies, “People soon become thirsty again when they drink from this well, but I can give you water that takes away thirst forever, it becomes a spring and gives them eternal life.” Now she knows she is talking to a crazy man, but she takes the bait anyway. She says, “Give me some of this water so that I don’t have to keep coming back to this well with this heavy jug everyday.”
The man says, “Go get your husband.”
“I don’t have a husband,” she replies.
“You are correct. The fact is you’ve be married five times and the man that you living with now isn’t even your husband.”
Ouch! How did he know that? Who does he think he is? This was some stranger. Was this man some kind of stalker? How long had he been following her and checking her out? She needs to find out more. She is intrigued that he knew this information about her. She tests him out. “I perceive that you are a prophet.” Now she is throwing out some of her own bait. “So, tell me why the Jews insist on worshiping in Jerusalem and we Samaritans claim Mount Gerizim?” She throws out the red herring to see if he’ll take it.
He says, “There is coming a time when neither of these places will be the true worship place.” Then he cuts to the quick, “You Samaritans know so little about the God you worship, but we know all about Him.” The man is really starting to irritate her now. “The time is coming when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way, because God is Spirit and those who will worship must worship in spirit and in truth.”
This man is really beginning to puzzle her. She wonders if this is the one written about in the Jewish writings. She hazards a proposition. “I know the Messiah will come, his name is Christ and when he comes, he will explain everything.”
Can you imagine her surprise when Jesus says, “I am the Messiah!” Oh, happy day! I imagine she stumbles back a little. Imagine, the promised one reveals himself to a Samaritan and a woman no less. She has got to tell somebody, and she has to tell someone quick. She leaves the water jar at the well and goes back to tell the people of the village. She tells them, “I met this man and he told me everything I had ever done. He is the Messiah.” The villagers had to see this. They left the village to come see the Messiah. Many of the Samaritans believed this man. They begged him to stay for a while and he did and many believed that he was the Savior of the world.
What can we learn from this story? It’s a great story about living water. We’ve been looking at this theme of water over the last month. Here is a woman who was in desperate straights. Jesus was able to help her out and give her the living water. Give her eternal life. Sometimes we look at people and say that they are hopeless. Someone here might think there hopeless. This morning I’ve brought a few of my coffee mugs from my office and some from home. If you take a look at the mugs, you’ll see that most of them are from churches we’ve serve in or from one of our Wesleyan colleges. They’re good church going mugs. But some of you may have noticed that I have another mug in my office and I’m sure some of you have been wondering about it. As you can see it’s a rather large mug and it has playing cards on it and dice and other things associated with gambling. You also note that it has some words on it. It says Las Vegas. This was given to me by my former RadioShack manager in New York when he went to Las Vegas. He always bought souvenirs the people he managed. So, I have my good church going mugs and my sin city Las Vegas mug. Some of you might feel that way this morning. You are a sin city mug sitting in a church with a bunch of church going mugs. The Las Vegas mug reminds me that each one of us was once a “sin city” mug. Let me let you in on a little secret. Those sitting around you were all once “sin city” mugs, but Jesus has given us the living water and cleansed us through his blood. All of us, including this preacher were dead in our sins. Just like this woman who met Jesus at the well. We may not have long sorted pasts like she had, but each one of us was a sinner. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” God sets the standard not us. Not one of us is good enough. But God in his wonderful mercy loves each one of us. John 3:16 tells us that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes on him will not perish but have eternal life.” There’s not one thing anyone of us can do to clean up our act. It’s only through Jesus the living, thirst-quenching water, who shed his blood for our sins that we can be cleaned up. This blue pitcher represents Jesus’ cleansing power. All of these mugs are dirty, but Jesus, the living water can clean them up. Jesus cleans us up from the inside. Jesus and the cross is the great equalizer. Everyone is cleansed equally. It doesn’t matter if you look like you are a good church going mug. It’s what God is doing on the inside that counts. Jesus calls us to come as we are, not as we are going to be. He doesn’t require us to clean up our act to come to him. He wants us to come to him, just the way we are and he will take it from there.
Invitation Song: Come Just As You Are
If God is speaking to you through his Holy Spirit this morning, you need to do the following:
- Admit your need.
- Be willing to turn from your sins. (Repent)
- Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave
- Through prayer, invite Jesus to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit
If you feel God is calling you this morning, you simply need to pray this. This prayer is not a magic formula. The words are not important, but the attitude of your heart is.
Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
How can you know? Romans 10:13 tells us that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”