We live in a world that tempts us to be dissatisfied with the current state of our lives. We are encouraged to constantly search for something more but here in John 4, we learn how to have a soul that is satisfied. A Samaritan woman drawing water from a well doesn’t know it yet, but Jesus is about to change her life. Jesus knows how the woman has been living and, after seeking her out, he offers her something far greater than the well water that never satisfies. Are you thirsty today? Tired of drinking water from the wrong well? Instead of the temporary waters of this world, allow yourself to be filled with the living water that only God can offer!
Let’s dive in. We are in John chapter four. If you got a Bible, you could turn there with me. We are in a series that we’re calling the Ministry of Jesus, where it’s going to take us several years to walk through every interaction, every conversation, every word that Jesus said, every miracle that Jesus did. And we’ve been in the Book of John for the last couple of weeks, and we will continue to be in the Book of John for the next couple of weeks because the Book of John has this whole chunk of Ministry that the other Gospels just don’t have.
The Book of John also, in my opinion, has the richest accounts of interaction with people and Jesus. We read story after story of men and women whose lives are shaken by their encounter with the Christ. We read one last week, as Chase mentioned earlier, with Jesus and Nicodemus, and I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I believe these stories have been placed there so that you and I can find ourselves in the lives of these characters. We aren’t the heroes of these stories. We are the recipients of what Jesus is giving, his correction, his instruction, and in this case, his healing.
And in John chapter four, we find one of the best stories, in my opinion, in all of the Bible. It’s a story about a woman who we can relate to. She, like many of us, is searching for something more. It’s the account of the woman at the well, a dialogue between Jesus and a woman whose name we never catch, because this story is not only about the woman at the well. Instead, it’s the story of every man and every woman throughout history who is searching for more, who is searching to be finally and fully satisfied.
It’s my story, and I think it’s probably your story, too, and a story of people who have searched all their lives and still haven’t found what they’re looking for. I think Mic Jagger said that. And it’s this account that I think Jesus connects his identity with this woman and I’m just, man, I’m so excited to study and read it and give it to you today. I think we live in a context where we are all tempted to be constantly dissatisfied with our lives, where we think that at the next event, at the next pay raise, the next children, at the next spouse, then we’ll be finally and completely satisfied.
And here in John chapter four, we find an account that I think will teach us how to have a soul that’s satisfied. So we’re going to begin again, John chapter one. John, chapter four, verse one. And quick Disclaimer here. This is my favorite story in all of the Bible. I use this text whenever I preach anywhere. So if this lesson sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it is. It’s been a while. The last time I taught from this text at this Church was 2017, which basically is like a lifetime ago.
So Amen. John, chapter four, verse one. Here we go. Now, Jesus learned that the Pharisees, sorry, now, Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although, in fact, it was not Jesus who was baptizing but his disciples.
So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Before we get into the meat of this text, we’re going to have to cover some context. This is our map. This is the one we’ve been looking at for the last couple of weeks, Israel and the time of Jesus. Last week, we saw, two weeks ago, we saw that he was in Cana, that he took down that Jordan River Basin to Jerusalem.
And then today we get Jesus going to Samaria. The Bible says something really, really interesting. Instead of taking the normal route that most Jews would take, the Bible says that Jesus had to go through Samaria. He had to go through Samaria. That’s an interesting word, had, right? You don’t think Jesus had to do anything. He’s Jesus, he could do whatever he wanted to do. But the Bible tells us that he had to go through Samaria. Jewish people, you might know this if you’re familiar with the Bible, but Jewish people hated Samaritan people.
It was a cross cultural rivalry that had been brewing for thousands of years. And to make a really long story short, Jewish people and Samaritans were kind of like cousins who had a really bad falling out. Here’s a brief history of the people of Israel. You have the patriarchs, that’s Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Jacob has a bunch of sons.
They end up in Egypt as slaves. They’re in Egypt for a really long time. They’re freed by Moses. They wander in the desert for 40 years. Eventually, they cross the Jordan River and come into the land of Cana.
In the land of Cana, they conquest the land of Cana. And there’s a period of Judges. And after the period of Judges, there’s some awesome prophets there. Then there comes a point that they call the United Kingdom. That’s King Saul, King David and King Solomon.
Saul, David, Solomon. Those three Kings sort of bring on the Renaissance, the glory days of Israel. And then after Solomon dies, the Kingdom splits in two. Judah, and like a half of a tribe, fill the bottom of the Southern part and Israel, the other ten tribes fill the Northern part. Rehaboam, the son of Solomon becomes King of the Southern part.
Jaraboam, kind of like the King’s, righthand man, becomes the King of the Northern part. And they hated each other. And if you read through the Kings and the Chronicles, you read a period of history of just terrible, terrible Kings. The Northern group basically became devoid of the worship of Yahweh.
They started worshipping other idols. The Northern tribes got so bad that it all kind of boiled over in 722 BC when the Assyrians conquered the Northern part of Israel. And what was left is this new half breed of Israelites that we call the Samaritans. They worshipped pagan gods. They intermarried.
They were despised by Jewish people. And so basically, over the next 700 years, tension grew. And this might be the most obvious, like, prejudice in all of the Bible. This is racism kind of to its core. Jews hated Samaritan. Jesus took advantage of this racial tension throughout his Ministry Right? He had a story where he called them a good Samaritan. Remember that story? For a Jewish person in the first century, this is like a contradiction of terminology.
You couldn’t have a good Samaritan. How could a Samaritan be good? It was like saying, I don’t know, like a good Miami Dolphins football team.
It’s shocking. They can’t be good. By the way, I have this ongoing joke about Miami Dolphins, how they’ve been eight and eight for 30 years. Just so you know, the League extended their number of games this year from 16 to 17. Do you know what the Miami Dolphins were at game 16?
Eight and eight. Just want to let you guys know. Anyway, so what would happen? And throughout Jesus Ministry, we actually see this happen is that Jesus, when he leaves Jerusalem and goes back up to Galilee, he would always go by way of this River Basin. He would always go by way of the River Basin.
Most Jews would never walk through Samaria. They would go around it. They hated these people, sinful, pagan, outcast. But the Bible says Jesus had to go through Samaria because as we’re going to see and we’re going to see often throughout the Ministry, Jesus is willing to go places that no one is willing to go, to be with people who no one is willing to be with. Jesus spends time with a leper in his Ministry, the sinful woman, everyone else extending judgment. Jesus extends Grace. The tax collectors, everyone else is saying, don’t sit with them, and Jesus has a meal with them. Jesus is willing to hang out with people. The sinful, the outcast, the hurting, the broken, the battered, the bruised.
And so I want to encourage you today that if you feel like you’re hurting today, you feel like, Man, I’ve been in sin, I’m a broken person. My situation is quite complicated. If you’re going through something and you feel alone, I just want to encourage you. You’re just the type of person Jesus loved to hang out with. Jesus, so he came to a town in Samaria called Sakar where the plot of ground Jacob had given near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there. And Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. Jesus sits by the well. He’s tired.
It’s been a long walk and he’s waiting. And what follows is the longest recorded conversation that Jesus ever had. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, we were talking about a Samaritan. We were talking about the Samaritans. Now we’re talking about a Samaritan woman.
This is a whole different ballgame. This might not seem super scandalous to you, but in the first century, this would have been like National Enquirer type of stuff. Jewish Rabbi spends time with Samaritan woman. It would have been like when you walked into Publix, you could have purchased the magazine there. The culture of Jewish rabbis was that they didn’t even speak to any woman in public.
So here is Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, not only talking to a woman, but talking to an outcast, sinful, half breed Samaritan woman. Not only is he about to talk to her, but she is the reason Jesus had to go to Samaria. This woman doesn’t realize it, but she has an appointment with God.
I get a little emotional thinking about it, but Jesus sits at this well because he wants to change her life. He wants to set her free. He wants to redeem some mistakes that she’s made. And he’s sitting there waiting for this woman. Her life is about to be flipped upside down.
Jesus said to her as she approached, Right, will you give me a drink? His disciples had gone into town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, you’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? For Jews did not associate with Samaritans.
Now, before we move on, I want us to see something here. Jesus says, Give me a drink. And she replies, hey, we don’t engage with each other. We’re not supposed to talk with each other. And Jesus is about to flip the whole conversation around.
Just capture it. Verse ten. Jesus answered her, if you knew the gift of God and who it was that asked you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.
See, Jesus didn’t have to go to Samaria because he wanted a drink. He came because he had something to offer her. God has seen this woman’s problem. He knows her and he has something for her. And so he reverses the situation.
He starts out as the one thirsty, asking for a drink. And then he turns to the table and says to her, you know what? You’re actually thirsty. Can you imagine that? Right?
He’s sitting there at the well. The woman walks up. It’s noon, it’s hot. She’s exhausted. She has to come to this well to grab water.
And there Jesus is, hey, give me a drink. And she goes, we don’t associate. And he goes, you should have asked me. And I would have made sure you never have to drink again. What an interesting conversation.
And the reason that it’s so interesting is because a conversation that started about water is about to become a discussion about spiritual thirst.
Have you heard this saying that we are made with a hole in our heart, a Godsized hole in our heart? You ever heard that? A hole in the soul, right? A missing piece, a void that only God can fill. We were made for him and so our hearts yearned for him.
And all that is really true though the illustration in the scriptures are not about a hole in your heart. Instead, the scriptures has this really interesting illustration about being thirsty. Notice this. This is Psalm 42, verse one. As a deer pants for flowing streams. So my soul pants for you, O God, my soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Revelation, chapter 21. Come and let the one who hears says, Come and let the one who is thirsty come and let the one who desires take the water of life without price. And Jesus, in his declaration in John, chapter seven, verse 37, Jesus stood up and cried out, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. The Bible doesn’t talk about a hole in the soul, but it does talk about spiritual thirst.
Spiritual thirst. Are you thirsty today? Are you wanting more out of life? Do you look at your life and think, Man, I love Jesus and yet I’m anxious all the time and depressed and frustrated and fearful and disappointed.
And I feel like even though I get the next thing, that’s never enough. Do you feel that? See, this is what Jesus is going after in this text because Jesus is there, not because he’s thirsty. He’s there because he knows that she’s thirsty.
Jesus didn’t want her water. He wanted to expose her thirst, her longing, her void, her emptiness. And so he says, hey, if you only knew who you were talking to, if you only knew what was available to you at this exact moment, you would have asked him and he would have filled your soul. He would have quenched your soul. And here’s a little spoiler.
Jesus knows something about her that she doesn’t know, that he knows. He knows something about her that she has been trying to hide for a really long time. But first let’s listen to the response. Ready? Sir, the woman said, you have nothing to draw with and this well is deep. She still thinks it’s a conversation about water. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and livestock. Okay, sure, like you have water that can last forever.
Whatever. But you can’t really help me. You have nothing to draw with. And this well is way too deep. If you shift your thinking a little bit and stop thinking about it through a physical lens and think about it through a spiritual lens, man, what is she saying?
Hey, I know I’m thirsty, but you can’t help me. I know I’m wanting, but you can’t fill me. You have no bucket and this thing is way too deep. Jesus answers, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. Hey, if you stay here at this well, you stay and think about water, you’re never really going to be satisfied. You see, physical water is a perfect illustration of temporary satisfaction, isn’t it?
I shared this story before, but I like to hike and so I like to take people on hiking trips. One time I took a bunch of brothers on a hiking trip and we didn’t know how much water to take on the hiking trip because we were all newbies. We were such newbies that there was one of us that was carrying two gallons of water the entire hike. It was like 8 miles carrying two gallons of water. And about halfway into the trip, I saw that brother who was carrying two gallons of water, take the last sip of his two gallon jug of water.
There was no water to be found. We were hiking into sort of like the Everglades area and we were hiking in and there was no water for us to drink. One of us had a life straw. Do you know what that is? It’s basically something that you can like, it’s like a straw that’s quite thick and you can drink out of a stream with it, so you can get on your belly and drink out of a stream, or you can fill a tub of water and drink out of it like that. And it’s supposed to filter out all the bacteria. Not everybody had a life straw. This brother is the only person that had a life straw. And so we spent the entirety of our trip trying to figure out how to make sure we weren’t thirsty.
It was supposed to be this enjoyable camping trip, but it really just turned out to be a point of like, suffering. All this is suffering with tents and eventually this is not a joke, all of us were sharing the same life straw. Bellies to the floor sipping water from a stream because we could drink as much as we wanted and we were still thirsty again. We were thirsty again. Man, thirst is a perfect illustration of being temporarily satisfied, isn’t it?
So here’s Jesus’s offer: he goes, hey, whoever drinks the water I give them, he’ll never thirst again. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a string of water welling up to eternal life. What is he saying? Hey, what I give you will quench your spiritual thirst forever.
How does the woman reply? Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water. Again, she still doesn’t get that it’s a spiritual point, but Jesus is about to double down. Next verse, he told her, Go call your husband and come back. I have no husband. She replied. Jesus said to her, you are right when you say you have no husband.
And here’s where we find out what Jesus knew, that she didn’t know, that he knew. In fact, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true. Do you get it now?
You’re thirsting for something that you have tried your whole life to fill with men. And I know you have no husband because I know where you’ve been. I’ve seen the pain. I’ve watched you and I’ve come here to help you get through it. You are thirsting for something, I know. You’re hoping that you’re going to find it in a relationship. You’re thirsting and your well is deep. It’s five husbands deep. And you think, I can’t help you. But I’ve pursued you, right?
See, I look at this message and I think, man, this sermon, this thought, this passage is for all of us who are searching for something.
You are here, I believe God brought all of us here, right, because God knows rather because God pursues us through all types of the nonsense of our life. He knows that we thirst for things, that we try to fill our lives with relationships, with drugs, with money, with a career, with more comfort. If I could just get this nicer car, then I’ll finally be happy.
Or if I could just get this new iPhone, then I’ll finally be happy. No, it’s just one more thing. I just need one more outfit, one more pair of shoes, and then I’ll finally be happy. If only the mask mandates could be dropped, then I’ll finally be happy. If only something could change, then I’ll finally be happy.
And we numb ourselves, right? With all sorts of chaos. Maybe I could just watch Netflix for 17 hours in a row and that will make me feel a little bit of joy. Numbing ourselves with a social media addiction. Trying to fill ourselves with things that really don’t matter.
Trying to fill ourselves with. Okay, maybe if I work out a lot, then I’ll finally be happy with myself. We fill ourselves with things that do matter but aren’t supposed to be God. I’ll fill myself with children and we look at our lives and the thing is that all of us, all of us, unless we have Jesus, are still thirsting.
And if you ever wonder why you’re still searching, it’s because you’re not satisfied. And it’s because the thing that you are thinking is going to make you satisfied was never made to make you satisfied. A bigger house is not going to make you satisfied. A better job is not going to make you satisfied. A husband is not going to make you satisfied.
A new husband not going to make you satisfied. And what Jesus is telling this woman is something that he’s telling all of us. That it’s not because you haven’t been drinking enough from this well. It’s because you’ve been drinking from the wrong well. The woman came to the well, and when she was there, she met the only person who could actually fill her soul. And what a moment, right? I could just imagine the shock in this woman’s face.
Hold on. He knows me, but I don’t want to let him get into my heart. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to do some deflecting, which is what all of us do. Deflection time. Here we go.
Sir, the woman said, I can see you’re a Prophet. No, duh. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews claim that the place we must worship is in Jerusalem. Jesus first word in verse 21 is just the word woman.
I like that word. Woman. Spiritual deflecting, that’s a go to move, right? Why are we talking about a mountain? What does this have to do? You have five husbands.
What mountain should we worship on?
What are you talking about? But you do this, I do this. We talk about life change. Your husband or wife is just elbowing you. We do need to give more.
We do need to be more generous. We do need to give our hearts more to Jesus. And we’re like, well, what’s this church’s stance on baptism?
What does it have to do with you changing your life? What about speaking in tongues? I just want to make sure we clarify that before we can move on. You have five husbands, and the man you’re currently with is not your husband.
I wonder, and this is just a question. I wonder for us, we’ve been disciples here for a long time. I wonder if we’ve stopped having real conversations about our lives and have started only having spiritual conversations. Like, are we still confessing sin? Are we still talking about real stuff, talking about life?
Jesus was talking about life with this woman, and she didn’t want to talk about it. She wanted to talk about some spiritual mountain issues. And his answer to her is just beautiful and rich. We don’t have time to study it. You could study out on your own.
Believe me, a time is coming, woman first. Believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You, Samaritans, worship what you do not know. We should worship what we know, for Salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming, and it has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
And all of this is so dense and so rich. I encourage you this week study it out, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seek. God is spirit, and the worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. The woman said, I know that the Messiah called Christ is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.
Then Jesus declared, on the heels of the idea of fulfillment and spiritual thirst, Jesus declares, the one speaking to you. I am He.
This is the first person Jesus reveals this to. You’re looking for answers? I’m the one. I am he. I’m what you’ve been looking for. I’m the thing that your husbands couldn’t satisfy.
Like I’m the space, right? I’m what your religiousness couldn’t do for you. I’m what your pride and your comfort and your selfishness and that money grab and that new job and all that success and your children. I’m the thing you’ve been looking for. I can do it. I can fill you. I can quench the thirst that feels unquenchable. I’m the one. I am peace. I am love.I am joy. And the beauty is he’s also willing. Because he came to Samaria for her. Sitting at the well, he is the one that she’s been searching for. The reason that she’s gone from man to man to man to man to man to man is because she was never going to be able to fill the thing that void in her heart, the thirst of her soul, unless she came to the spring of living water. Come taste the water.
Come to me. Look. And if you’re sitting here and if you’re overwhelmed by life, if you have regrets because of the life you lived, and if you’re just not satisfied, I want to encourage you. Get to the well. Get to Jesus.
Come to Jesus. Spend time again with Jesus. Don’t spend time reading your Bible just to understand some spiritual facts. Stop having a conversation about mountains and come to Jesus to have a conversation about your soul. Throw away the gross water of the world and come drink from the spring of life.
I often go to Brazil, and several years ago when I was there, I visited one of the largest favelas in Brazil. This is a favela, if you’re familiar with it. Some places call it the slums. Most of these places have no running water. Some of them have no electricity, their houses built by the people who are abused by the government just to kind of get away.
And so they built house upon house upon house upon house. I think the favela we were in a million people lived in it in extreme poverty. And while I was there, I saw a young boy, and this is not the young boy. I found this picture online, but you can imagine this is what he looked like, just a young boy, sort of like this, wearing slippers and playing soccer in the street. And while he was there and finishing playing soccer in the Street, I saw him go over to a small stream and cup for some water and then take a drink.
And I didn’t think anything of it until I passed by the stream. And the water looks something like this. You can see the bottom piece there. It was full of trash bags. It looked like sewage.
And the boy took a drink from that water, from that water. That night, I went to my hotel room that had running water and electricity and a television and every comfort a Western society is supposed to have. And I cried. And the reason I cried is because I thought to myself, Why can’t he just have clean water?
My heart broke for this young boy. But then I started thinking about God. And I wonder how much more God’s heart breaks when he sees the people he loves still being lorded over by the sewage filled water of this world. When he sees us drinking this and he wants to give us this.
I wonder when he sees you grasping at wealth to make you happy, how his heart breaks and grasping at relationships to make you happy how his heart breaks and grasping at drugs to make you happy and his heart breaks and grasping at a little bit more comfort because maybe finally, then I’ll be happy how his heart breaks. And he longs to just give us clean water that will finally and totally satisfy us.
We take sips of dirty things for fulfillment. And Jesus wants to give us some Crystal clean springlike water. The interaction is over. Jesus, just then sorry, his disciples returned, and they were surprised to find him talking to a woman.
But no one asked, I love that. It’s like, I’m not even going to ask. They knew all the societal norms. They’re like, Whatever, what do you want?
No one asked, what do you want or Why are you talking to her? Then, and the Scriptures are so beautiful. She gets it. The Bible says she’s leaving her water jar.
What a cool little line, right? The woman went back to the town and said to the people, Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah? This little line is just one of those beautiful details given to us by the Holy Spirit. She leaves the water jar because she doesn’t need water anymore, because she has found the well.
Come meet a man who knew me, who loved me. Come meet a man who was willing to come all this way to be with me. And he’s willing to do it for you, too. She started a revival in the Samaritan villages. We read that later on.
It’s so amazing. But today I just want to encourage you that Jesus sees you, that he knows your life is complicated. He knows that some things have been difficult. And he wants to offer you something better than what you’ve had. So as we close, I just want to invite you to take the next step.
And I don’t know what that next step is for you. For some of you, it might be confession. Like you’ve just gotten out of the habit of talking about sin, and you’ve got to get back to it. You’ve got to get back to talking about what’s really going on. For some of you, maybe the habit is just not really connecting to Jesus like you know you should. Get back in that habit connecting with Jesus. For some of you, maybe you’re visiting here and what you need to do is find Jesus. And so we have lots of ways to do that. You can talk to the person right next to you. Hey, I need some help. Or you can go to Discover class. We have a class right after service that’s in the back classroom. We’ll tell you everything about our Church and about what it looks like to interact with Jesus. I don’t know what your first step is, but I want to encourage you to take a first step or a next step of Faith.
Church, I’m thankful for you. I love this congregation. Let’s be men and women who don’t drink of the dirty water of the world, but take a sip of the spring of living water and will never be thirsty again. Because I believe the searching will stop when we find what all our lives we’ve been looking for. Let’s pray together and take Communion.
Father, we dad, I think about my own life and how my story is so much like this woman. Like, I went from relationship to relationship to relationship to relationship. And in my worst parts of my heart, I went there because I thought what I had with you couldn’t fill me. And I was deceived. And it’s because I just didn’t really know you, God.
And so I thank you, Lord, for meeting me at my well, for meeting me and teaching me to be satisfied with you. And I am so sorry, dad, for the times that I go back to that gross stuff, that I go back to the well of wealth or well of comfort or the well of power or the well of success in order to find some semblance of satisfaction. And I’m sorry, dad, for all that I pray, Lord, that everyone here will reject those things. And instead of trying to go to more places that will spend time with you, Lord, that will hold on to you, that will hug you, that will meditate and want to be close to you, dad, that will hear a voice as it tries to speak to us, that will listen to Jesus and Lord, that will find the life that you’ve always offered us, a life that is full and satisfactory and satisfying. Dad, I just thank you.
I thank you for this time we take Communion. The small piece of bread is just like a token, but it’s just a reminder that you were willing to give your whole life for us. And the juice is a reminder that you’re willing to pour out your blood for us. And I pray that these moments never become dull or that we just walk through this whole time like it doesn’t matter that we’re really spend the time thinking about you. You’re a good God.
You are a gracious father. And I just want to praise your Holy name in Jesus name. Amen.