Our morning service was led by Ian Middlemist who preached on John 4: 15-26, Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman.
The opening verses sought to show how this whole encounter seemed to be choreographed, controlled in some way. The Saviour seems to know more about the lady than He seems initially to let on. Everything that takes place in under control and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the surface the woman seems to be using diversionary tactics. Jesus knew she had had five husbands, but she avoids the issue by changing the subject: ‘Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship,’ Jesus is in control of everything and does not allow the woman to divert the conversation. He sees her with absolute compassion and gentleness. The Saviour knows what He is doing in our lives. Sometimes our circumstances seem out of control but the Saviour knows what is happening.
Look at the progression of the argument:
verses 1-15: He shows her the living water
verses 16-19: He shows her the prophet
verses 20-24: The Saviour who makes true, just worship
verses 25-26: Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
From her perspective:
In verse 15 the woman sees the water is a gift. She didn’t understand the nature of the water the Saviour speaks of, yet she got the concept that if she wanted the water Jesus had to give it to her. In verse 10 Jesus mentioned it was a gift of God. She now asks for the water. She knew it needed to be given as a gift. Jesus now needs to show her two things: she is a sinner and Jesus is the Saviour of sinners. We need to realise that while the Saviour gives, it is a gift – we can bring nothing at all. Jesus is giving the water of life, we just need to be empty and have open hands.
Understanding the nature of the water. The woman must realise her true thirst. Jesus knows her past. Notice the time of day – the 6th hour, midday. It is not the time anyone would go to get water as it is the hottest time of the day. The woman is alone, possibly an outcast of society. It is a painful daily routine she longs to get over. It is right at this point of pain that Jesus meets with her. Jesus asks her to get her husband but there is no-one who will help her. Jesus is moving into her inner life – and that is what the Gospel must do for you. Behaviour and manners are important aspects but the Gospel is so much more interested in our inner life, our heart. Jesus is fascinated with us, what we fill our hours of the day with. The Word of God is cutting us open, exploring us, but not publicly – the woman is safe. Jesus is going to make her feel secure, to make her whole again, at peace, beautiful. Jesus is forcing her to deal with her inside. Her heart has been locked away for so many years. As we go deeper, the Father in heaven draws her, He is seeking her.
The conversation is then directed towards worship. Let’s be a prayerful people and ask that the Saviour does the same for us. Let’s pray that the searching light of the Gospel would search our life, grow in sanctification. Only Jesus Christ can give living water.
Worship. The woman wants to talk about worship but her she is focused on the location of worship, not worship itself. She has just been offered water that will last forever and forever but all she thinks about is the location of worship. This woman’s life has become a life built on externals – she is dead on the inside.
Are you putting the Saviour first or have we allowed other loves to take His place? The issue is not about where we worship but the direction of our worship. This woman found nothing in her husbands. Many people move in different directions, from church to church, from one person to another. Only drinking from the water of life will fill us. Let’s find our salvation in Him. Jesus showed the woman that the water wasn’t based on externals.
‘Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.’ (Revelation 22: 17)