Woman At The Well
We will examine our evangelism and look at how Jesus saved the lost by looking at the woman at the well. We are going to ask, “Are we concerned with what Jesus Christ is concerned with? What is it that we are worried about and consumed with, and what do we spend our time doing as Christians?” The first thing we need to realize is that this isn’t a numbers game. When we talk about evangelism we are not talking about a board with a number count. We are not talking about measuring whether or not we are concerned with the needs of Jesus Christ by how many people we baptize or how many people we share the Gospel.
John 4:1- The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John.
Of course, the Pharisees would be concerned about that kind of issue. For them, this is a matter of a numbers game. The Pharisee’s justification for his doctrine is how many people he can gain and how many people support him. That was where he gets his support. He thinks it’s the blessing that shows whether he is right with God or not, and so he is concerned about how many people he can save. When we begin to talk about evangelism, the very last thing that we are concerned with is how many people we reach out to or how many people we baptize. Such thoughts are sin.
John 4:2-…although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
Verse 3 tells us how Jesus Christ reacts to this kind of thinking. This is just how He responds to people who begin to think like the Pharisees think.
John 4:3- When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
He leaves a congregation. He leaves our lives when we begin, in the secret parts of our hearts, to measure our relationship with God and our success with the Lord on how many people we gained to be followers. Jesus Christ does not stay at those churches. He will not hang around them or answer their prayers. He is gone. I don’t care how much zeal you see or how much movement of the Spirit takes place, when people are into a numbers game, when they begin to examine the outward kind of things, Jesus Christ leaves that region. He leaves that area, and moves immediately away from those people. So, in our hearts, let us be pure before the Lord when we talk about evangelism. This isn’t going to be a contest as to how many individuals you reached out to and then measure our spirituality with that. Our right hand is not to know what our left hand is doing. We are talking about something much deeper within our heart. And so, Jesus Christ leaves that region. He gets out of the area, and He will leave us too if we begin to look at numbers.
Now, John 4:4 says that when Jesus Christ left, He had to go through Samaria. We want to first dispel this notion in our own lives that there are no opportunities for you to share the Gospel. Your very life and the way God has arranged your life is the opportunity that He is giving you. We are going to see in a moment that a discussion about a drink of water leads to revival. So when you tell me that the situation did not come up, you just didn’t see the situation that God was laying before you and seize it. Your daily life is God’s opportunity. It is how He is arranging things so that you can share the Gospel.
Psalm 139:5- You hem me in.
He’s saying God boxes him in and arranges his life. God puts him in a certain location among certain people.
Psalm 139:5- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
If we believe that Jesus Christ is in our life, if we believe and trust that He is guiding and directing in everything we do, then we must have our eyes opened to realize that everyone He brings in our life is an opportunity to share the Gospel. We have to stop saying the opportunity did not present itself. We have to stop doing half finished jobs when it comes to presenting the Gospel. We have to see that we, too, have to go through Samaria. God has arranged things, boxed us in and put us in a certain location at a certain time saying, “Go this direction.” The direction which He is sending us in is not for the purpose of accomplishing our business for the day. He is not sending us to a certain location so that we can take care of the needs of the day. If God indeed has hemmed you in and He sends you to the grocery store to buy groceries for your home, He is not really sending you there to buy groceries. That is not what He is seeking to accomplish. He is putting people in your path either to prepare the way or to share the Gospel fully with those individuals. When Carla and I go to the grocery store we try to find the one person that God has called us to share the light with. We sometimes go through the same checkout looking for that person each time until we are finished with that individual, and God says move on to the next individual. It is the daily things that God seeks to arrange to put us in a position in order to share the Gospel, and we need to seize those with all of our hearts.
John 4 :5- So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
The Samaritans and the Jews worshipped the same God. They used the same law, but they despised one another. The Samaritans were considered kind of a half-breed, a product of idolatry. Indeed, when Ezra commanded that the Israelites separate themselves from the women that they intermarried with, one of the groups they had to separate from was the Samaritans. So, their history of animosity goes way back. If you were a Jew, these would not have been the people that you associated with. These were people that you would have avoided. In our own culture and our land, we have certain individuals that we don’t like to be around or associate with. Yet Jesus Christ is heading directly to this town and He will find a grand revival there.
John 4:6- Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus tired as he was…
Jesus Christ was walking for at least six hours to get to this location in order to share the Gospel with this person. He is to be there at the proper time because if He arrived an hour or two late the situation would pass by. If He arrived an hour or two earlier, He would have to wait for the situation to arrive.
John 4:6-…tired as he was from the journey, sat down by well. It was about the sixth hour.
Let me ask you a question. At the end of the day, what are you tired from? What are you worn out from doing? Is it doing the work of the Lord? Is it getting yourself into a place where you can share the Gospel? Or, are you just worn out because you went to work? Are you worn out because you took care of the house? Why are you tired at the sixth hour? Are you constantly thinking and moving in the direction God leads in order to share the Gospel with somebody? When you sit down exhausted and you feel like taking a break, was your whole day in preparation just so that you could talk to one individual? But, how often we are moved by a certain time period when it is time for dinner, time to go to bed, time for lunch, or time when I get a quiet time. We are not constantly moving and thinking about the work that God has for us to do, and so very few of us ever share the Gospel. When we are just exhausted, we go find some rest. Again, ask yourself why are you tired at the sixth hour? Why are you worn out? Is it because all day long you were moving yourself into a place to share the Gospel? That you knew what God was calling you to do and you knew that you were going to that place to share the Gospel. You had the tracts and the tapes. You had the Scripture. You were ready in heart and mind. You knew what you needed to share with a certain individual. You knew what sins were in this person’s life, and how to deal with them. Did you spend six hours getting ready to deal with this one individual? That takes a lot of work. Paul said that it is by this kind of work that we share the Gospel.
John 4:6- Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Jesus Christ is sitting down here in order to go to work. Most of us would sit down because we’re tired, but Jesus Christ is sitting down so that He can get busy sharing the Gospel. If it were necessary for him to stand up and preach the Gospel, that is what He would do. The Scripture isn’t saying that He sat down to let us know that He was tired and taking a break. He is sitting down because that is the position He needs to be in, to share the Gospel with this woman who is coming to the well. Why do you sit down? Why do you stand up? Why do you walk? Why do you go to school? Why do you go to the classes that you go to? Why do you live and work and go places? Do you know that when you get up in the morning that Jesus Christ has certain individuals for you to share the Good News with? He wants you to seize the opportunity and be fully ready and prepared. How many times I hear people say, “I just didn’t know what to say,” or “I wish I would have said that.” If you would spend six hours thinking about what you need to say, if you would spend six hours getting ready and being prepared, you would walk in and be master of the situation. Instead, it just hits us by surprise. We are not prepared for it because we are not tired from getting ready, we are just tired.
John 4:7- When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
Again, don’t tell me the situation didn’t present itself. Jesus is taking everyday situations and turning them into a Gospel call, isn’t He? He didn’t preach a large sermon or start off with Scripture. He just simply asks her for a glass of water, and that leads the whole town to revival. Don’t wait for God to give you this big revelation. Maybe God is just telling you to go up to an individual, and ask them “Will you give me a drink of water?” Ask them a simple question that has to do with everyday life, and turn that into a Gospel call. Turn that into sharing the Gospel. Jesus Christ is starting the evangelism. He is not waiting for the opportunity to present itself. He makes it happen. Evangelism is an everyday occurrence, an everyday thing during our conversation. It is a thing that we automatically do. As with everything that we do with anybody, we should always be thinking and preparing the way, “How can I prepare a way for this person to be soft to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”
When I go into a restaurant and leave a tip, I honestly do in my heart think, “How can this tip lead to making this person soft for the Gospel? Maybe they saw me praying at the table. When I do that, I represent Jesus Christ. How I behave, how I conduct myself, what my conversation is like, and the tip that I leave will be an example to them of whether or not they should look to Jesus Christ. It comes down to the everyday conversational things and the actions we do. In Colossians, 4:3 it tells us that when God presents situations to us, we should make the absolute most of those situations.
Colossians 4:3- And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
There will be times when you can’t share the Gospel. There may come a time when you will be chained up with nowhere to go, unable to preach. God will not be allowing it. Circumstances will not permit it. But, you need to stop and ask what burns in your heart. What would you do if you were free? Maybe you are bedridden for a while because you are sick and you pray to God to heal you. Is your motivation to be made well that God might open a door for your message? Are you ready to burst forth with his message? Are you holding God back or is God holding you back?
Colossians 4:4- Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
So much of our lack of evangelism is because we really don’t know what to say. That’s a good place to be if it leads to faith. If it leads you to pray, saying “God, give me the words. Show me what I should share. What should I talk to this woman about? Is this a Pharisee that I should rebuke, or is this a woman that I should sit down with and ask for a drink of water, and that leads to evangelism? What is this, God? Give me words that I may declare the mystery of Christ clearly as I should.” Let’s rise up out of our laziness and quit complaining that we don’t have words and begin to ask Him who will give us words. Do we really think that if we come before the Living God and say, “God, I want to be able to share the Gospel with this person. I want to present the cross to them,” that He will refuse us words? I daresay He will give you words regardless of where you are spiritually in order to honor himself.
Colossians 4:4-5- Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
The six hours of preparation and thinking about what lies ahead is vital. We should get up in the morning and say, “OK, this is the day that God is going to give me an opportunity to share the Gospel. Do I have the tools necessary for the day?” I daresay that most of us consider where we are going to have lunch far more than we consider whether we have the means and the materials to share the Gospel for the day. Who are we supposed to reach out to? Who are we supposed to wait for?
Colossians 4:5- Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
There are times when I’ve hedged on reaching out to someone, and I’ve used the excuse, “Well, I’ll see him again” or “I’ll try and come back to it later.” The opportunity never presented itself again because I didn’t make the most of the situation that was sitting right before me. I didn’t go all the way that I could with that individual until they either told me to shut up or they said they wanted to hear more. When you get an opportunity, when it is clear as it could be, make the absolute most of that opportunity. Get names. Get addresses. Do whatever needs to be done. Make phone calls. If you don’t have what you need, go and get it for that individual. Make the absolute most of every single opportunity that God lays before you. This is what Jesus Christ is doing in this situation. He is making the most of this opportunity and he is going to save the town. How we have failed Jesus Christ when it comes to this issue! Why? We don’t want to push people too far! How many times have I heard people say, “You’ve got to be gentle. You’ve got take it slow with that individual”? The Gospel call of Jesus Christ says to make the most of every opportunity but my flesh says to take it slow and go a little bit easier because they can only take so much.
Colossians 4:6- Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Let us begin to get into dialogues and conversations about the Lord in such a way that this Scripture is necessary in our life. Let us be consumed with what Jesus Christ is consumed with, which is seeking and saving the lost.
John 4:8- (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
What is wrong with this picture? It takes twelve men to go prepare a lunch? He, who can feed multitudes, who can feed thousands, needs twelve men to go find lunch or dinner? It is funny how they all volunteered for this service! “I’ll go with you, I’ll go with you, I’ll go with you.” Twelve guys, all volunteering to go find lunch. They are with Jesus Christ. They are walking with Him, but they are not in tune with Him. They know not His heart. They know not what He is concerned with. They are not united in heart and mind in any way, shape, or form. It takes twelve. It takes a committee to go find lunch? We become so concerned with lunch or dinner or whatever will feed our flesh. We will volunteer for that kind of work and service that will feed our flesh, but we won’t stay and sit at a well to talk with a woman. We want to get our needs taken care of, and so we run off as a church together. Jesus Christ is over here by a well and we are busy taking care of our own needs, our own comfort, and our rest. I guess in today’s culture we would form a food finding committee. First we’ll get everything prepared to make sure all of our needs are taken care and then we’ll get busy with what the Lord wants us to do. Are we volunteering to do things “for the Lord,” but the end result is so that we might be fed, that we might have peace, and that we might have comfort. We are not laboring hard. We are not working hard at evangelism. We are hardly working at it, and we do just enough of it to make ourselves feel comfortable. We either don’t want to do the hard work because we are lazy and want to feed our flesh or we don’t like the persecution and rejection that will come. We certainly have very little concern for those with whom we might share the Gospel. It may mean we have to spend six hours making sure our life is on the cross so that we can share the Gospel effectively.
John 4:9- The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus Christ is breaking every rule here. In fact, He is talking to a woman whose morals are very questionable. She is out at the well by herself, and there is nobody else around. She has no friends with her. It is possible that she has to come out at an hour when nobody else is around because everybody knows what kind of woman she is. She is at the very well where a couple of people in the Old Testament found the mates they were to marry. Somebody might have been looking at Jesus Christ thinking, ‘What are you trying to do, pick up this woman?’ We, no doubt, would have quoted I Thessalonians 5:22 that says abstain from all appearance of evil. We would have said, “Jesus Christ, don’t be alone with this woman out by the well. Everybody is going to think You are up to no good.” And so, Jesus Christ is breaking every sensible rule that has been set down. Not only is He breaking through the cultures by associating with this woman, but He is putting Himself in a position where people will gossip about who He is and what His motives are. Jesus could have been seen as flirting with an immoral woman. There are times we have to put ourselves in questionable places to share the Gospel. For sure, I Thessalonians 5:22 is truth. We need to avoid every appearance of evil, but there comes a point when that interferes with doing the work of God and that is not the purpose of the Scripture. There comes a time when you have to say, “I need to share the Gospel no matter what other people think.” Let us be so active and so zealous as God directs that we break the customs, ideas, and the religious rules around us in order to share the Gospel with other people who don’t want to associate with those individuals. I suppose, in our culture, the homosexual is considered the individual not to talk to or associate with. They are easy prey for jokes. We look down upon them. They even claim to worship the Lord and we know that to be wrong. He is associating with someone that the Jews would not associate with, and someone they looked down upon. I’m sure there are many a Samaritan joke, just as there are jokes that go on about the homosexuals today. One of the big complaints within the homosexual community is that the Christian church shuns them, laughs about them, and puts them in the corner. All we do is drive these people that need to repent of that sin away from the Lord. All we do is tell them that there is no hope. This woman was off by herself and Jesus Christ comes in the middle of this town. He sits down and says, “I will talk to you about a glass of water, and I will give you life.” Let us associate with people that other people do not want to associate with. It is considered a shameful thing to do, but let us give them life.
John 4:10- Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
He is going to begin to share the Gospel with her. Let’s see how he does it so that we, too, may not be surprised when the Holy Spirit leads us to share the Gospel with other people. What does He do first? He starts by insulting her, by telling her that she doesn’t know who she worships, and that she is not in a proper place with God.
John 4:10-, If you knew the gift of God . . .
She has already discussed religious things and she will discuss some more, but He is saying if you really knew who God was, then you wouldn’t be saying what you are saying. And so, when we begin to share with people, whether they are a religious people or not, how should we begin? By tearing down that which they believe so they might have eternal life. That is how your evangelism is supposed to begin. All of this joyful kind of evangelism that goes on, where you just become a friend to somebody and spend 15 years getting to know them before you ever say anything sharp, would have left Jesus in the dust. He begins by saying, “You don’t know what you are talking about. Yet if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, if you understood the smallest thing in God, you would have asked Him and He would have given you Living Water.” He insults her by saying, “You don’t understand what the gift of God is about.” This way you will get to the heart of the matter as quick as possible. You go from a drink of water to the fact that their religion is worthless. It is quite a jump, isn’t it? When was the last time you can name a conversation you had with somebody where you went from a discussion about Pepsi or Coke and you wound up discussing that their religion was worthless? You made a giant leap from those two points. He even talks to her in cryptic language! We want to be understood. We want everything explained. We don’t anybody to misunderstand us. If He had been talking to some people with bad hearts, they would have accused Jesus Christ, “Quit playing word games with me. What is it that you mean?” We don’t want people to think or reason or test their hearts.
John 4:11- “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?”
Jesus Christ lets her come to a wrong conclusion. In your conversations with people, as the Holy Spirit leads you, let Him use you to allow people to come to wrong conclusions so that you might show them the truth. Don’t immediately jump in the minute they say something that you know is totally ludicrous. Don’t explain the answer to them right at that moment. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Let them think. Let them examine. Let them get it piece by piece so that God can work it in their heart. But, be direct and to the point. Be waiting to get to the next point. Again, the way Jesus Christ approaches this is almost with the logic of a mad man. He goes from a glass of water to Living Water. You see, as Christians who are full of the Holy Spirit, we are in charge of the situation. We are supposed to be leading the conversation, not letting the world lead it. It may not make sense to them, but let me tell you, even when it is illogical in terms of their viewpoint, you are leading them to a point they know nothing about. They can’t understand it. You have to deal with their heart first. What a conversation this is! How many conversations have you had like this?
John 4:12-13- Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
Again, we would have accused Jesus Christ of playing word games. She is trying to reason it out because she has a good heart. She is trying to ask, “What is it You are talking about? Are you greater than this religion? Are you greater than these stories that we have heard?” Don’t get all defensive because people may think you are self-righteous. Don’t become all perturbed because they insinuate that you think you are more spiritual than they are. Don’t become perturbed that they misunderstand who you are. She doesn’t have a clue about who Jesus Christ is. You are trying to explain the mystery of Jesus Christ to each individual. They are going to accuse and think all kinds of things that are not true. Don’t expect to be clear on everything that you are saying. God is trying to get individuals to search their hearts and to think. But, how quickly we march in! If it had been us, we’d have sat down and said, “You are an adulterous woman. You need to repent!” We don’t want to take the time. We’re tired. We are getting irritated. She can’t seem to get the point. We have explained this before over and over again. She just can’t get it, so we turn to her and say, “You’re an adulterous woman. These are sinful relations you have had in the past and you need to repent.” Then, we’d have walked off so satisfied because we told her exactly where she is at. We’d have told her that her religion was worthless. She had this error in doctrine. She didn’t worship God appropriately. We just don’t want to fool with the situation. It is a lot of hard work to present the Gospel this way.
He still hasn’t gotten His drink of water. He is still thirsty. Your need still hasn’t been met. As you share the Gospel with other people, it is a long time before their flesh is dead enough to meet your needs. But, you are not there to meet your needs. You are there to share Living Water.
John 4:14-15- but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Wrong conclusion isn’t it? Let people make wrong conclusions! Let them say the most stupid things without snickering or pointing out their error. Let the Holy Spirit allow time to work and deal with what is in their hearts. So, she comes to a wrong conclusion. She will eventually come to understand if we persevere long enough, if we just stand there. Look at the debate that is taking place here that is just so holy! Look at this conversation. This woman comes to the well. It is the same thing she does day in and day out, but she is going to leave a brand new person by the time it is all done! Jesus Christ is going to give her Living Water. Are we going to give people Living Water? How is He going to do that? How do you give someone Living Water? John 4:16 tells us. He goes from a discussion about water to deal with her sin.
John 4:16- He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
This is the moment Jesus Christ is leading up to. This is his goal in the conversation. When you begin to talk with people, you have to ask God, “What is the cross for this individual? What is it that I need to reveal in their life? What sins need to be told so that they might understand what You are about?” You have to know what sins are in somebody’s life and move toward those sins, to deal with those by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s turn to Mark 8:15 because it needs to be repeated over and over again that the only reason an individual does not understand Jesus Christ or Scripture is because their heart has sin in it and their heart is hard. That is the only reason! It has nothing to do with human logic, human wisdom, or religious wisdom. So, Jesus Christ is going to give this woman illumination in her heart. She is going to understand who Jesus Christ is. What does He have to deal with first in order for her to understand who He is? He has to deal with the sin in her life, and the more sin that is cleansed from you, the more you will understand Scripture.
Mark 8:15- “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
They discussed this with one another. These guys are always having committee meetings asking each other what things mean? So they go through all of this turmoil trying to figure everything out. How many people’s religions are based on nothing more than human wisdom and logic? They just get together to discuss what Jesus Christ meant. This is the same thing that goes on in Sunday school. This is the church prayer breakfast where everybody just sits around and discusses what Jesus Christ had to say, but sin isn’t dealt with. Their eyes can’t see and their ears fail to hear, and don’t you remember? Why couldn’t they perceive what Jesus Christ was teaching? Why couldn’t they remember what they had just learned? Because their hearts were hard. In order for this woman to come to a place where she understands the things of God, what has to be dealt with first? The sin in her life. So, she says, “Give me Living Water,” and He says, “OK. I’ll show you your sin.”
So, let me ask you, as you share the Gospel with other individuals are you showing people their sins? We prance around their sin. We are never direct or clear. Is Jesus Christ direct with this woman? He says, “Go call your husband.” So, find the sins that are in somebody’s life that God wants you to use to get them to see Jesus Christ and to have the Good News, and ask them directly about that sin! This is how evangelism takes place. You can see why most people will avoid it and don’t want it. You are going to be persecuted by a lot of folks, or you are going to have to walk for six hours to get to one individual that God wants you to reach. But, understand this, no man ever came to understanding the Scriptures without having self and sin dealt with.
John 4:17- I have no husband,” she replied. . .
“I have no husband.” She is kind of fudging on the point, isn’t she? She is not even clear about what sin is. Maybe she really believes she doesn’t have a husband. She is living with a guy, but technically, she doesn’t have a husband. She does not have the certificate to signify he is her husband. Instead of Jesus Christ becoming indignant and saying, “Oh, how can you justify your sin like this and how can you be so vile as not to admit where you are at. Doesn’t the law say this?” What does He do? He just quietly turns to her and says, “You’re right.” He doesn’t say, “You have no husband.” I say this in human terms, but look how tricky Jesus is. He knows the heart that is in this woman and He knows it will pull her towards the truth to see what kind of woman she is. But, we walk so much with law. We know things are wrong, and we just want to present it to people by telling them, “What you did was wrong!” Again, there are times for that, but we are talking about evangelism where you share the truth. I’m not talking about a bunch of Pharisees.
John 4:17- Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.”
Verse 18 says, “The fact is…” and now He shares the facts. He is very clear. He is very direct. He is always that way.
John 4:18- The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.
She is now getting a deeper appreciation of sin, isn’t she? She is at least saying, “I’ve never had a husband. I’ve just lived with these five or six guys,” and Jesus is declaring the depth of what the sin is. You might get individuals to agree with you on the sin in their life, but we who are led by the Holy Spirit take them deeper to see sin as utterly sinful. They should have no room left for justification, excuses, no allowances, but will just call sin absolutely sinful.
John 4:19- “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.”
We have already seen in Corinthians that when somebody comes into the church and everybody is prophesying, they will be judged by the secret things in their heart and they will fall down and say, “God is really among you.” She is now beginning to see her heart being revealed as she is becoming more and more convicted of what sin really is. So much of our preaching of the Gospel is telling people what is sinful. They don’t even know to be guilty! Shy away from a judgmental Gospel, but don’t shy away from telling people the truth. Instead, sit down with them in the lunchroom and declare to them their sin, but you can do it in the quietest of ways. Just be where God wants you to be, saying what he wants you to say, but don’t come back with all kinds of excuses like, “Well, I kind of did tell them and I kind of didn’t.” If you come back reporting that you shared, share all of what God wants you to. Make the most of every opportunity.
John 4:20- Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.
He had quite a discussion with this woman. What she is discovering is that this Jesus Christ is no friend to any one church. He is only a friend to the truth. That is what people need to know from us when they see our lives. They need to know that we don’t represent Sound Doctrine Church. We don’t represent any school of thoughts. We don’t represent any man’s way of thinking. We just represent the truth, and wherever it falls, it falls! They must know that there is an impartiality about what we are doing. How many people are not Christians because they have sensed that the person sharing with them just wanted to win them over to their church or to their way of thinking? She sees that this Jesus shows no favoritism and we, too, need to show no favoritism. If we are studying with someone who doesn’t claim to be a Christian and they say, “But your church does this sin,” we don’t justify it or whitewash it. We say, “You are right and we will repent of it. We don’t represent anything but Jesus Christ.”
John 4:21- Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”
He is way beyond these kinds of cultural religious debates, isn’t He? He is way out there! We need to be way out there. This building will burn. The name Sound Doctrine will disappear, but not Jesus Christ. “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when all of these things will disappear because God is looking for different kinds of worshippers.” Now, in verse 22, He does declare the truth. He is not so wishy-washy as to appear so liberal and accepting of everything else just to please this woman.
John 4:22- You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
He is only for the truth. Again, He insults her again, doesn’t He? He is saying, “You don’t understand what it is to worship God. You are in the wrong place.” He is declaring the truth to her in every way. He never leaves anything undone. He does not flatter her. Most of us would have shared the first part. We would have said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. God is looking for people who worship in spirit and truth,” but we would have never gone on to declare her fallacy in understanding because we wouldn’t want to run the risk of making her mad. Because we don’t run the risk of making people mad, the Gospel is compromised, watered down, and whitewashed, with people never really fully repenting. We know that if we declare it as we should, people are going to get angry. For every one woman like this, there is a whole mob of Pharisees ready and willing to crucify you. Look at Acts 5:29. It is a matter of whether we lay down our life for people to declare to them the truth. Time is so short.
Acts 5:29- Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!
Men love to quote that, but let’s read on a little bit. Verse 30:
Acts 5:30- The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.
Every single time we see the Holy Spirit speaking, He speaks directly to the sins of the individual. So, know this, when God allows you to share with somebody, no matter if it is a woman at the well, a group of Pharisees or whoever it is, you will be speaking directly to their sin or you will not be speaking by the Spirit. If you come back with any other kind of report, you either ignored all that the Holy Spirit wanted to work in you or you were just doing a sales job.
Acts 5:30-31- The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
Not only does He reveal their sin, He could have just left it at that by saying, “You killed Him,” and stop there. But He says, “Not only did you kill Him, but let me tell you, that person you killed, God has exalted. He is way above you.” Now, He is declaring repentance and forgiveness that come from the hand of God. The reason we try to sell the Gospel is because we don’t rely upon the Holy Spirit to change people’s hearts. The reason Jesus Christ could sit down and talk in such convoluted logic was because He wasn’t relying on His own logic to declare the Gospel. He was only relying upon God to soften this woman’s heart to respond to the Gospel. But where you don’t find a reliance on the Holy Spirit, you find people trying to explain the Gospel or present in ten or fifteen easy steps so that they will understand it. Where there is reliance on the Holy Spirit, you may say the most stupid sounding things and declare the richest of things in God, knowing they are not going to understand it because you are relying on God to open their hearts, not on your ability to declare the truth. If it is explained to somebody in all of the details and they don’t have to reason anything out, you are not declaring a mystery anymore because from God comes repentance and forgiveness.
Acts 5:32- We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.
God does not give the Holy Spirit to those who will not obey. I don’t care how much they speak in tongues or claim miracles have happened, He doesn’t give the Holy Spirit to those individuals. He only gives it to those who obey. The same is true in your own life. If you want to understand Scripture, then you have to obey. Well, this is where we run the risk.
Acts 5:33- When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.
Preach a Gospel that makes men guilty, but don’t demand obedience and men will leave you alone. They will just argue and debate back and forth. Sit down with a woman and love her in this fashion, and they will seek to put you to death.
John 4:23- Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
Look at the things that she is beginning to study and learn that she doesn’t even know she is learning. She doesn’t even know how valuable they are yet, does she? She is far ahead of so many people! Why? Because she didn’t get all defensive and run off. Let me tell you, if you are sharing the Gospel with somebody and they become all defensive and run off, let them go! It is not worth trying to explain all these things. And yet, we like to jump ahead to all of these rich deep pearls in Jesus Christ and share with them, thinking that these truths will make them soft. Don’t we understand that if they are not soft in the small sins in their life, they are never going to be able to receive the deeper things of God? Because she didn’t leave, get mad, or whine and say that Jesus Christ was playing word games, she was able to hear Him say these things to her. These are the only people we want left around anyway to hear the Gospel. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs.
John 4:24- God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Now, this woman is starting to hope a little bit. She is starting to pick on something here. She doesn’t want to come flat out and say it, so look at what she says in Verse 25:
John 4:25- The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
What is stirring up within her is faith and hope that comes from God. You know that as she is talking, inside she is going, “I hope this is the man. I can’t believe He is talking to me this way.” As we share the Gospel, do we want people to begin to hear the Holy Spirit move in their lives so that they say to themselves, “I cannot believe what God is showing me,” We want them to sense that there is something else out here besides just man’s religion, besides Sound Doctrine Church’s doctrine and theology. Don’t we want them to experience the Living God themselves? Inside is welling up in this woman’s rich faith because the Holy Spirit is getting through to her. Now, look at what Jesus says in Verse 26. Hardly anybody else got this privilege. Look at what He says:
John 4:26- Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
Who do you know that has had Jesus Christ flat out declare who He is to them? He does it to this woman at the well because she is willing to sit and take the humility and the crucifixion with the greatest of grace that we can hardly find in Scripture. She doesn’t justify. She doesn’t excuse. She doesn’t reason. She just sits there in all of her ignorance, fumbling around, and she listens to what He has to say. He flat out can turn to this woman and say, “I can speak to you. I am He.” These are the people we need to pray to reach. These are the people that we need to preach to who can hear God speaking inside. Don’t waste your time with the hard hearted and the Pharisees. If you wrestle with them, hear from God when to give up, but don’t lay your pearls before them. Deal with their sins, that they might hear God say, “I am He.” And, if you want to hear the same thing in your life, then get rid of the sin that is in your life. God blessed the woman to hear that!
John 4:27- Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her.
They’re not even privileged enough to hear Jesus Christ tell the woman who He is, and they are His disciples. They are busy taking care of lunch, and when they come back from lunch, they don’t care what He is doing. They still have in mind, “We’ll share in a moment.” They want to take care of their bellies. They want to take care of their needs, their comfort, and their rest.
Listen, I am telling you, evangelism is hard work! If you are unwilling to do the work, then don’t even start. Better not to start than to do it halfway because then somebody else has to come along and pick up the pieces and clean up the mess. Someone else has to get the person to the cross, and they have to take care of all the halfway things that are done. If you are not going to do it, then just admit it and leave it to those who will start the job and finish it better. Which job would you like to finish one where somebody does a halfway job and messes it all up or just start from scratch yourself and get it done right?
They were surprised to find Him talking with the woman, but even the surprise doesn’t drive them to say anything. No one asked, “Why are you talking to her?” Even with the shock of how Jesus Christ behaves and what He does, doesn’t even make them inquisitive. Why? Because they know that if they ask, they are going to be required to do the same thing. So, they just kind of stand back, aloof, saying “I don’t want to get into this discussion because I’m going to see that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and I don’t want to see my sin. After all, didn’t we spend six hours with Him today walking and getting to this place? Besides, I was praying for Him while I was looking for the food. He is just going to declare to me that everything I did was wrong.”
They’re not even concerned for Jesus Christ. They just got home from the day. They are busy. They don’t stop and say, “OK, Jesus Christ, why are You doing this?” They don’t recognize the mood of God. They don’t see His Spirit working. We, too, are so busy that we don’t see the opportunities God puts before us because we don’t really care. To ask the question means I’m going to have to go work, really work. I’m busy. I want to get this particular project done, or I’ve got this to accomplish over here or I’ve got to pick up the kids. I’ve got certain activities that needs to be done. We don’t want to stop and ask, “God, why are You doing what You are doing here?” Why don’t we ask? It will interfere with our plans. And, let me tell you something, evangelism always interferes with your plans unless, of course, evangelism is your plan then it never interferes. If you want to lose your life, then there is nothing to lose because you’ve already given it up.
They don’t ask Him what’s going on or what’s happening. They don’t care. They are unconcerned. The woman is at the well and she’s busy working. She is doing what they should be doing. They went into the town to get lunch, and they didn’t share with a single person. Did they go into the town and say, “Come out here and meet the Messiah. Come meet this man who does miracles”? No! They wanted to get their fill. If they bring the whole town out to Jesus, they’re not going to get a chance to eat and be comfortable. Jesus is going to start ministering to people and the disciples are never going to get any rest or do the things they want to do. So, they are in town quietly buying lunch, making sure nothing of a religious nature comes up in the conversation because it is going to mess up their plans big time! They just want to have a little bit of time to themselves, and yet Jesus Christ is sharing the gospel.
John 4:28- Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,
She leaves her worldly concerns behind. Not only does she leave them behind, she didn’t go “There’s my water jar. I’m still thirsty, but I need to deny myself and so I’m going to leave that behind and go serve Jesus Christ.” She didn’t make that kind of conscious decision. It was in her heart to just leave it behind. She didn’t even know what she left behind because she was experiencing the Living Water. For so many of us, it is just a matter of denying self and we have to kind of practice that. But, that’s not where God wants us to stay. That is not where He wants us to be. He wants us to leave the jar behind and not know it. And so, she goes back in the town and she tells the people.
John 4:29- Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?
Somebody asked, “Why should I come to your church?” She said, “Because they showed me all my sin.” If people don’t want to come to church under those circumstances, then don’t bring them in. She goes and tells everybody in town, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” They know who this woman is, and they know that if what she is saying is true, as they begin to come to Him, what is going to happen? Everything they ever did will also be exposed. Why do you think a lot of people don’t want to come to this body? Because as you talk about the sins and flesh God is exposing, they know when they get here that they are not exempt from it either.
John 4:29- Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
In other words, come see your sin also! Now, is this the Jesus we are going to present in our evangelism? What we always try to do is get people to be in unity with us in what we believe. There is this testing quality that goes on. You talk to somebody and tell them what you believe, and it goes back and forth until you find some type of agreement. Then, we try to get them to come to church. We don’t usually stand there and say, “Come to church where all of your sins will be exposed.” Why not? That might be a turn-off! Well, if it is a turn-off, then let them be turned off and go on their way. We don’t need to spend our time with 50 or 100 people all rebelling and angry because their sin is being exposed. It is hard enough with someone who wants their sin exposed.
John 4:30- They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Do you get it? They see a man that will tell them everything they did. Are you going to run out to this kind of guy? Are you just going to go with open arms, “Oh so glad! We’ve been waiting for You to come here for years. I can’t wait until You show me all my sins!”? It is kind of like they look at Him with apprehension, and then they step forward a little bit and then a little bit more and just a little bit more. They are making their way to him. I know what is going on all of the men are standing there saying, “Well, you go first,” and another man, “No, you go first,” or better yet, they are sending their wives first. Go see what this man is really like. You know this woman. Does she tell these kinds of tales? You go check it out she is your friend! They came out of the town and made their way toward Him. The people are going to come to the kind of Jesus Christ who is alive. They are going to have to make their way toward him. There is no easy way to do this. If we start making it easy, we are no longer preaching Jesus Christ. I am not saying you have to make it hard. I’m just saying just preach Jesus Christ. He will do the work, and they will make their way toward Him, those that are worthy. Verse 31 shows the disciples, of course, full of the Holy Spirit and insight. They’ve heard lots of sermons. They’ve listened to their music players on the way and they had six hours of passing Jesus’ tapes around. Everything he said sounded good. These guys are all filled up with knowledge and what are they concerned with? The whole town is making their way out to see Jesus Christ, and they want him to stop this religious activity. It is evangelism. There is a time and a place for everything, and it is taking up too much time.
John 4:31- Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
Let’s have some lunch. Let’s relax a little bit. Let’s chill. Here is a sandwich. Just take a break. They know what is coming, and they’re thinking, “We’re not going to get to eat again,” because Jesus is having another prayer meeting and another discussion group. What really lingers in our heart?
John 4:32- But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
What gave Jesus Christ substance, what gave Him energy, what made Him excited about the day, what motivated Him was to do the will of God. That was His food. This is a matter of the heart. I’m not going to get up here and have an evangelism program or pack-the-pew day. If you don’t want to invite anybody, then don’t invite them! If we want to be a people that have the heart of Jesus Christ, then we must have food that nobody else knows anything about. That is what excites us. If I don’t ever get to watch TV again, if I can’t ever go do this fun thing that I like to do, if I can’t ever rest in my easy chair again, so be it! What gives me excitement, what gives me rest, what gives me joy is to do the will of Him who sent me! We’re not talking about convenient conversion here. It is hard work to get ourselves prepared, but let me tell you, it’s not work for those who love God. What we need to get cleansed is our heart so that it is not work. I’m not telling you to force it and to fake it. I’m telling you to confess it as sin, to tell God, “I don’t care about others. I don’t want to do this work. I’d rather be comfortable. This is what’s in my flesh.” I want you to be honest before Him who knows everything anyway and tell Him the truth and say, “God, crucify me so that I have a love for other people, to do all that You will send me to do.”
John 4:33- Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
All they are concerned about is eating! You can see how frustrating all of this is. They are missing all the blessings that are taking place because of their concern about the church dinner. In our conversations do we get into such foolish discussions that only concern ourselves and what we want to do? If you look around most of the time it has to do with food. What are we going to eat?
John 4:34- “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
That is what gave Him strength. One reason God puts His servants in prison and chains them up is so that when He lets them go, they are ready to run. Sometimes He gives us sickness and we have to stay at home and we can’t go anywhere. The goal is not to get well, but to see what lingers in your heart. Why do you want to be made well?
Colossians 4:17- Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”
What work have you been given? If you don’t know, you need to repent and find out, and then you need to finish that work. You need to find out and grow in all of the ways that you need to grow, have all of the tools available and all of the Scripture. See to it that you finish the work that you have been given to do. All of us have a work. No one is exempt from it. If it is not there right before you, then get ready. Get everything available because you’re going to need it.
John 4:35- Do you not say, “Four months more and then the harvest” I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
It is just the workers that are few! Open your eyes! Look around, Jesus is saying. There is plenty to be done. Get ready to do the work. Do not say, “Four more months and then I’ll work.”
John 4:36-38- Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
Don’t even begin to think to yourself that you’ve done all of the hard work. Indeed, we have a whole host of people that have laid down their lives long before we ever shared the gospel.
John 4:39- Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
That’s our Gospel call. We have come to a God that tells us everything we ever did, so God would give us the Samaritan town.
John 4:40- So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.
They begged the man who could tell them everything they did to stay and preach the Gospel. Tell us more! May God grant us such a town and such a people that are hungry, no matter who they are, whether they are worthy to be associated with or not. A people willing to sit down and urge Jesus Christ to stay with them.
John 4:40-42- So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
All from a drink of water! Their relationship with the woman is restored. Everyone was thanking the woman for telling them. The town that would not associate with her is now in sweet fellowship with her. They are now thankful for what she did.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.