Chapter 9

Chapter 9

What Do You Believe About Jesus Ė The Living Water?

John 4:1-30

Jesus illustrates by leaving Judaea that He was not in a contest with John the Baptist. His mission was of a much greater magnitude than that. He had a foreordained purpose in coming to earth and it was not to establish Himself as the greatest evangelist; though He is. Nor was He only interested in making a comparison to other inferior members of the human race; though He is superior. He is the preeminent one as the Colossiansí Book reminds us.

Doing only those kind of things is what we typically do as members of the human race. It seems that we "learn" to impress, and then "live" to impress. The degrees, the scholarships and the honors that we receive, we strive for them. In a proper and spiritual setting this kind of ambition is not wrong. It is only when we proudly aspire for greatness no matter the cost to others.

Either Christ Jesus was sensitive to John and removed Himself so that John would not be hurt, but more than likely Jesus moved away to avoid His purposes from being thwarted.

There was no idle time nor unnecessary encounters, nor were there any wasted appointments. He was here on planet earth for the sole purpose of accomplishing the Fatherís will. Each miracle and each discourse was within the frame work of His plan. He was not slowed down by public opinion nor was he speeded up by His own peers. When in verse number four it says, "And he must needs go through Samaria," He must have needed to go or else He would not have gone. The way he chose to go to Galilee took nearly twice as long had he only gone the most direct route. His foreknowledge, coupled with His omniscience saw a thirsty, needy "woman of Samaria" who was waiting for Him. May we remind ourselves as we are waiting for Him that He is always on time! (Matthew 26:18; John 7:6).

When Jesus left, he left the masses for just one person. In doing this He signifies the value and worth of a precious soul. Later in time the Ethiopian eunuch was ministered to because Philip the Evangelist was also willing to leave the masses and minister to just one (Acts 8). There is no greater example for us to follow than that of Christ. More than just studying about Him, we should be careful to study "Him." To illustrate this need of ours even further, it is "not enough to just know about my wife; I need to KNOW my wife.

I. THIRST AS BEING COMMON vv. 1-7

As the Lord ministered upon the earth, He ministered as the incarnate Son of God. Philippians 2:7 says that Christ, "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:" In theological terms this "emptying" of Himself is called the kenosis. In this state He would hunger, tire, sweat, and thirst, etc., but He did not surrender any of His attributes of deity while upon the earth.

The Lord after making His journey was sitting on the well resting. It was mid day, which means that the sun was beaming down. He was thirsty as well as weary from His journey. Yet He was right on time for this woman of Samaria. She came to draw water from Jacobís well (v. 7). As she did, Jesus asked her for water to drink. He was thirsty. Thirst is not having anything to drink. Thirst is normal, but it is also very necessary for the sustaining of life. People of all ethnic, national, and racial backgrounds have the potential for thirst, and do thirst.

Jesus declared to Nicodemus the necessity of being born again. While speaking to Nicodemus he used the common term of birth. He now uses the common phenomenon of thirst while still relating to manís greatest need. It was even the rich man in hell, who had enjoyed all that there was on earth yet was pleading for one drop of water to cool his parched tongue while in hell. A thirst of that kind, in that place will never be satisfied. The thirst there will never end.

Now the most uncommon one of all has a very common need. He said to the woman of Samaria, "Give me to drink." Yet in that humble request begins one of the greatest encounters of all time. Such a simple request was this. Yet in this simple request, He was able to build a bridge of communication from Himself to her that otherwise may have never taken place. When illustrating the very common aspect of thirst, Jesus was able to teach great spiritual truths. Throughout His ministry the application of common things characterized His teaching ministry. In this study, He uses the concept of thirst to teach how men are thirsty spiritually. He used the wind to teach about the Holy Spirit. He used the sower and the seed to teach evangelism. He identified with the fisherman and said, "I will make you fishers of men." He performed a miracle involving bread to show that He was the "Bread of Life."

Abraham Lincoln said, "The Lord sure must have loved the common man, for He sure made a bunch of us." The Lord, in His teachings, always puts the "cookies on the bottom shelf" where anyone who desires may have one. Thanks be unto God for the simply application of truth while using the common things.

II. THIRST AS A CONCEPT vv. 8-15

The unidentified woman at the well could have been anyone. She could symbolize the unknown product of this worldly system who has tried many ways to satisfy the deep thirst of her carnal nature. Her name is not important here; her need is! She recognizes that she is perceived as a member of an inferior race. She questioned Jesus, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans" (v.9).

Not only did this woman feel herself to be inferior to Jesus, she because of her lifestyle was probably a moral outcast by her own people. The place where she had come to get water was nearly a half mile from Sychar where she lived. She also was getting water during the hottest part of the day. Again this could have been because of who she was. In many ways she was the contaminated scum and the filth of the earth, but Jesus did not label or indict her that way; He simply honored her as a fellow human being and asked for a drink of water.

This wonderful trait of Christ revealed in our study shows how sympathetic He is to others. It shows how considerate He is of others and how unprejudiced He is of others.

Immediately as the dialogue with the woman continued, Jesus began to let this woman know that she was not just talking to someone who was considered of a superior race and even a superior sex, but who was God in the flesh.

Jesus used the term "living water.." This was a term that only meant to her fresh running water as opposed to still, stagnate water. But He, as He did with Nicodemus, took a physical concept and elevated it to a spiritual plane. Nicodemus thought at first Jesus was only referring to a physical birth. In answer to this thinking, Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).

The woman at the well likewise took what He was saying and confirmed it to the physical realm (John 3:10, 12). Certainly there is a common thirst that is only physical. We all, as mentioned earlier, have it. But there is also a thirst that is Spiritual. The prophet Isaiah knew of this kind of thirst when he said, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters Ö" (Isaiah 55:1). The Psalmist David knew also when he said, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:1-2).

This illustrates thirst from a Biblical position. The world also has its own ways of expressing its thirst. When I was a teenager, the words of a popular rock song went something like this, "I canít get no satisfaction Ö" This group was expressing not only its thirst, but also its inability to quench that thirst. The world thirsts after so many different things. There are those thirsting after money, sex, fame, popularity and a host of many other things yet not having that thirst quenched. Satan offers many oasis in this dry thirsty world. But the thirst always returns. Ted Bundy is an example of this as he would rape, molest, and kill the beautiful women that were his victims. He said that each experience would have to be more exciting than the last. He would create more and more grotesque ways of satisfying his perverted sexual passions only to have the horrifying thirst return in full force. It all began for Ted when as a child he would look at his grandfatherís pornographic magazines and stir his lustful passions. The time came when the thirst was so great that the magazines were not enough; he had to have "raw flesh."

As vulgar as this is, it only shows how intense the thirst can be when it is without any lasting satisfaction. Though Jesus was referring to drinking water when He said, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again," the results are the same when man attempts to satisfy his thirst apart from the Lordís living water.

Christ Jesus offered the poor pathetic needy woman all that she would ever need. Verse number fourteen says, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." In Jesus her thirst could be conquered!

III. THIRST AS IT IS CONQUERED vv. 16-30

The woman at the well upon hearing that there was some water that will satisfy eternally said, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." At first it appears that the woman is asking for a special kind of water that will eliminate any present and future thirst that she might have. But it is much more than that. I believe that she is wanting that inward thirst satisfied as well as her respectability gained back. She is saying I am tired of having to come "here" in the heat of the day. "Is there anything that I can do to recover from my wicked state?" "Can I be accepted again?"

With the attitude and desire for change the Lord told her to "Go, call thy husband, and come hither" (v. 16). She admitted her inability to bring to Him her husband, and as she did, the Lord probed even further. With His complete knowledge of her, she recognized that He was a prophet (v. 19). May we be reminded that the Lord knows each of us. There is nothing about us thatís hidden from Him. He is the all knowing God.

This woman at the well had certainly enjoyed the "pleasures of sin which are just for a season." But now she is suffering the horrible effects of what sin has done to her.

Just think of the broken relationships, the shame of her infidelity, and the guilt of all of her transgressions constantly plaguing her. Think of her attempt to avoid the scorn and ridicule which always drove her to this remote well. Yet even she could not escape her conscience. This was probably what she meant when she said, "that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw."

Much of the effects of sin cannot be erased, nor removed, but there is forgiveness that can cause you to get on with your life. She trusted in Christ once she faced her sin and learned from Christ what true worship is. "The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he" (vv. 19-26). The woman at the well wanted the living water; she recognized who the Messiah really was; she then believed upon the Messiah unto salvation. She repented! She then symbolized her belief by leaving her waterpot. She, as a new creature, was going to face her new life by leaving the past behind.

Thanks be unto God for the many thirsty souls who have been satisfied by the "Living Waters."

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any many thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38).

Material From Dr. Max Alderman, Ph.D