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The Woman of Samaria: Part I
Jesus interviews the Samaritan woman and confronts
overcoming racial and religious prejudice.
He overcomes these to show her how to believe.
I think perhaps that if we could ever come to the place in this world that we could
not be-so self conscious about our own lives, if we could ever come to the place where
we could get free from our own personal hang-ups, if we could just simply unload our
lives of the weights that we have accumulated that keep us from coming to the fullest
potential of being a child of God – there is no way to estimate what God would do
through us for His glory.
Now as we look at this beautiful story of Jesus and the woman at the well, I trust
that you will just somehow listen in close to their conversation and realize that Jesus is
not interested in our hang-ups. He would like to work through them with us so that
suddenly our lives become open to Him and we see all of Him, and His grace and His
power flow through us.
Jesus is looking for people out of whom He can make running springs-running
streams of His grace and power and joy and love. There are so many stopped up wells, so
to speak, in the Christian experience that the Lord would just like to help us lay aside all
our hang-ups – the barriers that keep God's grace and spirit and power from flowing and
working through us.
Now if you have complete freedom in God and His Word and His Spirit, this
message may not mean a thing to you. But if you've struggled to be more full of His joy
and more effective as a Christian; if you have struggled to want to be more powerful in
your prayers and stronger in your faith and full of faith and the grace of God, well then
this message may have some meaning for you.
A. The Setting of the Story
1. The Divine Constraint
The Bible said that Jesus on this journey did not take the usual route that Jews
took in going from one place to another and dodged the city of Samaria, the whole
section of Samaria. Instead, there was a divine constraint and compulsion that motivated
Him to go right through the heart of it. "He must go through Samaria." There was a
special reason. It seems as if He was enlarging His ministry and His purpose and His
intention to reach out and reach others and let others see of the light and of the truths and
of the grace of God.
2. The Samaritans
He was doing what very few people would do in His day when He went to
Samaria because Samaria had become a melting pot, especially in the centuries gone by
when it had been dominated by other. It had fallen around 722 B.C. and after that pagans
and pagan religions had infiltrated until it was just a melting pot of all kinds of religions
and peoples. It was the ghetto of Palestine in the time of Jesus. But He went right to the
heart of it.
3. The Well
At mid-day as He traveled, having walked a long distance, He was tired and
wearied. He sat at Jacob's well waiting for somebody who would come to draw water so
He could get a drink because the well shaft was deep and He couldn't get water out of it.
He had nothing to draw with. His disciples went into town to buy some food for lunch.
4. The Woman at the Noon Hour
A woman came at the noon hour. That is a very unusual time because most of the
women came out early in the morning before the heat of the day. They gathered around
the well and spent most of their time around the well – you know, exchanging greetings
and praying! No, really, they – well, you knew what they did. They drew water and
talked. They caught up with everything that had been said. The only thing is, this woman
didn't feel free to come with them. She was some sort of an outcast and was earmarked as
a woman of very ill repute, being married several times, and now living in open sin. So
she just was not welcome at the normal time to come and draw water.
5. Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
She was the last person that we would expect Jesus to approach. She was the last
one that we would expect Him to go into a town and start a church with for instance. But
you know the Lord has a way of doing things at the most unexpected time and the most
unexpected place with the most unexpected people and turning it into something rich and
beautiful and wonderful.
He has a way of taking things that are weak and turning them into strengths and
He has a way of taking things that just simply don't count and turning them into pluses.
He even takes zeros and put them on the plus side. He can take the things that are naught,
the nothings, and bring to naught the things that are. He knows how to do that.
So He started to talk with this woman when she came to draw water. I guess
before He talked to her, in His heart and mind He understood her and the awful hang-ups.
If He got through to her heart and mind He'd have to cross all kinds of barriers. She had
built up a lifetime of sinfulness, and that very barrier of sinfulness, that unruly sinfulness
that governs a lot of people's lives, keeps a lot of people from getting to Jesus Christ and
learning the truth. They get programmed to think in terms of iniquity and evil. She had
racial barriers and religious barriers. Any one of them is enough, but all these were
packaged in this one woman who came and drew at the noon hour.
B. The Hang-up of Human Reasoning
1. The Desire for Human Understanding
Jesus began just with a natural thing as He did with Nicodemus. You know with
Nicodemus He talked about birth – being born again. Here He talks about water. He says
to simply, "Give me to drink!"
When you compare these two people that Jesus interviewed, it's strange but both
of them want a wise learned Rabbi. The teacher, a ruler of the Synagogue and Jews,
asked a lot of questions about how can this be and how can this be, trying to reason
things in his own mind. Now this woman asks questions of the same sort. How can this
be and how can you get this water?
You see, it doesn't matter what level of life people live on, they want to use their
human reasoning power to try to understand God's Word and God's will and God's Spirit.
But you just don't understand it. A lot of people wo uld say they would have the baptism
of the Holy Ghost if they could understand it.
2. Acceptance of Christ Must Be by Faith
I want to tell you, friend, there's almost nothing about this old time salvation –
even about being born again or being forgiven, about being a child of God or being filled
with the Spirit – that you can comprehend and understand with the human reasoning. You
have look at Jesus Christ, and reach out by faith
to look at it by faith, as you and accept it. Then when you have experienced it – then,
even though it's joy unspeakable and you can't explain it – yet you know, you know, what
it is all about.
That's what holds a lot of people back from a lot of spiritual things that they could
have. They want understanding first. They want to figure it out in their own minds first
instead of just simply stepping out by faith and saying, "Lord, I don't have to understand.
I just want you to touch me!"
3. The Spirit Is Free to Work as He Wills
But both of these people asked, "How can this be?" But Jesus answered them both
in the same way. With Nicodemus He said the wind blows – that's the way the Spirit
works. With this woman He said the water flows – that's the way the Spirit works. Oh,
I wish somehow we could fasten on to just some pla in, simple, down to earth
demonstrations like that. Just as the wind blows--we don't know where it comes or where
it goes – that's how the Spirit works. Just as water flows in a clear bubbling spring –
thank God – the Holy Spirit of God works and moves and touches and refreshes lives.
You don't have to understand why. I sometimes marvel, thinking of Simon Peter
when he walked into the house of Cornelius and there was a group of God fearers. They
knew about God – a little bit about His Word. They knew nothing about Pentecost, and
yet he began to preach to them Jesus and the Spirit fell on them because they had faith in
the Son of God. Hallelujah! You don't need to understand everything. Have faith in Jesus
and let God touch you with His holy presence and power. That's how it comes.
4. Jesus Is What He Gives
In each case He also said, "I am the source of the power, the Spirit, the life, the
living water." Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus is always identifying Himself with
what He gives. Jesus is what He gives. He gives bread, but He is the Bread of life. He
gives light, but He is the Light of the world so that if you get anything from God, you
have to take Him first.
A lot of people want religious blessings. A lot of people want what the Word
offers, but they don't want to take Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord and Master. But if you get
His healing, you have to take Him, the Healer. If you get His love, you have to take Him
who is the source of love.
5. Jesus Leads the Woman Through Steps of Faith
Even though somewhat confused, the woman responded perhaps in a more
positive way than even Nicodemus did. Her response to what Jesus said shows her going
through different levels of understanding and enlightenment until she rises at the very top
of spiritual understanding and revelation and faith in Jesus Christ.
In the first thing she said to Him she's talking to Him just on the level of His
being a Jew. She practically spits it in His face. A little later on, she's calling Him a
prophet because He seems to have the word of knowledge. A little later on He's the
Christ. Finally, toward the end of the episode He is being called the Savior of the world.
6. Jesus Still Leads Step by Step
All through the book of John there are these glorious and wonderful illustrations
where people rise step by step to various levels of faith and understanding. I want to tell
you today, the Lord is ready to lead you step by step. You may be struggling. You may
be in conflict. There may be trouble in your heart. But I want to tell you, Jesus Christ the
Son of God will come to you.
Just as Jesus needed to go through Samaria, He needs to go to where you are
today. He will take you by the hand and He will touch you by divine life and power. He
will lift you up and step-by-step He will help you climb the stairway of divine revelation
and understanding that brings faith and power. Hallelujah!
Jesus interviews the Samaritan woman and confronts overcoming racial and religious prejudice. He overcomes these to show her how to believe.
Denomination: Church of God
Thompson's Chain Reference: 4083 (Prejudice - Racial)
Author(s): F.J. May, D.Min., H. Lynn Stone, Ph.D
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