I am excited to be able to share the Word of God today during both hours of children’s activities. At children’s church, I am sharing this message. During the Sunday school hour, I am teaching Genesis 3 to the 5th-6th grade Sunday school class. This weekend, we had our 5th-6th grade retreat where we studied how to make wise choices based on II Samuel 11, when King David made a series of bad choices. It was a blessed time.
Let’s say you have made choices that you now regret, is there anything that you can do about it? YES!!! But, you have to remember that the answer is also a resounding NO!!! You cannot erase what you have done. You have to face the consequences. The good news is that you can be forgiven for what you have done and restored to a right relationship with God and with the people around you. We find this out in the story of the woman at the well in John 4.
Jesus is traveling from Judea to Galilee. For Jewish people, this meant a long, extended trip across the Jordan river in order to avoid the land of Samaria. The mixed breeds lived in Samaria and the “Genuine” Jews did not want to have anything to do with them. The shortest route is through Samaria. It was avoided. John tells us in chapter 4 that Jesus “had to go through Samaria”. He chose to walk through Samaria because He was going to meet someone who needed to be forgiven. The conversation that Jesus has with this person reveals much about God’s plan for forgiveness.
I. Jesus initiates the conversation
The story begins with Jesus sending His disciples in to town to go to the market place to buy food. He waits by the well so that they can have food and drink, a picnic, when the disciples return. While Jesus is sitting there and resting as He waits, a Samaritan woman approaches the well. The text tells us that it happened at about midday. This was not the time to visit the well. In fact, the reason that the woman visits the well at this time is because she is sure that no one else will be there. She does not have a very good reputation among the town’s people. She is surprised to find Jesus there. She is even more surprised when Jesus asked her for a drink of water. Her response is shock. You are asking me, a Samaritan woman? Now that the conversation has begun, Jesus gets to the point. He wants to point out her need for forgiveness. In order to do this, He begins with something that she needs, water.
II. Physical truths to explain spiritual truths
We understand the physical world because we live in it, moment by moment, day by day. It is difficult for us to understand the spiritual world because we cannot experience it with our senses. The Samaritan woman had a need for water. She understood this need because she had to come back to get water daily. She needed spiritual forgiveness and cleansing but did not see the need for it or even know that it was possible. Jesus moves from physical water to living water, spiritual water that could cleanse her soul. He was able to offer that living water to her but she need to ask for it and receive it. Immediately, she returns back to the idea of physical water. In order to bring her back to the root of the problem, Jesus has to . . .
III. Confrontation of sin
Jesus asks her to call her husband so that they can all talk about spiritual things. Her answer is interesting. She claims that she does not have a husband. This is a half truth or what is better known as, a lie. Jesus points out that she has answered correctly. At the moment she does not have a husband. He then points out that she has had 5 husbands and is currently living with a man who is not her husband. They are living in cohabitation. Once Jesus points out her sin and gives her a chance to confess and receive forgiveness, she responds with changing the subject. Jesus initiated the conversation in the very beginning and now she initiates changing the subject from her sin to worship. Jesus does not miss a beat. He responds with a discussion on her sin and how it relates to worship. She is confused about worship and admits this. Jesus uses this admission to point out that the only way to worship God is spiritually and that the only way that this is possible is to know the Truth. She does not. She is not able to worship God. This is another way to expose her sin and show her the need for the forgiveness that only He can offer. She catches on to this and tries to change the subject again. Let’s stop talking about my sin and move to a discussion about the Messiah who is to come. Jesus uses this opportunity to share with her that He is the Messiah that she has been waiting for all of this time. Finally, she receives the forgiveness that Jesus has been trying to give to her. This forgiveness leads her to action.
IV. Forgiveness produces faith in action
The Samaritan woman needed forgiveness. Jesus exposed her need for it by confronting her sin. She finally recognized her need and admitted that she need what He had to offer. She received forgiveness that day and experienced the living water that Jesus was talking about. Immediately, she left Jesus and ran back to town to tell everyone that they can meet the Messiah that they had all been looking for all of their lives. These are the same people who did not want to have anything to do with her. Some of them may have been the 5 husbands that she had divorced. Another was probably the man that she was living in cohabitation with at the time she met Jesus. She convinced them to follow her to meet Jesus. After spending 3 days listening to Jesus teach, many of them believed and received the same forgiveness that the Samaritan woman had received. The Samaritan woman is contrasted with the disciples. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah. They knew that the people of the town were confused about religion and searching for the Messiah. They went into the market, bought their food, left and never said a word to anyone about Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus was not interested in the food. He gave the disciples an opportunity to share with the Samaritans and they did not. He gave the same opportunity to the Samaritan woman and she recognized the opportunity. Many came to faith as a result.
What about you my dear friend, has Jesus confronted your sins? How did you respond? Do you worship God daily? Have you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior? Has Jesus forgiven your sins? Are you introducing the people around you to the One who can forgive their sins as well? May the Lord help us see our need for Christ’s forgiveness, receive it, and share it with others!