Main Message I by Shep. Eberhard Groß
Hallo, my name is Eberhard Groß from Köln. About 100 Kilometers from here in the west I had a secret place. Do you know what kind of a secret place that was? In my childhood every day I played with my siblings and cousins in the woods. During one of our expeditions into nature, I discovered a little spring between the bushes. Water was coming up between two rocks. I loved to linger at this spring, not just because of the bubbling spring but because of its mysterious power and the beauty of nature that touched my soul. Maybe that’s why John 4 is always so appealing to me.
JESUS, THE SPRING OF LIVING WATER
Key Verse 4:14
“…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.”
Jesus met a woman whose soul was dried out through due to the various disappoint-ments in her life. Carefully and lovingly he approached her until she opened up her heart to him and revealed her problem. Finally, Jesus gave her his living water so that she was completely changed her. During her meeting with Jesus, a spring of water welled up in her with which she could inspire a whole town. Let’s also go to this secret place at the well in Samaria, and find out for ourselves whether Jesus is a spring of living water!
I. Will you give me a drink ? (1-15)
This incident took place in Samaria. Verses 1-4 tell of how Jesus came to Samaria. He left Judea and went back to Galilee. Samaria lies between these two regions. The orthodox Jews did not want to go through this land because they despised the Samaritans., bBut Jesus was different. He accepted everyone warm-heartedly, including the Samaritans.
Look at verses 5-6. When Jesus arrived at a town of Samaria called Sychar, it was noon. Jesus travelled with his disciples on foot through mountainous terrain without cars or donkeys, only on foot. In the summer everything was very dry, and water was highly coveted. Because the midday heat burdened Jesus so much, he steered towards the well by the town of Sychar where he sat down exhausted. It must have been over 40 degrees (Celsius) in the sun. His reserves were running out. When the body has only has 0.5% less water available, alarms go off in our brains and we experience thirst. If 10% of this “liquid gold” is lacking, the mouth dries out and we experience dizziness. Jesus was very thirsty and hungry (8). He also was tired from the long journey. Jacob’s well was there.
Let’s read verse 7. “When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?´” In the middle-east, women always went out in groups. It was not customary for a woman to go around alone. When women met in the cool of the evening, they sat and chatted about their husbands and children. In doing so, they were able to get everything off their chests that had accumulated throughout the day. But this woman came alone to the well. She not only came alone but came in the midday heat. She seemed isolated from society. Later we see that this woman was married to five men. That’s why the townswomen worried that she could would seduce their husbands. But Jesus did not scorn this woman. So how could Jesus start a conversation with her? There were many barriers. There were national and moral barriers. Jesus was the Son of God and the woman was a sinner, with an immoral lifestyle. There was a gender barrier as well. At that time women could not speak with men on the street.
How can a respectable person approach an immoral woman? Sometimes when I go to the campus to invite students für to Bbible study, I am paralyzed when I see how young and self-assured they appear to be. So iInstead of asking them to study the Bible, I just go to the cafeteria, eat something and go come back home. The only way one can make the first step and approach these people, is when he actively humbles and denies himself. Although Jesus is the son of God he humbled himself down to the lowest level. Jesus was full of grace: “Will you give me a drink?”
How did the woman react to Jesus’ humble request? “You are a Jew and I am a Samari-tan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” She reacted very rebelliously.
But how did Jesus answer? “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.” (10) Jesus was not upset. He could see a beauty in her that no one else could recognize. People, especially women, like gifts. That is why Jesus was talking about the gift of God. Recently, when I visited London for a few days with my wife und son, we could not but help looking into the famous department store, “Harods”. There was a department with tempting jewellery: like rings, watches and necklaces, as well as perfumes. Many men buy these gifts for their wives – but they were too expensive for me. So instead of buying something we made a romantic walk through Hyde Park.. Yet, the gift of God is free! Romans 6,23b says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus did not want to give just flowers, jewellery or perfume. Rather, he wanted to give her the gift of God – eternal life which is living water.
Let’s look at verses 11 and 12. “’Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our fa-ther Jacob…” She respected Jacob highly because he gave them the well. However Jesus was not thinking of the water in Jacob’s well water. Jesus wanted to give her himself. Despite her defiant response he was more than willing to give her living water.
Let´s read verses 13 and14, “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 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.’” What did Jesus mean with by “the water which makes you thirsty again?” Jesus was referring to the things in our lives that are important and necessary, but that you we need again and again. The need to be loved is one of these things. Everyone needs love and affection. Think about the children who grow up without their parents’ love. When people do not receive love, they often suffer a lot and can even become sick. Another very important need that people have is the need for recognition. If a person is ignored, it is like he is being strangled to death. Another necessity in a person’s life is money. We need money in order to survive and live a decent life. The only problem with all these needs is the fact that they do not really quench our soul’s thirst. We have to go back to these things again and again. Although we must drink this water every day, it is an illusion to think that these things could can make us eternally happy.
The Bible says that we do not just have physical needs but also spiritual ones. Because God created us in his image (Ge 1:27) and breathed his Spirit into us (Ge 2,7), we need a relationship with God even more than we need the daily things in our lives. Since we have been created in this way, we can only find true happiness and satisfaction through God’s word and God’s spirit. That is why Jesus offers a much better water, a living water.
Jesus can not be compared to anyone else. Jesus is God incarnate whose word is full of life. He is the true light. Jesus made the way for eternal salvation on the cross by taking the sins of man upon himself and forgiving them. After his resurrection Jesus told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” For this reason only Jesus can give us living water.
Once I was a thirsty Samaritan man. I experienced that people’s recognition, athletic success or a woman’s love could not give my soul lasting peace. I became obsessed with sports. I spent hours playing tennis and after that, soccer. I also desired one woman after another. My life became more wearisome and somehow hopeless. Through my father’s early death, fear and sheer desperation as to what was to come after death took hold of me. I turned to alcohol and run ran after an excessive life. But that only made my situation worse. I went from one imprisonment to the other until I could hardly speak a word without stuttering. But God had mercy on me and met me during my time at the Sport-University. A poster for a Bible event caught my attention. This poster was entitled `The man on the tree´. That man was me! I went to their and met a bible teacher. I started to study Mark´s gospel. I began to entrust Jesus with my worries and afflictions and apologized to him for my defeat in the search for happiness and satisfaction. The answer I received from Jesus was his living water. Gradually my soul was filled with the peace and joy that I could not find in this world. Jesus was my Christ from then on. Jesus made me into a blessing for my family, friends and classmates. Only Jesus could can quench my thirst and give me real joy in my heart.
Jesus is the answer to all our problems. Let’s come to Jesus so that we can drink from his living water.
Look at verse 15. “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.’” Here we see that the tables have been turned. First, humble Jesus asked the woman for something to drink. But now she is asking Jesus for something to drink. She wants this living water.
II. I who speak to you am he (16-26)
What a wonderful story we can read here by the well in Sychar! During this conversation with Jesus, the woman must have felt like she was in heaven. At this point, Jesus changed his face. He was full of grace up to that point. But then he spoke words of truth. Verse 16 says,. “He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’” Why did Jesus all of a sudden mention her husband?
It is astonishing that this woman married five different men. I have heard of a couple instances of women living with five different boyfriends. But I have never heard of a woman who was married with five husbands. (I must have a look into the Guiness Book of Records…) Maybe the priest who presided over each of her weddings could not be hopeful for her new relationship. Especially when he asked her: “Will you love your husband until death do you part?” And she always answered: “Yes, I will!” This woman probably looked very pretty, because she had no problem finding men who wanted to marry her. Maybe once she was once “Miss Samaria”. Yet, one must wonder, why she always kept a look out for another husband. Maybe she didn’t feel loved enough by her husband. Every five minutes she would asked him: “Do you love me? Do you really love me? Do you really love me with all your heart?” Even though her husband did everything she wanted, she didn’t feel that he loved or understood her. Maybe that was why she could not be faithful to her husband and sought a new object from whom she could receive love. Finally no one could give her the love she needed. In any case, in the course of time, she lost all illusions of being married to one man for the rest of her whole life.
Jesus didn’t reject her because of her sinful life. Jesus only wanted to help her so that she would bring her life problem to him. When she said, “I have no husband”, Jesus did not condemn her saying, “Why are you lying? You just added one more sin to the list.” He understood her deeply and said, “You are right.” At the same time he exposed her husband problem by saying (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.” So Jesus became the good shepherd for this woman by accepting her refusal and lies and bringing her sin problem into the light of God.
Look at verses 19-20: “’Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our fa-thers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’” Her real problem was that her object of worship was men. Because of Jesus´ humbleness, his patience and his endless shepherd heart, he could lead the Samaritan woman step by step to know her true problem. It was a worship problem. She really had been looking to worship God her whole life. But because she couldn’t find God, she worshiped men. That is the reason why she was disappointed again and again.
So Jesus could now explain to her who God is and where and how He should be wor-shipped. Let‘s read verses 21-24: “Jesus declared, ‘Believe me, woman, a time is com-ing when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.´” Jesus was a very good Bible teacher. The phrase that salvation comes from the Jews means that only Jesus can give us salvation. God is spirit. So we must worship God in spirit and in truth.
Let’s look at the end of the story. Verse 25: “The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’” She was waiting for the Messiah. She believed that when the Messiah would come all her life problems would be solved. After the Samaritan woman announced her yearning for the Messiah, Jesus revealed himself as her Messiah. Verse 26: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” It was the Messiah who asked her for a drink. It was the Messiah who wanted to give her living water that would become in her a spring of water welling up to eternal life. It was the Messiah who commanded her to call her husband and to bring him to Jesus. It was the Messiah who taught her that she had to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. This Messiah, the Saviour of all souls, now stood directly in front of her, face to face. When she heard from Jesus ‘I who speak to you am he’, she left her jar at the well and ran to town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (29) So the people of Sychar came out of the town and came to Jesus. Here an intensive Bible conference took place in Sychar, and the main speaker was Jesus Christ. Through this conference they all confessed that Jesus is the Saviour of the world.
Our hope is found in the living water of Jesus. Only Jesus can quench our thirsty souls. Let’s come to Jesus, who is the spring of living water!