Focal Passage: John 4:7-18; 25-26
Have you ever met a famous person? If so, you might remember how it made you think or feel at the time. In some small way, that encounter changed your life, an encounter that became a talking point for you in future conversations with friends.
John 4 tells us the story of Jesus with the nameless, but needy “woman at the well.” Her encounter with Jesus would prove to be the single greatest event in her life, an event that met her need and changed her life forever. What happened in this encounter with Jesus that still happens to this day whenever the repentant sinner encounters the righteous Savior?
Jesus and thirst (John 4:7-14). Arriving at Jacob’s well at the unlikely time of a hot midday, the Samaritan woman is asked by Jesus for a drink of water. Surprised that a Jew would talk to a Samaritan, let alone a Samaritan woman, she asks Jesus as to the means by which He will draw the water out of the well. But Jesus had other things in mind than literal water.
He evokes her interest by noting that if she only knew His true identity she would understand that He and this moment were a gift from a gracious God. Further, Jesus tells this woman that if she would only drink of the water He could give her that she would never thirst again.
Jesus was initially doing two things.
First, He was implicitly exposing her true thirst. She was thirsty for true love and real purpose. Her thirst was a sign of her sin.
Second, He was explicitly revealing to her that He alone had lasting, eternal and filling spiritual water that would satisfy her longings. She was thirsty for spiritual and eternal love and life and didn’t even know it. Jesus reveals her thirst.
Jesus and sin (John 4:15-18). Her thirst for love and life had been misguided in a series of failed relationships. Her serial relationships had all failed because they failed to produce the depth of satisfaction she longed for.
She was, as the old 1980 Johnny Lee song says, “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many faces. Searchin’ their eyes, Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of. Hoping to find a friend and a lover, I’ll bless the day I discover another heart, Lookin’ for love.”
She would eventually “bless the day” she found Jesus, but she must first come face to face with her sin. Her thirst was a sign of her sin. Like a wandering vagabond, she was blind, bound and broken.
So ashamed of her failed lifestyle, she decided to draw water at midday when she wouldn’t have to face the crowds, rather than in the cool of the morning or evening.
Jesus as the trusted Messiah (John 4:25-26). Making every effort to avoid her inevitable collision with divine love, she raises a variety of theological issues as an evasion tactic. But it would not work. Jesus draws back the curtain on His identity and reveals to her that He is the Messiah, the One who can quench her spiritual thirst and satisfy her soul.
And what were the outcomes of this woman’s encounter with Jesus? She was not only changed, but she became a witness to the good news of Jesus Christ (John 4:39-45). B&R