Sermon John 4
"Lord of the Springs"
It was high noon. Jesus was tired. He wanted a drink. Flies were buzzing lazily in the midday heat. The woman of Samaria followed a time-worn path to the well, as women had for centuries before, and would for centuries to come. She carried with her a jar for water. More than that, she carried ancient hostilities and limitations. There was nothing new under the sun, and nobody much expected that there would be any time soon. The stifling predictability of attitudes and routines was all-pervasive.
A. Jesus spoke to her saying, "Give me a drink!"
1. Those four words carried within them a spiritual revolution that broke all kinds of barriers: insuperable divisions of race, creed, gender and ancient hatreds were swept away with that small request.
2. Symbolically, another and even deeper division was overcome, at Jesus' initiative: the separation between God and humanity due to sin. Here, we see the incarnate Word entering into conversation with the human race.
3. Jesus would graciously guide the woman toward life's most important discovery. Their talk soon turns from his need for a thirst-quencher, to her need for inner spiritual renewal.
B. There is a spiritual thirst in each one of us.
1. It is a thirst for meaning, a deep desire for lasting significance that cannot be satisfied by the merely material.
2. Jesus speaks of "living water", a "refreshment" that comes from within and brings a new vitality. He has the power to bestow this gift.
3. Illustration: In our area, the Scuppernong Nature Trail takes visitors back through history.(etc.) Its natural springs still fascinate. People go there to observe the animal and plant life, and perhaps to restore the soul. Those mysterious springs, formed during the last Ice Age, are indeed a source of life to the whole surrounding area.
4. In our time we are seeing an increasing interest in the spiritual life. We are learning that Christ's promise of inner spiritual resources through speaks to our deepest need in life.
C. These inner resources become available as Christ leads us from the general to the specific. He speaks to us about our own unique lives, his love for us as individuals, and meets us where we are.
1.The Samaritan woman was intrigued: she wanted that special water. Like many of us, she was slow to "get it". She kept thinking she might not have to haul that water around any more.
2. To lead her deeper, Jesus spoke to her about her personal life. He does not condemn, but simply states her situation to her.
3. When we move from "life in general" to "my life", suddenly he has our attention! It was Jesus' insight into the woman's situation that deepened HER insight into who He truly was.
4. The gospel message speaks to us of His knowledge of us personally.
E. The new life with Christ means that we can be in touch with God, wherever we are.
1. The woman saw His "prophetic" powers and asked him about a long-standing dispute: Should God be worshiped on our mountain, or in Jerusalem?
2. Jesus answers that this is a new day. God is worshiped wherever people are, when they turn to him sincerely. Geography doesn't matter any more!
3. Do we realize that wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we can be in an attitude of worship and service toward God?
F. Sometimes we try to put off making a definite commitment, saying, "We just don't have all the answers."
1. The woman said, "Well, we won't really know for sure until the messiah comes." Jesus responded, "I AM". (Explanation of OT background) He was saying, "You don't need to put off your commitment any longer. You are talking to the Messiah!"
2. Our knowledge does not need to be perfect before we can step out in faith. We have the word and the promises, and they are sufficient.
3. At whatever level we can, we simply acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our life. This text is telling us, he will supply what we need spiritually.
G. The recognition--however tentatively--of Jesus' Lordship, marks the turning point.
1. The woman ran off to town, leaving her water jar behind. Her mundane concern was forgotten in the excitement of a possible new discovery.
2. She, the most unlikely of people--a woman, a Samaritan--was one of the first Christian witnesses. "Come and see--a man who has told me everything about myself."
3. Could he be the Christ? She asks in all honesty. She does not force anything on anybody: She invites people to decide for themselves.
4. The townspeople meet Jesus firsthand: theirs is not a faith based on hearsay. They have a personal encounter with Jesus, and that makes all the difference.
5. Christ does not violate our personal space. He gently invites us to conversation with him, and uses even our questioning faith to reach others. He wants to give that inner spiritual renewal that comes through personal relationship with Him as our Lord and Savior. He is the "Lord of the Springs".