Encounters with Jesus: Encounters with Jesus: A Shady Lady

Sermon by Billy Joseph on July 19, 2009

John 4:1-42

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The Lord’s Day

July 19, 2009

John 4:1-30

“A Shady Lady”

Rev. Billy Joseph

If you have your Bible, turn with me to John chapter 4.
Now, you all know that the series we’re doing this summer was assigned to
us by Derek. I’ve yet to figure out
why I got this assignment. He also
assigned me the title, and I haven’t figured that part out yet either.
The amazing thing about this was I said “okay, I’m going to prepare for
this sermon by reading some other sermons.”
I made the mistake of pulling out a book about Martin Lloyd Jones’
evangelistic sermons, and there was one in there on John 4.
And I read it, and I thought, “Okay, that’s interesting.”
And then about two weeks ago, I walked into the library and I found this
other book — fifty-six sermons by Martin Lloyd Jones on John chapter 4.
I’ve got a sneakin’ suspicion that you’ve heard a sermon on John chapter
4 too, and that’s more than 56 in here, so let’s look together, then and see how
the Lord leads us, particularly as we read.
We’re going to read verses 1 through 30 just to cut down a little bit on
our time, but let’s look together at John chapter 4.

Hear the Word of God:

“Now when Jesus learned that the
Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
(although Jesus Himself did not baptize, only His disciples), He left Judea and
departed again for Galilee.
And He had to pass through Samaria.
So He came to a town of Samaria
called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey, was
sitting beside the well. It was
about the sixth hour.

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water.
Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink”
(For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a
drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”
(For Jews had no dealing with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is
saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have
given you living water.” The woman
said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep.
Where do you get that living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob?
He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his
livestock.” Jesus said to her,
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of
the water I will give him, will never be thirsty forever.
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.” The
woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not be thirsty or
have to come here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your
husband, and come here.” The woman
answered him, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have
had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to
worship.” Jesus said to her,
“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship
the Father. You worship what you do
not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will
worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to
worship Him. God is spirit, and
those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know the Messiah is coming (he who is called
Christ). When He comes, He will
tell us all things.” Jesus said to
her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Just then, the disciples came
back. They marveled that He was
talking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or, ‘Why are you
talking with her?’ So the woman
left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come see a
man who told me all that I ever did.
Can this be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and were coming to Him.

Let’s pray.

Father, we have read
Your Word, and we now ask that You would speak to us through the preaching of
Your Word. We are dependent upon
you in every way, Lord God. We need
You. We need You more than we need
water or food. We need You to work
in us that we might also understand Your Word; that we might live for Your
glory. Particularly this night,
Father, we pray for any person here who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ.
The purpose of our sermon series is not really to teach believers, but it
is better suited to help those who do not know Christ, to come to Him.
And so Father, we pray that tonight, as we look at this conversation
between Jesus and this woman, that You would break our hearts, that You would
cause us to see our sin, and that You would enable us to worship You as we
ought. These things we ask in
Jesus’ name. Amen.

You read the whole passage you’ll see, all the way through
42, that there’re basically four different conversations between two different
groups of people that occur. What
we’re going to do is just look at the main conversation between Jesus and this
“shady lady” if you would, between Jesus and this Samaritan woman.
It’s very important that as we do this we remember something, and we
remember this very clearly — there’s a contrast that’s been drawn between this
and the last chapter that Derek preached on.
Jesus had been approached by Nicodemus, who knew God’s Word, who
understood much of what the Scripture taught, but yet still had blind
eyes. Nicodemus came at night
because he was nervous about his relationship with the Pharisees, being a
Pharisee. The Pharisees began to
conspire against Jesus — they began to create problems.
So Jesus, knowing that His time to be crucified was near, He leaves and
goes to Galilee, but to go to Galilee, He has to go through
Samaria, and this is the conversation that occurs.
The key thing as we deal with this passage is, a lot of times when we
look at this passage we tend to look at Jesus and we think of Jesus and He
speaks through. But here He is, a
tired traveler, in His every day life.
You can imagine the disciples saying “Oh gosh, we’ve got to go to
— okay, you need this, and we need this, and Jesus don’t we need to do this” and
they had made all these preparations and they forgot to get food.
Yep, y’all have done that — get half way there and go “Gosh, we’ve forgot
the food.” And so they’ve gone to
get food. Jesus is hungry and
thirsty and He’s tired of walking and He sits by this well, but it’s important
to remember that Jesus intentionally goes to Galilee and He intentionally goes
through Samaria.
And then, He condescends to speak to a woman.

I would love to preach this on the college campus.
It’s amazing how many years I was there, that I never preached on this
passage — taught it several times, but never preached on it.
For Jesus, in the culture He was in, He was doing something that was a
“no, no” — he was actually doing two “no, no’s”.
He was speaking to a woman that was not His wife, that was not in His
family. And, He was speaking to a
Samaritan, and yet, how does Jesus draw her in?
How does He raise her curiosity?
How does Jesus fit in with her in such a way that she wants to talk to
Him? He doesn’t begin to talk about
the Scriptures. He doesn’t begin to
talk about the things that she doesn’t know, about things she doesn’t
understand. He begins with things
that are right there in His everyday living — the well, water.
And how does He begin? “Give
me a drink.” That’s real subtle
folks. It comes across as a
request, but it’s in the imperative.
You know what the imperative means?
It means, Jesus wasn’t saying “Please, give Me a drink.”
He was saying, “Give Me a drink!”
It’s a command. The
interesting part is, yes, it comes across as a request, but if you look at the
very language, you’re reminded of something — this is the sovereign king of the
entire universe, who made water, who made this woman, and He asks her, He
commands her to give Him a drink.
She doesn’t understand. She doesn’t
know who He is. As a matter of
fact, the whole conversation revolves around the fact:
Who are you, Jesus? And
isn’t that the way unbelievers should approach Christians in their everyday
lives? As we live our everyday
lives, we are representatives of the King, we are living out in the midst of
unbelievers. There’s not a one of
us here who doesn’t rub elbows with an unbeliever on a regular basis.
And we ask things of them, and they ask things of us, and those are two
great ways to begin any conversation.
Jesus pays attention to what she asks and moves the conversation in such
a way that the whole rest of the conversation revolves around “Who is Jesus?”

Let’s look at this conversation together.
He arouses her curiosity. He
says to her, “Give me a drink.” The
Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink from me, a
woman of Samaria?”
She may have been thinking, ‘You know, this is a good day.
This is a day just like yesterday, but well, yeah, I’ve got to go to the
well. But there was this man there,
and you know what? He got into a
conversation with me, and He was a Jew and He got into a conversation with me,
and immediately, I knew something was different.’
I don’t know whether she thought that or not, but it sounds like that is
what she thought. She recognized
that He was different in the way He talked.
You know, the Scriptures tell us that our conversation as believers
should be full of grace, full of grace.
Full of the reality that we are sinners and Christ has bought us.
Full of the reality that we are not our own and we have been bought with
a price. Full of the reality that,
though we are wretched sinners, Christ died for us.
That’s supposed to be our conversation.
Here is Christ, the One who is supposed to die for this woman’s sin, and
He engages her in a conversation in such a way that she recognizes it.
It’s really a question of grace, isn’t it?
He didn’t have to speak to her.
He didn’t have to open the conversation, but He does because He wants to
give her something. He has a desire
to give her living water.

Look at verse 10: “Jesus
answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you,
‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living
water.” Now isn’t Jesus a genius?
He asks her, “If you knew who was talking to you, you would have asked
Him.” If you knew I had tickets to
the World Series, you would ask me.
What am I really saying? Ask me!
He wants to engage her in conversation.
You see, when we deal with unbelievers, we often forget that they are
people who do want to know things.
They really do have honest questions.
They want to know things about us.
Sometimes, the fact that, here we all are on a Sunday night — we really
are doing something odd…have you noticed?
How many people did y’all pass hurrying to church tonight?
Okay, now, I know there was a bunch of us coming in a long line from
Rankin county. We looked up and
there was an FPC sticker on the back of one car, so we had a long line.
Now, I don’t know if the rest of you did, but we passed a lot of people
going to Wal-Mart, going other places, doing other things.
So, when unbelievers ask us why we do what we do, here we are, just like
Jesus, with the opportunity to speak about what Jesus wants to give them.
He wants to give her a drink.
He wants to give her living water.

Look at the woman’s response: “The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have
nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep.
Where do you get that living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob?
He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his
livestock.’” In other words, she’s
looking at Him and saying look, now He’s talking to me and I thought He was
really weird, but now He wants to give me something.
He wants me to talk about the gift that He has, but He doesn’t have
anything to draw water with.
Hmmm….this man is different. If you
knew, Jesus invites her to interact with Him.
His relationship in this short period of time has already drawn her to
Himself, the living water.

If you’re an unbeliever here, and you’re here with a friend who happens
to be a member of this church and is a believer, we’re glad that you’re here,
but we can tell you right off the bat, we’re glad that you’re here, but what we
talk about tonight might not make sense.
You know, this poor woman, Jesus is talking about giving her living
water, and she’s not looking at the spiritual realities.
She’s not even thinking in spiritual terms yet.
She’s only thinking about water.
See, because, unbeliever, you have a different mindset than those of us
who have been changed by God. Those
of us who follow Jesus Christ, have a mindset that there is a God, and that God
has spoken, and in His Word He has revealed that apart from Him, there is no
salvation. And the only reason
Christians are different is because God has changed their way of seeing things,
unbeliever. They’re not better than
you; they’re a bunch of “shady ladies” if you really want to know.
Listen, every member here, unbeliever, every member here has said this
the very first time they joined First Pres.:
Do you acknowledge yourself to be sinners in the sight of God, justly
deserving His displeasure and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?
Unbeliever, welcome to a group of people who the very first thing they
said when they joined this church was that they justly deserved the wrath of
God. In other words, they may look
high minded, they may act high minded, but unbeliever, guess what?
They are wretched sinners, but saved by Jesus Christ.
Matter of fact, sin is such a part of them that even the last question
deals with it too: Do you submit
yourself to the government and discipline of the church and promise to strive
for its purity and peace? You don’t
need government and discipline for everyone who does everything right.

Jesus is drawing her in; He is offering her something.
For you who are here who are unbelievers, I don’t know why you are here
tonight. You might be here because
you are supposed to be — your mama and daddy have made you.
You may be here because it will help your business — I don’t know.
We’re glad that you’re here, and as you sit and hear God speak from His
Word, may you come to know and understand He has something for you; He wants to
give you something, and it is something that is good.

Notice the next thing — verse 13:
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty
again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him, will never be thirsty
again. The water that I will give
him will become a spring of water welling up into eternal life.’
The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water that I may never be
thirsty again.’” Jesus has just
offered her the impossible, humanly speaking, hasn’t He?
He has just offered her water.
She’s thinking entirely physical – water that will quench every thirst
that she will ever have. Y’all,
He’s reeling in hard, isn’t He? You
see, He has gone to an issue that is important to her.
She’s out in the middle of the day getting water.
Okay, you take water for granted.
You turn it on and it’s either hot over here or cold.
These folks had to go get their water.
So, when He offers this, He is offering something of incredible value,
even physically, it is of incredible value to her!
And yet, that value, that value of what He offers her, causes her to want
it immediately. Oh, she wants that
kind of water. He offers it to her,
she’s ready to never be thirsty again, never to die again.
Believe in Me and you will never die.
The value of this gift is so good, so incredible, that the Scripture says
that, “no eye has seen nor ear heard nor heart of man imagined what God has
prepared for those who love Him.”
This woman is ready. Oh, she wants
that water. She wants Jesus to meet
her need — the need that she sees, though it’s not the need Jesus sees.

Well, then look what happens next.
Jesus said to her in verse 16:
“Go.” Notice He drops the
figurative language — we’re talking about water and then all of a sudden He
becomes personal, He becomes direct, He becomes very plain.
“Go, call your husband and come here.”
Now, unbeliever, I can tell you a reason why you ought not to be here
tonight. And that is because, if
you hang around Christians or if you hang around Jesus, your sin is going to be
revealed — either by you or by Jesus.
Jesus does not deal with people who are not honest about their sin.
So what is He doing? He is
bringing her to deal with her sin.
I can imagine that the woman is going…you know she answered Him, “I have no
husband.” I can just hear her
thinking, “Why did I tell Him that?
Why did I tell Hi m that?”

This living water, as it begins to flow in her, through her so to speak,
it’s going to clean her. Okay, now
unbeliever let me remind you:
Christians have been cleansed in God’s sight.
It doesn’t mean they are perfect, well, hang around them a while and
you’ll know that’s not true. It
doesn’t mean that they’re good, that they do everything right.
It doesn’t mean they do everything correctly.
It means that when they stand before the Judge of heaven and earth, their
sin will have already been punished.
It will have already been punished.
It will have already been destroyed, but on Jesus Christ.
Someone else will have taken their punishment.
Though the woman sees her sin, notice how then Jesus moves her in the
right direction.

Look at verse, I’m not sure what verse it is — I think it’s 18:
“Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying I have no husband’ for you
have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.’
The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worship on this mountain, but you say Jerusalem is the place where people ought to
worship.’” Notice, He points her
sin out to her and what does she do?
Can you imagine what she’s saying,
“How did He know that about me?”

Okay, He knew her. “I
thought I had fooled everyone and they had simply lost count of all the husbands
I had got and they assumed that my present husband, the person I am living with,
was by present husband. How
did this man know this secret about me?
Why, if anyone knew that, He must be a prophet!”

See, her knowledge of Jesus is growing by leaps and bounds.
He is breaking every idea she had about who this person is that’s asked
her for water. “Well,
if He’s a prophet, maybe He can answer that question we’ve had about worship,
that our people have been arguing with those Jews for a long time about.”

Notice, that Jesus, when she gives her answer, that He doesn’t jump on
her sin. “There is now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ.”
Now, I don’t know if she is saved at this point — that’s not the question
that I’ve got to answer, but I do know this, if she’s hearing the Word of God
and it’s going to her heart more and more, then she’s beginning to see things in
a way she has never seen them before.
Her sin has been revealed to her and now she’s interested in worship.
Isn’t that amazing – interested in worship?
And then we get the long discussion of worship which I’m not going to go
into, but look at how this question of worship ends.

She says, “I know the Messiah is coming (the one who is called Christ).
When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
And then Jesus does something that He does to no one else:
He confesses to her, what?
Verse 26, Jesus says, “I who speak to you am He.”
Now do you know the other time that Jesus said, “I am He” was when they
came to arrest Him? The soldiers
fell down in shock. Jesus has just
revealed to her what He didn’t reveal to the Bible student, Nicodemus.
He’s revealed it to her because this woman has no background, no
understanding of Scriptures. All
she has is the invasion of Jesus into her life at the well where she got water.

Unbeliever, you’ve come tonight and you’re hanging around these
Christians, these people you know who are different.
Or, you’ve been sitting in these pews for years and you have heard who
Jesus is. This woman believed. This
woman believed because Jesus revealed Himself to her, not because she had done
something right, because she had jumped through certain hoops, but because Jesus
revealed Himself to her.
Unbeliever, as you deal with these people who call themselves Christians, they
aren’t Christians because they have done something, because they
are worthy. They are Christians
because Christ has revealed Himself to them.
The God of all creation has revealed Himself to them and He wants to
reveal Himself to you. He wants to
reveal Himself to you. And so come,
come and trust Him. Come, and let
Him give you living water. Come,
and yes, let Him expose your sin.
He won’t just expose it; He will remove the penalty and the guilt from all
eternity for your sin, and you too, just like this woman, you will immediately
go out and tell other people.

Notice what she tells them.
She doesn’t tell about worship. She
doesn’t even tell about living water.
What does she tell? The
things that brought her in – that He knew everything about her.
“Come and see the man who told me everything about myself.”
See, that’s why it’s so hard, unbeliever, to come to Christ for you –
because it’s a battle between you and the King of all creation.
He’s the one that gives you a drink.
He’s the one that commands you to come to Him.
He’s the one who is calling to you, and He doesn’t say “please.”
He commands you to believe.
That’s the scary thing. You think
you can just choose Him or ignore Him?
Uh-uh. This is the King of
all the earth who calls all men to believe and repent.
The only problem is, that some sitting here who think they are
Nicodemus’, are really shady ladies.
But the shady lady came to Christ, and out of her, sprang living water.
Did you notice? Have you
ever read what happened? She goes
and tells the village
of Sychar.
There are people there who later say, “We don’t believe because you
told us. We believe because we have
seen Him ourselves.”

Let’s pray.

Father, there are
folks here who do not love You, who could care less of whether You have living
water or not. Because when it comes
to dealing with living water, they must deal with the God who gives living water
and they don’t want to give up their godhood.
They want to claim that throne and hold onto it.
Yet Father, in your winsomeness, in the work of Your Spirit, will you
cause them to see that they are no god and they can do nothing to save
themselves, to make themselves righteous, to give themselves worth…that only
comes as Your Son gives to them Himself, as He gives to them and reveals to them
that He indeed is the Messiah. So
Father, we ask that you would cause them, even this night, to leave the false
god of themselves and to come to the One who condescends and who wants to give
them living water. These things we
ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s stand.
And now may grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father, God the Son, and God
the Holy Spirit, be and abide with each of you both now and forever.

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