John 4:16–26 (ESV) — 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Review of Part I:
We found two parched conditions in need of quenching in our text last week.
• Parched Relationships – Jew/Samaritan and man/woman
• Parch Understanding – lack of understanding of the Gospel and all it implications (spiritual things)
And in our text today we encounter two more parched conditions in need of quenching.
1) A PARCHED SOUL
John 4:16–18 (ESV) — 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
From last week, we should remember that the woman asked for the water Jesus offered.
• And her reason was that, “who wouldn’t want water that would permanently quench one’s thirst”.
• She clearly failed to understand what Jesus was talking about – she was in the kiddy pool and Jesus was in the Deep End.
In our text today, Jesus makes a sudden transition back to the “real” world from the “figurative” Deep End.
• He once again tries to bring her where He is.
• “Jesus is a surgically penetrating prophet who lays bare our souls and knows us to the bottom of our being and pursues us anyway” – John Piper.
• After all, as we have previously learned, God, in His prescriptive will, desires that all should repent.
• And He does so by bringing up the very subject we so often shy away from – her sin and depravity.
o And remember from the end of John 2, that it is for this reason that Jesus does not “entrust” Himself to us.
What sin of hers was Jesus referring to?
• Many scholars believe that Jesus was using wordplay here on her use of the word “husband/man”.
o “If so, Jesus may be telling the woman that she has had five “men” (with whom she lived in fornication) and that the one she is now living with is not her “man,” that is, husband (though he may be that of another woman: note the emphatic position of “your” in the Greek)” – A. Kostenberger.
o Therefore her sin was that she was “a serial fornicator” and adulterer – A. Kostenberger.
And in exposing this sin, Jesus also reveals two important things:
(1) He has the supernatural power to discern the exact nature of her sin.
(2) And as importantly, Jesus was attempting to show her that, “she has also misunderstood the true dimensions of her own need” – D.A. Carson.
o His concern here was not her physical thirst.
o Jesus wants her to know that her soul is parched from sin and in need of living water.
2) A PARCHED WORSHIP
John 4:19–24 (ESV) — 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
In verse 19, the Samaritan woman quickly changed the subject.
• She obviously recognized Jesus’ credentials as some sort of prophet.
• However, scholars caution that we should not read too much into this recognition.
o “The word ‘prophet’ was used to refer to a wide range of ‘gifted’ people, and at this point may not, in the woman’s mind, denote a full-orbed Old Testament prophet, let alone a messianic figure” – D. A. Carson.
And on the heels of this recognition, she curiously raises an, “outstanding point of theological contention between Jews and Samaritans” – D.A. Carson.
• Where is the proper place of worship?
It is unclear why she changed the subject abruptly, but it seems to have been a combination of 3 things:
• Avoiding any further discussion of her fornication
• Demonstrating her religiosity
• Seeking an answer to these “competing religious claims” from this prophet
POI – this is similar to the exchange between Jesus and the rich young ruler.
Whatever the motivation behind her statement, Jesus uses her statement as another springboard to jump back into the deep end of the “living water”.
Before we can grasp what he told her, we need to understand some background.
• Both the Samaritans and the Jews understood the call of God to an ordained place of worship.
Deuteronomy 12:5 (ESV) — 5 But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go,
• Both the Jews and Samaritans believed they found that place.
o For the Jew it was Jerusalem
o For the Samaritan is was Mount Gerizim
Why the difference in locations?
• As we learned last week the Samaritans’ saw only the Pentateuch as Scripture.
• And because, “the Pentateuch…does not specifically identify Jerusalem as the proper place of worship—though other portions of Scripture do (see 2 Chron. 6:6; 7:12; Ps. 78:68–69)” the Samaritans had to find the place of worship in the Scripture they had – Andreas Kostenberger.
• This led the Samaritans to “establish their own sanctuary on Mount Gerizim” – A. Kostenberger.
So, using her change of subject as an opportunity, Jesus seeks to reveal to her that the “outstanding point of theological contention between Jews and Samaritans” will soon become a moot point.
• Jesus takes her “where” and makes it about the “who” (the Father) and “how” (spirit and truth).
• Jesus takes her “geography” and makes about the “spiritual”.
We have already seen in Jesus treatment of the temple in John 2:13-22 that the Jews’ worship was parched.
• And now Jesus reveals (3) ways that the Samaritans’ worship is parched and in need of living water.
(1) Ignorant Worship – “Samaritan worship at Mount Gerizim was based on ignorance regarding Israel’s role in God’s plan of salvation” – A. Kostenberger.
• Because, “salvation is from the Jews” (v.22).
• The entire Bible speaks to and points to this fact.
• But, they ignored the rest of the inspired word of God as revealed in the O.T. outside of the Pentatuech.
o We will see more examples of this ignorance as we go.
(2) False Worship – this worship is not true worship.
• “You worship what you do not know” (v.22).
• “No matter how ceremonially elaborate, emotionally rousing, or sermonically eloquent, worship that is not offered from a proper understanding of who God is falls short” – Kostenberger.
(3) Backwards Worship – Jesus says to her that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth”.
• In other words, “Since God is spirit, proper worship of him is also a matter of spirit rather than physical location (Jerusalem versus Mount Gerizim)” – Kostenberger.
• True worship will soon be completely extricated from geography!
Notice, how even proper worship is done from “The Inside Out” – “spirit and truth” not time and place.
• John 3:6 (ESV) — 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
• If true worship is done “in spirit” and “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”, the flow of true worship (like belief, confession, repentance, etc.) is heart to mind to action (Inside Out) just like we discussed in John 3.
• In other words, true worship is only possible by the born again!
• What does this mean for other religions and world views?
POI – With regards to Jerusalem, “That’s amazing for a Jew to say. The day is coming, he says, when Jerusalem, the holy city, the city of David, the place with the temple of God, will not be the focus of true worship” – John Piper.
So we now have identified four desperately thirsty things in need of quenching.
• Parched Relationships
• Parched Understanding
• Parched Soul
• Parched Worship
And it is only the living water that can quench them.
• So what is the living water?
3) LIVING WATER – THE ULTIMATE THIRST QUENCHER
John 4:25–26 (ESV) — 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Jesus identified Himself to her as the Messiah and He had already spoken of these things.
• John 4:10 (ESV) — 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.”
• And Jesus identified Himself not only as Messiah, but, unlike the water from Jacob’s well, as both the source and giver of living water!
o John 4:14a (ESV) — 14a “…water that I will give him”.
So, did she finally drink Jesus’ living water? (we will see in a later lesson.)
But what is living water?
• The OT, like it does with the new birth, teaches us something about “living water”.
• And in the OT it is both a literal and figurative provision.
God literally made provision for a physical need:
• Numbers 20:8–11 (ESV) — 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the staff from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.
And God made provision of a figurative water to meet a spiritual need:
• Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV) — 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
• Isaiah 12:3 (ESV) — 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
o BTW – these verses speak to the ignorance of the Samaritan woman because they did not recognize them as Scripture and so were not exposed to their truth in a meaningful way.
And of course, as a Samaritan, her rejection of most of the OT as Scripture deprived her of an expectation of God’s figurative provision of living water from Jerusalem:
• Zechariah 14:8 (ESV) — 8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.
• BTW – Yet another example of how her ignorance of God’s word inhibited her understanding.
o What are we failing to grasp and benefit from because of our ignorance of or rejection of God’s word?
But the final answer on what the living water is resides in Jesus’ own words.
In and through Jesus, God makes the final provision of this living water – the Holy Spirit:
• John 7:37–39 (ESV) — 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
• What is the ultimate fruit produced by this living water?
o Eternal Life – John 4:14b (ESV) — 14b “…will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Questions for us about Living Water’s relationship to John 3:
Jesus tells us in 7:39 that those who believe receive living water.
• Who are those that believe in Him – John 3?
• So if living water is the Holy Spirit, what is the relationship between the new birth and living water?
So, how exactly does living water quench the parched conditions we identified?
As we learned in John 3 about belief, etc., and based on Jesus words in 7:38, what is the direction of the flow of living water?
• The broad answer is that being born again by the upwelling of living water and thereby “Living Inside Out” – heart to mind to action – is how these parched conditions are quenched.
Lessons for Us:
Can the Christian inhibit the quenching provided by the living water?