Printable PDF: 3-8-2020 Lent 2 Sermon
Pastor Mark R Jacobson ~ Lent 2 Sermon ~ March 8, 2020 ~ John 4:4-26
QUENCH YOUR THIRST WITH THE LIVING WATER
4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, “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.” 11“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15The 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.” 16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The 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.” 19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
- Jesus knows you and loves you anyway.
How thirsty would you have to be? If you identify with the Democratic Party, how thirsty would you have to be to ask President Trump for a glass of water? If you identify with the Republican Party, how thirsty would you have to be to ask Senator Bernie Sanders or Former Vice President Joe Biden for a glass of water? Would you even ask for water, or would you actually consider dying of thirst?
The Apostle John tells us in one of his parenthetical remarks, “(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans).” That parenthetical remark explains why the Samaritan woman asked Jesus, “How can you ask me for a drink?” Yes, Jesus was thirsty, but he was a Jew, and she was a Samaritan. They were political rivals. The reason for this hostility dates back to the early days of the kings. When King Solomon died, his kingdom split into the Southern Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel. About 200 years later, the Assyrians captured and destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The few surviving Israelites married foreigner settlers. This mix of nations, called the Samaritans, also had a mixed religion. Chapter 17 of 2 Kings tells us the Samaritans worshipped the Lord, and at the same time they served idols. The Jews and the Samaritans were different people. The Samaritan woman knew this, but the Samaritan woman didn’t know everything about Jesus.
Jesus, who was born of a Jewish mother and a divine Father, said to the Samaritan woman, “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.” The conversation continues and while the Samaritan woman still doesn’t know who Jesus is, she is very interested to learn more about living water. This is where the conversation takes a sharp turn. Jesus told her, “’Go call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. 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.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.’
In his mercy, Jesus doesn’t rehash all the details for us, but Jesus does speak directly to the Samaritan woman about her sins. What she had done with her 5 husbands was wrong. What she was doing with this man who was not her husband was wrong, too. Not only were her behaviors wrong, her behaviors also left her thirsty. The Samaritan woman was not satisfied with any of her five marriages, and now as she lived with this man, she demonstrated how she wasn’t satisfied with what God says about marriage. Good thing Jesus isn’t talking directly to you or to me this morning about our sins. Oh, but he is! What conversation is Jesus having with you in your heart right now? Jesus knows the dirty details of your sinful heart. Jesus knows what you crave that is opposed to God’s Word whether that craving be pleasure or profit or something else. Jesus also knows how the ultimate pursuit of the things of this world leave you thirsty. That’s why he’s so direct in his Word about sin. His commandments tell us simply what we should and should not do. That’s also why Jesus is so direct in his Word about salvation. Jesus loves you and forgives you and always will be there for you. That’s why Jesus is here with God’s Word today. He wants to give you living water and he wants you to drink living water. You drink well water or tap water or bottled water to quench your thirsty throat. By believing what Jesus says about salvation you drink living water and quench your thirsty soul.
It only seems like the Samaritan woman was changing the subject in verse 20 when she said, “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” The Samaritan woman wasn’t changing the subject. The Samaritan woman was changing her life. Changing one’s life starts with repentance. The Samaritan woman was “sorry, sorry, sorry” for her sins and she wanted to know where she should go to be forgiven. The Samaritans went to Mount Gerizim for forgiveness, and the Jews went to the temple in Jerusalem.
- Jesus teaches you the path of God’s salvation.
Jesus’ answer draws her attention away from the place of worship and more toward the meaning of worship. It’s not enough to come to church and rattle off the words, “Lord have mercy on me, a Sinner.” We have to say it, and we have to mean it. It’s not enough to thoughtlessly sing the song, “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” We have to sing it, and we have to want it.
Grudgingly coming to church is not worship. Gladly hearing God’s Word is worship. Mouthing the words in prayer and song is not worship. Talking to God with sincerity and singing with joy is worship. Just being in the same room with other believers is not worship. Living in harmony with one another is worship. God’s Word extends worship beyond the sanctuary. The Bible says, “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Living our lives to reflect God’s love is worship. Being a faithful spouse, a loving parent, or a devoted friend out of love for Jesus is worship.
I don’t know if Jesus ever got his water. He probably did, but we don’t have a confirming word that Jesus ever received his drink. However, we do have a confirming word that Samaritan woman drank from the Living Water of Jesus. Later in this chapter, she left her bucket at the well and told other people in town about Jesus, and they believed in him as she believed in him. With God’s help, we can assume the Samaritan woman did what was God-pleasing with the man she was living with, too.
Today, Jesus invites us again to drink of the living water of salvation. There is nothing in all the world that quenches the thirsty heart like the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And there is nothing else like the Gospel of Jesus Christ that motivates us to worship our God with all of our hearts, soul, and mind by all that we think and all that we say and all that we do. Amen.