Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Jesus, The Artesian Well 3/29/2011

Last Sunday we looked at Jesus method of revealing himself to Nicodemus, a chief ruler in the Jewish goverment. Today we look an entirely different, but yet similar situation than we considered last Sunday.

Some of the differences between the two encounters: He is a man, she is a woman, He is a Jew, She is a Samaritan, He has a name, she does not, He is a high religious official, she is an outcast of the Jewish society. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, she came to Him in the noon of the day, when it was hot.

And the similarities between the two: Jesus created them, He loves them, He has redeemed both of them, and He wants to reveal Himself to them as the Living Water, which springs up unto eternal life.

Water is essential to life, the vast majority of the earth's surface is covered with water, the human body is largely water. There is good water and there is bad water. We get thirsty and need to drink liquids, but there is no greater thirst quencher than water.

Before approaching this text, it is good to establish from the Scripture of the symbolism that links physical thirst and the spiritual thirst together, a thirst that throughout the Scriptures identifies the need for spiritual thirst to be satisfied by the Living Water, which can only be provided by Jesus Christ, the Rock from which the Living Water flowed and yet does flow.

First we will look at the first mention of water in the Scriptures and the last mention, which are in the first book fo the Bible and the last book of the Bible.
KJV Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
KJV Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

KJV Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The Old Testament Reading for today is from Exodus 17:1-7 and it is about thirst and it is about the Thirst Quencher, Jesus Christ.

KJV Exodus 17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

A little comment on this Scripture: Can we not see the metaphorical sense of the water that is thirsted for and which the LORD provided from the rock? Here we already see the grace of Christ being freely and abundantly provided for the hot and thirsty travelers and the tried leader, Moses. I think so.

Isaiah called upon His people to "come to the waters" Here is the what he wrote: .

ESV Isaiah 55:1 "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

Jeremiah wrote of how the LORD said that his people had settled for water that was not the Living Water.
KJV Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water

And finally we see how Apostle Paul later wrote of the link between the spiritual drink and the physical drink, which refers back to our Old Testament Scripture Reading from Exodus 17:1-7.
ESV 1 Corinthians 10:1 I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3 and all ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Our sermon today is about a nameless woman who went to fetch water in the middle of the day when it was hot, bumped into Jesus at a well, talked with him for awhile, came to know and experience His grace and forgiveness, and as a result of the Living Water that began to flow out of her, initiated a revival in her village. Prayerfully let us consider this face to face meeting with that Jesus had with her.

The Setting for the appointment. (1-6)
KJV John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
4 And he must needs go through Samaria.
5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

This was no ordinary well, for it had provided clear and good water for many many years, it was around 100 feet deep, had a rock wall casing around it, and was somewhat considered a sacred place due to its historical significance. He was hot and tired, in His humanity He needed a drink. Women usually came for water either in the early morning or late evening, due to the extreme heat in the middle of the day. She came alone in the middle of the day most likely because she was an outcast even from women and at the middle of the day there would be very little chance that anyone would be there at Jacob's Well.

The Encounter and the Ensuing Discussion (7-25)
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

The woman has a question for Jesus
9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
It was not acceptable culturally for a Jewish man to speak to a woman in public in those days, not even one's wife. There was a long standing separation of hostility between the Jews and the Samaritan, as she points out here.

Jesus does not answer the question, but reveals that which He wants her to come to know, speaking spiritually.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Jesus gets right to the point of why He is talking with her,:He wants to reveal His heart of grace and truth to her. He is saying, "If you could see what is real living and relationship, you would be falling all over yourself in asking me for it, for you would become hungry and thirsty for righteousness."

She thinks naturally, asking Him another question, drawing back on OT history.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
She knows that this well that they are sitting on is good water, most likely the best water around and how is this man going to give her any better water? People have been getting water from this well for many many years. To say that he could provide better water would amount to Himself saying that He is greater than Jacob.

Jesus points out that this natural water needs to be drunk again and again, and contrasts it with the Living Water which is like is a continual and satisfying thirst quencher. Not only will it quench the thirst, but it will be as a perpetual spring of water.
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Later in his Gospel, John writes this, and in so doing links natural water with the Holy Spirit.
John 7:37 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.

The woman, yet thinking naturally, asks for this water which will satisfy her thirst and will allow her never to return to the well again.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

At this point, Jesus tells her to go call her husband and come back with him.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

She responds honestly and truthfully, to which Jesus commends her, and she knows that He has knowledge of her past life.
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

Until now she knew this man only as a man, but as a result of this exchange, she now sees this man in a different light than any other man she had known. We have indications of her lifestyle, as she went to the well in the heat of the day, she went alone, when most likely no one would be there. Tradition tells us that she was ostracized, or separated from other women. We do not know about her previous five husbands, for they could have died, but the one she was living with now was not her husband.

She was was not married to this man, according to the words of Jesus. We know that women did not have many rights as far as divorce in this time, and often would be set aside by a man as the reasons for divorce during this time were against the woman and were often pretty fickle and lame. If she burned the toast, if he found someone more beautiful, and so on. She could have been cast aside by 5 husbands, or they could have died, but it seems as if she was looking for a meaningful relationship in a sinful relationship which was not according to the will of God. Let us remember that Jesus from the get go wanted to reveal grace and truth to her through Himself. She was at a critical point in her life.

But note that Jesus did not directly speak to her about what she was doing, but He by calling her to go get her husband invited her to look within her own heart and life, and to her blessing, she answered truthfully. She saw herself as she really was from God's point of view.

To this revelation she said next:
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

How did she attribute this ability of this man to know about her life with him being a prophet. In the Gospel of Luke it is written:
Luke 7:36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table.
37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,
38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner."

There apparently was an understanding the prophets had the ability to see into the lives of people, but whether it was inside the heart is not clear. She could have thought, well, He knows about my outward life, for that is evident to all. So her understanding of him went up a notch, for now he is more than any other man that I have ever known, this man is a prophet. But by her words in verse 29, we know that at some point she knew that this "prophet" knew more than just outward things, for by own words, she knew that he could see into her entire life. We.know the no human being is able to see into another's heart, for only Jesus was able to do that being God Himself. He is the Word and as the Incarnate Word today that dwells among us and in us, He ministers through the Word as we hear it and read it. The Word and Spirit alone are able to bring conviction of sin, repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.

Two foundational Scriptures references which speak to the working of the Word are as follows, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament.
Isaiah 55:6 "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Repentance from sin or Changing the subject?
Various thoughts have been considered as to why she now begin to speak of the place of worship: Did she try to change the subject, was she earnestly inquiring as to how does she deal with her sin, or was she trying to be a "theologian?" Under conviction of sin, she could have wanted to divert the the discussion, or in referring to the place of worship, she could have been inquiring as to where she needed to go offer her sacrifice for her sin. She enters into a discussion of worship with the "prophet."

Where is the proper place of worship? Did she think, Isn't that significant?
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

Jesus says that it is no longer the place that is significant and even though salvation came through the Jews, a change is imminent as to how worship is to be done. From now on true worship is in spirit and in truth. It is a worship of the heart which is based upon the right knowledge of God.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus tells her that she "must" worship God in spirit and in truth.
"Must": Do we like this word? Jesus is not afraid of using that word and as we have followed John's Gospel to this point, we have noticed that Jesus has given two "musts" previous to the one we find in verse 24. Here they are, along with verse 24 of our text.
KJV John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
KJV John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
KJV John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The woman continues on, sharing her knowledge of the Samaritan understanding that the Messiah was to come....
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

Jesus, spoke directly of Himself, saying: "I am He"
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. We wonder, did she understand the significance of this statement, which links what Jesus says here to how the LORD revealed Himself to Moses many years before after the "burning bush" experience:

Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Meanwhile the disciples return and are greatly perplexed as to what is going on.
27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

She now knows Him as the Messiah, as the Christ, her saviour, she leaves her water pot, goes to the men of the village, which is against culture. (to go speak to the men) She met an ordinary man at the well, who went from an ordinary man to a prophet and then to the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of her soul. Let us consider the effect these revelations had upon her....

28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

Again, back with Jesus and his disciples)

Jesus hungers/thirsts for souls to be united to Him by faith, the disciples do not understand what He is meaning for them to understand.
31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

He points to the people coming to Him, again drawing on their natural sight to give them spiritual sight.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

He links the Old Testament prophecies of Himself to the present time.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.:

The effect of Jesus meeting the woman at the well: The chain reaction effect
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Application:Artesian Well
In 1914 a farmer dug a well here east of Buffalo, but it went dry during the drought of the 1930s. In 1938, a road crew nicked a pipe from the well. It started flowing again and has ever since. The bubbling spout of water was named after the local ghost town of Dickinson. That well is located along Hwy 55 east of Buffalo, MN and as far as I know it is still there. It is referred to as an Artesian Well.

An artesian well allows water that has traveled through porous rock from a higher elevation to rise to the surface. This pumpless well seems to defy gravity because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock gets relieved when the water finds a path to the open air. For nearly a thousand years, people have drilled wells to drink this cold, filtered water that doesn't need to be hauled up from the depths.

Jesus is the Artesian Well, who never stops flowing, and through encounters with others, reveals Himself to them, and thus we/they become wells of water springing up/flowing out unto everlasting life toward others. How did He do it?

1. He set Himself in the paths of people., He met them where they were at. Nicodemus was learned, she was not. He referred to the OT withNicodemus, He was more general with the woman. (overall text)

2. He used ordinary and physical things to reveal spiritual truths. (overall text)

3. He patiently truthfully, and yet sensitively revealed Himself,
by inviting her to be honest with her heart and life. (overall text)

4. He stayed on the course, pointing her away from her concept of what worship is to what genuine worship is. (verses 20-24)

5. His satisfaction/you in life was to fulfull the will of His Father in bringing Living Water to the world through His coming to earth to save us (verses 31-38)

6. He stayed with those who were born of the Spirit (at their request) to minister to them and as a result more were born of the Spirit. (verses 39-43)

Lord, we thank you and praise you that you have revealed unto us of your great love and mercy toward us through your Son, by whom our thirst is quenched.

May His grace fill us today and always,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 29 Mar 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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