- ABOUT US
- Calendar and News
- READING PLAN
- The Chosen
GET READY FOR THE RESET
“Woman at the Well & Living Waters”
Watch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nskXHSfaD54
With the pandemic and its high mortality rate coupled with a worldwide financial crisis and social upheaval, there seems to be an understanding and agreement among world leaders that the world needs a reset.
Now, in our time together leading up to our series on “Resetting Our Lives,” we’re not going to focus on what the world is doing, but what is God doing.
To “reset” means to make an adjustment, that is, to set something to a new setting, or to set it back to its initial state. And so, while the reset that has been dominating our airwaves has centered on what’s going on around us, the reset that God desires is about what lies within us.
Now, in these series of messages leading up to our special series in November, on getting ourselves reset, reignited, and refueled, I want to look at those that Jesus encountered, their stories, and what happened that saw their lives reset back to God. And that’s because there is no resetting our lives until we have that same type of encounter with Jesus.
The story of the woman at the well is one of the better-known Bible stories, especially when we’re talking about getting our lives reset to God.
On the surface, it deals with ethnic prejudice between the Jews and Gentiles. And while this is true in the most general of terms, it doesn’t take away from the obvious gender prejudice that existed during that time.
And what I find disturbing is how little we’ve moved away from these prejudices today, which shouldn’t be the case, because by His actions in going to Samaria and meeting with this woman, Jesus was saying that such prejudices have nothing to do with God’s kingdom here on earth.
In fact, we see this very thing in what God has called for the church to be. In Galatians 3:28 it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NKJV)
And so, through Jesus, God did away with such distinctions, and the church, therefore, is to be a place where people of every age, gender, sizes and shapes, from different races and ethnicities, of various personalities and social backgrounds, are all accepted and welcomed despite their various flaws and shortcomings, and that’s because who is in the church already, and that is all of us with all of our personal hang-ups and problems.
The one and only problem that I see to this conclusion is the human tendency, our tendency, to judge others based upon our preconceived and preconditioned stereotypes, customs, and prejudices.
And so, as we look at this story we see is Jesus treating this woman as a person in need of a reset and bringing about that reset with love and compassion.
Now, the story begins with it saying that Jesus, “must,” and “needed” to go through Samaria (John 4:4).
For the Jews, this was unheard of. If they are going from Jerusalem to the Galilee, and vice versa, they would take the longer road through the area known as Perea, on the Eastern side of the Jordan River. Never would they go through Samaria, even though it is the shorter route because for the Jews, Samaritans were unclean, and they would have nothing to do with them.
Samaritans were–a mixed-race people, who had intermarried with the Assyrians centuries before when Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They were hated by the Jews because of this cultural mixing and because they had their own version of the Bible, that is, they only had the first five books of Moses, along with their own temple on Mount Gerizim, although by this time, the temple had been destroyed.
It would seem that Jesus’s visit didn’t sit well with the Jewish religious leaders. They even accused Jesus of being a Samaritan, (John 8:48). But Jesus’s mission was for the Kingdom of God, and as we see through His actions and words, God’s kingdom is open to all. In fact, Jesus spoke well of the Samaritans, which is seen in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
It was because of this that many say the reason Jesus had to go is because He had to deal with the issue of prejudice, along with racial and gender stereotyping as we just discussed. And while this is of extreme importance, I see it as something else, and that is that Jesus had an appointment to keep.
Even Jesus said a little later that He couldn’t do anything that He didn’t hear His Father say, or saw His Father doing (John 5:19; 12:49). And so, an appointment was made with this Samaritan woman, and Jesus was on His way to keep it for the reset of her life.
“Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.” (John 4:5 NKJV)
Jesus was weary. He was human, but to sit out in the heat of the day, and by a well that he couldn’t get any water from, isn’t what a weary person would do. He would have gone into town with the rest of the disciples where he could secure shade, water, and some food to revive Himself.
But remember what He said to His disciples when they came back with food. He said, “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (and) “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:32, 34 NKJV)
Jesus may have been weary humanly speaking, but spiritually He was filled. Jesus may have been weary in His works, but He was never weary of them. And this should be a good lesson for us, because if we’re weary of doing God’s work, then it’s a good possibility that we’re not doing God’s work but our own.
And so, Jesus must go to Samaria to keep this important appointment. So, what did Jesus say that began the process of her reset?
It says that as he sat by the well that a woman of Samaria came to draw water. And Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (John 4:7 NKJV)
And the woman replied, “‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” (John 4:9 NKJV)
What we see is that the Samaritan woman immediately goes to her difficulty, and the ethnic prejudice that existed between the Jews and Samaritans. In a way we can hear her frustration as she has been racially and morally profiled by others. And so, we see her identifying with the problem and not with who she is in the Lord, and that’s because she never had a relationship with Him.
And isn’t this how we are? Even knowing Jesus as our Savior and Lord we continue to identify ourselves as those people we once were, rather than who God has made us to be, and thus accept other people’s definitions.
Instead, we should identify with God’s promise that we are sons and daughters of the Most High God.
Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was once defined by her childless condition. “Her who was called barren.” (Luke 1:36)
Although she was called barren by others, God saw her differently. God saw her as a mighty woman of faith and soon-to-be mother of one of His most important and mighty prophets.
And so, we should believe in God’s definition for who we are and live our lives based upon His word.
Now to her inquiry Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10 NKJV)
And so, the reset begins with a new water source.
Water makes up 75% of human body weight. A loss of just 4% of total body water leads to dehydration, and a loss of 15% can be fatal. Likewise, a person could survive a month without food but wouldn’t survive 3 days without water. Clearly water is vital for survival.
But Jesus knew she needed a whole different kind of water, spiritual water, which He referred to as living water.
You see, the Samaritan woman had a parched soul, and nothing she tried through all these various relationships was able to satisfy it. And while she didn’t know it, she had a longing and a thirst for something more, something better.
And this is a beautiful illustration of the longing and desire of humanity, as we are always searching through all these various things, like alcohol and drugs, relationships, and even religion, for that which will satisfy our thirsty souls.
Now, there is a distinct difference with regular water and living water. In the natural, living waters are waters that were always moving, like a spring, stream, or river. It is always moving, that is, with the exception of rainwater that collects in cisterns, which is stagnant water, and the water found in the Dead Sea, which is dead water because nothing lives in or around it.
Now, this is not saying that the water in the well wasn’t living, that is moving. If it was stagnant, then the well would have produced sickness and disease, rather than fulfilling a parched throat and body. A well taps into some sort of underground spring or stream.
Now, in verse 10 Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink.” What a revelation.
This gift of God that Jesus is referring too comes in two parts. First, it is the Holy Spirit, which we will look at in just a bit, but I love it when Jesus stated that that gift is no one less than Himself, the one who asked for the drink. And this lines up with God’s word.
Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord said, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV)
And then there is Psalm 36 that states, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.” (Psalm 42:1 NKJV)
But this point was lost on this woman.
“Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well.” (John 4:11-12 NKJV)
Just like all of us, when we hear something in the spiritual, we try to figure it out in the natural. Like Nicodemus, whom we’ll look at in a couple of weeks. Jesus said that if he wanted to see the Kingdom of God he would have to be born again.
Nicodemus said, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4 NKJV)
And here we have the Samaritan woman logically trying to figure out what Jesus is trying to say. First, Jesus had nothing to draw the water with, and the well was deep. Then she began to question Jesus’s credentials by implying that Jesus was in no way greater than the patriarch Jacob, whom the 12 tribes of Israel came from and who dug this well.
Jesus then brings her back to the spiritual side of the equation, something we must continue to do when we talk with those about who Jesus is, and how He can reset our lives.
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but 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.” (John 4:13-14 NIV)
I love the play on words that is presented in the NIV. “A spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Here they are at Jacob’s well, and Jesus differentiates between this well and the stream of living water He provides. You see, they had to draw the water out of the well, whereas Jesus was saying that the living water God provides is a stream that flows from out of the well.
A little later at the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus says the same thing, which the Apostle John identified as the Holy Spirit.
“‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-39 NIV)
So, out from within the well of our soul now flows this stream, the river of living water which is no one less than the Holy Spirit.
This woman daily came to Jacob’s Well for water to satisfy her physical thirst. And while she said that Jacob’s well is deep, there is an even deeper well that Jesus was telling her about. Not a physical well of water, but a spiritual well of water that would give everlasting refreshment.
What Jesus supplies is an internal and eternal source of spiritual, life-giving water which is God’s divine gift. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord said, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters … Give ear and come to Me; listen, that you may live” (Isaiah 55:1a, 3a NIV)
And so, what we now see is that Jesus is telling us the second gift of God that she would receive with this living waters, and that is, the Holy Spirit.
Now, there’s a beautiful picture of this in the Revelation chapter 22 as God describes the throne room in the Heavenly Jerusalem.
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1 NKJV)
This is a picture of God’s throne, and upon the throne are the Father and the Son, the Lamb, or Jesus Christ. But where’s the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is none other than that pure river of the water of life flowing out from the throne. How can I be sure? Because the same word structure used here to describe the river is the same word structure Jesus uses describing the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives in John 7:37-39.
And so, the Holy Spirit is that pure river of the water of life that flows from under the Heavenly throne, and it’s the same river of living water that flow from each and every believer in Jesus Christ.
But the question becomes, “How much of this river, how much of the Holy Spirit do we want flowing in us and from us?” Do we want a small stream, or a mighty river?
The prophet Ezekiel reveals the river that will flow from the Millennium Temple, which is a copy of the God’s heavenly temple, Hebrews 9:24. And what Ezekiel records for us is that wherever the river flows there’s healing and new life. It says, “Where the river flows everything will live.”
And what I saw is that Jesus will release a river that’ll flow not only into us, but out from us as well, the Holy Spirit, and He will bring both healing and renewal.
And let me end this section by saying that not only where the river of the Holy Spirit flows there’s healing, but the deeper we go into the river, the mightier the flow.
If we want the power of God to help us along on this journey of faith, bringing life and healing then we’re going to have to let the Holy Spirit take us, guide and transport us into the plans and purposes of God.
We don’t have to be afraid of the middle of the river, and we don’t have to be afraid of getting in over our heads, because when we’re in the middle of the River of Living Waters, the Holy Spirit is going to take us for the ride of our lives. He’ll take us to these places of new life, and those places that were once dead He’ll make alive.
Unfortunately, like many, the Samaritan woman wasn’t quite there yet. Notice she said, “Hey, give me this water that I may not thirst nor come here to draw.” (John 4:15 paraphrase)
So, Jesus de-masks her and brings her face to face with her iniquity. He said, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (John 4:16 NKJV) And she confessed, “I have no husband.” (John 4:17 NKJV)
For her to be that vessel used for God’s glory and to tell the story, she had to be a clean vessel, and so, Jesus laid bare her sin so that she could confess her sins and repent of them.
Looking at this I’m reminded of the type of vessels they put the water in. They were stone vessels. And the reason they put water into stone vessels is because stone is pure and cannot become unclean.
And once again the woman goes on the defensive talking now about religion. “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” To which Jesus replied, “The hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:20-22 NKJV)
Jesus is now starting the resetting process, that is, bringing her back into alignment with God, that is, how God originally created her, and the relationship that He desired. It starts with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit, and then it’s about our worshipping God in spirit and truth.
Jesus goes on to say, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Jesus is throwing the religious establishments on their heads. They said it’s all about where you worship, Jesus says it’s all about who and how you are to worship.
Now, to worship God in truth is basically to worship God in accordance with what God has revealed about Himself in His word, because as Jesus said, “Sanctify them (that is, set them apart from the world) by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NKJV)
We are to worship God as He has defined Himself in the Bible, not according to our own thoughts as to who He is, or what we believe He should be. That is called idolatry. And by saying that the time is coming, what I see Jesus saying is that the awe and reverence of God is missing.
But not only are we to worship God in truth, but also in spirit. Now, we’ve seen how the Holy Spirit is the stream of living water that flows from out of every believer in Jesus Christ, and yes we are to worship the Lord in and through the Holy Spirit, who Himself is God.
But here, we are told to worship God “in spirit,” not the Spirit. And so, while we do worship in the Holy Spirit, we are to also worship in spirit, that is, from the very core of our being we are to worship God. It’s not through a lot of the superficial stuff that happens when we sing our praises to God, which is part of it, but it is singing it from the depths of our souls.
In other words, it’s not so much through our voices that we worship God, but it’s in and through our hearts, where we worship God being totally and completely in love with Him.
Jesus has now hit the reset button in her heart, and the declaration is made that Jesus is the Messiah.
She said, “I know that Messiah is coming (who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” (John 4:25 NKJV)
And Jesus said, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4:26 NKJV)
Here He was offering to her everything that she would ever need, and that is, the incredible gift of Himself and of the Holy Spirit. He offered her relief from the Well of Living Waters, that Well of Everlasting Life.
And so, the reset has occurred, and we see this by her actions.
It says, “The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’” (John 4:28-29 NKJV)
She now grasped the secret of true worship, that is, in spirit and truth, and that it’s not about religion but about a heart relationship. She knew that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Christ, and His mission to bring the gift of Himself, the true living waters that springs from within every person who believes in Him. And then, with the passion of a Billy Graham, she went and told everybody.
She said, “Come and See.” We’ll explore this next week as we look at Philipp and Nathaniel.
And the result, “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’” (John 4:39)
But the rest of them believed because they went and heard it for themselves.
It’s what Jesus told the disciples after she left, “I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35b NKJV)
There, in the area of Samaria, where it looked hopeless for any witness and revival, was now ready for harvesting. Today the fields are just as ready as back then. Even with those that we believe are the furthest away, and the hardest to reach.
Prior to the pandemic, a person I know sent my book, “From Here to There,” to a maximum-security prison. Listen to the testimony.
“I received a letter from one of the prisons where I sent a copy of your book, “From Here to There.” It has been traded 8 times so far with loads of conversation including one man who apparently asked what the bleepety, bleep, bleep, bleep you were saying. This turned into a round table and formed some friendships. THAT is amazing in itself, in a max security prison. In addition, the ‘bleeper-man’ copied some things to post on his wall in his cell! Just thought you may like to know; your work is reaching the hearts of very hard men.”
The Apostle Peter said that we are always be ready to give an answer to those who ask of the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15).
Wednesday Evening Bible Study