“Just then his 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?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.” John 4:28-30 ESV. The entire story of the living water is found in John 4:1-45.
Jesus travelled through Samaria as he journeyed from Judea to Galilee. Jews normally would have taken a different route just to avoid the Samaritans. But Jesus takes the less travelled path. He meets a gentile woman at a well. Jesus teaches her about the living water of God. Who was this woman? She was a Samaritan who had been married 5 times. She was now living with a man she wasn’t even married. The Samaritan woman was living an earthly life, a life of sin. She questioned Jesus about the living water, struggling to comprehend. Christ offered her a new way of living. Would the Samaritan woman take this journey? Did she abandon her past? Did she have the faith to follow Jesus?
How does this apply to our lives? Are we living in sin? Are we drinking water from our own jar, or are we drinking the living water of God? The Samaritan woman’s story can teach us how to obtain God’s living water.
LEAVE YOUR WATER JAR BEHIND!
The disciples return as Jesus is still talking to the woman. John 4:27 describes the return: “Just then his 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?” Something about their arrival prompts the woman to leave. Perhaps it was because the disciples didn’t speak to her. Maybe she was too excited to stay. She might have needed to go off and think. Regardless, she leaves.
The Samaritan woman makes a crucial decision as she leaves. She leaves her water jar behind. No more of the earthly, temporal water. No more life of the flesh. She wants something new. She doesn’t understand fully what she is turning toward, but she is tired of the past.
Isn’t that the case for so many of us? We are tired of sin. We are tired of the dark. We have tried everything we know, because that is human nature. We want to depend on ourselves. I know I only found Christ when I was at the bottom of the abyss. I turned to God because I simply didn’t know what else to try. That is the story of the Samaritan woman. That is the story of so many of us.
The disciples with Jesus may not have known what to do with the Samaritan woman, but God did. And he doesn’t expect us to understand the plan. But God does need us to set down our water jar.
COME SEE A MAN!
The Samaritan woman returned to town. She wanted the rest of the town to meet ‘the man’. She testified even though she is not sure that this man is Christ. She knew her life would never be the same. We do not need to be “experts” in God to talk about Him. We can share our experiences. The woman simply told the people in town that Jesus knew all about her past. That was her experience with Jesus- and it worthy of telling others about. If we experience the glory of God it should be exciting. We shouldn’t be able to wait to tell others about Christ. Should anyone be deprived of life with God. Romans 10:14 reminds us, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” We are the someone who needs to preach?
The Samaritan woman also told the town people about her past. Part of evangelizing is telling people our testimony. We need to tell others about our past so they can see how God has changed our present. We are forgiven. There is no need to remain stuck in the guilt of our former life, we are no longer that person. The apostle Paul speaks of this transformation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul goes on to tell us of our responsibility to evangelize, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20. Our conversion to being a new creature in Christ qualifies us to speak. We are the witness.
RETURN TO CHRIST
After the Samaritan woman told others about Jesus they went back to see Him. Not in a year, a month, a day, or even a few hours. They return to Christ right away. They are hungry to learn more. John speaks about their return: “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42. The villagers don’t just say for an hour. They spend two days just listening to Jesus. Today’s typical Christian attends church once a month and thinks any service that last over any hour is too long. Do we have this hospitality? If we want to learn more about God we must spend time with him. Reading the bible, going to church, praying, and attending bible studies should be important to us if we want to become more spiritually mature.
The villagers also invited this Jew to stay with them, even though the Samaritans despised the Jews (Just as the Jews despised the Samaritans ). Being with God is not always comfortable. It will force us to go to new places. We will meet new, different people. We will also start hearing things that will challenge everything we believed in. But only in our discomfort will we grow in Christ. As we grow two things will happen. We will become uncomfortable with our past. And will become at peace with our present.
The townspeople initially came because of the persuasion of the woman. But an amazing thing happens. They stay because of Christ’s word. It doesn’t matter how we get to God. When we stay with the Lord we continue to transform. We grow in faith. We develop a relationship with Christ. We learn to love as God loves us. And we are given the blueprint for living for God. No more jars of that old water. Amen.