Our Past
John 4:7-26
We can't be far from each other and close to Jesus.
Published November 4th, 2021; Updated November 4th, 2021
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Introduction Tonight our focus is going to be on what Jesus means for our past. If we're going to speak the truth in love into one another's situations, we are going to have to know each other. And we can't know each other without knowing one another's stories. Our past plays a big part in understanding who we are today-- and in beginning to think about how Jesus meets us in the middle of each of our unique stories, I want to go to the woman at the well in John chapter 4. Read John 4:1-26 Keep in Mind Remember, we're trying to better know Jesus through this portion of Scripture here. That is our goal. And we see a lot of awesome things about our Savior here in this passage, so we're going to take them in the order they come. Three big ideas, and one application. Big Points (1) Jesus is pursuing us where we are This doesn't just start in verse 7-- Jesus begins seeking this woman in verse 4, when John writes that he "had to pass through Samaria." Now does this mean that there is no other way to get to Galilee, or does this mean that Jesus has a meeting that He has to go to in Samaria, and He's going to make sure He's on time? Because, our Savior Jesus is never forced to do anything. Even when He is crucified, He lays down His life of His own accord. God Almighty is not backed into a corner. Jesus intends to go into Samaria, this is not an accident, there is another way around Samaria, and most of the Jews actually would take it. And Jesus knows where this well is. Jesus is God. He is the God Who is with Jacob when He makes this well, He knows where it is. And so He goes and sits on it. That's where we are in verse 6, that word "beside," literally means "on" in the Greek. Jesus has purposefully placed Himself on this woman's path. And even further, when the woman gets there, Jesus asks for a drink. From her cup. That's what that means in verse 9, when the when John writes that "Jews have no dealings with Samaritans," more literally , "have dealings with" means that Jews don't "use with" Samaritans. It's the Greek word for " with ," which is the same word used in the beginning of John when he writes that "the Word was with God and was God." Jesus is asking for a drink from her bucket. He intends to share in this moment, very personally with this woman. And we haven't even gotten into the sinful situation that she is in at this moment, but Jesus doesn't shy from that either. He doesn't see it as some awkward issue to be avoided, He sees it as exactly what they need to talk about. Jesus is diving right in. (2) Jesus is pursuing our souls, not just our surface . Jesus wants us to be free from the penalty, the power, and eventually the presence of sin. He wants our total salvation, not just our temporary comfort. But this woman sees what Jesus is offering only in the temporary sense . Read/briefly exposit verses 10-15 . The woman responds to Jesus in two ways, she says give me this water so that: I will not have to be thirsty. I will not have to come here again. She wants salvation, not from her desperate situation, but from her discomfort. She doesn't want to have to be thirsty , and she doesn't want to have to be embarrassed . Why do I say embarrassed ? Well, listen to what she says, one of the benefits that she sees of having living water is not having to come back to the well again. Is that just because of the long walk to get there? No, she's there in the middle of the day, when the sun is high and hot-- when no one else is there, because she's an outcast in her community. She doesn't want to be seen. Everyone else knows her, and they avoid her, so she avoids them . She's tired of this public humiliation, living the life of the town's sloppy seconds. If she could never have to endure it again, she'd love it. But, does Jesus avoid her, knowing her? No. What does He say? Go and get your husband, and come here . Not only is she not getting to avoid the well, Jesus is asking her to bring her sinful situation into this embarrassing place for herself. Not only is Jesus not letting her get out of this temporarily awful situation, He is saying, man there's a bigger situation, and you should go bring it here . We're going to deal with it right here, in this place that you hate, this source of embarrassment for you, that's where we're going to begin-- right here . Could you imagine being a third person in on this conversation at church? Like no, Jesus, what are you doing, she's never coming back here again. Don't bring that up bro, come on. But that's exactly what He does, and that's exactly where He goes. (3) Jesus is pursuing our belief, not just our behavior . Read/exposit verses 16-26 . He lets her change the topic, but not the point. When Jesus lovingly exposes her sin and she changes the topic to worship, Jesus still makes the issue about what matters is on the inside. What I mean is that when the woman changes the topic from adultery to worship, Jesus lets her do that, but still doesn't let go of her . You might say, isn't adultery the issue? Jesus should press in on that. And yes, it is, but there is an issue beneath the issue. The real issue is she believes that relationships will satisfy, even if it means committing adultery to get there . Our goal is not better behavior, but better belief. Because you can have good behavior without better belief, but you can't have better belief without good behavior. So, she tries to hide the issue, but Jesus knows. John 3:19-21 tells us that we want to hide our evil works, but it is Jesus Who wants us to bring them to light, where they get redeemed. Because, get this, her mess becomes her message . When your lay your struggle at the feet of Jesus, He turns it into a sermon . (Application) Jesus wants to get close through each other. We cannot be told "go and get your husband," if we only attend large Sunday gatherings. This is what small groups are for. Now, we don't have to have people in our face. We can avoid that and just go to large gatherings and listen. But, we cannot stay far away from people and get close to Jesus . It is Jesus Who gives us one another to help us grow closer to Him. "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."( John 20:21 ) Jesus intends to pursue us where we are at the soul level, and to see it through , and His way of doing that today is through one another. He is not here now, but we are His body. Incarnational community challenge Conclusion I wanted to talk about this leading into our small group weeks as an encouragement to be seen . Be what you are. I want to encourage you with 1 John 1:5-7 ( READ ) That's a promise that we will experience the best fellowship we can with one another if we allow ourselves to be seen. We have been forgiven, so we have nothing to fear. No one can condemn us, for Christ didn't even come to condemn.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.