The title for today’s message is: True Worshipers – Samaritan Woman. In the gospel of John, we have studied last week how John presents Jesus as the true tabernacle and the new temple. The purpose of the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament is for the people of God to be redeemed and restored in their relationship with God. It is a way, path, means. John presents Jesus as the tabernacle. Jesus said: I am the way, truth and life, no one comes to the Father without coming through Me.
The purpose of John’s presentation in the gospel is not just that Jesus is the temple. The ultimate purpose is who are the people who will be saved through that temple?
We will focus on looking at those who have come to meet and believe in Jesus.
Nicodemus said he believed Jesus is a good rabbi, a good teacher sent from God. Nicodemus believes to a certain extent. Jesus asked him: How will you believe if I speak of heavenly things when you don’t believe even the earthly things I speak of. Nicodemus’s faith remained at the status quo. However, there are others whose faith grows and realized Jesus is the Messiah and comes to receive life.
Among the people who come to meet Jesus and believe in Jesus, there are some common traits. Firstly, these people represent us, the process, background and end result. Secondly, there are changes in them. Thirdly there is a process of coming to believe in Jesus.
1. Samaritan woman – Who was she?
She was living with a 6th man, having 5 husbands before. Not a very proud past. She was a Samaritan, which was repugnant and abhorred by the Jews. Her personal life was in a mess, having gone through 5 husbands and living with one now. Her religious life was unsure. She represents the type who hated everything about herself, and everything around her.
Interesting how Jesus approaches her when He does not need to go through Samaritan. Jews usually go around Samaritan. But Jesus deliberately went through Samaritan, sat at a well as if waiting for her by just sitting there. She too wondered why Jesus was talking to her?
Then Jesus asked her to give him a drink. God also comes to us at the most unexpected place and time, usually when we are not ready for Him.
2. Changes that took place in the Samaritan woman
The interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. John 4:9-11
(i) The first thing Jesus says: Give me a drink.
The woman was wondering: You are a Jew.
God requests of us money, time, dedication, heart, but sometimes He comes to us when we don’t have it. In this passage, Jesus is not asking for literal water. In the biblical understanding, water is what carries life. When a mother carries a baby, it is carried in water in the womb. In Hebrew, it is called Maim karim = water of life. Water contains life.
Jesus was asking the Samaritan woman: Give me your life.
God approaches us at times when it is most unexpected when we are not ready. He wants our heart, our life, just like Elijah when he went to the widow of Zarephath, he asked for the last handful of flour to make her last bread to eat and die. Elijah said: Give it to me first.
When God is asking of us something, He is requesting something of you, He does not always do it when we are overflowing and plentiful. He tells us to believe Him when we don’t have faith.
(ii) The second thing Jesus said: Whoever drinks of this water that I shall give, shall never thirst.
John 4:10-11. Samaritan woman asks: You don’t have a bucket. Who are you?
You and I know what she wants. It doesn’t really matter who He is, if He can give us the blessing, I want it. That is how we are drawn to Jesus. We are drawn not because of who He is, but because of blessings, He can give me.
I pray you can find this in Jesus, asking you for water. Are you now ready to ask for water from him?
Now the woman changes her address from “Mister” to “Sir” which is “Lord”. Our attitude towards God also changes when we realise He can give us something. Do you want it?
(iii) Thirdly, Jesus says: Go, call your husband and come here.
Jesus now reaches in deep to ask for something she does not want to reveal, something shameful that we want to cover up. For the Samaritan woman, it was her past, she doesn’t want anyone to talk about it, it offends her if anyone talks about it.
John 4:16-19, She lies: I have no husband. She is not brave enough to face it, nor courageous enough to accept she has that dark side and past.
We all have something we want to cover up and hide. But Jesus says: If you want this blessing of the eternal water, take off the mask. God does not tear down, he restores. That is called the History of Redemption.
(iv) Fourthly, Jesus says: The hour is coming and now is, that true worshipper will worship God in spirit and truth.
John 4:20-24. Jeroboam built the altar on this mountain in Samaria. She was asking where is she to worship, because of the different rules, customs and traditions that people have made. She asks the question about “Where” to worship? Jesus answers “When”. The “hour” is coming, and in Greek it is “hora”. This word hora is used to refer to the time when Jesus is to take the cross, and when Jesus’ Word is received with faith. Example: John 2, Mary. Matthew 8, the Centurion. The Canaanite woman too.
Now, the conversation changes from WHEN to HOW. The Samaritan woman is catching on to the Word. John 4:25-26.
Samaritan woman drops her waterpot and evangelizes her town saying that she met the Messiah. The hour came when Christ the Messiah came into her. She was able to receive Christ, that is the hour.
Has that hour (hora) come to you already? You too might have come to church with a heavy load but I pray that you and I may be able to return with joy and new life. She became a witness of Jesus.
3. One compared to the Samaritan woman
Nicodemus was compared with the Samaritan woman. John 3:1-5. Nicodemus does not really confess. Jesus frustrated even says: How can you believe in heavenly things if you cannot even believe the earthly things I speak of?
What is the difference between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman? Status and identity.
• Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler, probably rich. The Samaritan woman was a Samaritan and an unclean woman.
• Nicodemus came by night, Samaritan woman by day, showing the spiritual state. Judas Iscariot went out by night to betray Jesus. But this Samaritan woman came in day time.
• The Samaritan woman believed in Jesus as Christ. Nicodemus could not even believe earthly sayings.
Through this Samaritan woman, Jesus shows us the effect of the water in the tabernacle. Even to Nicodemus, Jesus says you have to be born of water and the spirit. To the Samaritan woman, He said He is the giver of the water, and she received the spirit to understand Christ.
Without being born again through water and spirit, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, the Holy Place. I sincerely pray that you and I will receive that water today. He will wash us clean.
Let us pray.