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Sunday Night Live Sermons

John 14:1-43

14th July 2002

Australians live in a lucky country. We have everything we could want. But there are many who are not satisfied. They want more. They are tempted by every television commercial for any new thing. They seek new possessions. They strike or scheme for more money. They obtain on credit more things than they need or even want. They search for satisfaction that can never be fulfilled. The level of average personal debt has grown almost beyond repayment. Their demands grow greater. Like drinking sea water, they thirst for more and more.

There are so many people who are not satisfied with what they are or with what they have. They are empty. They want to make friends but they do not know how. They are lonely unable to reach those they want to know. They live without meaning or purpose. They are miserable with guilt and shame because of what they have done. Our psychiatrists try to help us. They tell us that we need more to make life richer and fuller. Freud said, "Pleasure will give you ultimate fulfilment." Alfred Adler said, "You can find fulfilment in your life if you achieve". Victor Frankl said, "You can know fulfilment if you find meaning." Erich Fromm said, "…if you have relationships of love with others." Abraham Maslow says, "You can find it if you discover self-actualisation". Robert Schuller says, "You only find satisfaction when you have self-esteem". All of these suggestions are like the fuel tank on your motor: they will enable you to run for a while, but you cannot run when empty. The Apostle Paul said, "For to me, to live is Christ". Philippians 1:21 That was his answer to the question thousands are asking. Even the sceptical agnostic, comparing the world's answers, can say that Paul's answer stands up more strongly than those of the others I have mentioned.

In Israel there is a village known as El Eskar. In it is an enormous half-built church. The Russian Orthodox were building it when World War 1 broke out. The Greek Orthodox took it over. In the centre of the half-finished, roofless church there is a big, round stone, two feet thick. In the centre of the stone there is a hole, a neck that opens to a 30 metre well. The water which seeps through the limestone is soft and sweet compared with the hard water in the district round about. Jacob purchased the land 3,700 years ago. The well was dug by his family for them and their cattle. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, is buried near that place. For over three thousand years, Jacob's Well has provided sweet, satisfying water in a dry land. 

One day, Jesus sat on that very stone. A woman came from a nearby village called Sychar. She had come to draw water from the well. It was midday, the hottest time of the day, the time when respectable people were inside for their siesta. She was far from respectable. John 4:7 "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" As she was drawing water, Jesus asked, "Give me a drink of water."" Thus began an amazing scriptural encounter. 

Jesus then gave a demonstration of the way to build a relationship through caring and openness. The Samaritan woman was like many Australians. She was empty and guilty, hiding from others, but thirsty for far more than water. If you are seeking for fulfilment in life then these verses open the way to another of the great promises of Jesus - the promise of internal satisfaction!

It does not matter who we are. He welcomes all who come to Him. This woman was a Samaritan, and He was a Jew. There was deep antagonism between the two races. Jesus accepted her as she came to Him and immediately overcame the racial difference. In those days it was not socially acceptable for a man to talk to a woman in public. But Jesus ignored this social convention. Jesus also overcame the social barrier. He was acknowledged as a great teacher, whereas she was a woman of ill-repute. But this was no barrier. Position, race, colour, morals, depth of sin or height of goodness - all differences are ignored. There are two clear examples of the manner in which all are welcomed by Jesus in the way He accepted a man in John 3, and a woman in John 4. Jesus related easily to both and to each of them said that they could have internal satisfaction by being born again. One was Nicodemus a Jewish leader. The other was an unnamed Samaritan woman coming to a well for water. 

They were different in every respect. One male, the other female. One rich, the other poor. One educated, the other ignorant. One moral, the other immoral. One a leader of his people, the other a prostitute who went from man to man! He came to Jesus by night, she came to Him at noon. The differences could not be greater, yet they both had the same need for internal satisfaction. Whoever you are, Jesus accepts you and gives you satisfaction. The old hymn tells that we are welcome, just as we are:
"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come." -Charlotte Elliott

When General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, died in 1912, the funeral attracted enormous crowds at the great Exhibition Hall of London. Queen Mary attended but she did not want to detract from the tribute to the General, so she arranged to sit at the back. As the Queen was shown anonymously to her seat, another woman moved into the seat beside her. As the coffin was carried in, this woman threw three carnations, which landed on it. These were the only flowers on the casket. While the two sat there, the woman, who did not recognize Queen Mary told her story. She had been a street prostitute, an unwanted used and abused thing. But she heard General Booth preach that Jesus Christ could make her new person. She said, "Ma'am, I have been cleansed and I am a new person through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that the General told me about." At the end of the service, still not knowing the Queen of England was beside her, the former prostitute, with tears in her eyes, turned to the Queen and said, "You know, he cared for the likes of us!" The Lord Jesus cares for the likes of us! It does not matter who we are. He accepts us when we come to Him.

In speaking with the woman at the well, Jesus showed a great teaching method. He awakened her curiosity. He said, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water." "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" v10-11 

She did not understand and she tried to lead Him into talking about something else, but Jesus brought her back to her real need. He wanted her to see herself as she really was. The Lord pierces our pretences and understands our motives, but He will not be put off. He understands our background and knows what is the deep need of every heart. To this woman Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." V13-14 The value of Jacob's Well was known to everyone in that dry land. But "whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst again." That is His promise; if you have a deep thirst for the life-giving water, you will never be thirsty again.

In giving that promise, Jesus was meeting the deepest need of the woman at the well. Our Lord knows our deep needs. Do you feel alienated from your family, from others? Do you feel lonely and isolated? There are so many who do. One common reason for people phoning us for counselling and help following our radio and television ministry is what is technically called 'social isolation". It means the person has no friends. If you find that your life is empty, without direction or purpose; or if you have some shame, guilt, or burden that you have to carry because of what you have thought or said or done, Jesus says to you, "whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst again." Here is a promise of internal satisfaction. City folk use vast amounts of water to wash and bathe, to drink and to cool, but we also require spiritual refreshment and nourishment. Australia is a parched land, in the grip of a drought. 

We desperately needed streams of living water. But the greatest drought is in the hearts of people. They need never have that thirst again. We echo in the streets of our city the call from Isaiah, "Come, everyone who is thirsty, here is water!…it will cost you nothing! Why spend money on what does not satisfy?… Come to Me, and you will have life!" Isaiah 55:1-3

It was necessary for Jesus to expose the sin of this woman to herself. She had guilt she was trying to hide. That was why she was there getting water in the heat of the day. Jesus brought it all out into the open by asking simply, "Go, call your husband and come back." "I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true." V16-18 Sometimes an exposure of your sin is necessary if you are to find release and discover forgiveness. Sin means that you are apart from God and carry a burden of guilt. God offers you freedom and forgiveness. David was a great King of Israel, but he committed adultery. The woman became pregnant and David had her husband murdered so that he might marry the woman to cover up his sin. But the prophet Nathan told David about a fictitious farmer to killed his neighbour to steal his sheep and asked what the King would do. Thinking he was judging someone else, David shouted, "That man will die for what he has done." Nathan said, "You are that man." Sometimes it takes a pointing finger to expose sin. When we stand in Christ's presence and understand our sin we can be forgiven.

After her encounter with Jesus, the woman at Jacob's Well ran back to her town and called to the people to come. "Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" v28-29 They came with her to Jesus. In fact, this most unlikely of women became the first evangelist of the Gospel! Instead of alienation, she found acceptance. Instead of loneliness, she found friendship. Instead of emptiness in her life, she found meaning. Instead of shame and guilt, she found forgiveness. When the other Samaritans heard what the woman said, they came to Jesus and believed for themselves. Some believed because of what the woman told them. Some believed when they heard Jesus speaking, "because of His words many more became believers." Even more said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world." V41-42

Have you made that discovery for yourself? Not because of what someone else has said who has witnessed to Jesus Christ, but because you have discovered for yourself that Jesus is the Saviour of the world. If you have made that discovery, you will know the great truth that Jesus saves and keeps, and that He satisfies! Internal Satisfaction! That is the promise. You will never thirst again!

Wesley Mission, Sydney.