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Sunday, June 24, 2018

posted Jun 24, 2018, 8:03 PM by Site Administrator



John 4:1-26

Key Verses 4:13,14 


Jesus answered her, "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."


First, "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst" (1-14). In the previous passage we learned that Jesus’ ministry was growing powerfully. Everyone was going to Jesus to be baptized. When the Pharisees heard this, they were jealous about his popularity. So Jesus left Judea and went back once more to Galilee because he did not want to have unnecessary conflict with them. Between Judea and Galilee is the land of Samaria.


Look at verses 6 through 8. After walking through the desert, Jesus was tired, thirsty and hungry. There was Jacob’s well, and Jesus sat down by the well. It was the sixth hour, which is equivalent to 12 noon modern time, so the sun must have been blazing bright over the Middle East Desert. Jesus’ disciples had gone into the town to buy food. Then, a suspicious looking Samaritan woman came to draw water. This was very unusual because it was not the time for women to draw water. They would usually come early morning or in the cool of the evening when the sun wasn’t strong. They would use this time to "socialize." But why was she there all by herself in the hottest part of the day? Something was definitely wrong.


When Jesus saw her, he said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" She responded, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" This is a really weird response to a man who simply asked for a cup of water in the desert! At this response it seems that Jesus should have left her alone. But instead 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." Instead of just stopping the conversation and giving up on her, Jesus stirred curiosity and interest within her by using exciting expressions such as, "the Gift of God" and "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?"


How did Jesus respond? Let’s read verses 13 and 14 together. 


13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but 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."


So far, it seemed that Jesus was thirsty and that he needed her help. But as we see in these verses, Jesus’ concern was not about quenching his thirst with a cup of water, but her thirst with living water so that she might solve her thirst problem. Here, Jesus points to the thirst problem of mankind. People are thirsty. This thirst is what our hearts long for. Some people long for beautiful romance. They shed tears when they watch a beautiful romance story such as "Cinderalla" or "Beauty and the Beast."They dream of how their life will be if they have that kind of beautiful romance. So they come to the well of human love, hoping to find their prince charming or beautiful princess. Others long for money. Maybe, it is because they have suffered financially, and experienced what it means to live without money. They expect that they will not have any problems whatsoever if they have enough money. So they come to the well of money, by studying hard, pursuing a promising career, and working hard, even 80 hours a week, to make more money. Some people are thirsty for fame; they work really hard to become well known scientists or Nobel Prize recipients. Still others live for political power. Fundamentally, all people are thirsty, looking for something or someone that would make their life truly meaningful and fulfilling. In hope to quench their thirst for true fulfillment, meaning and purpose of their lives, people gather around Jacob’s wells and drink—some people in noble way, and others in ignoble way. But fundamentally, they are the same – they are thirsty, and struggle hard to quench their thirst in various ways. In Genesis, we see Cain’s descendants developing technology, music and becoming huge entrepreneurs. It was their struggle to find the meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of their lives in such things. Simply, they were thirsty for a truly meaningful and fulfilling life. Did they find what they had been looking for in those things? No! They were empty; they became wicked, angry, and violent, and their lives became miserable. 


Jesus describes all these people’s struggle to find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of their lives as drinking water from Jacob’s well, and he says, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,..." The expression, "thirsty again," shows that in these things, no one can find a truly meaningful and fulfilling life – no lasting meaning, or fulfillment of their lives, but temporary, and after a short period of happiness, comes deep sense of meaninglessness, worthlessness, and disappointment. When you are thirsty in the hot scorching summer day, you come to the water fountain, and drink from it; or you go to a convenient store and buy a bottle of Gatorade. It looks like a practical way. But soon you become thirsty again and then you repeat. 


The Samaritan woman in the passage had five husbands. How happy she must have been when she first married a handsome husband. But that happiness probably lasted only few days. Soon she divorced him, and remarried a rich husband. She experienced this cycle five times so far, and now she was working on the sixth one but she was very careful this time around, so that she might not make another mistake. Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,..."


When Jesus says, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,..." he implies that we must not try to quench our thirst with the water from Jacob’s well because it never works. Coming to Jacob’s well to quench our thirst is nothing but waste of our time, energy, and life. See how many people pour out their strength, time, and even entire life, to purchase the water from Jacob’s well; this woman in the passage already spent most of her life, talent and energy, and now after spending so much of her own assets, she was broke – she became literally like a prostitute in the town. God says in the book of Isaiah, "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?" (Isa 51:2) God says in Jeremiah 2:13, "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." Trying to find meaning, happiness and satisfaction of our life by pursuing that significant other, by making tons of money, by becoming men or women of renown, or even by becoming the President of the USA, is like trying to fill broken cisterns with water. The satisfaction and happiness which comes from fulfilling what we have desired lasts only a few days at best, or only a few minutes in most cases. After this short moment of happiness comes tons of disappointment, argument, burden, headache, responsibilities, and a sense of meaninglessness. That’s why all the romance stories fromDisney, such as Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the Little Mermaid, all end in a wedding ceremony scene with the line, "they lived happily ever after" without talking about the true reality of life after the wedding. That’s why so many men of success who made tons of money became almost mental patients even going crazy. That’s why so many men of fame and honor have committed suicide after achieving remarkable things in the world. God says in Jeremiah 2:13 that such a life of pursuing meaning, purpose, and fulfillment of life in these things is a sinful life. Jesus says, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again."


So what should we do with our thirst? Jesus says, "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." So we must drink the water Jesus gives. This means that when you are thirsty for human love or money, don’t pursue it, otherwise, you will be thirsty again. Instead, come to Jesus, pursue the water he gives, and your thirst will be quenched and your soul will find satisfaction. 


After bringing out the Israelites from Egypt, God brought them into the desert, and had them wander in the desert for forty years. One day, they could not find water. At that time, in the desert where there was no water, when all people were thirsty, God gushed out water from the rock and quenched their thirst. To these thirsty people in the desert, the water that gushed out from the rock was God’s blessing, and it was the gift of God for them. Actually, our life in this world is like the Israelites’ journey through the desert. We are thirsty for many things. For these thirsty people in the world, God gave us his gift, the gift of God – the living water that can quench our thirst, that can give us true meaning, purpose and fulfillment to our lives, that makes us truly satisfied and glad. We must pursue Jesus, and we will be truly satisfied. 


About seven centuries before Jesus’ coming, God invited all thirsty people to Himself, saying, "Come, all you who are thirsty,...Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me,...and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." (Isa 55:1-2) God does not want us to spend our labor, our strength, our zeal, our passion, and our time on what does not satisfy such as money, or romance, or recognition. Instead, we must eat what is good, which Jesus gives, and only at that time our souls will delight in the richest of fare. We will be satisfied. When we come to Jesus, we will have a beautiful testimony, saying, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."We will express our satisfied hearts, by saying, "My cup overflows." Instead of looking for more things, we will say, "I have all I need."


How can we quench our thirst? Not through drinking the water from Jacob’s well, not through securing and grabbing what we have desired, but through coming to Jesus and drinking the water he gives. Let’s accept God’s invitation and come to Jesus asking him for living water, and he will satisfy us; our souls will find rest. 


Second, "Go, call your husband and come back" (15-26). Look at verse 15. At Jesus' invitation to true satisfaction, the woman said, "Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." Jesus already promised that if she asked him for the gift of God, he would give it to  her. Now, she asked saying, "Sir, give me this water!" So, Jesus had to give her living water as he had promised. 

How was he going to give her this living water, welling up to eternal life? Look at verse 16. "Jesus said, "Go, call your husband and come back.’" This means that she has to bring her husband to Jesus so that Jesus can give her living water. Jesus had a burning desire to give her the living water, which would give her true satisfaction and joy. That’s why he did not mind having a long Bible study standing under the hot scorching sun in the desert area. Now in order to give her living water, Jesus commanded her, "Go, call your husband and come back."


To this Samaritan woman, her husband was the object through whom she tried to find the meaning, purpose and fulfillment of her life – the object of her satisfaction. As we see in this passage, she had five husbands, and now she was living with man who was not her husband.  In the conservative society of those days, certainly it was not usual or easy for a woman to marry five times and divorce five times. This shows how hard she struggled to find happiness through having an ideal husband. Jesus’ instruction shows that as long as she pursued happiness and fulfillment of her life in her husband, as long as she struggled to drink the water from Jacob’s well, she had no chance to drink the water Jesus gives. She must repent of her life of pursuing happiness and satisfaction in a husband and bring this problem to Jesus. What does it mean to bring this matter to Jesus? It means to bring this thirst matter to Jesus, confessing and admitting her wrong way of life and asking him for the water he gives. It means to turn away from the life of pursuing happiness and fulfillment in a husband to the life of pursuing happiness and fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus commands all thirsty people to bring their false objects of happiness and fulfillment to him. For her, it was her husband. For a young rich man in Mark's gospel, it was his money. So, Jesus told him to give all his money to the poor and then, come and follow him. For Levi, who pursued money, Jesus told him to follow him, instead of following money. For some proud and brilliant students, it is their dream of success in the world. In the Old Testament, God invites all these people, saying, "Come, all you who are thirsty... Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?...Listen, listen to me,... and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Come to me that your soul may live." (Isa 51:1-3) Now in the New Testament, Jesus invites all of us to come to him for a truly satisfying life, saying, "Go, call your husband and come back!" We must bring this husband matter, this false object of happiness, meaning and fulfillment of our life to Jesus, and he will give us the water that will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life. 


Look at verses 17 and 18. When Jesus commanded her to bring out her husband problem, she was startled and said, "I have no husband." She was embarrassed; she had never imagined that this Jewish man would ever mention about her husband problem – this was the last topic she wanted to talk about. Her words, "I have no husband," shows us how self-conscious she had felt about her life thus far. When she married and divorced continually, it seemed that she didn't care about how others would think of her; it seemed that she was wild and totally out of control. But actually, she was not! She felt so shameful about her sinful life; she too, like all others, wanted to be honored and recognized as a good person, but her sinful desire had carried her away thus far. No one knew or understood her agony that now she was labeled as a sinful woman.


Jesus understood her deeply. So he said, "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." Jesus, here, emphasized the truthfulness of her words two times, saying, "You are right,..." and "What you have just said is quite true." Jesus did not judge her based on her outward appearance. Instead, he understood her agony deeply and accepted her just as she was - a lost, thirsty and struggling child. But at the same time, Jesus still brought out her husband problem to the light even publicly because it had to be doneso that real healing could start. And because he really wanted to give her living water. 


At this, she said to him, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." So far, she was sarcastic, arrogant and insincere about this Bible study. But now she acknowledged Jesus as a man of God, showing respect and honor to him. She became very sincere and responsive. Then, she brought to his attention the question of worship that had been hidden in the depth of her heart. How did Jesus answer her? Look at verse 21. Let's read this verse together: 


21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 


Her question was about where to worship God, whether in Jerusalem or in Samaria. Which is the right place to worship God? Will God accept me if I attend this church or that church? Jesus said, "Neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem." This is really shocking - God does not give you any credit even if you attend worship service in the Jerusalem temple, which was the most authentic and awesome looking worship service in the whole world - officiated by the high priest who came from Aaron's line, wearing beautiful priestly robes, using Hebrew language and Hebrew Bible, with beautiful hymns based on Psalms, in such a big and beautiful and authentic building. But Jesus says that attending this temple worship service does not mean to worship God really. Some people insist to use KJV in worship service, saying that, then, the worship service will be right. Even some people say that we must use the Hebrew Bible - all these people are just proud and self-righteous, denying all the marvelous works God has done throughout the world based on other Bible translations. 


But Jesus says, "Neither!" Worshiping God is not the matter of this place or that place; it is not the matter of using this translation or that translation. If you were to ask God, "Lord, should I use KJV or NIV in our church?" What would God say to you? "Neither KJV nor NIV!" Also, some people say that reciting the apostles' creed must be in the worship program. Some others say that worship service must end with the Lord's prayer. Some people talk about baptism or communion. Some people proudly say, "I attend Billy Graham's worship service." "I talked with Chuck Smith." Jesus' answer about all this kind of questions and suggestions is: "Neither!" Adding one program or skipping another program does not make any worship service real. Worshiping God is not the matter of adding this program or that program. 


Then, Jesus pointed out the problem of the Samaritans, saying, "22You Samaritan worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews." The Samaritans thought that they were worshiping God when they were worshiping cast idols in Samaria. This woman so far had worshiped her husbands, and became miserable. So we can see that such devotion and loyalty must be given to God not to human beings or worthless things of the world. Why did they become idol worshipers despite their desire to worship God? Jesus says, "for salvation is from the Jews." This is God's principle - He chose the Jews to be his partners in fulfilling his world salvation plan and revealed Himself to them by giving them the Bible. Only through them, only through the Bible given to the Jews can people come to know God. Only when people follow this principle set by God can they come to know what God wants them to do and how to worship God. But the Samaritans did not follow this principle of God; instead, they did what they saw fit in regard to their life direction and how and where to worship God. At that time, when they did not base their life and worship of God on the Bible, they ended up getting lost, becoming idol worshipers instead of God-worshipers. The Samaritan woman became lost because her life direction was not based on the Bible, but on her cursed desire for a husband. We must study the Bible and see what God wants us to do and how we must live our life. Only when our life is rooted and built up in the word of God, it will go on in the way God desires and we will live this one life very successfully without any regret. 


Now then how should we worship God? Let's read verses 23 and 24 together: 


23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."


Jesus teaches us that we must worship God in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. What does it mean to worship God in spirit? It means to worship God wholeheartedly. God says in Numbers 14:24, "But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it." While other Israelites followed God casually or half-heartedly, Caleb's attitude toward God was different; he followed God wholeheartedly. So, in God's eyes, Caleb stood out among 603,550 people; he showed God a different spirit and God accepted him and blessed him. Worshiping God in spirit is the opposite of worshiping God in motion, or in habit, or in ceremony. When we worship God in spirit, then, we are the kind of worshipers God seeks. 2Chronicles 16:9 shows us what kind of people God seeks, saying, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." We must worship God wholeheartedly, offering ourselves to God completely and pouring all our time and energy, and even life for Him - this is how we must worship God and this is what the Bible teaches. 


Worshiping God in truth means to worship and serve God according to the truth, the word of God - it is the opposite of worshiping God in our convenience or in our own style. Even if it may cost a lot, even if we may have to shed a lot of tears, we do what God wants us to do, instead of doing whatever we like to do. There we learn what it means to deny ourselves; there we learn what it means submit ourselves to God's will; there we learn what it means to surrender ourselves to God. God seeks such people. 


After hearing this, the woman said that when the Messiah came, he would explain everything to her. Amazingly, she was the one who had been waiting for the Messiah. Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." As the Messiah Jesus explained everything to her about man’s life and purpose. Jesus was the very one she had been waiting for, who explained everything to her. Life became clear to her – what to do, where to go and how to worship God. She was a daughter of God, who must worship the Father in spirit and in truth.


In my childhood, due to my mother's busy schedule, I was lonely. I started to look for human love. I did many shameful thingsI dove deep into videogames, food and pornography. And I also became sexually active at a extremely young age. Such terrible and shameful life led me to be filled with many demons that haunted me and caused me to anger and bitterness towards all those that I felt never loved me. 


I came to the US when I was around 13 years old, but nothing changed. All I did was to stay home, eat, watch porn and play video games. I really had no desire for anything in this world, all I wanted was to find love but nothing I did was enough. I used to drink so much that I would blank out and not remember how I would get home or sometimes after drinking heavily I would get black spots on my chest from all the alcohol poison. My family tried to reach out to me but since I was so far gone in my sin I did not care anymore. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do in order to fill my void. This lifestyle led me to gain weight and even reach over 400 pounds. By my late twenties I was so unhappy and filled with so much bitterness and anger from the life that I had lived that I hated my family especially my Mom. I blamed her for my life and how she was never there, I blamed her for all the abuse and neglect I experienced growing up. I became so dead inside that I was numb when she passed away in 2004. God had mercy on me. In 2008 right before my dad passed away I started enjoying Bible studies. Thanks to these Bible studies, I was able to ask my dad to accept Jesus into his heart, and he did. Right after that, he passed away, but I was at peace - God had answered my prayer for my dad. 

Since then, my life changed completely. In 2009, I began teaching the Bible to students at ECC; one time, I served even 20 Bible studies a week. And disciples began to grow. When I saw one of the disciples I served married last year, I felt like a proud father that day. In 2015, I was given a direction to lose weight; at that time, I was 400 pounds. I was actually given this direction before but because of the way I used to see things, I did not listen. But after experiencing God much more personally, I was determined that I would obey. It was hard at times, I wanted to complain about everything that was going on, I just wanted to shout. But I didn’t, instead I struggled to listen, and God's power worked on my mortal body powerfully. I came to lose weight so rapidly that in about a year, I lost 200 lbs. The change was so dramatic that I still have a hard time graspingwhat he has done. Also during that time, I got married to a strong woman of God who has loved me unconditionally. I am now half the man I used to be and I feel like I am getting younger and younger every year. Even at my job, on Thursday I have a two hour lunch break, and during that time I go to campus and teach. After work instead of going home I go to bible studies and teach. My whole life has become about teaching others about Jesus, this was really the total opposite of how I was living in the world. In the world I was lonely, abandoned and was dying of thirst. But now I have a church filled with brothers and sisters who love me, I have a mission that God has prepared for me, I have a new life that I am no longer thirsty. God has saved me from death. I praise God for this new life that I am now living, and I pray that I will  struggle to do what is right all the days of my life so that I can make him happy


One word: Living Water Welling Up To Eternal Life