This sermon I will be preaching, Lord willing, November 7th, a Wednesday.
JOHN PART 11
IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH
INTRO: Last time we introduced the story of Jesus and the woman it the well. This woman was a Samaritan woman, which after looking through the history between the Samaritans and the Jews, we saw that there was over 500 years of racial tension between the two. Jesus stops at Jacob’s well, outside of Sychar, and the woman approaches to draw water. Jesus introduces the concept of living water, which confuses the woman, like being born again confused Nicodemus in Chapter 3.
We now continue in this conversation between Jesus and this Samaritan woman.
1. Jesus brings the woman into the matter.
John 4:15-18 ESV – The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (16) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
First off, the woman’s response shows that she is still missing the point. She took the words of Jesus literally – meaning that she was thinking of a literal water that would permanently quench and literal physical thirst, and then she wouldn’t have to come everyday to draw water from this well. Drawing water from the well was very hard work, I doubt if us men could do what those women did in those days. They would take trips to the well at least twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening, and carry those heavy jars of water home. You can still see how they do it even now in some documentaries. They would balance it on their head with their hands on either side of the jar and carry it.
Jesus calls for her husband (v. 16). Suddenly, Jesus changes the subject. He has been speaking of living water, and the woman totally misunderstood what He was talking about. Now, he abruptly changes the subject and tell the woman to bring her husband. Why does He do this: I think for two reasons. First, He wants to show her that she has a need. He wants to make her realize and come face to face with the fact that she is a sinner and that she needs a Savior. You see, she can only understand what Jesus was truly saying by lovingly exposing her sin to her here. You see, He has been telling her about living water, now He is about to make her thirsty for it. He is going to tell her about her life, and point out her need. I believe the second reason that Jesus brings up this subject of the woman’s lifestyle is that He wants to demonstrate that He is fully able to provide for her need.
The woman admits to a half-truth, “I have no husband,” (v. 17a). I want you to notice something here that may explain her mindset when Jesus said this. In v. 15 she answers Jesus with “sir”. This was a respectful way to answer Him. In v. 17 she doesn’t answer sir, but it looks to me her answer was rather abrupt, “I have no husband.” I’m sure she was taken back by Jesus question and she was wondering where He was going with this line of questioning now. So she answers short and too the point.
Jesus reveals the true condition of her life (vv. 17-18). The woman by answering Jesus rather short is trying to hide behind a mask. She has given a portion of the truth, but she is evading the whole truth. And in just a few words, Jesus reveals the condition of her life and heart. He strips away the mask. I also want you to notice that Jesus did not call her a liar, or expose her sin in a brash, unloving way. He actually affirmed her truthfulness (v. 17a). Although Jesus did not expose her sin in a condemning way, neither did He excuse her sin either. He brings it out in the open. Notice the word Your (v. 18). That is a very interesting word in the Greek. It literally means, “to take something from someone else and claim it as your own.” In other words, this word, “your,” leaves us the picture that not only was the man she was living with not her husband, it was more than likely someone else’s husband. Notice something else here about Jesus. He did not condemn this woman and tell her what a terrible sinner she was. By Him revealing this truth about her, it would bring conviction. She new she was doing wrong. I also want you to notice something else here. Jesus didn’t tell her to quite the lifestyle. Why is this? Ultimately the lifestyle is not the issue, but Jesus Himself is the issue. Once you receive live through Him, He will clean you up and change your lifestyle. We can’t expect people to change their lifestyle before they come to Jesus. It is after they accept Him, and they become disciples of Christ that lifestyle changes are produced.
This woman’s ultimate need is to receive Jesus as her Messiah. Because of this fact, Jesus now moves to reveal Himself to her as the promised Messiah.
2. The woman changes the subject.
John 4:19-24 ESV – The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” (21) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. (23) But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. (24) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Just like Jesus earlier, the woman changes the subject. The difference was Jesus changed the subject to expose the woman’s need for Him. She changes the subject to avoid the guilt of the revelation of her lifestyle. Many times when people’s sins and lifestyles are exposed, they try to often change the subject, why? To avoid the guilt and conviction.
Notice she goes back to respect. “Sir.” She also acknowledges that Jesus is a prophet. But her change in the subject matter is into a subject that always brings debate – religion. More wars are fought, blood spilt, and splits in families occur over religion than any other subject. Here this woman is bringing this subject up. This will get the attention off of her and onto matters of disagreement.
The worship difference between the Samaritans and Jews (v. 20). The Samaritans has been worshipping on Mount Gerizim for hundreds of years. Remember, in the time of Nehemiah, they were not allowed to participate in the rebuilding of the Temple because they were of mixed race. Because of this they built there own temple on Mount Gerizim. She tries to bring division here. By saying, “our Fathers, and You say,” she is exposing the religious difference. I’m sure that this woman expected Jesus to get into a long religious dissertation about why the Jews were right and the Samaritans were wrong. People will often do that today. They will say, “what about the person in the Amazon who has never heard the gospel, or what about the Moslem who is sincere in their faith.” The truth of the matter, they are not concerned about the person from the Amazon nor about the Moslem, they are just trying to get the attention off of them. By doing that, they are trying to throw up smokescreens. Jesus does not allow smokescreens, either from this woman or people today. Notice how He answers her.
And unexpected answer (v. 21). Both Jews and Samaritans where convinced that they way they worshiped was correct and right in God’s eyes. But Jesus pointed to a new realm – not on Mount Gerizim, nor in Jerusalem, but in the Spirit of God.
Exposing flawed worship (v. 22a). The worship of the Samaritan’s had come about out of a rejection of God’s Word. You see, they only accepted the Torah, the first 5 books of Moses, not the Tanakh – the rest of the Old Testament. And because of this, God was considered by them impersonal, rather than personal.
Revealing the heritage of the Jews (v. 22b). The Jews had the full revelation of God (the entire Old Testament) and thereby knew what the Scriptures fully said about worshiping God. Salvation is from the Jews means that the Messiah would come from the Jewish race according to the Old Testament Scriptures.
Genesis 49:10 ESV – The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Jesus reveals the true worshipers of God (vv. 23-24). True worship is not about the place you worship, but in who you worship and the how. The how of Spirit and Truth according to the context.
Spirit – This is seen in contrast to worshiping in a place like Mount Gerizim or Jerusalem. It is not the outward location that is going to be important, but the inner relationship with God. It will not be the physical modes of worship, but the spiritual which God will accept.
Truth – This contrast the error of the Samaritans. They only worship in part because they refused to accept the full revelation of God in the Old Testament. They had good intentions and sincerity, but that was not enough. Good intentions and sincerity are never substitutes for truth. Jesus His saying I believe we are to worship God according to how He has revealed Himself – which is found in His word.
What a great privilege and benefit we Christians have. We have the full revelation of God – the Old and New Testaments. They reveal the person and character of God and we can worship Him according to the way He is revealed.
God is also spirit. Jesus reveals that God is not confined to physical locations like Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim. And because of this, God can be worshiped any place we lift up His name.
CONCL: We often do the same thing as this woman did. We think God is a Pentecostal, a Charismatic, a Baptist, a Methodist, Republican, and Democrat, and all those things.
The fact of the matter is God is Spirit. He is higher than what we try to place Him as. So when we worship Him, we must worship Him according to His word, not confined to a placed or pre-conceived notions, but spirit and truth.