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ANOTHER FLOCK, #24

"There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (JOH 4:7-10)

Our Saviour’s need to go through Samaria (as we find in verse 4, "And he must needs go through Samaria") confirms that it was not a mere coincidence that Jesus, "wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well." (JOH 4:6) The Lord Jesus Christ, in His human nature, had all the same faculties as any human nature. He became weary, hungry, tired, and He suffered in His soul. He had a human nature that was in all respects the same as ours. It was not a mere coincidence that He came at exactly that hour, that He became weary, and that He sat "thus on the well," in His weariness of His journey. This was within the divine providing of God for a specific purpose.

You and I need to learn that there isn’t one thing in this world that ever happens by chance. There is no such thing as a coincidence. I attended a funeral not long ago of a man who had died by overturning a snowmobile. The man in the pulpit said, "I want you to understand, this was not an accident. The Lord has no accidents. This was of the Lord’s providing. It was the Lord’s time, and it was in the timing of the Lord that He took this man away."

There is no such thing as "luck." Have you ever had somebody say, "Good luck"? I’ve heard that many a time, and my response is, "I don’t believe in luck." I believe that everything that takes place in this world is of God’s sending. The Lord’s design is all-encompassing, to such an extent that there isn’t one hair that falls from your head without His will and His decree. The Lord, in His decree, had sent Jesus to sit "thus on the well." He was weary, tired, and He was thirsty.

God’s will was that these hated Samaritans should receive the gospel from the very lips of His own dear Son. He sent His own dear Son to sit upon that well that He might, in His weary, hungry, tired, and thirsty condition, be there to ask a drink of this Samaritan woman. That was of God’s sending. The Lord, in His Providence, was sending the gospel unto a nation - unto a hated nation, a nation that was utterly detested and hated by the Jews. The Jews would not stoop so far as to be willing to accept a favor from a Samaritan.

Can you imagine why this Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me?" Not only was He willing to accept a favor from a Samaritan, He was willing to ask for it. The Lord Jesus told the Jews in JOH 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold...": that are not of the nation of Israel. He has another flock; He has other sheep, and they are of the Gentiles. What a blessed message that is for you and me. You and I are not of the nation of Israel. We are of the Gentiles; what a blessing to know that the Lord Jesus had another flock that was from the Gentiles and that "other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring."

The Lord must needs go through Samaria because He had another flock and that was a flock from the Gentile nations that He was also going to bring into His kingdom. He said, "them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." He’s going to take away the distinction between Jew and Gentile, bond or free, male or female; in the eyes of the Lord, they’re all one. The Lord looks at His people all in the same light: they’re all lost, hell-deserving sinners, and He came to bring that blessed message of the gospel to each and every one where they were in their station in life.

He didn’t say this Samaritan woman had to leave her adultery, that she had to leave all of her things of this life, and that she had to come to a certain sense of conversion before she could now come into the presence of the King. She didn’t have to rely on some ambassador or pray to some saint to get to Jesus. Jesus came down to where she was. He came to sit-thirsty, hungry, weary-upon the well. He came to where He could identify with her feelings. She was thirsty, coming to that well. He could so intimately relate to exactly where she was, and He came down to her so she could hear His voice.

We see how, in God’s Providence, the prophetic language of the Messiah was being fulfilled. We read in ISA 65:1. That which was prophesied was being fulfilled to the letter. "I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name." That woman didn’t come to the well seeking for Jesus. She came to the well in her normal course of life. She went there to get herself a pitcher of water. He said, "I am found of them that sought me not." She was not seeking the Lord Jesus Christ, yet in God’s Providence, she came there and found the Messiah.

This is the marvelous wonder of God’s grace. Those who weren’t asking for Him are finding him. The nation of Israel was the congregation of the Lord, but He says,, "I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name." Isn’t this what happened here? "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (JOH 4:10) Jesus is revealing Himself unto a woman who is living in sin, in open adultery: a woman who has made no profession of any Christianity at all. He’s saying, "Behold me, behold me," bringing the eye of faith to be fixed upon the blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, "unto a nation that was not called by my name," that other flock besides the Jewish nation.

Our Saviour’s salvation is not only unmerited by any good works, but it is unsought after by nature. Did you know that every sinner that comes unto the Lord Jesus Christ is drawn by the Spirit of God? Our Lord brings it about in His Providence. He brings it about in His love. He draws us and brings us, in His Providence, to the exact place where He reveals the Lord Jesus Christ unto us in His Word. We read in ROM 3:11, "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."

In our natural condition, you and I will not seek after God. We are so content with the things we have in this life. We’re so filled with bitterness and hatred - so - that we have no desire for the knowledge of His ways. I talked to a lady just yesterday, and her mind was so filled with bitterness and hatred. I tried to reason with her and said, "If only you would stop looking at people and lift your eyes unto the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be a hope for finding the joy of salvation." She said, "When I’m mad, I don’t care!" That’s where you and I are by nature. She didn’t care if she brought herself to hell: she was mad. That’s quite a state of mind, but you realize that it says in ROM 3:11, "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."

It isn’t until the Holy Spirit grants the grace of a new attitude and a new desire by the washing of regeneration, that you and I have any desire to look unto Christ, that we have any desire for Living Water. God’s Word teaches this same principle throughout Scripture. JOH 15:16 says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." Have you heard people say, "Why don’t you make your choice for the Lord?" I can’t find that in the Bible. He has chosen you! "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."

The Lord comes with His gracious Spirit in the hearts of those whom He has chosen from eternity. The Lord brings those under the proclamation of His Word through His Providence. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (ROM 10:17) That word faith, as taken from the original Greek, means "persuasion." We become persuaded, "and [persuasion]...cometh by the word of God." It is when the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God in our heart that we become persuaded. The authority of the Word arrests God’s people! Do you know what it means to put people under arrest? You are apprehending them. You lay your hands upon them and put them under arrest. That’s how the Lord Jesus brings His people into the fold. They are put under arrest. They are arrested and apprehended while they’re in their mad career of sin.

Notice, this woman of Samaria was not turning from her sin and doing things to make herself acceptable to the Lord Jesus Christ. While she was in her sin, while she was yet a sinner, the Lord Jesus came and apprehended her. He constrained her by His love and moved upon her heart irresistibly. He arrested her mind. She was no longer free to go on and live in sin. Do you know why? The Holy Spirit came within her heart and gave her new desires. She was brought under arrest into subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. She was no longer free. She became a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. She was brought into subjection by the powerful grace of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Paul was on the way to Damascus in his mad career of persecuting the church. ACT 9:2-4 says, "And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"

This was how he was placed under arrest! "And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? [His surrender under the Lordship of Christ was unconditional.] And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." (ACT 9:5-6)

See what the Apostle Paul says about this in PHI 3:12. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." He is a minister of the gospel. He wants to be the servant of Christ to apprehend sinners as "I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." The Lord Jesus puts us under arrest. It isn’t that you and I walk the aisle and say that we’ve accepted Jesus and now we’re saved. It is a work of grace in the soul. It is when the Holy Spirit comes upon our heart. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (PHI 2:13)

The Lord has no pleasure in your serving Him out of compulsion. If you’re going to serve Him because you’re scared of hell, your service to the Lord is not acceptable. The Lord wants you and me to serve Him out of one motive: that it is our chief desire and greatest delight to do His will because our minds and attitudes have been transformed by the Holy Spirit.

The Lord Jesus came and arrested the woman at the well. Our Saviour arrested the attention of one who sought Him not. This adulterous woman did not come there seeking the Lord Jesus Christ, but He arrested one that sought Him not. This was also true of the idolatrous Abraham. Did you know that Abraham was an idolatrous man? He served idols - Abraham, the father of the faithful. Abraham, throughout Scripture, is set forth as the type of the church of God. He was serving idols before the Lord arrested him.

These things are established in JOS 24:2-3. "And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. [They were serving idols.] And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac." It doesn’t say Abraham chose. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."

The Lord took Abraham and arrested him. He came with His Holy Spirit into his heart and enabled him to see the sinfulness of idolatry. He enabled him to serve the living God. This is the gift of God. This must not lead to the false conclusion that the sinner is therefore not responsible to obey the commandments, based on ROM 3:28, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." There are many people who would reason that therefore we have no obligation to observe the commandments, that we can live in sin that grace may abound. That’s not what this is teaching.

What this means is the deeds of the law merit nothing. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to serve the Lord, but the merit is in the blood of Jesus Christ. It is only by the blood of Jesus Christ offered as an act of perfect humble obedience that our salvation was purchased. We’re "justified by faith without the deeds of the law."

That woman of Samaria, living in open sin, was justified by faith, but the instant the Lord arrested her, she turned from her sin. That’s not a license to live in sin. The question is answered in the context to show that faith without works is dead. Look at ROM 3:31. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." How do we establish the law by faith? When we become persuaded, "Faith comes by hearing": our persuasion comes by hearing the Word of God, and we establish the law. We find it our greatest delight to do what the law requires. We’re not doing it to merit anything. Doing the law is the fruit of salvation. It is our evidence that we have been saved from sin. Can you say you’ve been saved from sin and continue to live in sin? No. Faith establishes the law.

The secret will of God gives no liberty to violate His revealed will. In the secret will of God, He had chosen this woman of Samaria from eternity. He met her at the well in her sin; He sent salvation while she was the chiefest of sinners. I have heard DEU 29:29 quoted many, many times throughout my life. "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever...."

The only problem was that the whole verse wasn’t quoted and the crucial part was left off. I never knew until I began studying Scripture that it wasn’t being fully quoted. I’ve talked to a number of pastors. I asked them if they’d heard that verse before? "Oh, yes, thousands of times." I asked, "Then what’s the rest of it?" The answer every time was "Well, that’s it, isn’t it?"

I found not one pastor that even knew there was more to it. See the danger of taking God’s Word out of context. See what the rest of the verse says. "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (DEU 29:29)

Why are the secret things held from us? The Lord isn’t going to reveal His decree in election, from eternity, because then we would live in sin. He says, "but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children." What are the revealed things? They are His will: loving your neighbor as yourself, and observing and doing all His commandments. He does not reveal His secret will unto you and me so that we may observe and do His revealed will. There is a secret will and a revealed will.

Do you govern your life by the secret will of God saying, "Well, if I’m one of the elect, I’m going to go to heaven, and if I’m not, then I’m going to go to hell," thereby justifying a life in sin? That’s being governed by the secret will of God. He has His secret will that we may both observe and do His revealed will. Our Saviour’s revealed will is predominantly taught as the law of the gospel.

JOH 3:14-15 says, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." The Son of Man is lifted up as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness. When was that? It was after they felt the sting of sin. They were commanded to look unto that brazen serpent and live. As they obeyed, they lived. Do you see the revealed will? The revealed will is, look and live. It’s while we obey that the miracle is performed. Do you see why we have to govern by the revealed will of God and not by His secret will?

This woman's coming at the sixth hour was no coincidence. There are no coincidences with the Lord. Six is the number of a man, as we see in REV 13:18. She came to Christ in the sixth hour, meaning in her fallen, natural condition: there was yet no work of grace, no thought of eternity, there was no desire for salvation. When she came and found Jesus sitting "thus on the well," weary in His journey, it was in the sixth hour.

When it says that she came in the sixth hour, it is also indicating that the Lord had an exact time. I may have a child, or you may have a friend, relative or child, that you see walking in sin, and you cannot understand why they do not heed the gospel, any warnings, or anything you may say to them. Later in life, in the way of God’s Providence, He brings them into the exact circumstances for His occasion to save them (as He did with this woman), when it’s His time. When it was His time, the door of her heart was opened, and the light of the gospel entered in.

Sometimes that is late in life, at the eleventh hour, as with the thief on the cross. It can be in our early life. I believe the Lord gave me His Spirit when I was such a young child that I can’t remember back far enough when I didn’t have Him, but that’s not so with everybody. Some people are left to live in sin like this woman of Samaria until their mid-life, until later in their years, but the Lord has His exact time.

For her, the Lord’s time was the sixth hour. It was the exact time, when she came with her pitcher, that the Lord used in His Providence, His timing. In His Providence, He’ll bring circumstances for the exact situation that He’s going to use for our salvation.

It was no coincidence that the Midianites were passing by just when Joseph’s brothers were plotting to kill him. They had already agreed that they were going to kill him and see what would become of his dreams. GEN 37:28 says, "Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt." It was no coincidence that they were heading for Egypt, because that’s where the Lord wanted Joseph. The Lord wanted Joseph to be in prison in Egypt; there he could go from prison to the throne. Thereby the Lord had decreed to use Joseph to preserve the life of Israel and his children.

The Lord’s Providence is timed to the split second. We learn to see this if we learn to understand what it is to serve the Lord. We can come into such an urgent need and have no thought how the Lord will send deliverance. I felt, when I was going through litigation, that the Lord promised me He would provide. Sometimes, it was very trying. One time I needed $35,000.00 at the end of the month, and didn’t know where I’d get it. The Lord never failed me and I was able to pay every dollar I owed at the end of every month. What happened? One of my trucks got into an accident. The truck was totaled and it wasn’t insured. That certainly didn’t seem to me the Lord’s way to supply $35,000.00 to pay a bill.

I brought that truck home to my own shop, and the insurance adjuster for the man who took my truck head-on came and paid me $40,000.00. I was able, in my own shop, to put the truck back on the road for $5,000.00 by using used parts. The Lord provided $35,000.00 by the end of that month. He brings deliverance in ways that we know not. Was it coincidence that that truck got in an accident? No. Was it coincidence that the Lord used that to provide? No.

It was of the Lord’s Providence that King Ahasuerus couldn’t sleep one night. They read the chronicles to him and found out that Mordecai had done something to save the King’s life. "And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him." (EST 6:4) King Ahasuerus ordered Haman to go out and proclaim before Mordecai, "Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour." Mordecai did not hang on those gallows: Haman hung on his own gallows. JOH 4:7 says, "There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water," but she had no thought that she came to the hour which the Lord had sent to arrest her in her way of sin.

Our blessed Saviour, in the way of His Father’s wise Providence, was "wearied with his journey, [and] sat thus on the well [at that exact time of day]: and it was about the sixth hour." The Lord’s timing was so precise. Jesus, in His human nature, was intimately acquainted with her frailties. He was sitting there "thus": weary and hungry. He saw a woman that came to a well, weary of sin, burdened with her sin. In His human nature, He could so intimately understand her.

Jesus was there to overcome her prejudices. He was there to subdue Satan’s reign in her life, and to establish His own throne within her heart. He said unto her, "Give me to drink." See how blessed this is. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to guard his reputation. He didn’t want to be seen talking to Jesus, but we behold our blessed Lord Jesus openly speaking with this harlot at high noon. PHI 2:6-7 says, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation [He didn’t try to guard His reputation, afraid that He would be seen talking to such an ungodly sinner.], and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."

One of the most degrading accusations that the Pharisees could make against Jesus was, "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." (LUK 15:2b) What is more precious in the gospel today - for you and me - than that blasphemous accusation they tried to bring against our Saviour? He "receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." He didn’t try to guard His reputation. He was willing to come out at high noon and to be seen there with that woman. We see Jesus sitting alone with a poor sinner, settling the great question of eternal consequences. So what does He do?

First, He opens her understanding with a look at herself. That’s how the Lord will deal with you and me. The first thing in the will of God’s grace is that He enables us to see our- selves as unclean sinners. Until we learn to see the malady of sin, we feel no need for a physician and see no beauty in a Saviour.

"Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly." (JOH 4:16-18) There she stood: every sin that she had ever committed was naked and open before the eyes of a stranger (He was still a stranger). There she stood, totally transparent. He said, "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband," but she still didn’t know Christ. She was still talking to a Jew whom she now recognized as some kind of prophet.

 

Secondly, Jesus reveals Himself unto her. "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he." (JOH 4:25-26)

We first learn to understand what we are as a sinner. Then we learn to see the blessedness in the atonement of Christ and how He came to save us from our sins. We learn the blessedness that there is in Christ, but we’ll never understand that until we learn our need of Him.

The dealings of our blessed Saviour with this Samaritan prostitute are such a beautiful picture of how "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." This is such a beautiful picture of how He will receive you and me. Tenderly, patiently, Jesus led this woman step by step. Christ did not use Mount Sinai to drive her to Himself.

He was touching the cords of her heart: the cords of love. He was making those cords, which had become so dead, vibrate again. Those cords of love died in Paradise, in mankind’s fall. He was making them begin to vibrate, searching her conscience, awakening her soul to see her deep need to be delivered from the power of sin. He gave her the ability to see the sinfulness of sin. He enabled her to see sin in its true light.

The first thing our Saviour did was to reveal her wrong attitude toward her neighbour by humbling Himself. See the condescension of Christ. The Jews would not accept a favor from a person of Samaria. He humbles Himself to ask her for a drink of water, for a cup of cold water. "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me?" (JOH 4:9) He’s showing her wrong attitude toward her neighbor. The Jews hate you, but you must not hate them.

Have you had people that hated and detested you? Can you give them a cup of cold water? Can you come to them and treat them with love? Can you heap coals of love on their heads to try to melt their bitter attitudes? Or do you return hatred for hatred? The first lesson she had to learn was to acquire a right attitude by giving such a hateful Jew (as they all were considered, by nature) a cup of cold water. Verse 9 continues, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."

Do you see how her wrong attitude had to be adjusted? Even though she knew the Jews detested the Samaritans, this was no reason to have the mind and attitude of a Jew. The Lord Jesus tells us in PHI 2:5. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Christ was willing to condescend and show love to her. Should she then be filled with prejudices? Should she let these old prejudices separate her from Him? He asked her for a cup of cold water. Even though the Jews thought it beneath their dignity to accept a favour from a Samaritan, Jesus was willing to condescend so low as to become a beggar. He came to beg a favour of this Samaritan harlot. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Are you going to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ?

The first word Jesus spoke to her was "Give"! Did you know that "give" is beggar’s language? If I come to you and say, "Loan me," that’s not quite a beggar asking, "Would you please give me....?" "Give me a cup of cold water." He didn’t say to her, "Sell me a cup of cold water. Here are so many dollars, and I’ll buy." No. "Give me." It immediately calls the attention of the sinner to Himself under the law of love.

We read in MAT 25:37 and 40, "Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Sometimes the person that has hated you, the person that from your heart you have hated and detested, might be the very one that Jesus is talking of here. The command is under the law of love: "Give a cup of cold water." Not whether they deserve it or not. They are thirsty and weary. They are weary in their journey, and you give them a cup of cold water. If your enemy is hungry, you feed him. If your enemy is thirsty, you give him to drink. This is the lesson Jesus taught the woman at the well. This is the lesson that is there for you and me.

Our blessed Saviour’s use of beggar’s language, "Give me to drink," revealed her unregenerate state of mind. COL 1:21 says, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled." You and I, by nature, are alienated. What does it mean to be alienated: you’re a citizen of the United States, you move to Canada and give up your citizenship, and become a Canadian citizen. You have alienated yourself from the United States. We have broken away from citizenship in His kingdom and become citizens of Satan’s kingdom and sin. We have alienated ourselves by becoming enemies in our minds. This is where the Samaritan woman was. She was an enemy in her mind. She had a wrong attitude, and she revealed it "by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."

How does He reconcile to Himself? By making your mind come in subjection to His will. The law of God demands that we love Him above all, and our neighbour as ourselves, but what man, besides the God-Man, ever did this to perfection? You and I will never, in perfection, love our neighbor as ourselves. LUK 18:27 says, "And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Our Saviour had to become very man. He had to be able to be tempted. He had to be able to hunger and thirst and become tired and grieve and mourn to be able to be our Substitute. The oxen and the lambs that were offered on the altars were never a true substitute for a human being. To be a true substitute, Jesus had to be capable in our human nature of sinning. He also had to be capable of hungering so that He did not yield to temptation; He knew no sin, He was spared as the Godhead and preserved. He was thereby able, to reveal the perfect image of the Father in our human nature. Then He became our perfect Substitute, and what was impossible with men is possible with Him.

This principle is what Jesus proceeded to teach this sinful woman. JOH 4:10 says, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." There’s something that is unique and beautiful. He didn’t say, "And if you knew all the doctrines, and if you knew all this, and if you knew all that...." He said, "If thou knewest the gift of God." What is necessary? It is to learn to know Christ. If you knew "who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him...."

I want you to stop and ponder: He asked. The Lord Jesus says, "Give me to drink." He said that if she knew who He was, then she would ask. To Nicodemus, He referred to the serpent, a symbol of looking unto Christ. See how the Lord leads each one in a different direction. He directed her to ask, and she would receive living water.

In JOH 4:15, notice that the woman obeyed. She "saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not." What was the first thing that happened? The veil over her eyes was removed, and she received grace. He revealed to her who she was and her need of a Saviour. As soon as she asked for living waters, there is a recognition that she needed cleansing, and the living water is for cleansing.

When the Holy Spirit works the new birth, what is it but by the Spirit and of water? We need cleansing with the washing of the water of the Word. When she obeyed, the miracle took place. Her eyes were opened, and she saw what a sinner she was. She saw her need of Christ. The next thing she asked was who He was.

It was by no means a coincidence that Jesus was alone with this woman. JOH 4:8 says, "(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)" They were gone; the Lord Jesus and the woman were alone.

This presents a blessed principle of the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John is unique in this: it reveals Jesus as God manifest in the flesh. It reveals the Lord Jesus as the Eternal Word; it reveals Him as the Creator of all things and the revealer of the mind of the Father, yet none of the other gospels have revealed Jesus alone with a poor sinner.

We see Jesus alone with a proud pharisaical Nicodemus in JOH 3. We see Him alone with a Samaritan woman in JOH 4. We see Him alone with the woman taken in adultery in JOH 8:9-10. We see Him alone with the man whose eyes He had opened in JOH 9:35. In each of these instances, we see the Lord Jesus alone with a sinner.

This reveals a very important principle of the gospel: alone with Christ is where the sinner must come to be. So many people want the pastor to pray for them. Many people want this or that person, whom they esteem highly, to be with them. On the Judgment Day, you’re going to stand alone before Jesus! Do you know what we need to do? We need to learn what it is to be alone with Christ: no person, nor anything between! We come to be alone with Christ. That includes our families, our possessions: anything and everything. We have to come to where there’s nothing between us and Christ. We are alone with Christ.

Aware of the extreme antagonism, the Samaritan woman expressed her amazement that Jesus, whom she perceived as a Jew, would ask a favour of a Samaritan. She was aware of this antagonism between the Jews and the Samaritans. JOH 4:9 tells us, "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."

This word how ("How is it") is found as the immediate response of the Pharisee in JOH 3:4. "Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" There are many contrasts between these two people, but there is one similarity they both have, coming from the same impulse: their first reaction was unbelief! That’s how you and I are by nature. We hear the gospel. We see the love of the Father revealed in giving His own Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The first reaction is unbelief.

With the proud Pharisee, Jesus manifested Himself as the truth to break down his hypocritical pride. The Samaritan adulteress was met with grace to meet her deep need of deliverance from the power of sin. When the truth of God in all its majesty and authority is placed before us, it is met with, "HOW?" Have you noticed that? You can hear one of the most blessed sermons, go home, and ask yourself, "How can that be mine?" That’s the response of unbelief that’s automatic in a natural state. When the grace of God, in all its sweetness and tenderness, is unfolded to our view, our response is "HOW?"

Until Christ is evidently set before our eye of faith, our poor, unbelieving heart will always turn to human reasoning. Our human heart will never be able to lay hold of Christ by faith. Faith is a gift of God. Our blessed Saviour is ever ready to give when we are ready to take the beggar’s station. That’s the missing element: that our heart is not properly humble, so that we’re willing to use a beggar’s language.

JOH 4:10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."

He says that when you have gotten your eye fixed on Christ and learned to see the blessedness of the grace of Christ, then you would ask, "and he would have given thee." It is the ability to come into that beggar’s station that is needed for grace to operate. Jesus had condescended to take the beggar’s place. "Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink," but what we need is. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (PHI 2:5) What was that? It was that He humbled Himself; He condescended to ask a favor of a Samaritan. By nature we are too proud to ask to be refreshed by the King of kings.

Our problem by nature is found in COL 1:21. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works...." That is what separates us from Christ: that alienation of our minds. We have to beg the Lord to give us a right attitude, a new heart, so that we are renewed in the spirit of our minds. This alienation must be removed before we will come to understand "how" this can be: that we’re reconciled with Him.

That enmity of our minds has to be removed. When we become reconciled in our minds, we will learn to understand "how" this is "by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (ROM 12:1) This comes through in ROM 12:2. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." How important is it that we get our attitudes straightened out? If we can slight the least of God’s commandments, then we have attitudes of indignant rebellion against the authority of the lawgiver. We have to regard His will as our highest and our chiefest delight.

Verse 2 continues: "...but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." That’s what’s needed: that we come to the point that we are unconditionally surrendered to the perfect will of God. JOH 4:10 says, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (JOH 4:10) If our hearts become so filled with riddles that our great question is "how," the answer is if "thou wouldest have asked of him...he would have given thee living water." Amen


These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion. See also our sermon notes.

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