THE SINNER'S CONTINUING OBJECTIONS, #25
"The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?" (JOH 4:11)
Our Saviour had told her in the previous verse, "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," but instead of asking, she raised objections. The disciples of the Lord Jesus asked Him for teaching, as we read in LUK 11:1. "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
This teaching did not necessarily mean how to use certain words; what is more important is what we pray for. Should it be our first impulse to pray that we escape the consequences of sin and go to heaven? No, we need to know what to pray for, that we may pray within the will of God. We must ask to know Christ and have faith to look unto Him. As He told this woman, if she had known who it was that was speaking with her and the gift of God, she would have asked. What we need to ask first and primarily is that we receive wisdom to understand what to ask for, that we may understand what the gift of God is.
As we begin to consider the subject matter of our text, it brings to our attention how this sinful womans nature is representative of the human race, which has fallen into sin. It represents man in his fallen state. As we consider the text and her continuing objections, notice that she first objected by saying that He was a Jew, and how was it that He would talk to her, a Samaritan, knowing that they didnt have any dealings together? He told her about the living water, but she continued with her objections.
By nature we are filled with objections. There is always a reason we cant come to Christ, always something that stands between us in the way of unbelief.
As evident in the history of this woman before us, see that Christ is always first. It wasnt the woman that sought out Christ; Christ sought her out. Christ is first in the way of repentance and salvation. "Jesus saith unto her"; not "She saith unto Him." Hes the one that broke the silence. He is the one that broke the barrier. He was knocking on the door of her heart.
He said, "Give me to drink." Give me a cup of cold water. The Lord, in His Providence, brings you and me into circumstances that reveal whats in our hearts. What we have cultivated there becomes clear. He asked her to give Him a cup of cold water, which immediately revealed the prejudice against Him in her heart because He was a Jew. "How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me?" By asking for a cup of cold water, He revealed what was in her heart. Sometimes when the Lord asks you and I to make a sacrifice ever so small, it immediately reveals our attitude. It immediately reveals whats in our heart, and then the Lord starts to deal with our attitude.
Thats how the new birth takes place. We first have our attitude revealed to enable us to see our sinful nature. As this is being revealed, He starts to deal with this sinful nature. He shows us where our attitude is wrong and what it ought to be. We see the continuing objections: "Oh, I know I should love that brother, but he look what he did!" Theres always something that stands between. We arent able to get over the obstacles and start looking unto Christ, seeing what Christ did for us, and how small our brothers debt to us is in comparison with what we owe Christ, a debt He forgave us. These obstacles have to be overcome.
This love which finds its beginning in eternity is what we read of in 1JO 4:10. It is an eternal love, and the fountain of that love is not in us. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." He sent His own Son to appease His wrath upon our sins. That is the meaning of propitiation: we see the appeasing of Gods wrath upon our sin as the fountain of His love, not ours.
This woman is the representative of our human nature outside of grace, demonstrating how the Father is first in removing all obstacles that stand in the way of our salvation. His eternal love is the sole moving force of the "Wind" spoken of by our Saviour in JOH 3:8. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
Not only did our Saviour take the first initiative to speak to this sinful woman, but Jesus only asked for a cup of cold water. The request revealed her attitude, which is the first thing that takes place when God begins to work grace in our heart: He starts to reveal our sinful attitudes. He reveals to us what is separating us from God, and that is our rebellious nature. In His condescension and long-suffering love, Jesus responded by directing her eyes away from self and unto the "gift of God." Her immediate response was, "being a Jew," thou art asking drink of a woman of Samaria? He immediately condescends to direct her eyes away from this prejudice and to lift up the "gift of God...and who it is."
Jesus is drawing her eye away from that prejudice to look unto Him as a Mediator, not as a Jew. He says, "if thou wouldest have asked." Hes asked of her; if only she wouldve asked of Him. We read about this "gift of God" in ROM 6:23. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." When we keep our eye on prejudice and a hateful spirit, its death, but when our eye is turned unto the "gift of God," theres eternal life because thats what we obtain through Jesus Christ.
This "gift of God," eternal life, is to be received only by asking. Its a free gift. Theres nothing you and I are going to do to merit it, but neither are we going to receive it without obeying. As we obey His directive to look unto Him, the miracle of grace is performed. The command is, "Ask." Are we too proud to ask? The Lord wants us to become humble beggars at His throne and in His Providence; if He loves us, He brings us there. He uses circumstances in providence and brings us become humble beggars. He will not cast His pearls before swine. You and I are not going to receive the gift of God to trample on; were going to receive it when we become aware of our need for it. When it becomes something that we yearn for, well prize it as the pearl of great price, and we will cherish it, not trample upon it. We must ask for it in faith.
See in JOH 4:10 where the Lord Jesus says, "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." This asking is a very important point. He wants us to become beggars and have a yearning and hungering desire for that gift. He wants us to ask with importunity.
The Lord tells us in LUK 11:5-7, "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee." See that humble asking, that asking with importunity.
Just because he was a friend was not enough to cause him to give that gift. What he needed was a more urgent message. Verse 8 says, "I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth." See the context in which our Saviour brought this message out. It was in the passage in which the disciples had said, "Lord teach us to pray." (LUK 11:1) The Lord is telling us not only that we must ask, but how to ask. If we want that gift of God we come with urgency. It becomes a case of life or death.
When a woman is in travail, something has to give. She either is going to be delivered, or she is going to die. This is what happens when you and I come into spiritual travail: you and I are either going to have deliverance, or were not going to live. We need deliverance, and the Lord wants us to come into spiritual travail. He wants us to come into the urgency of our need, so that we see that we must be delivered from the power of sin and self and be brought to that true gift.
As we view this in context and note that it followed the disciples prayer in Verse 1 ("Lord teach us to pray"), we see that Jesus not only taught them the Lords prayer (the perfect prayer), but went on to teach them the need of importunity and faith. Do you know what we have to do when we ask? We have to ask believing that we shall receive. Jesus said in MAT 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." We cannot ask knowing that it isnt going to happen. JAM 1:5-7 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
See how our Saviour shows that we must ask with importunity and faith, believing that what we ask, we shall receive. LUK 11:9-10 says, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you [We must ask in faith, believing that we shall receive.]; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
These continuing objections in our life keep coming between us and asking for this grace; there are always so many reasons we dont believe the Lord will do it. The Samaritan woman reasoned that Jesus didnt have a pail to draw with, and the well was too deep. We have to know that the Lord is telling us that if we ask, we shall receive.
When we understand the parental relationship between God and a sinner, it becomes the power that draws us to ask. Our blessed Saviour shows us the reason we will receive it. By what logic can you and I understand how to have the faith to believe that God will grant it?
Those of us who have children know what it is to see a child in dire need and to yearn to supply that need, especially if that child happens to be ill. Our heart yearns for that child; what can we do for that child? Our Saviour is calling this to our attention to illustrate the love of the Father and to show us that if you and I are evil yet know how to do good, how much more our Heavenly Father will grant His childrens prayers. He calls this parental relationship between us and God to our attention to give us the faith and the assurance to understand that He will grant everything we need.
See how the Lord starts appealing to our sense of logic. You and I must understand, when we come to pray, that we have to use our logic to understand why God will grant our prayers. The Lord says in ISA 1, "Come, let us reason together." He says "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? [will he give him something harmful instead of something thats good?] Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (LUK 11:11-13)
The Lord Jesus says, "Knock and it shall be opened, ask and ye shall receive," (LUK 11:9-10). He is calling on our logic to compare Gods heart to the heart of a father toward his child. Are you saying that our Heavenly Father would be less compassionate and less loving than you or me? When we come before our Father in heaven and lay our needs before His throne, were coming in the context of a parental relationship; were coming to Him as Father. This is why its so important that we understand the parental relationship between our Father and us.
The woman of Samaria is again such a perfect representation of sinners when Christ begins to draw them unto Himself. Instead of merely asking for grace, she falls into human reasoning. Isnt this true so often in our own hearts? We fall into human reasoning: "Yes, but what if but I havent had enough experiences how do I know if Im saved?" This human reasoning keeps us from turning our eye unto Christ.
JOH 4:11 says, "The woman saith thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep." She falls into human reasoning, and all these continuing objections stand between her and that perfect gift. Thats so representative of the sinner and how there is always this blindness and ignorance. When you and I have a problem that comes upon us in Gods Providence, do we realize who is speaking to us? Do we see the Lords hand in it? Does it immediately turn us to say, "Lord, I hear. What art thou saying?"
If thou knewest who it is that saith to thee, Look unto Me, you would realize the Saviour is knocking on door of your heart. When He brings us some type of a trial or affliction, some hardship, we immediately respond, "Yes, speak Lord, for thy servant heareth." Or do we start trying to reason it out in our own human understanding: "Well, I wonder?" We use human reasoning instead of turning to the Lord.
Theres such a beautiful illustration in REV 3:19-20. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." When we start experiencing that precious love of Christ in the way of a rebuke, in the way of His chastening hand, do we immediately hear Him knocking on our door? He says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. [Change your attitude.] Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
He said if the Samaritan woman knew whom it was that was talking to her, she would have asked for living water. When you have this chastening, these rebukes that the Lord is sending in your life, do you know who it is thats speaking to you? If you do, you will ask for living water. Then instead of trying to work things out with human reasoning, your heart will immediately turn unto the Lord and say, "Lord, speak, Thy servant heareth Thee! What is the sin that I need chastening for? Show me." You will come to the light that your deeds might be made manifest before God that your heart might be revealed and you might repent.
He says, "be zealous therefore, and repent." Then we start understanding what living water is used for the cleansing process. The Holy Spirit is working in our soul, cleansing us by the washing of regeneration, the renewing of the spirit of the mind (putting off the old man, putting on the new man). That is drinking from the living waters, but our fallen nature is such that we start with human reasoning instead. When the Lord comes with chastening or a rebuke, the first response of human nature is that we resort to human reasoning.
Isn't it true that we are all too often so self-centered and preoccupied with material things that we lose sight of our Saviour. We lose sight of His footsteps in the way of the cross. We lose sight of His chastening and rebuking hand, and we start walking according to the flesh instead of according to the Spirit. Isnt it true in our lives? Isnt this normally our first reaction? Dont you see how representative this is of a sinner?
In GAL 6:8 we read, "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption." When the Lord puts His hand upon us, and we strive with the problem in human reasoning, fighting it in our own strength, it only gets worse. We are sowing to the flesh, and it only brings corruption. Verse 8 continues, "but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
If you knew who it is thats talking to you, if you could hear the voice of Christ in your trial, if you could hear Him knocking on your door, youd open the door and let Him in. He said He would come in and sup with you. Do you see that blessed living water? GAL 6:9-10 says, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Christ revealed Himself as her Benefactor. He was the One who gives the "gift of God," but in her ignorance she said, "Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with." Have you thought about what He had to draw with? She said that He didnt have anything to draw with. See what He has to draw with in JOH 12:32. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
The serpent has a power of fascination. I personally have watched a serpent swallow a toad alive. When it looks into the eye of its victim, that power of fascination renders it helpless and its not able to move. Thats what Satan has: he has that power of fascination, and as long as our eye is fixed upon that eye of Satan, as long as our eye is fixed upon sin, we have no power against it. JOH 3:14 says that Christ is lifted up as that brazen serpent. He says in JOH 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up." We see the drawing power of our blessed Redeemer. Where does it lie? It lies in His bleeding, dying love.
"This he said, signifying what death he should die." (JOH 12:33) If He is lifted up, if we see the precious atonement of Christ and understand what love He has for such hell-deserving sinners, it has such a drawing power that there is nothing that can restrain it. There is not a person that can resist the drawing power of the grace of God when the blessed sacrifice of Christ is raised before the eye of faith. She said that He didnt have anything to draw with. Do you know why? She had her eye fixed on material things. Her eye was still fixed on that fascinating power of Satan. Her eye was not taken away from the things of time and sense and human reasoning. Her eye was not fixed on Christ. She didnt know who was talking to her. She didnt see in Gods Providence that He had brought her to this hour. She didnt see Christ lifted up.
It is so often that sinners do not understand the drawing power of Christs sacrifice and how the goodness of God leads us to repentance. If I were going to stand and crack the whip of the law with all the hell, damnation, and brimstone preaching, it would only drive people away from Christ. Preaching Christ, and Him crucified, is what draws the heart after Him. If I can lift Him up before your eyes, crucified on the cross for your sin, there is nothing else that has such a drawing power. Now He has something to draw with.
See what God says to a wayward Israel that has become weary of sin. JER 31:3 says, "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." It is His everlasting love, that loving-kindness of Christ, which draws us from the power of sin. That is what draws our eye away from that fascinating power of sin, the power of Satan and all his forces.
The loving-kindness of our God is what we do not understand when our Saviour first commands us to ask and receive. Until Christ is revealed to the eye of faith, we do not understand it; thats why we, like this woman of Samaria, have so many continuing objections, all according to human reasoning. MAT 21:22 says, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." That is the Word of our Saviour, the Creator of heaven and earth, the very Word that said, "Let there be light," and there was light. There is power in the Word. Are we going to question what He says to be true?
He said, "whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." We need to have faith. We need to believe the truthfulness of what JEHOVAH says! We need to understand that parental relationship. We need to understand the everlasting love of the Father, believing that He loves us so far beyond any love that we have for our children. When we get a glimpse of His love, that loving-kindness has such a drawing power that the strongest objection and the most impeccable human reasoning cannot resist it. We cannot pull ourselves away.
Do you know what "faith" means? It means being persuaded, being convinced in our minds. Her words in our text, "Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?" show how human reasoning so often stands in our way. Dont we have to confess so often that our human reasoning stands between the Lord and us? Her mind was on water pots; her mind was on a pail and a rope to draw with; her mind was distracted by Satan, who will dangle the smallest things before our eyes. It doesnt always take some major catastrophe to keep us away from Christ. Many times its the small things: its that little water pot; its that little rope that we use to help bail the water. Our unbelief says its time to figure this all out, and we are not able to commit our problem unto the One that knows.
Satan cares nothing about how trivial the object is. It could be a pleasure worldly pleasure. It could be a financial gain that concerns us. It could be our reputation and family duties. It could be things that are all so lawful. Its very lawful to work to support our families, yet we could get our hearts and our minds so tangled up in it that we cant trust that the Lord will provide, and we keep our eye off the Lord. These are the things that Satan uses as obstacles between Christ and us. All he is after is to keep our eye off Christ.
Satan doesnt care if the obstacle is nothing but a water pot something that trifling. Anything to blind our eyes that we might be lost! Thats what Satan wants: he wants us to lose the fellowship and the love of the Father. 2CO 4:3 says, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." Where is it hidden? Its hidden behind these trifling concerns of unbelief. Unbelief is a damning sin! "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." (HEB 3:18)
Satan wants to use our human reasoning: all these distractions and concerns that you and I can muster up as excuses for why we dont ask, why were occupied with so many things that we havent got time to set aside for prayer, for devotions. Thus he keeps us from asking to keep us apart from Christ. We get carried away with too many things. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds " (2CO 4:3-4)
Do you see what our problem is? Were thinking about water pots instead of thinking about Christ. Do you see how dangerous it is that our minds get fixed on temporal things and get sidetracked by human reasoning? Satan wants our mind fixed on something besides Christ. Verse 4 continues, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Satan wants to do anything he can to keep the shades closed, to keep the light of the glorious gospel from shining into our hearts. Our Saviour warns us in the parable of the sower how great the danger is in becoming distracted by the things of this life. Look at MAT 13:22. Hes cautioning us that after we have believed, after we have looked unto Christ, not to become distracted. MAT 13:22 says, "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word [Take notice, it isnt those who have never heard.]; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful."
We must watch that we dont become unfruitful after we have heard the Word; that we arent again taken up with the things of this life after we have received the Word by faith. Lawful and necessary things often occupy our minds to the extent that Christ is crowded out. This is what our text is teaching us: how material things can get between the Lord and us.
The womans human reasoning ("Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?"(JOH 4:11) also cautions us about the danger of the means becoming more important than the end. "Whats your persuasion? Whats your denominational background? Whats your calling?" All these things stand between us and hearing the Word. I know people that are so hung up on denominational theology, and on whether or not the pastor has his proper calling. They know what they believe, they know their Bible. They know so much they are unteachable, but they dont know Christ because all of these trifles stand between them and seeing themselves as needy sinners before a loving Saviour. We need to be on guard, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2CO 2:11)
This woman was so preoccupied with the means rather than the end result. Rather than looking at the gift, she was looking at how the gift was going to come. We can be so preoccupied about the means of receiving the gospel that we miss the gospel when its there. Satan will do anything to keep our eye off Christ. This woman was limiting Christ: she thought He needed something to draw with before He could furnish the living water. Do you and I know what it is to limit Christ? We know we need something, and we know we need Christ, but we dont think that Christ is willing to look upon us under our present circumstances? We limit Christ as she was limiting Him.
God most often acts independently of all means except the Word. Many a time I go to a service, hear a sermon, and the sermon itself was very educational, but it was a few words out of a quote of Scripture that the Lord brought to my heart. When the service was over, I could quote them months later, yet if you asked me the subject of the message, I couldnt really tell you, even though the message was well-put. The Lord used the Word to fix my eye on Christ even though it was not the main part of the sermon. Thats where the power is. Thats where God is glorified, in the Word.
Thats why I like to use the Scriptures to preach the gospel, because theres authority in the Word. All the babbling I do you can forget in five minutes, but when the Lord takes His Word and brings it home to the heart, you can remember it years later. That is because it is the Word that He makes Him manifest in the heart. See this principle in ROM 10:20. "But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me."
The Lord was not dependent upon whether or not we were asking or seeking. He said, "I was found of them that sought me not," of those that didnt even ask. How did He bring them to ask? He used the Word. How is it that He manifests unto them that asked not after Him? ROM 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
He gets our attention and brings our eye unto Christ by the Word. It is when the Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and brings it home to the heart that the Word convinces; it persuades us. It is through the Word that Christ is lifted up before our eyes. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." (JOH 3:14) See the importance of some of the small words in the text: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."
Do you know what we need to do? We need to take notice of how that serpent was lifted up. See the chronology of what is taught in NUM 21, then we can see how Christ was lifted up. It helps us to understand some of our own riddles a little better. There was a King of the Canaanites that came against Israel, and the Israelites were concerned. So they came to the Lord. "And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. And the LORD hearkened." (NUM 21:2-3)
They vowed a vow of obedience and the Lord hearkened. See verse 4: "And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way." The Lord granted them their deliverance; they obeyed. The Lord put them to the test to try their faith, and they became discouraged because of the way. The way was much more difficult than they had anticipated. What do they do? Verse 5 says, "And the people spake against God, and against Moses," and what did they conclude? "Our soul loatheth this light bread."
They lost their thankfulness for the deliverance the Lord had just granted. They lost their gratitude for the bread from heaven, and Christ says that He was that bread that descended from heaven. So Christ was being set at naught. They were taking their eyes off of the blessing that they were receiving in Christ: "and our soul loatheth this light bread."
Verse 6 says, "And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people." Why? He did it to get their attention. When Moses lifted up that serpent, they had to obey and look unto that serpent. That was not only repentance, but-by-faith looking back to Christ. They could no longer slight that light bread; now they saw that they needed Christ, and they had to turn their eyes back unto Him.
Do we run into trials in our life? Do we find that the way is difficult? Do we tend to become discouraged? Do we tend to take our eye off of Christ, and to where we no longer trust Him because it seems like the way is so difficult? The Lord will send you, as He did to the Apostle Paul, a thorn in the flesh and a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should become exalted above measure, lest his heart should depart from the Lord.
The Lord sends these serpents among us; we have these difficulties that start nipping us in the heels. Now what are we going to do? Out of frustration are we going to sit and try to trample those serpents, or are we going to obey? As the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, even so must Christ be lifted up. When you and I come into these difficult circumstances, these places in which we cannot understand what the Lord is doing, even as that serpent was lifted up, so must He be lifted up. We must keep our eye on Christ. The more difficult those circumstances become, the more our eye should be fixed on Christ, and the more we should see that we live by the faith of Jesus Christ. "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (HEB 12:3)
We look unto Christ lest we become discouraged. When we see what He suffered for our sins, we realize that what Hes bringing upon us is an opportunity to understand what it is to have fellowship in His suffering. Have you had one of your children come against you? Its painful. Do you know what the Lord teaches me when it happens? It teaches me how I must have pained Him when I came against Him. I start to get a better feel for what He suffered for me. Does that make me bitter towards the one that comes against me? Christ says, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (MAT 10:34-36) This is so our eye might be lifted unto Christ, that we get a better feel for what He suffered for us.
Now the pain is in a different place, is it not? We arent so pained about what somebody did to us. As our eye is lifted unto that blessed Redeemer, our pain is gone, and we weep because we can share in the suffering that He endured for us. When He was hanging on the cross, He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (LUK 23:34) We dont realize how we have pained Jesus with our sins. What He bore with our sins placed upon His head as a crown of thorns: in such a time, to have such love, praying for such criminals.
When Christ is rightly lifted up, those fiery serpents lose their sting. We dont let all these obstacles stand between God and us. After they had obeyed, after they had looked away from those fiery serpents, and looked unto Christ, the miracle was performed. As our eye is turned unto Christ, the pain is gone. This was true with that woman of Samaria. JOH 4:15-16 says, "The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither."
As she obeyed, the revelation of who she really was, brought her naked before Christ. "Go, call thy husband." He didnt reprove her. He just asked her to go get her husband, and in so doing, her eyes were opened and she saw. Verses 17-18 say, "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."
He verified what she said was true. He said not one word to condemn her, did he? Her conscience was all of a sudden open and naked before God. This revelation of who she really was in the sight of an all-seeing God transformed her attitude. JOH 4:28-29 says, "The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" Isnt it precious that seeing Christ reveals who we are?
Ive said before, and Ill say again: if I had realized when I was young how grievously sinful a wrong attitude is, I would have prayed for a better attitude. The Lord never let me commit gross sin, but David said, "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD." (PSA 25:7) The more the Lord gives us to see the precious blood of Christ and what He suffered for our sins, the more grievous those sins of youth become. We start to see sin in its true light. Then cant we run out with the woman of Samaria and say, "He has shown me all things that ever I have done"?
When He spoke to her about her husbands, it laid her sins of youth naked before her eyes. She saw what a hell-deserving wretch she was, but doesnt she also see the blessedness of that living water, that cleansing power of the blood of Christ, that washing of regeneration, and how He has now made her acceptable, so that she can stand righteous before Him?
Nothing less than the cleansing power of the Word, as it is spoken by the Holy Spirit to our very soul, can make us fit for the kingdom. Theres nothing else that can do it. TIT 3:3-4 says, "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, [Can any one of us deny this?] deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. [That verse so unveils the human heart.] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared." Do you see what it is that will break our hatred and our bitterness? Is it the whip of the law? No, "after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
It is that living water of the Word that is used by the Holy Spirit for the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Verse 6 says, "Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace [which is the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon our heart, which is revealed in our life], we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." The self-righteous Pharisee has no stones to throw. The Lord has dealt with the self-righteous Pharisee, Nicodemus, and now He dealt with the sinner at the well. Between the two, we see one extreme and the other, and it includes the whole human race. We see that a Pharisee has not one stone to throw when his eyes are opened.
JOH 8:7 says, "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Who was this? This was a woman that was taken in the very act of adultery. At that time that was a capital crime. For this she must be stoned to death. Who was it that was accusing her? It was the Pharisees: as touching the law they were blameless, yet Jesus said to them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone."
When He opened their eyes to look into their own hearts, being convicted of their own consciences, they didnt have one stone to throw at this woman guilty of capital crime. "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." (JOH 8:9) They brought her to Jesus. They brought her there hoping to have her stoned to death. They brought her there, and her eyes were fixed on Christ. Do you see what unusual means the Lord sometimes uses to bring us to Christ? Here, He used the bitterness and the hatred of these self-righteous Pharisees: as touching the law, they were blameless, and they didnt know what a heart of hatred they had. She was standing alone in their midst.
The most self-righteous one is no nearer the kingdom than that Samaritan woman, until that kingdom is formed within the heart. LUK 17:20-21 says, "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." When the kingdom of Christ is established on the throne of our hearts, we serve Him as our highest and chief delight.
The kingdom of God is in you. What is that which identifies the kingdom of Christ within you? COL 1:27 says, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." When you and I have that kingdom of Christ established in our heart, it is because Christ is formed in you. You have Christs Spirit: He is formed within you, becoming our hope of glory. We have to learn to see that when our eye is turned unto the Lord Jesus Christ, He becomes our hope of glory. Amen.
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