Calvary Road Baptist Church

“COME, SEE A MAN”

John 4.4-29

 This morning I want to bring you a message from God’s Word about the Savior, and the Savior’s dealings with a woman. She was not a good girl. She was not well thought of. She was not a particularly accomplished woman. For the most part, she was a woman that other women shunned and men were far too casual with. Additionally, she was a Samaritan.

Just a few words about Samarians. Jewish people despised them. Jewish people avoided them whenever possible. When traveling between Galilee to the north and Jerusalem in Judah to the south, Jewish people would invariably pass along the Mediterranean coast or along the bank of the Jordan River to avoid all contact with Samarians. Following the death of King Solomon the nation of Israel divided along tribal loyalties, with the southern kingdom of Judah dominated by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and the northern kingdom of Israel consisting of the other ten tribes, the city of Samaria becoming its capital city. That division took place nine centuries before Christ’s birth. About seven centuries before Christ’s birth, Assyria invaded and carried off the men of Israel, replacing them with Gentile men from other lands they had conquered. The Gentile men in that region, intermarried with the Jewish women remaining there, resulted in an ethnically mixed and religiously confused people known as Samarians, or taking the former capital of Israel, Samaritans. The Samaritans’ religious views were a conglomeration of Judaism and Gentile beliefs, with Samaritans embracing the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures, known as the Pentateuch, but rejecting everything else. Additionally, Samaritans rejected the Jewish priesthood and the system of worship and sacrifices that was centered in Jerusalem. Jewish people and Samaritans could tell each other’s identities by the style of clothing they typically wore, as well as the geographical regions where each was likely to be found.

Imagine a woman thoroughly confused about spiritual matters. Imagine a women with a decided bias against Jewish people. Imagine a woman who, in turn, would be very sensitive to the decided bias of Jewish people against her. On top of all that, imagine a woman who was terribly lonely. I am convinced that most all human beings are social creatures, enjoying and needing the stimulation that comes from interacting with other people. However, I am convinced that women tend to be more gregarious than man, and feel loneliness even more than most men when deprived of social intercourse. Why was this Samaritan woman lonely? She was lonely because she was isolated from other women. She was isolated from other women because they did not trust her to be anywhere near their men. In fact, for whatever reason, she had had dealings with a great many men. Those experiences were not at all satisfying, leaving her with guilt, emptiness, and a great deal of heartache.

Life in general was hard in Jesus’ day. For a woman, life was harder. For a Samaritan woman, life was even more difficult. For this Samaritan woman, life was almost unbearable. Much of her difficulties resulted from the general condition of mankind. However, her lot in life was especially tragic as a direct result of her own individual choices, tragic choices, foolish choices, and in some cases choices that were simply wicked. I imagine her to have had serious difficulties with men, despite the fact that the women were the ones who shunned her. I conceive her to have had a worthless and unaffectionate father and antagonistic brothers, unless a single mom raised her. Early on, I suppose, she began attracting attention from men, was tragically naive about men, and was taken advantage of by men until she became cynical about all men. How long has she been a discouraged and cynical woman? It had to be years.

Then, one day, she met a man. Turn to John 4, where we begin reading from verse 4. When you find that verse, stand for the reading of God’s Word:

 4      And he must needs go through Samaria.

5      Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

6      Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

7      There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

8      (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

9      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.

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.

11     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?

12     Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

13     Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14     But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

15     The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

16     Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

17     The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

18     For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

19     The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20     Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21     Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22     Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23     But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24     God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

25     The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

26     Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

27     And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

28     The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

29     Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

 We know from verse 6 and the reference to the sixth hour that this encounter took place at midday, the hottest portion of the day. Much of what I have mentioned about the woman’s loneliness is deduced from her appearance at the well at midday, during the heat of the day, by herself, with no companions. The women of her town would come after water in the cool of the morning and as the heat subsided in the evening. However, this woman comes when she knows no other women will be there, when she will be safe from unkind comments and hurtful gestures.

The passage we have read is saturated with food for thought and grist for the mill, but for our purposes today we will confine our considerations to four things Jesus did which obliterated the woman’s cynicism, healed the woman’s many emotional wounds, and forever altered the woman’s destiny:

 First, JESUS SOUGHT HER

 Not that men before had not sought this Samaritan woman. Considering the conversation we have just read, I would not be at all surprised if the woman had been inappropriately sought by her own father when she still lived at home, or some other trusted man. It is often the case with women who are promiscuous that some type of violation or abuse of trust has taken place. Sometimes a promiscuous woman seeks the approval of men after never having received the approval of her father. At any rate, early on she likely began receiving attention from men who sought her for the wrong reasons. Whatever the specific details, it cannot be imagined that a woman of that era who was married six times and who was living with a man she was not married to was not sought by men, and for the wrong reasons. The result was a predictable cynicism concerning men, and about what she considered the motives of all men; at least just about every man she had ever met. Thus, when she approached the well and saw Jesus sitting there, recognizing Him to be a Jew and no doubt drawing conclusions about Jewish men based on her previous experiences with men, she was suspicious. Perhaps she expected this Man to notice her face or her figure. Perhaps she expected Him to pay attention to the way she walked. After all, each man she had known focused on some aspect of her appearance, which is why she paid so much attention to her appearance. She knew the effect she had on men, and she encouraged it despite the pain that resulted.

However, she had never been sought by this Man before. We know Jesus sought this woman, because He came to Samaria (verse 4), to Sychar in Samaria, to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to Joseph (verse 5), to Jacob’s well, at midday (verse 6). The specific place Jesus journeyed to, arriving at the necessary time of the day, and after dismissing His disciples to fetch food, was for the purpose of meeting and speaking to this woman alone. He alone knew everything about her, her hurts, her suspicions, and above all her self-inflicted spiritual and emotional wounds. Of all the men she had ever met, He was the only one who wanted nothing from her, but sought her out that He might do something for her. Throughout her life, men had repeatedly told her that they loved her, but this Man was different from any man she had ever known in that He really did love her, and He would show her His love. In this, Jesus established the pattern for all Christian men’s love for their women, love being a matter of giving to the object of your love and not getting from the woman you love.

 Next, HE TAUGHT HER

It was necessary for Jesus to teach this woman some things, because she was woefully ignorant and therefore confused about many crucial issues. Being a Samaritan, and therefore rejecting the entire Old Testament apart from the five books of Moses, there can be no doubt that her views and understanding of most things spiritual was distorted and perverse. Therefore, so that she might receive faith from Him, Jesus had to instruct her. For now, let me highlight some of what He taught her about herself and then what He taught her about Himself:

First, what Jesus taught her about herself. There can be no doubt that the woman at the well did not have a high opinion of herself. Her opinion of herself was, no doubt, a low one. However, it was not low enough. Being all too human, she had certainly reserved for herself some semblance of self-respect and a measure of commendation of herself by herself. Jesus would take that away from her. First, He drives home to her that she is ignorant. She is ignorant about God, about the gift of God, about Jesus Himself, and about what He is able to do for her, verse 10. Next, he drives home to her that she is sinful. In verse 16, He said, “Go, call thy husband, and come hither.” You might think she knows she is sinful, but her answer shows that she evades the reality of her sinfulness by equivocating. Notice verses 17-18:

 17     The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

18     For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

Lost people usually, and frequently many Christians as well, think that such confrontation of sinners is cruel. However, failure to drive home a sinner’s sinfulness is far crueler in the end, in that sinners are left with a very superficial grasp of the sinfulness of their sins. Jesus is showing her that she is not merely sinful, but that she is desperately sinful. As the conversation progresses, Jesus brings out her ignorance of God, the nature of God, the ways of God, and the worship of God. The goal, you see, is to bring her to the realization that she is hopelessly lost . . . because she is. To leave any sinner short of comprehending that profound reality is eternally cruel and shortsighted.

Then, Jesus taught her a bit about the Father and about Himself. Verse 6 explains that Jesus was wearied, something an observant person would notice, confirming that Jesus is a man. Other than that, however, in verse 10, He brings her to the realization that she has no idea who this man is. By verse 12, she is questioning whether He is greater than the patriarch Jacob was. By verse 14, He informs her that He is able to give her the water of life. By verse 19, after confronting her about her many marriages and her current wicked live-in arrangement, she recognizes that He is at least a prophet. However, that is not good enough. In verse 21, she learns that God is the Father. This would be an astonishing revelation to her, especially in light of her obvious man issues. Fathers were given to families by God to represent Him in the home, though so many fathers can only be described as misrepresenting Him in the home. You cannot imagine the spiritual difficulties in the lives of girls that are directly related to incompetent, irresponsible, or otherwise foolish fathers and stepfathers. Then, in verses 23-24, He asserts that God is a spirit and that His worship must be in spirit and in truth. Look at verses 25-26, and see where He brings her to concerning His identity, nature, and relationship with God the Father:

25     The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

26     Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

This woman has not been taught many things about herself, about God, and about Jesus, but what she has been taught is true and vital. She knows she is a sinner more surely and more deeply than she did before. She knows God is a Spirit, that the Man speaking to her is the Christ, the Messiah, and that He speaks for God. Therefore, we see that He has taught her.

 Third, HE BOUGHT HER

 Recognize that our text is a summary of the conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well, and that John’s gospel does not record everything Jesus said to her and she said to Him. John 21.25 speaks to this matter: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” I bring this up to point out that while our text does not record the Lord Jesus Christ has having said anything to her about His approaching crucifixion, the fact that He is the Messiah and has so identified Himself to her, very strongly suggests that the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah for sins would have been vital for her to understand.

There are many passages in the Old Testament that speak to the Messiah’s sacrificial death for sinners, but none more complete than Isaiah 53 and none more pointed than Zechariah 12. Turn to Isaiah 53. Obviously a prophecy about the coming Messiah, notice the verses having to do with the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah:

 4     Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5     But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6     All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7     He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8     He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9     And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10    Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11    He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12    Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Turn to Zechariah 12.10: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Crucial to a right understanding of the Jewish Messiah, so typically translated Christ in the New Testament, is His death on the cross on behalf of sinners. Twice in First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul remarks that Christians are “bought with a price,” in reference to Christ’s shed blood of the cross of Calvary.[1] Thus, it is very appropriate for me to say concerning this Samaritan woman Jesus met at Jacob’s well outside the village of Sychar, He sought her, He taught her, and He bought her. He shed His precious blood on Calvary’s cross to redeem her from her sins.

 Finally, HE GOT HER

 Think about this (what appeared to be a) chance meeting with a Jewish stranger. Little did this troubled woman realize that the eternal Son of the living God had sought her out, had taken such a personal interest in her spiritual welfare that He traveled to her locale rather than summoning her to Him. There He spoke to her in private, addressed her personal sin issues, instructed her about the very nature of the God she thought she had worshipped (as well as His Son, Jesus Himself), in what amounts to a stopover in a journey that would lead Him to the cross where He would shed His blood for her sins.

Is there any coercion here? No. Did Jesus force Himself upon her? No. Did He seek in any way to intimidate her? No. Was He in any way argumentative, attempting to confuse her and browbeat her into submission to His will? No. Did He not rather treat her with respect while confronting her with the unvarnished truth? Yes.

It would be safe to suggest that every significant decision this woman had ever made was the wrong one. Who knows what wrong decisions she made before she ever married? However, it is safe to say that wrong decisions were intimately associated with her first marriage, her second marriage, her third marriage, her fourth marriage, her fifth marriage, and her current illicit relationship with a man she was not married to. Has this woman ever made a right choice, ever made a sound decision, ever arrived at a reasonable and well-thought-out conclusion about anything? It would not seem so from what we know about her life situation. This woman is a walking, talking catastrophe. Yet Jesus still does not seek to impose anything upon her against her will, but rather engaged in wooing her with the truth and with His love.

The result? He sought her, He taught her, He bought her, and then He got her. How do we know He got her? There is no record in God’s Word of her conversion experience, of her justification by faith. However, do not conclude that something unrecorded is the same as something that did not occur, for her actions shout loudly concerning what took place moments before. I read verses 28-29:

 28     The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

29     Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

What is not recorded, but which is evident from her behavior, is this woman’s faith in Jesus Christ. Notice three things that are clear from verse 29.

First, it is evident that a different woman entered Sychar than left Sychar to fetch water some time before. She came alone, but she left seeking out the audience of others. Why? Her burdens are lifted. Her guilt is all gone. She has found forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. However, notice, second, that she rather admits than denies her sin. “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did.” My friends, this is First John 1.9 enacted decades before the verse was written: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” She admits all. She denies nothing. Yet she is free from the burden of her sins. Third, she testifies of Christ: “is not this the Christ?” What boldness. What openness. What simplicity. What life is displayed here.

What compassion the Savior had shown. What interest He had displayed in her welfare. What did she have that He wanted? Nothing besides her sins. What a wonderful Savior. Will you consider my Savior? You see, you are no different than this woman. Not really. Your sins may be the same as hers, or yours may be different. Either way, you are just as needy a sinner as she was. As well, you are ignorant, just as she was.

I close with this statement: Jesus sought her, taught her, bought her, and then got her. Though since His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to heaven, He is now pleased to use men to minister to others, the same can be said of you by means of this message. Jesus sought you, taught you, bought you, and if you are responsive to the gospel and come to Christ, it will be said that He got you.



[1] 1 Corinthians 6.20; 7.23



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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org