Calvary Road Baptist Church

“COME, SEE A MAN”

John 4.29

 

Turn in your Bible to John chapter 4. We have recently been here, so we will rather rapidly cover 29 verses, with comments, by way of introduction. As I read these verses and remark, you will see why this is a New Testament passage that is very significant, especially for women. It is also one of my favorite passages in the Bible. 

Verses 1-3: 

1  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

2  (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

3  He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 

The Lord Jesus Christ traveled a great deal during His earthly ministry. He was baptized by His cousin John the Baptist, in John chapter 1, in the South country of Judea, near where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea. That was the beginning of His earthly ministry. From there He walked north to Galilee, where He turned the water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana, in John 2. In John 3, He was back in Jerusalem telling Nicodemus that he must be born again. And now He is on His way back to the North again. 

Verse 4: 

“And he must needs go through Samaria.” 

This statement is very unusual. Samaria lies directly between Judea and Galilee but was avoided by most Jews because of their animosity toward the racially mixed Samaritans. Depending on where in Galilee or Judea they lived, Jewish people would travel along the Jordan River on the East side or a road called Via Maritima, the Roman coast road, on the Mediterranean side, so as to avoid having to go through Samaria. But “he must needs go through Samaria.” Why? He had important business there. 

Verses 5-8: 

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.) 

Three things to observe about the events that transpired while the disciples were elsewhere fetching food: First, the Lord Jesus Christ became tired from His journey. He was a man, was He not? And men get tired from travel. Second, this all occurs at the sixth hour, which is thought by many to be the noon hour. Most women would get their water in the morning when it is cooler. But for some reason, this woman fetched her water during the hottest time of the day. That said, I have mentioned before that Alfred Edersheim, the 19th-century Jewish Christian scholar, writes in his book, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, that John’s Gospel here refers to time using what he calls the Roman civil day. Thus, he is of the opinion that the sixth hour is six hours after midday, or the onset of evening, therefore providing a better explanation of our Lord’s fatigue referred to in verse 6.[1] And finally, the Lord Jesus asked her for water. What a surprise to her, a Jewish man asking her, a Samaritan woman, for water. It had been her experience that Jews considered anything she touched to be unclean, which was the experience of all Samaritans. So, there was a discrimination barrier between this woman and the man who asked her for water. 

Verses 9-10: 

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. 

She is curious about this man who asked her for water. And He must have asked her in a nice tone of voice, which she didn’t expect from someone who so obviously from His clothing was Jewish. So, when she asked Him why He was having dealings with her He said, in effect, “If you had recognized the gift of God, and Who just asked you for a drink, you would have asked Me and I would have given to you living water.” She is interested in what He is up to, and He is drawing her attention to Who He is. 

Verses 11-14: 

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. 

She asks and then asks again. “Where do you get this living water? Are you greater than the patriarch Jacob,” the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, from whom both Jews and Samaritans were descended? In other words, “By what means do you supply this living water?” and “Where do you rank in the hierarchy?” She wanted to know if the man she was talking to was superior in rank to the man associated with the well she had come to draw water from. The Lord Jesus told her, “If you drink this water you’ll just get thirsty again. But if you drink the water I give you’ll never get thirsty again, and the result will be eternal life for you.” 

Verse 15: 

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

Up to this time, the woman has probed, questioned, and considered whether or not she wanted this living water offered by the unusual man sitting there at the well. But in this verse, we see that she has decided. She wants what He is talking about. We would say that she wants to become a Christian. She wants this living water. She doesn’t know much, but she knows enough to know that eternal life is what she needs. 

Verses 16-18: 

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. 

At this point, her sin is exposed. Did the Lord Jesus humiliate her? No. He simply shined the light of truth on her sins. Do we now better understand why she came for water without the company of the other women of the village? Do we also know what obstacles are being overcome here? This woman has trouble with men. She is very experienced with men, but it is the kind of experience with men no woman should have. The implication of her being alone is that other women, more respectable women, shun her. She was too experienced with men not to have been hurt by them, disappointed by them, used by them, abused by them, discarded by them, lied to by them, manipulated by them, and taken advantage of by them. And after five marriages, she is now so far down that other women want nothing to do with her, and she cannot find another man who will marry her. Is she a wicked woman? Yes. Is she a foolish woman? Yes. Is she a degraded woman? Yes. Is she a dangerous woman? Oh, I’m sure she was very dangerous to men. Is she a sinful woman? Yes, by any standard she is very sinful. But she is at the same time a very tragic figure. Look what her sins have done to her. Look what other’s sins have done to her. For all that she is she is not a woman to be despised, to be hated, or to be ridiculed. She is a woman to be wept for, to be prayed for. She has looked to man after man after man after man for consolation and comfort and security, and now she stands before this Man. 

Verses 19-20: 

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. 

Nice little change of subject, don’t you think? Unsaved people will frequently do that. In acknowledging that He is a prophet, she so much as says “I am disputing nothing that you have said.” She then observes that there is a difference between the Samaritans and the Jews about where to worship, on their mountain or in Jerusalem, as the Jews say. How should a person worship God? Where should a person worship God? She is admitting confusion at this point. How refreshing. Most confused people will not admit they are confused, but will only dispute with anyone who is not confused. 

Verses 21-24: 

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. 

In verse 21 the Lord Jesus Christ declares to her that there is coming a time when people will not worship “the Father” on this mountain or in Jerusalem. Note that this is likely new to her, this reference to God as “the Father.” In verse 22 He shows that the Samaritans were completely wrong in their worship, while the Jews were better informed. You see, the Samaritans held to only the first five books of the Bible as God’s Word, while the Jews had the 37 historical, poetical, and prophetical books of the Bible. Then He states that “salvation is of the Jews.” He refers, of course, to Himself. This reminds me of what the old man, Simeon, said when he saw the baby Jesus in Jerusalem, and declared to God in Luke 2.30, “mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” Jesus is the salvation of God. Not pretenders. Not imaginary figures. Not uncharacteristic figures. Only He, the Jesus accurately described in God’s Word, is the salvation of God. Verse 23 shows that the time has arrived when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. These are the kinds of worshippers the Father wants to worship Him. Put yourself in this woman’s shoes. She can’t become who she isn’t. She is a Samaritan. She is a woman with a sordid past. She is an outcast in her own culture and society. So she will never be able to adhere to any external requirements for worship. But there just might be some means whereby she could worship the Father in spirit and in truth. 

Verse 24: 

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

What a discouraging statement to those who want only religion, who want merely the externals, who will settle for form and ritual. But to the outsider, to the sinner, to the downcast and downtrodden, to the person who will never measure up, to the woman who has never benefited from any relationship with a man, this is liberating. This woman has been shown her need of eternal life. She has been exposed in her wretched and sinful state. Her ignorance and confusion have also been pointed out to her, indicating that she has no idea how to worship God even if she could. Something miraculous must happen in her life so that she, a physical human being and an ignorant person, can somehow worship God in spirit and in truth, which is to say spiritually and truthfully. Which leads to verse 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.” 

In the best way she knows how, she is saying, “The Messiah is coming, Who is called Christ. When He arrives, He’ll tell us what we need to know.” And you know, she was right. 

Verse 26: 

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

Our Lord Jesus is so much as saying, “I am the Messiah. I am the Christ. The One you are waiting for, to tell you what you need to know, is Me. And what I have been telling you is what you need to hear.” About this time the disciples return from the village, verse 27: 

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

The disciples were out of the way just long enough for the Master to finish His task, for the woman to believe on Him, for the living water to be sipped by her thirsty soul. They already knew enough to ask no questions while she was with Him. 

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? 

During her conversation with the Lord Jesus Christ, this woman’s seeking faith prompted her to ask questions, to consider, and to overcome social and cultural obstacles to inquire further. When her sin was exposed, she did not turn away. It’s as if her seeking faith was searching about, feeling for an object to lay hold of. And when the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as the Messiah, the One Who gives living water, she drank to her soul’s satisfaction, left her waterpot behind, and then went and said to the men of the city, 

“Come, see a man.” 

Throughout her whole life, she had known men to use her, abuse her, and confuse her. Only slowly had she come to realize that a woman should never place much stock in what a man says, but in what he does. However, here and now, after five husbands and living with a man, after a lifetime of tragedy and emptiness, disappointment and discouragement, sinfulness and spiritual thirst, she had finally met a Man. Not a man who took from her, but a Man who gave to her. And what did He give her? Life. Eternal life. Living water. No wonder she ran to the city and proclaimed to the men (the women wouldn’t listen to her), 

“Come, see a man.” 

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel we are shown that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh, and that He is 

“the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” 

Not the Savior of Jews only, but the Savior of all men. In the second chapter of John’s Gospel, we are shown that the Lord Jesus, with His turning the water in six large water-pots at a wedding into wine, is a miracle worker. He does impossible things. In the third chapter of John’s Gospel, we see the Lord Jesus Christ confronting the well-known Bible teacher, Nicodemus, with the fact that 

“Ye must be born again.” 

Those who occupy the very highest echelons need to be saved. Here, in the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel, still early on in His earthly ministry, we see the Lord Jesus Christ take a special route through Samaria to keep an appointment with a woman at a well. Why? Because the lowest status sinner also needs to be saved. And the Lord Jesus is both willing and capable of saving any sinner. The woman who came to the well didn’t know she had an appointment with the eternal Son of the living God. But the Lord Jesus Christ, Who had made that appointment for her in the council chambers of heaven before the foundation of the world, knew perfectly well what would transpire, while His disciples were conveniently buying food and quite unable to get in the way. As I direct your attention to the four words which comprise my text, I plead especially with you women to pay close attention to the words this woman spoke shortly after her encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. She said, 

“Come, see a man.” 

Perhaps you are a little girl or a young woman. Maybe you are an adult female or an older woman. We don’t know this woman’s precise age, but after five husbands and living with a man, it is hard to imagine her being very young. As well, it’s hard for me to imagine her without children, and perhaps even grandchildren. It’s pretty obvious from her lonely trip for water that she is a women with few women friends. After five husbands, it’s not likely that she has a high regard for men, or that she is held in high regard by men. I even imagine her a mother and a grandmother who is not treated well by her kids or grandkids. In short, she is a lonely woman and her life is hard. She is a vulnerable woman. As she ages, she feels more and more helpless. And she is more and more helpless. Her sins are undeniable, and she did not deny them when the Savior made mention of them. She had a better idea of the damage of her sinfulness than most who knew her, but she hadn’t any idea what to do about it, and didn’t know where to turn. Maybe you can identify with this woman at the well. Perhaps you’ve not sinned as she has sinned. Perhaps you’ve not been shunned the way she has been shunned. And maybe you’ve not had the experiences with men that she had. But you identify with her loneliness, and with her helplessness. You’ve been there. You are there. You have been disappointed and discouraged and disillusioned by the way you’ve been treated, by the consequences of your very poor choices, and by the damage caused by the sins you’ve committed. Perhaps you’ve looked to a man for relief from your problems. But your dad, or your husband, or your son has let you down, has mistreated you, and has abandoned you.

Let me quickly review for you the events of this remarkable encounter, and you see for yourself that what happened to her can also happen to you, that what happened to her needs to happen to you: 

First, HER PERCEIVED NEED 

Everyone has her ideas of what’s good for her or what her greatest need is. And few people are willing to listen when someone tries to tell you that what you think you need isn’t the most needful thing. That’s true of our woman at the well. Earlier in life, she was convinced that what she needed was a man. And when that didn’t work out she was convinced that a different man would fit the bill, and then a different man, and then a different man, and then a different man. She now comes to the well convinced that what she needs is just any man. She’s also convinced that what she needs is water. How thirsty she must have been to brave the hot middle eastern day for a pot of water. And how fortunate, because it was while she was pursuing her perceived need of water, it was while she was busy trying to get what she thought she most needed at the moment, that she crossed paths with the Savior. That, my friend, is Providence.

Maybe it’s not water that you came here looking for. You can get water anywhere. Perhaps it was friendship you came looking for, or direction for your life, of meaning for your life, or a companion for your life. Church is a good place for those kinds of things. It’s also a place for kids to be treated as though they are important, for older folks to be honored and treated in a respectful manner, for different people to be treated in such a way that their incidental differences are seen to be okay. Just understand that, though the woman came to the well to meet a need she was well aware of, it was what she found out while she was at the well that set her on a new course in life that eventually directed her to the Savior. And the same needs to happen to you.

I was lonely before I was saved, terribly lonely. Perhaps you first came here to find friends. You may have come here to find a mate, or at least to find a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Some people come to Church looking for meaning to life, for help in raising their kids, for answers to life’s most important questions, or just to get out of the house. Those are all acceptable reasons to come here. And we can do something about those things here. But those issues have to do with your perceived needs, the needs in your life that you are aware of and conscious of. And though they are needs that are important to you, they are not the most important need of your life. 

Which Brings Me To HER PROFOUND NEED 

She came to the well to draw water. The reason she came to the well was that she felt she needed water. And while she did need water to drink, what she didn’t realize was that she was there by divine appointment for a rendezvous with the Savior. As I said, Providence. The first thing the Lord Jesus Christ did was make her aware of a need that was even greater than the need she was aware of. She wanted water to drink that would satisfy her thirst for only a few hours. What she needed was the living water that would satisfy the thirst of her soul. She had gone through man after man in her search for a satisfying man. What she needed was the man Christ Jesus.

I told you that I was a profoundly lonely man before my conversion. The Spirit of God used my awareness of how lonely I was to prepare me for the soul-satisfying Savior. Some of you identify with me. Others of you are mistreated by your family members, ignored by your loved ones, slighted by your peers, and shunned by your coworkers. Don’t be angry with the people who treat you wrong. Your thirst for that water got you to the well, didn’t it? Now that you are at the well let me tell you what you need. You need the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to be saved from your sins. And unless you are born again you will never be able to worship God in spirit and in truth. The Father seeketh such to worship Him.

Nicodemus had to be told of his real need. He met with the Lord Jesus in search of knowledge and the Savior told him he needed to be born again. The woman at the well encountered Him in search of water to satisfy her thirst, and He told her she needed living water. But to both people He delivered the same message. They came looking for what they wanted, and He told them what they needed.

You come to Church wanting instruction from God’s Word, wanting fellowship with God’s people, wanting companionship through life, wanting friendship with people your own age, wanting respect in your old age, wanting a role model in the absence of a father, or in search of meaning to make sense of your confusion. Maybe you want the balm of Gilead to soothe the pain you’re feeling and to heal some deep wounds. Are you hurting? I am truly sorry that it took pain and heartache and disappointment and confusion and discouragement and loneliness to get you here. But I am glad those things got you here. Now listen up. The greatest needs are not always the most obvious needs. The little boy feels like he needs to play when what he needs is skill in reading and math.

In like manner, your greatest need in life is Jesus Christ, since only He can save you from your sins and prepare you for eternity. Without Him you burn in Hell forever. But with Him you have eternal life and the forgiveness of your sins. 

Finally, WE SEE HER PRAISE HIM TO MEN 

Did you notice that John does not record this woman’s conversion? Likewise, Nicodemus’ conversion is missing from John chapter 3. The Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion moment is not recorded by Luke in Acts chapter 8. The Philippian jailor was told how to be saved by Paul and Silas, but the precise moment of the man’s conversion is not recorded by Luke in Acts chapter 16. Nor is Lydia’s conversion moment recorded in the same chapter. As a matter of fact, you’d be hard pressed to find the conversion moments of just about anyone in the Bible, except for Abraham’s conversion, which is the model for all other conversions. Why is this? Why do we not find this woman’s conversion moment recorded? Because we know how she was saved. And we know how Nicodemus was saved. As well, we know how the Ethiopian eunuch and all the others who were converted were saved. You see, there’s only one way to be saved . . . faith in Christ. He is the unique Savior and union with Him takes place in a unique fashion . . . faith.

So this woman, so lonely and isolated and helpless and downtrodden, and so utterly without hope of relief for her soul, is now excited and filled with joy and exuberant. Why? She’s saved. Her sins are forgiven. She drank at the well of living water, and she will never thirst again. This done, she runs into the village and tells the men, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” 

What are you looking for? What itch do you have that needs to be scratched? What longing is there to be satisfied? What hunger deep inside you needs to be fed? What thirst needs to be quenched?

I’m here to tell you that my Lord Jesus is the One Who satisfies the soul. You need light? He’s the light of the world. You thirsty? He’s the living water. You hungry? He’s the bread of life. You dead? He’s the resurrection and the life. Got sins? His blood washes sins away. You an orphan? He gives the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba, Father.” You lonely? He’s the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Don’t you see, woman? What you need, what will truly satisfy your soul, is the Lord Jesus Christ. And lest you men think that Jesus Christ is only for women, remember who this woman ran and told. To whom did she cry out “Come, see a man”? It was to men. Jesus Christ is the satisfaction to every man’s soul, as well.

I urge you, dear lady, I urge you, sir, to “Come, see a man.”

__________

[1] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah: New Updated Version, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993), pages 280-281.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org