Thirst for Truth

Thirst for Truth

Home Church Service 5/14/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 

                                                                                    John 4:1–20 (NASB95)

Let’s do a quick review before digging into our passage this morning. Chapter 1 of John might be considered the Chapter of Introductions. We are introduced to the Word who was with God and was God. We are told in Him was life and this life was the Light of all people. He is the True Light. Next, we meet John the Baptist who came as a witness to the true Light. We are then introduced to the Word who became flesh to live among us. A reintroduction of John the Baptist comes as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” alluding to the ministry of the Baptist in preparing the way of the Lord. The Baptist then introduces us to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The rest of chapter one is filled with the introduction of the disciples – Andrew; John, the author; Simon, the brother of Andrew; Philip, and finally Nathanael.

Chapter 2 is much shorter, and John gets straight to the point – Yeshua is the Son of God. We see the first miracle of Yeshua turning water into wine, at a wedding in Cana, where His mother Mary is involved in some capacity. Next, we find Yeshua in Jerusalem as the Passover nears. We find Him driving out merchants who are selling animals necessary for sacrifice. Yeshua is upset that this is taking place inside the Temple in the Court of the Gentiles, the only place Gentiles can worship God. Yeshua is not happy with anything that cheapens the worship experience.

Chapter 3 revolves around the conversation with Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel and a Pharisee, and likely a member of the Sanhedrin. The conversation with Nicodemus is interesting on one hand, and very confusing on the other. Nicodemus stumbles over the statement made by Yeshua that he must be “born again” to enter the kingdom of God. The chapter ends with a short conversation between the Baptist and his disciples about Yeshua and His disciples baptizing more than John. John plainly tells his disciples that Yeshua must increase, and the Baptist must decrease. These are the final words we hear from the Baptist in John’s gospel account.

That brings us to our passage this morning and the woman at the well. This is a story that has been told time and again, but this time, as we take a look from the Jewish perspective, we find something a little different. The woman at the well isn’t what she appears to be, rather, like many of us, she is one who has a Thirst for Truth.

Jesus and the disciples left Judea to journey into Samaria. They arrived at the plot of ground Jacob gave to his son Joseph and where Jacob’s Well was found. As Jesus was resting near the well, a Samaritan woman came to gather water. A request for a drink of water turned into a conversation about a divided past with a woman who had a Thirst for Truth.

Yeshua and the disciples begin the Fathers mission by traveling through Samaria. Yeshua arrives at Jacob’s Well where He has a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman who is facing some difficult issues. Here she will earn what is required of those who have a Thirst for Truth.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What is required of those who have a Thirst for Truth?”

Those who have a Thirst for Truth will be required to go beyond what they thought was possible.

1). Those who have a Thirst for Truth will be required to draw from a deep well.

This deep well can only be found in Yeshua and leads to living water.

I would say it is safe to say that most of us are familiar with the story of the woman at the well, I would further venture to say that most of us have heard the story in much the same way. Traditionally, it is assumed that this woman is a woman of poor reputation. She has come at the hottest part of the day to avoid the other women of the village and not have to deal with the glances and whispers as she draws her water. It is assumed she has fallen into some sort of sexual sin because she has had five husbands and is currently living with a man not her husband. Sound about right so far?

She meets Jesus who asks for a drink of water and the conversation suddenly turns spiritual. Jesus then nails her to the cross by telling her all about her sin – five husbands and a boyfriend she is currently living with. Suddenly this godless woman has her “come to Jesus moment” and runs to tell the entire village about the man she has met. What is even more astounding is this woman with such a poor reputation is able to convince the entire village to come out and meet Jesus. Because of her the people begin to believe and Jesus spends two more days in Samaritan village. Sounds very spiritual and “Christian,” doesn’t it?

However, in a closer look at the text we find many issues with these theories. First, noon is not the hottest part of the day. The sixth hour of the Jewish day is noon since the day begins at 6:00 am. Second, there is no indication that this encounter took place in the summertime. If it did not, then the weather is of no consequence. Third, we have no idea why this woman came at the hour she did. Perhaps this is an unusual event for her. How many of us have had to change our routine because something more pressing came up? Fourth, the text gives us no clue as to why she has had five husbands and why she is living with one who is not her husband. Finally, assuming that Jesus turned this conversation spiritual to “nail her to the cross” is out of character for the Jesus John portrays in his gospel account.

What I am about to say I can freely say, because I am a part of the system that teaches pastors to think this way. The above version of this story is the “Westernized” version. You see in this country the seminary system teaches us to look for the “spiritual aspect” of any story we read in the Bible. The spiritual aspect here is the woman had sexual sin and Jesus can cleanse her and give her forgiveness for that sin. Which is, obviously true, but there is no indication within the text that points to this particular sin. This is why understanding the Jewish background of the Bible is so important. The Bible is a Jewish document written by Jewish men.

Let’s take a look at what is really happening here. First, there is a divine appointment here that MUST be kept. The Greek word for “had” indicates that Yeshua felt pressed and compelled to go into Samaria; there is an urgency involved here that we miss in the English translation. This is the Fathers mission and Yeshua is being sent as His representative. But why Samaria? The Jews and the Samaritans do not get along at all! The Samaritan Jews are the remnant of the tribe of the Northern Kingdom. Not all of the Jews in the Northern Kingdom went into captivity in Assyria. God the Father has sent His Son to bring unity among the diversity that exists in the world. It is the Fathers wish that ALL would come to salvation, not just a single particular, country.

Second, there is a deep well to draw from here. The well is Jacob’s Well and it is found on the plot of land given to his son, Joseph. This is another important and key fact that John inserts for us as a silent witness. In Joshua 24 we read of the place where the bones of Joseph are buried, and wouldn’t you know it – Yeshua has come to that very spot knowing the importance of this place to the Samaritan people. But the well this woman is really going to be drawing from is Yeshua Himself. Only Yeshua can provide water that will forever quench the thirst of those who drink it.

Finally, there is a deep need here. This woman needs water for everything. Cooking, cleaning, washing, drinking – absolutely everything she will do the remainder of her day would call for the use of water in some form. So, she heads to the well given to them by Jacob…a deep well, with clean, fresh cool water. But there is a deeper need still. The need deep within this woman. She assumes her need is for water alone, but she truly needs the living water that Yeshua offers, for this water is the only water that leads to eternal life.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How many “divine appointments” have you missed with Yeshua? Or with people sent to you by God?

How is Yeshua your “deep well” from which to draw?

Have you allowed Yeshua to address your deepest need?

Those who have a Thirst for Truth will be required to go beyond what they thought was possible.

2). Those who have a Thirst for Truth will be required to face a time of dealing with difficult issues.

This will lead to a time of greater thirst, deeper discovery and a time of confession.

Something out of the ordinary has forced this woman to leave her normal routine and travel to gather water at an unusual time of day for her. She arrives at the well to draw water and is immediately addressed by a Jewish man sitting near the well resting. To be addressed by a Jew would be enough to startle her but for a Jewish man to ask a Samaritan woman for a drink was unheard of in the days of Yeshua. Remember, the Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, as John tells us, and they were considered unclean by the Jews, for they worshiped in unacceptable ways and to an unacceptable God.

I would also venture to say that there were other things weighing on the mind of this woman. Whatever had caused her to leave the routine she normally followed had to be the first thing on her mind. Since she is out of her routine she is probably behind on her daily chores and tasks that need to be done. Perhaps she is behind on food preparation as well. But I sense something deeper still going on and this divine appointment is just getting started and has only touched the surface of her issues.

As Yeshua talks about the living water He can provide, this woman suddenly discovers a greater thirst! She wants the water that will quench her thirst so she will never be thirsty again. “Sir, give me this water…” She thinks He will be able to cure a common human experience…the experience of being thirsty. But Jesus is truly talking about the thirst to be whole once again. This woman is hurting, and Yeshua knows all about it. This is the greater discovery she is about to make.

Yeshua tells her to call her husband – not in an effort to expose her sin but because she is a woman, and he is man; He is Jewish, and she is Samaritan; Yeshua should not be talking to her without the presence of her husband. She had to be stunned when Yeshua said, “You have correctly said, I have no husband.” Yeshua is a stranger. She is only able to tell He is Jewish by the clothes He wears and the accent of His speech. She has never met this man in her life, and here He is telling her she has had five husbands and is living with a man not her husband. This is the greater discovery she makes – Yeshua knows all about her. He knows her past; He knows her future; He knows her hurt and pain.  

Now she is about to make a greater confession. First, I want you to take notice that nowhere does Yeshua condemn this woman for her past. This is another clue that perhaps we have this story wrong. Yeshua simply tells her she has answered correctly. If you read this closely, there is a touch of empathy for this woman in the words of Jesus. There is no harsh tone, no words of condemnation; no scolding or wagging of the finger; there is no punishment, there is absolutely nothing here that would make us think she is the sinful one we have made her out to be!

The confession, besides the dark history of her past? “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet.” No longer is this stranger just a Jew. Suddenly He is a prophet able to tell her everything about her past. More importantly, she begins to talk to Yeshua as a prophet. There is no sarcasm, no harshness or ridicule in the tone of her voice, that is, if we do not look at the story in light of her checkered past. The statement she makes is almost in the form of a question, as if she is trying to convince herself it is true. Again, in the “Westernized version” of this story it is easy to see the negative in her response and the response of Yeshua to come. We need to look beyond the obvious from our point of view and insert ourselves into the story through the Jewish point of view. This man is a prophet, and she intends to get some answers.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What greater thirst have you developed that only Yeshua can quench?

Is there a greater discovery that Yeshua is leading you into today?

What greater confession has developed for you in your walk with Yeshua?

Those who have a Thirst for Truth will be required to go beyond what they thought was possible.

I did a short review before our message to see where we have been. Now I want to give you an overview of where we are going in the coming months. Chapters 3, 4, & 5 revolve around conversations with individuals. Chapter 3 we find conversations with Nicodemus and John the Baptist. Chapter 4 finds the woman at the well and a royal official. Chapter 5 is an invalid who has been ill for 38 years and Yeshua as He answers the Pharisees.

If we look closely at each of these conversations, it is clear there is a contrast with each conversation and each conversation seems to represent a different portion of society. Nicodemus represents the religious elite of Israel; John the Baptist is representative of those who truly seek the God of Israel. The woman at the well is representative of the religious outcast of Israel; the royal official represents the ruling class or royalty of Israel, while the invalid represents the ill, diseased, and poor of Israel. Yeshua is the common factor among these groups. He is the one God has sent to bring unity among people, beginning with the nation of Israel.

Returning to our story of the woman at the well. What if we looked at her through a different lens, the lens of compassion, for example? Or empathy? If she has indeed been thrown out of her normal routine, then coming to the well at noon is perfectly understandable. But what of the fact that she is living with a man not her husband? Perhaps the previous marriage ended when the husband died. Perhaps it was the husband who had fallen into sexual sin. In ancient Israel only the husband could initiate divorce proceedings. Perhaps she has made arrangements to live with a family member, an uncle perhaps? Or maybe she had to make other arrangements to live with a family friend to simply survive each and every day. Whatever the case may be, we should not be in a hurry to simple slap the first “spiritual context” on the entire story and put our spin on it. And let’s not forget about depression. Depression was a very real thing even in Jesus’ day.

Yeshua is weary from traveling. He could have easily said, “I am so tired. I just need a break.” But He did not. He took the time to talk and to listen. If you read this account closely there are no harsh words or words of condemnation. He simply put Himself in a position to talk with her and let her ask questions or make the comments she felt necessary, to lead the conversation where He could to the greatest good. This Samaritan woman came to the well for a rather simple task, but she will go away with a greater thirst, a greater discovery, a greater confession while finding a deeper well from which to draw from to answer her deeper needs.

Let me encourage you to look for those divine appointment with God and those sent by God. We all have them but at times we are so busy we miss them. In missing them we may never know the blessing we might have received, or we might have given to another. In everything we face, Yeshua is our deeper well from which we are to draw from. No matter how thirsty we are when we come to the well, there is ample water, living water, to quench any and every thirst we have. The same is true for our deeper needs. We all have them, and we all fear them to a degree. It does not matter what that need might be – financial, health, work, emotional, spiritual – whatever your deeper need might be, Yeshua is the only one who can meet that need.

But there is a warning here that must be heard. When we draw from the deeper well of Yeshua, we are certain to find our thirst quenched but we will also find we will develop a greater thirst. A simple drink from Yeshua will never be enough. You see the more of Yeshua you get the more of Yeshua you will want. Not a bad problem to have but still, you will develop a greater thirst! You will also be in for greater discoveries. About yourself, about Yeshua, about the Father, and about the world in which we live and serve Yeshua. Finally, there will be a greater confession to be made. This may include something personal you have not confessed to Yeshua, but it will absolutely include a greater confession about Yeshua, the Father, and your walk with them. Do not fear any of these things, in fact, embrace them, for Yeshua is with you and He has sent His Holy Spirit to walk with us and guide us daily.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

In two weeks: John 4:21-26

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