Come and See…An Encounter with Jesus
This is the ninth sermon in our current series, “Come and See…a study on the life of Jesus”
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In John 4:1-6 it says, “Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
As Jesus headed to Galilee, He passed through Samaria. This is not something you would expect from a Jewish person. Most Jews would have just avoided Samaria completely. Samaritans were a racially mixed people who were part-Jewish and part-Gentile. So, neither Jews nor Gentiles liked them. And to Jews, they were considered unclean. Samaritans also had their own version of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Test) and their own temple on Mount Gerizim, which will become important later in our story. It was about noon, Jesus was tired from traveling, so He took a rest at Jacob’s well.
So, let’s read on and see what we can learn from this story about “An Encounter with Jesus”.
First, He’s Usually Not What You Expect
In verses 7-9 we read, “A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)9 The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
His encounter with her is unexpected for a few reasons. First, it’s noon and she’s probably not used to seeing anyone at the well. Most people come to the well in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler. But because of her background she is probably trying to avoid people. She’s also surprised because He’s a Jew and he should hate her. Most Jews wouldn’t have interacted with her at all because they would’ve thought it would make them unclean. But He’s not only interacting with her, He’s asking her for water. He’s obviously not worried about her making Him unclean. She’s also surprised because she’s a woman and He’s a man. It wouldn’t have been normal for a strange man to be talking with her so casually in those cultures. So, she’s coming up against a lot of unexpected things!
Think about it. We all have expectations when we interact with Jesus, but I find that my experiences are usually different than what I was expecting. I ask Him questions and usually get a totally different answer than I anticipated. I expect Him to guide my life down one path, yet He leads me to another. I expect Him to bless my plans and instead He changes them. I expect Him to fix my problem, instead He tells me to trust Him and be patient. I expect Him to teach me one thing, but He teaches me another. For example, I ask Him to give me strength in the moment, and instead he teaches me perseverance. Whatever it is, Jesus likes to surprise us and remind us that He’s in control. Maybe we should just learn to expect the unexpected!
Second, He Answers Questions You Didn’t Even Know You Had
In verses 10-15 we read, “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
At first, she’s focused on well water. She’s never heard of living water. Jesus changes the entire conversation. She never realized she needed living water, so she would never ask for it. Jesus answers a question she didn’t even know she had.
What’s funny is once He brings it up and explains it, she’s all-in. She may not understand it all yet, but that doesn’t stop her. If you think about it, now she’s the one asking for a drink. I can relate to this part of the story. Before I knew Jesus, I knew I was missing something, but didn’t know what it was. When someone introduced me to Christ, He started revealing truth to me that I never considered, and that I didn’t even know I needed, let alone know to ask for it.
Jesus is patient and reveals things to us when we need to hear them, and then gives us the chance to respond to them. That’s what He begins to do with this woman, but then He goes even further.
Third, He Tells You Who You Are
Verses 16-19 continue, “Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered Him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.”
Jesus knows exactly who this woman is and what she needs. An encounter with Jesus tells you who you are. You will never know your true identity until you have an encounter with Christ!
Fourth, He Gets Right to the Point
In verse 20 we read, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
Throughout the discussion we see that Jesus always gets right to the point. So, don’t pray and ask a question if you don’t want an answer you may not like. Jesus quickly reveals her sin to her. When we truly encounter Jesus, we can be certain that He will get to the heart of the matter, regardless of how much we try to avoid it. This culture wants a tame, watered down version of Jesus. That’s why their religion is powerless and boring. What do I always say about Jesus? Jesus isn’t boring…You Are.
Fifth, He Brings Clarity
She brings up a question that’s been bothering her for a long time. Like we mentioned at the beginning, the Samaritans had their own temple on Mount Gerizim, but the Jews had the temple in Jerusalem. She knows Jesus is a Jew and worships in Jerusalem, so she asks Him to clear up the discrepancy between her people’s tradition and His. Jesus explains to her that those who worship God must do so in spirit and truth.
We can get so confused and distracted by traditions and emotions that we miss what’s truly important. Churches will fight over the type of music they should play during worship, while never truly worshipping God. We sometimes care more about the style of worship then we do about the heart of worship. When we truly encounter Jesus, we can be certain that He will bring clarity to our situation.
Six, He Changes Our Lives and Shows Us Our Purpose
In verses 27-42 we read, “Just then His disciples came back. They marveled that He was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to Him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did no labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His word.42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
This is the part of the story that excites me the most. Jesus unexpectedly changes her life. She’s in! She believes He’s the Messiah and everything that comes with it. When the disciples return, they’re surprised to see Him hanging out and talking to this Samaritan. While they’re trying to make sense of it, she leaves. Jesus uses the opportunity to do the unexpected once again. While they want to talk about this unorthodox meeting, He reminds them that there are a lot of people out there just waiting to hear the gospel. And not a moment too soon because when this woman – who didn’t want to be seen by anyone a few hours ago – gets back to town she tells everyone she can find that she’s met the Messiah! She’s changed and she’s on fire spiritually. She came…she saw…and now she wants everyone else to Come and See. She’s thinking, “He knew everything about me, He’s a prophet, he’s amazing.” It makes them want to meet Jesus as well; enthusiasm is contagious. They Come and See based on her story, but when they see for themselves, they’re all-in.
As we close, I have a question for all of you. If you’ve “Come” to know Him and you’ve “Seen” His power at work in your life, how can you possibly keep it to yourself? This should motivate you to share His love with everyone around you. I can easily give you suggestions that.