John 4: “The Great Soul Winner”

As we continue to walk down the hall of John’s Gallery of Jesus, we are presented with a new portrait of Christ in John 4. The title under this painting is, “Jesus, The Great Soul Winner.”

From Nathaniel in the beginning of His ministry to the thief on the cross at the end of His ministry, Jesus never stopped calling lost sinners unto himself. He genuinely cared for the fallen and was willing to reach out to all who crossed His path, whatever the cost! I can admit to you today that I’ve never saved anyone! Well, neither have you for that fact. The truth is, we’re not the one who saves people, Jesus is.

The interchange between the woman at the well and Jesus is a classic example of a conversation that you may have around the water cooler at work, or the dinner table at home. Maybe it’s a conversation waiting to happen on the airplane as you travel on your next business trip. Either way, it’s in John 4 we see Jesus doing what he does best, bring sinners to salvation. We want to join Jesus today as He speaks with a poor, lost, sinful woman. As we do, let’s take notice of how Jesus shared his love with her.

1. Jesus Went To Her

(v. 4) says, “He had to go through Samaria on the way.” At first reading we may be led to think this wasn’t a choice, but the reality is, Jews would intentionally add hours to their journey in order to avoid going through Samaria. Instead, Jesus made the choice to walk straight through Samaria on his way back to Galilee. We begin to hear a different tone in John’s words when we know that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.”

Where do you intentionally need to go today in order to share the love of God with someone? Are their places you avoid going, even sometimes adding more time to your trip so you don’t have to interact with people deemed lower than yourself?

2. Jesus Knew Her Story (Discernment)

As we keep reading we find out that this Samaritan Woman had quite a story. We understand that only Jesus could have told her things that know one else knew about her, but that’s not the perspective I want to focus on today. Yes, Jesus knew her story, but Jesus also knew her. Maybe not in an intimate way, but theres an overlooked piece of the story that many miss and it’s right at the beginning. v. 6 “[Jesus] sat wearily beside the well about noontime.”

Women customarily came to the well early in the morning to draw water, not around noon. We don’t know the exact reason why she came so late, but Jesus knew this woman was filled with shame. Without knowing the details of her story, he knew her story.

Discernment is a spiritual gift. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation.

3. Jesus Gave Her What She Needed, Not Wanted

As the woman and Jesus sit and talk Jesus begins to share with her that he has a well that never runs dry. The response from the woman seems typical: v. 15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

At first glance we read this and we think, “She wants the life giving water Jesus is talking about.” But upon further study, you read this and understand that she doesn’t want it for her spiritual life, she wants it so she doesn’t have to relive her shame everyday by coming to the well. If she’s not thirsty, she won’t need the well. The best part is, Jesus knows this, and instead gives her what she needs… a wake up call.

4. Jesus Didn’t Let Anything Get In The Way

If you remember, when we started the story, Jesus was tired, and we assume hungry. When the disciples come back from getting lunch (v. 27) they were shocked to see Jesus breaking all the customary rules. They were also surprised that Jesus didn’t eat, even after their urging (v. 31-32).

Jesus knew this was a teachable moment for his disciples. Sure he was hungry, but in that moment the, sharing the his love with one lost sinner, was worth the discomfort of being hunger.

By the Way

The interaction with Jesus must have been pretty powerful. (v. 28) indicates, “The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village.” She left behind not only a jar, but the shame that jar came to represent every time she went to draw water from the well.