Today I want to give you an astounding thought. True Love is looking for you. God is searching for you. Just like Jesus searched out the woman at the well. A few years ago a meme came out that to me was really astounding. How interesting that you can find the word valentine in the letters of John 3:16. You can find the letters of that very word in proper order in John 3:16 in the English language. If you want to know and experience true love, the one and only perfect and true love is found in Jesus Christ
Many stories in the gospels show that people sought out Jesus. In this true event that happened here in John 4, It is not a woman who is seeking out Jesus. It is actually the opposite. Jesus is seeking her out! We find Jesus going out of his way to find, speak to, and to demonstrate true love to a woman who was in no way even looking for him. I have always loved the way this event is introduced. John 4:4-5 “But He needed to go through Samaria.” Jesus needed to go there. Why? Three reasons:
- First, for a lost woman’s sake.
- Secondly, for all the people in the town who would later believe in Jesus.
- Thirdly , to show that racial discrimination has no place in the kingdom.
Jesus was in Judea. They had been near the Jordan River because his disciples were baptizing. Now there are two ways to get from Judea to Galilee. One takes you up the Jordan River Valley. It’s easy to travel because it is flat. The other takes you through Samaria. It’s rocky and mountainous. Jesus even going there was not something a typical Jew would have done. Most would have avoided Samaria.
John 4:4-5 “So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there.” This was called Jacob’s well not because he dug the well, or not because he maintained the well. Jacob purchased this land and the well way back in Genesis 33 from people in Shechem. Interestingly, Jacob himself had found true love at another well. Oh yeah, it’s a romantic story. He is fleeing from his brother, and he is going to his uncle’s house and low and behold, there at the well he meets a young lady by the name of Rachel. It turns out to be his uncle’s daughter. It is love at first sight, because even as the scripture says, she was beautiful of form and appearance. He kisses her there on the spot. He works for her for seven years and it wasn’t even a sacrifice because he loved her. I am sure that many times at this well known as Jacobs well, the love story was told how he had found love. How interesting is it, that at this place, a well, Jesus would seek to truly love, not in a romantic sense, but in a godly sense.
I want to give you five characteristics of the true love of Jesus today.
SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUS LOVE FOUND IN THE STORY OF THE WOMAN AT THE WELL:
- TRUE LOVE SEEKS
God is not a God who necessarily waits until someone is looking for him to show up in their life. Sometimes God just shows up. God seeks out those who need Him. It happens in many different ways: driving down the road and a song touches them, a billboard speaks of God, a friend is transformed by Jesus, a bible is left in a hotel room at an opportune time, they dream of Jesus. I am just telling you Jesus love seeks. There is a powerful scripture in John 15:16 that says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” God wants to have a relationship with mankind. That is why his love is true love. God came down to walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, he sought them out. Even after they sinned, God came looking, right? Sure! He said, “Adam, where are you?” God has been proactively reaching out to man ever since the fall.
The whole sacrificial system was used to cover sin so God could have a relationship with man. The very fact there is a bible that is his love story proves that. I love the scripture that says, But God commended his love toward us, in that while we yet sinners Christ died for us. God sought us out. He brought people in our lives. He deals with us by His Holy Spirit, before we ever accept him as Savior, he is there wooing, calling. And this chapter proves that Jesus is the good shepherd seeks after the lost sheep. Jesus seeks out those who aren’t even seeking him. Just like he sought out the woman at the well, he is searching for you.
Most people are familiar with this event. Here is a woman who has spiritual thirst and doesn’t really recognize it. A little later in the narrative we discover that she has been really looking for true love. This woman had been married five times. And now she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. It is easy for religious people to put her down. I am sure that if she came into many modern churches, some churches would look down on her. Many would say, What an immoral woman! Maybe she was just messed up like so many people today. She was looking for love in all the wrong places!
What had transpired in these marriages? I don’t know. I am sure she had a part in the problem. Maybe she was adulterous. Maybe she was hard to live with. Maybe it was just she married men who jerks.
Maybe she didn’t understand what true love was. I don’t know. Let’s see what happened. John 4:6-9 “Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
A couple of things we have to note: This woman at the well did not expect this man Jesus to be there. Especially a Jewish man. The sixth hour of the day would be around noon. The sun was high in the sky. It was hot. Most women did this difficult task of getting water early in the morning when it was cool. The women would gather to talk and gossip and help each other. But not this lady. She came late in the day to avoid all the women who probably were not too kind or nice to her. She would rather sweat and labor in the sun than feel the condemnation of her community.
And then this Jew asks for a drink! This would be like a white person in the deep south 90 years ago when there was colored restaurants and white restaurants going into a colored restaurant and asking for food. Jesus broke every cultural and social protocol by even talking to this woman. Let alone drinking from the cup or whatever she had to offer water to him. Jesus was really giving an illustrated sermon. When she heaved that water up and gave Jesus a drink. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Drinking from her jar. That is why she says with astonishment. How is it that you are asking a drink from me?
Jesus love sought this woman out.
- I believe he intentionally went to Sychar just to meet her.
- I believe he intentionally waited by this well, knowing she would come.
- I believe he intentionally violated social protocol in talking to a woman.
- I believe he intentionally sought out a Samaritan woman
- He intentionally had a conversation with a woman who was immoral in her lifestyle.
But he wanted to show her that true love had come looking for her that day. And then, the second characteristic of God’s true love is that
- TRUE LOVE GIVES
Jesus is a master soul winner. The woman had stated. Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus knew that ugly prejudicial pride that pervaded the Jews was not the way God wanted it. But he already had shown that didn’t matter to him. Rather than get bogged down in a conversation about prejudice and how ugly it is. Jesus suggests to her that he has something to give. John 4:10 “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.”
What is interesting in this verse is the use of the word gift. It is found in three different forms in this verse. Gift, give, and given. He says, “the gift of God.” There are a lot of religious people who have a difficult time with that. There are so many people who think that in order to make heaven they must work for their salvation. They think that they have to do an unspecified number of good deeds. They think that if they work hard enough then maybe they will be able to get into heaven.
True love my friend is a gift. Salvation is a gift. You can’t earn it. You can’t get good enough to deserve it.You can’t pray or read your bible enough so that you are worthy. There is only one reason anybody ever makes heaven ever. Hear me today. It is a gift. That is why religious people struggle with the woman at the well. They would say, after a while, after she reforms, after she repents for a good long time, maybe just maybe we will start and loving and accepting her. Religion looks down their nose.
But Jesus reaches out his hand with a gift. He says I have what you need. He said I have a gift for you.
It is like no other gift. It is living water. The good news is that gift is for everybody. No one is excluded from receiving. It is a gift freely offered to everyone! Revelation 22:17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Why would Jesus use the metaphor of water for Salvation? It is because water is essential to life! You don’t live long without water. You have to drink water. Having Christ in your life is as essential drinking water. Without water you die. Without Christ you die. This woman didn’t understand exactly what Jesus was saying. She didn’t get the metaphor. John 4:11-12 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
She didn’t understand it, and so she begins to go back and speak her doubts. You don’t have anything to get water from the well from. Even Jacob drank from this well, and so she is still thinking of physical water. John 4:14 “Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
I want to tell you that so many in our world look for all kinds of things to satisfy their soul with. They think a new house will bring the satisfaction. They think if they exercise enough that a toned body will bring satisfaction. They think a new car will do it. Or a new husband or wife. Some turn to worldly pleasures and think, I will drink of this and it will satisfy. Listen nothing satisfies like Jesus. It is a relationship with God that makes life worth living. Like the song says, “And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me, I am his own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
In the end, when our time is near, and we are going down the last mile of our life. It is the relationship you have with Jesus that becomes precious. That is all that matters. Because you are leaving all the rest behind. Nothing satisfies like Jesus. And then another characteristic of God’s love is that…
- TRUE LOVE SPEAKS THE TRUTH.
The conversation continues. John 4:15-16 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” It is a small word in the conversation that often gets overlooked. It is the word “here”. This woman knew that in coming to this well, she risked getting scorned and mocked and gossiped about. She didn’t like to get water at this place. It opened her up for criticism. That is why she was there at the well at high noon instead of much earlier in the day when most of the women came. I don’t want to come HERE. Jesus began his confrontation, why don’t you get your husband, and come here. He will stand over you and protect you and you will be fine.
And this woman, who by the way, seems to be an expert at keeping a part of herself hidden because of the shame answers with a half truth. John 4:17a “The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” That was true but it wasn’t the whole truth was it? True love speaks the truth.
John 4:17b-18 “Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” Jesus said, yes you told the truth, but not the whole truth. The reason why you don’t want to be here is because of the shame you feel in coming here. Jesus lovingly, tenderly confronts her. That my friend is true love.
- This wasn’t done to prohibit her from drinking of the water of life.
- This confrontation wasn’t done to put shame upon her.
- This loving telling of the truth wasn’t done so she would go away feeling bad.
This loving caring telling of the truth simply was saying to her. I know who you are. I know the pain you have felt. I know the mistakes you have made. But I love you anyway. Is there anyone who understands that true love loves you in spite of your mistakes. True love loves you in your worst moment. True love knows who you are completely, and still loves. To be fully known by God, with all our faults, and failures and yet to understand the depth and the riches of his love is incredible.
Another characteristic of Jesus Love is that
- TRUE LOVE ISN’T AFRAID OF QUESTIONS
The conversation had grown too real for this woman. And so she immediately diverts the conversation away from herself to something easier to talk about. John 4:19-20 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” This was a common discussion between Jews and Samaritans.
The hostilities between the Jews and the Samaritans went back centuries. After the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C., they deported most of the Jews and replaced them with foreigners, who intermarried with the remaining Jews. Their religion was a mixture of their foreign gods with Judaism. When the exiles from the Southern Kingdom of Judah returned from Babylon, the Samaritans offered to help them rebuild their temple, but the Jews viewed them as foreign enemies and refused their offer. The same thing happened later when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
So, in about 400 B. C., the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerazim. Also, the Samaritans only accepted the Pentateuch (the first five books of Moses), not all of the Jewish Scriptures. So the Jews viewed the Samaritans as biological and religious half-breeds. All of these events and factors had led to intense hostility between the Samaritans and the Jews by Jesus’ day. We can’t properly understand this story unless we keep this hostile history in mind.
She says, Where is the proper place to worship? But rather than say, you are just trying to bring in controversy to avoid the real issues. Jesus actually answered her questions. Did you know that a lot of people have questions about Christianity, the Bible, and many other subjects? Sometimes it is necessary for us as believers to have the same true love that Jesus had. Jesus had true love, because he answered the woman at the well and all of her questions. John 4:21-24 “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus said, hey, you don’t need a mountain to worship on! You can worship the Father whenever and wherever you are. God is Spirit. He is everywhere. Worship Him in spirit and in truth. But the point is Jesus took the time to answer her questions. Someone said, I want to know the truth. I have questions about life. I have questions about the things that have happened to me in life. Hear me today! Every answer that you need is found in this Word of God. Maybe you need to seek out someone who has the wisdom of God that comes from His word to help.
And then yet another characteristic of Jesus love is…
- TRUE LOVE REVEALS HIMSELF
The conversation continued and once she had Jesus answer. She thought well okay. But maybe I better find a source that is better than you. Yes, this man is a Jew. This man is a prophet. He obviously has great wisdom. But I think I will wait until the Messiah comes. John 4:25-26 “The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
This conversation is the longest recorded conversation that Jesus had outside of his teachings. It is filled with life changing truths that are stunning. The most stunning of all is the first declaration of his Messiahship recorded in the Gospel—She says, “Well— these are wonderful words— and when Messiah comes I’m sure HE will make them plain!” And the amazing, head-spinning reply she got, and that she believed, were the words: “I that speak unto you— am HE!”
Jesus revealed himself. I want you to understand today that Jesus is not a figure that is shrouded in mystery. He is not some secret knowledge that only a few can figure out or come to know. He has plainly revealed himself for who he is. He is the Messiah. He is the Christ.
John the Baptist sent word to Jesus. He said, how do I know that you are the one? Are you the one that we are waiting or do we look for another? He sent word back to John saying, “You tell them. The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Every miracle that he has done attests to the fact that he is the one.
- My son was healed of stuttering in a single night.
- My wife’s retina was reattached after a portion was torn off.
- My wife’s brother was healed of a hole in his heart.
- My brother had a web across his esophagus that a major operation and 21 days in the hospital couldn’t fix. But Jesus answered prayer and healed him.
- Every life that has been changed.
- Every drug addict that put down their crack pipe or their needle.
- Every sober alcoholic is a testimony.
- Every marriage that has been healed.
- Every person in bondage that has been set free.
- The Word itself testifies of him.
- Prophecy coming to pass testifies of Jesus.
It all shows who JESUS is! He is the one! He will reveal himself if open your heart to him. The woman at the well opened her heart! She received the revelation of who Jesus was.
- TRUE LOVE IS EVER EXPANDING
This is the most powerful characteristic of Jesus love. It is not for just a few. It is meant to be ever expanding. The disciples came back and they found Jesus talking to this woman. They were amazed that he was actually speaking to this woman. Jesus used the moment to teach them that the harvest is now and it is ready. We have to take the love to others.
The woman herself did just that. John 4:28-29 “The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.” Once you have experienced the good news you want to tell the world. Once you have tasted of the grace of God. Once you have known his love. You want to tell others.
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ! John 4:39-42 “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two daysAnd many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”