John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 4:10-30

In the last post, we looked at verses 1 thru 14 which was a brief look at Jesus’s encounter with this Samaritan woman who came looking for water and found so much more. In this post, we are going to look at another large passage but we will also be looking at some of  the verses covered in the last post but from a different angle and then in the next post, I’ll cover some of these other verses with a different viewpoint.

Here is an interesting fact that you may or may not know. Did you know that it is estimated that about 51% of the world’s population has tasted Coke, Coca-Cola? It is bought and sold in just about every country in the world. How is that possible? Simple, a very smart marketing campaign which I don’t think they even knew what the end results would be and how far its outreach would be. Remember this slogan, “Things go better with Coke”? Don’t know if they still use it but it worked. This means your neighbor has probably tasted Coke but does your neighbor know Christ? There’s a good chance that they don’t! So why is that? Because many Christians don’t have a “marketing” strategy or the one they have is a poor one or they simply don’t even bother to come up with one. Things may go better with Coke but they go really better with Christ and we have to somehow make that point clear to people that we come in contact with on a daily basis. There are millions of lost people in America, and also perhaps in the country you live in for those of you who are reading this that don’t live in America, who are searching for something more, some type of meaning and purpose in life, and it is our duty to tell people what that is…the Good News of Jesus Christ! If we don’t, then we are not showing people the love that we Christians claim to possess. Yes it’s true that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink but at least you lead them to the water!

In all fairness, the reason why many Christians don’t tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ is that they are afraid to or they flat out just don’t know how to. In this passage that we will be looking at in this post, we get some tips from our Lord how to do this as He talks with this Samaritan woman. We have a lot of ground to cover here so let’s get started! Open your Bibles to John Chapter 4. If you don’t have one handy, as always the text link for the chapter and audio are included here for you to follow along. Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this time again in Your Word. Bless this time Father and make it fulfilling. Thank You for the Word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of those who love and understand the power of it. Father, we pray that You would help do a work in all of us and help us all to reach out to others with the Good News of the Gospel. And now Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

John 4

Let’s look at the passage for that we will be studying in this post. Starting back up in verse 10…

(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.” (11) 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? (12) 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?” (13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) 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.” (15) The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (16) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” (19) The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” (21) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (23) 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. (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” (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.” (27) And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” (28) The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (30) Then they went out of the city and came to Him. … John 4:10-30 NKJV

Like I said this is a large passage and I will be doing things a little bit differently with this. Instead of taking each verse one by one and going through it like I have been doing, this time, I will be looking at the entire passage as a whole and highlighting certain parts of it like I did with the study on Jeremiah.

Going out and telling the Good News of Jesus Christ is much like going fishing. You need a hook and bait to catch the fish. Then you cast your line into the water, the fish takes the bait and the hook and then you reel him in. I got to be perfectly honest with you, I hate fishing and here’s why. It’s rather humorous albeit very painful. When I was a kid, I lived in Baldwinsville, NY, for a few years, right by the beautiful Seneca River. In the spring and summer months, I would hang out at Mercer Park which was right on the river. One day my friend and I wanted to go fishing. He had a fishing pole but I didn’t have a fishing pole so being the brainiac I was at that age, about 11 or 12 years old, I decided to try to make one! I wasn’t alone in this endeavor because my friend helped me. Anyway, the first thing we did was to look for a strong, sturdy, and flexible stick. It had to be all three because we were after carp. If you know what they are, they are very large and heavy fish. We took the stick back to his place and into the garage. Being the brainiacs that we were instead of using fishing line, we used heavy string! LOL! My friend found a fishing hook and some sinkers in his dad’s tackle box and we proceeded to tie the hook to the string. After tying the hook to the string, again being the brainiac I was, I threw the stick with the string and the hook behind me over my shoulder and then threw the stick forward as though I was fishing and the hook caught me right in the middle of my back! OUCH! LOL! Luckily my friend was able to get it out while I howled in pain! Needless to say, never been fishing after that! Anyway, painful childhood memories aside, the way to lead others to Christ is much like fishing. In Matthew, we read…

(18) And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (19) Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” … Matthew 4:18-19 NKJV

So first, we have to become true followers of Christ. Jesus says Follow Me and we can’t do that if we are more interested in following earthly pursuits. Then we pray that He will lead us to others that need Him.

Any fisherman will tell you that the most important thing to catch fish is bait. You can have the most expensive rod on the market but if you don’t have the bait, that rod is completely useless. Whether it’s live bait, like a worm, or an attractive lure, you need to attract the fish so they’ll take the bait and get hooked. In verse 10, Jesus “baits” the Samaritan woman. Looking at verse 10 again…

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.” … John 4:10 NKJV

Even though what Jesus tells her goes completely over her head, as evidenced by the woman’s response in verses 11 and 12, her curiosity and interest has been piqued. She’s taken the “bait”! Now we can’t use or say something profound like this, but we can say other things to people when given the chance. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are in a grocery store and in the checkout line. In the checkout line, there are usually magazines or newspapers on the racks. There are bad headlines on them, a shooting as well as other tragedies, and someone in front of you remarks, “What is the world coming to?” and you respond to them with something like, “Seems to me like the world is right on schedule!”. That is going to elicit some type of response from that person and then you can proceed to share the Gospel with them.

You also can use other “bait” and do so without saying a word. For example, wearing Christian inspired t-shirts. I actually have one that says on the front of it, “Satan Sucks!” and on the back of it, “Jesus Saves!” with a red cross underneath symbolizing the blood that Jesus spilled for us all. It turns heads when I wear it, even Christians, and definitely a conversation starter. Another way to “bait” is through music. This is a favorite tool of mine to use. I play a lot of contemporary Christian worship music while I am working and I have a “captive” audience while shining passenger’s shoes and boots. Sometimes, I will even have messages playing from some of my favorite preachers such as Greg Laurie, Skip Heitzig, and others. Again, captive audience not going anywhere! That method worked for me and played a major role in being saved and I figure if it worked for me, maybe it will work for others. Besides, God’s Word can say way more than I ever could!

The most important way we as Christians can attract people to Jesus Christ though is through our actions. What we do, what we say, how we react to others, and how we react in certain situations tells others if we are true followers of Christ or not. In Luke, Jesus says…

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? … Luke 6:46 NKJV

Our actions as Christians can either attract people to the Gospel or turn them away from it. Not only are the day to day actions important but the ones that are the most important, and people take notice of the most, are our actions in times of adversity. It’s so easy to praise God in times of joy and blessings but what happens when we lose a job or a loved one suddenly dies, or that news from our doctor’s appointment isn’t good? It’s times like these that we are most under the scrutiny of unbelievers and how we react to those times is very important. If we continue to praise and worship the Lord, people are going to say to themselves, “What’s up with that? I want some of that!”.

The thing though is that we need to have a plan and put it into action when we have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others. In 1 Peter, Peter says…

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; … 1 Peter 3:15 NKJV

It has been said that no Christian should be content to go to heaven alone and yet, many of us seem to perfectly content to do so. Look at what Jesus says to the Samaritan woman in verse 14 again because there is a key point that we need to take notice of. …

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.” … John 4:14 NKJV

Jesus tells the woman that after she takes Him inside of her, she will become a fountain of water springing up. Jesus doesn’t tell the woman, “Now after you take Me inside of you, you will become a stagnant pond. Just go about your business now and don’t tell anyone that I talked with you!”. Unfortunately, if you are a King James reader, the word well is substituted for the word fountain but the idea is still there. To paraphrase this, Jesus is telling us that we are not to become a stagnant body of water always taking in but never giving out. Our faith should be an explosion that touches everyone in some way that we come in contact with!

We also have to confront people with Jesus in a positive way and not go “club fishing”, trying to beat the fish with a club. Going back to that example in the checkout line at the grocery store and that person who is looking at the bad news headlines on the newspapers and magazines on the racks and saying, “What is the world coming to?”, some Christians respond this way: “I’ll tell you what the world is coming to! The world is going to hell and so will you too if you don’t accept Jesus!”. That is what you call “club fishing”! That approach may work on some people but for the most part, it will repel most people to accepting Christ and cause resentment of people who do! Going back to that passage in 1 Peter, Peter tells us to always have an answer to others about our faith but we are to do it with meekness and fear. In other words, respectably. 

This doesn’t mean that we are to “sugar coat” the Gospel or ignore the real problem with all of us…sin. Looking at verses 16 through 18…

(16) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” … John 4:16-18 NKJV

Jesus now shifts the conversation and focuses on the true issue in this woman’s life…her sin. In order for us to truly accept and be followers of Jesus Christ, we must acknowledge that we are sinners and we must come to Jesus with our sin in repentance. Only people who know they are truly lost can be saved. Jesus confronts this woman with her sin issue in a kind, non-threatening but honest manner. Jesus knew there was a reason why this woman chose this time of the day to come to that well to get water and that was probably to avoid the other woman in the village because she knew that she was living in sin. She probably had been searching for “Mr. Right” all of her life but was unable to find him and now she had found a man but figured, “I’ll just live with him. Why bother getting married! He’ll just leave me like the others!”. Jesus knew this was the problem in this woman’s life and He wanted her to acknowledge that. There is a passage in 1 Timothy that is another favorite passage of mine where Paul writes…

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. … 1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV

Not many Christians out there will list this verse as one of their favorites but my belief is that if we don’t believe this in our hearts, that we are chief sinners, then we are not truly saved!

The woman’s response to Jesus’s remarks are the same by anyone confronted with conviction…deflection! The woman quickly changes the subject by talking about worship in verses 19 and 20. Conviction is the real, true reason why people do not come to Christ! It is the reason why they say there are “contradictions” in The Bible. I know because I used to be this kind of person. When hit with a cutting personal truth in their lives, rather than swallowing their pride and acknowledge it, they will “cut and run” which is basically what this woman is doing here. I will be covering this portion of the passage in the next post but Jesus tells the woman that the place of worship is not important. What is important though is the authenticity of the worship…God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthIn other words, don’t fake it!

The last thing that I want to point out in this passage, and I’ll close this post with this, is that we have to guard against being selective when sharing the Gospel. Skipping down to verse 27…

(27) And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” … John 4:27 NKJV

What I believe is going on here, as well as most Bible commentators do, is that there is resentment in the disciples that Jesus is talking to this woman. She is not only a woman but she is also a Samaritan and the Jews just didn’t deal with them. The same thing is going on today in our culture. We Christians are being too selective on who we want in the kingdom of heaven with us and who we don’t. It’s so easy to share the Gospel with our friends and families and others that we like but how about with a person who is a homosexual? How about with a person who is white if you are black or if you are white, how about with a person who is black? How about with people who are different faiths like Muslims or Hindus? The list goes on and on. What about those people? The funny thing is that Jesus didn’t “hang out” with righteous people. He hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans etcetera etcetera. When confronted by the so called “righteous” Pharisees, Jesus said…

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” … Luke 5:32 NKJV

James talks about showing partiality in his letter. In James 2, James says…

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. (2) For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, (3) and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” (4) have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? … James 2:1-4 NKJV

Here’s something that I bet you didn’t know. I didn’t even know this until very recently. Mahatma Ghandi the famous Hindu scholar almost became a Christian. What stopped him? Christians! It seems that he became fascinated with the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He thought that Christianity was the answer to India’s caste system. He said that he was going to church one Sunday for instruction on Christianity and baptism and he was stopped at the door. He was refused a seat in that church and the person at the door said, “Go and worship with your own kind.” He left that church never to return to another church in his life. And he wrote in his autobiography, “Well then, if Christians have caste differences, I might as well remain a Hindu.” Because of one biased and prejudiced Christian, Mahatma Ghandi lost faith in Jesus and entry into God’s kingdom! How soon we forget that we were once in need of saving ourselves so when we come across others we don’t particularly care for, we become all righteous and selfish! The question that the disciples really should have been asking themselves was not why Jesus was talking to this Samaritan woman but why He was talking to them!

And that’s what we all, who are saved, should be asking ourselves. Why Lord? Why did you pick me to save? When coming upon someone who doesn’t know Jesus, who may have a different lifestyle than ours or a different race or religion than ours or may look different than we do, we need to be remember the first two lines of that famous hymn by John Newton…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! Jesus saves all because Jesus loves all and He wants us to take that message to the rest of the world! So let’s do it! Let’s become “fishers of men”! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this time in Your Word. Lord, we thank You for showing us Your love through this story of this lost, sinful Samaritan woman and showing us that you love us, everyone, regardless of race, religion, lifestyle, no matter what we’ve done or said even though none of us are worthy or deserving of Your love. Help us Lord and give us the strength and courage to take this message to others who are lost and need to hear it! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!