The Day the Woman Came

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John 4:4-42

CCI: Jesus will quench the thirst of our world.

Intro: In July of 2006, Dave Buschow was hiking outside Boulder, UT. Dave was a veteran who had marched across the Arctic in Greenland and worked military security all around the world. He was in Boulder because he wanted to test himself. He and 11 others had signed up with the Bolder Outdoor Survival School. By noon of his second day of the hike, Dave was beginning to show signs of dehydration. The group pressed on. After one break, Dave mistook a tree for a person and tried to talk to it. As the sun began to drop in the sky his tongue began to swell, but the group was approaching a cave that consistently held water. 200 feet from the cave Dave fell to the ground and died of thirst.

It was a tragedy, but what was even more tragic was the fact that the guides from the survival school who were with him the whole day were carrying water for emergencies and chose not to offer it to him because they wanted him to “do it himself.” The Headline CBS ran read: Hiker Dies of Thirst With Water All Around.

It is tragic that a person would die of thirst when water was available.

In light of this story, I am reminded of the old Sprite commercial “Image is nothing. Thirst is everything. OBEY YOUR THIRST!” Now a sugary lemon-lime soft drink may give a temporary reprieve to a dry mouth, but I guarantee it ultimately will not satisfy your thirst. We need to listen to our thirst more closely.

We all thirst. We long to be loved. We want to experience happiness. We long for meaning and significance in our lives. These are the deep thirsts that do not just go away. We try to satisfy these thirsts in many different ways.

These were the thirsts that the woman who came to Jesus at noon in was trying to quench. When Jesus encountered her, she trying to satisfy the dryness of her soul in many ways. First, we see that she tried to satisfy her thirst by simply accepting that she would be thirsty. When Jesus spoke to her, she said, “Jews don’t speak with Samaritans, why would you ask me for anything.” It was her way of simply accepting her lot in life. She also tried to quench her thirst through her heritage. “Our father Jacob gave us this well.” There was a sense of superiority that she was able to wave at this Jewish man who was disturbing her life.

Then she tried to quench her thirst by engaging Jesus in a religious discussion about where you should worship. Though she had been rejected by many, she knew and clung to her religion hoping it would satisfy her. But Jesus made it clear that the water of life he offers was not limited by one’s religion, or place of worship.

She even tried relationships and marriages to satisfy the longing in her heart. 5 times married, living with another lover. But still she was not satisfied. While relationships are essential in our lives, no relationship with another will meet the deep longing of our souls.

We know this is true because we have tried to satisfy the emptiness within in all these ways. We have tried things, and knowledge, and sex, and security, and wealth, and adventure, and food and none of them have ultimately satisfied. The emptiness in our souls does not just go away.

But deep within, our thirst knows what we need. I believe it because God has placed that thirst within our hearts. It cannot be satisfied except in the way he has planned. As Jesus talked with the woman at the well, her thirst was quenched by the conversation she had with Jesus. As he revealed himself to her, she was filled by his love and grace and the emptiness that she had known throughout her life was filled.

God longs to quench our thirst. In Psalm 107:8-9, we read,

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

   and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

9 for he satisfies the thirsty

   and fills the hungry with good things.”

In Isa 44 God promises “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”

In fact, in one of the very last verses in the Bible says this: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

God has placed provided the water that will give us life and it is at our fingertips, all we have to do is receive it. The problem comes when we like Dave decide we can get the water ourselves and we don’t ask for help.

The woman when she heard what Jesus was offering had but one response, “Give me this water!” Are we ready to receive the water Jesus is offering? Admit your thirst and drink deeply of the Life Jesus offers. It will change your life just as it changed the woman in the story.

Now, you have to understand, it was not an accident that the woman came to the well at noon. She was divorced many times over. The man she was with was not her husband. This is John’s way of telling us that she had a VERY bad reputation in town. She came at noon, because no one else in their right mind would come at noon! She came to avoid people. But Jesus not only spoke to her, but Jesus got to her.

And when she returned to town, she started telling everyone about Jesus. This woman, the very first missionary was a notorious sinner, her life was a scandal. But when she encountered Jesus the change in her life was unquestionable, the people who had shunned her now wanted to meet this one who had changed her life. Having found a way to quench the thirst in her life, she now wanted to share it with others.

The guides who were with Dave Buschow actually decided that they would not offer him the water he so desperately needed. They believed he could find it on his own. That decision led to his death.

If you have discovered that Jesus will satisfy the thirst of your soul, are you now sharing that good news with others as the woman did, or are you keeping it to yourself as the guides did?

May we never withhold the water of life, but may we pass it on.

Let us pray.