Mike Gerhardt, 9-27- 2020, John Series, Wishing Wells, and Regrets Please READ John 4:1-26 before moving one. This woman had five husbands. I can’t imagine that. Here’s a man who had more marriages: Glenn Wolfe died alone at the age of 88. The city paid to have him buried in an unmarked grave. Yet Glenn was unique. He was in the Guinness book of world records as the Most Married Man with 29 marriages. He left several children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, ex-wives, and 29 sets of in-laws! Still, he died alone. Marriage and family are important but if that is all there is, we would be just as lonely as Glenn. Only a relationship for which we have been created can truly satisfy. Which was something this woman needed as well. How do you see this woman? A young beautiful spirited woman? Or an older weathered, unhappy woman with many regrets?
Who are the Samaritans? After the Assyrians took the Jews into captivity, they allowed other nations to settle in Palestine. A remnant of Jews intermarried with these foreigners and began to worship Jehovah and Baal in a syncretistic way. They worshiped at Mt Gerizim, for the Jews would not let them worship in Jerusalem.
The purpose-driven life begins with worship and for good reason. Worship is at the heart of a relationship with God. There are some misleading perceptions that may have kept this woman from the peace of God. For example, I can live on bread and water alone. This is the 2-year-old yelling: I CAN DO IT MYSELF! Or the teen: I don’t need your help! Or the Adult: I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps (whatever that means). What if it is moldy bread and polluted water? Thanks to a massive effort by Saddleback Church and other Christian organizations, since 1990 2.3 billion people gained access to a safe water source. Yet there are still almost 900 million people who have no clean water to drink. Though 80% of the world is covered with water, almost 1 out of 7 lacks clean drinking water. This gives meaning to the Samuel Coleridge poem: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. I can worship God any way I want. In a pluralistic society, this is a given right we defend. Could there possibly be moldy religions and polluted beliefs? We live in a world of bad religions! Some beliefs lead to killing infidels, and devastating entire people groups. Some say you must worship in a sanctuary with stain glass, or with loud concert type music, or with people leading worship in robes and burning candles. The worship wars still exist in some churches defending the right way to worship. We label groups as traditional worship or contemporary worship though they sing 40 years old choruses! We group them into conservative worshipers, liberal worshipers, right way worshipers… you get the point. We group things in our minds, all kinds of groups: a pod of whales, a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, a crash of rhinos, an attitude of teens, a brace of orthodontists, a fidget of boys, a giggle of girls, a flood of plumbers, and an absence of waiters. The puzzle of worship is of concern and Jesus addresses that with simplicity: Worship God in spirit and in truth. Can we as a church really worship at the Drive-In? Can we worship in spirit and in truth? The place doesn’t seem to matter: a building, a cathedral, Mt Gerizim, or the Drive-In. Here is a third: I am my own person; I have evolved (many will defend they evolve from apes). Macro-evolutionists believe that all living things including apes and man evolved from slime. Sadly, some value human life the same as they value slime. We may feel like a simple piece of protoplasm that has been crushed, stepped on, and forgotten by others. But no matter how worthless we feel, we never lose our value in God’s eyes. We are worth dying for. We are priceless to God the Father for He gave His priceless one and only Son to die to save us. So here are some important principles. God loves you and me more than we can understand. By the way, I am glad we don’t know the woman’s name. if we did, I’m sure when we get to heaven, someone one would say to her: Zaria? Aren’t you the one who had five husbands? Bad scene. Kevin Young in Cliffhanger: reaching out for the Father, tells this story: “the runners for the special Olympic 400-meter dash were being helped to their marks. A gentleman in a suit jumped up yelling Lenny, Lenny. A man with Down’s Syndrome looked up from the field. The gun started the race for all except Lenny, who was dead last and losing ground. He had a preoccupation with his hands. The gentleman turned to us and said: That’s my son Lenny, isn’t he doing great! When Lenny reached the last turn, the other runners had finished. The gentleman shouted: Great job, Lenny! Way to go! Keep going! He reminded us that Lenny was HIS SON! We all applauded dutifully. When Lenny finished, the man went, hugged his son, who was exhausted, drooling, and still wringing his hands.” Some of us think of God as an angry taskmaster with a whip, punishing us when we get out of line. Now I know God as my father who is on the sideline cheering me on. Yelling: I love you Mike and want the best for you. I want you to win. This woman needed someone cheering for her, who would speak the truth in love to her, who would help her to a new life of living water. This brief encounter changed her life completely. You and I can’t live on bread and water alone. We all need the bread of life and living water. John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. You and I need relationships, especially eternal ones. The most important relationship is with God as your Father. Again: You can only worship God in spirit and in truth. Jesus was not giving rules to exclude this woman but to include her. The place of worship is not important. It is important to worship in spirit and in truth.
Jesus saw this woman at the well and had compassion for her. He told her the truth in love. She listened and believed. From that time on she was a great influence moving others to listen to Jesus. What about you? Do you have any regrets? Do you need to be refreshed by the living water? Do you need to be transformed by trusting in the only one who can save you from your sins? Do you need to move out in faith and tell the truth in love to someone who will listen? Begin today to live a purpose-driven life for God.