Sunday, March 1, 2020
“Water and Worship”
Service Orientation: Regardless of your status or past, you can find hope, life, and truth in Jesus. The Source of living water is worthy of our worship; in the Spirit and in truth.
Memory Verse for the Week: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
- The Samaritans as a people stemmed from the mixture of surviving (North) Israelites with various foreigners (from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim; see 2 Kings 17:24-41) planted on Israelite soil by the conquering king of Assyria (721 B.C. and following). This mixture of races led to the contamination of Israel’s religion and further antipathy. (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 76)
- Because the success of His own baptizing mission had now surpassed that of John, Jesus began withdrawing into Galilee to escape the hostility of the Pharisees, who had little tolerance for either man. (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 76) .
- The Samaritans also had hostile feelings toward the Jews. Their offer to help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem after the Jews returned from Babylonian exile had been refused, and this had caused great bitterness (Ezra 4:2). So the Samaritans refused to worship in Jerusalem, preferring their own temple on Mount Gerizim, which had been built about 400 B.C. When this place of worship had been burned by the Jews in about 128 B.C., the relation between these two peoples deteriorated even further. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 95)
- “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water” (v.7), This was no accident. She chose this hour because she expected the well would be deserted. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 173)
- Jesus went to Samaria to give the Samaritans what he had given to Nicodemus—the offer of eternal life by being born again. And, furthermore, by going to Samaria and bringing the gospel to the despised Samaritans, he showed that he was above the Jewish prejudices. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 77) .
- The growth of any messianic movement could easily be interpreted as having political overtones, and Jesus did not want to become involved in my outward conflict with the state, whether Jewish or Roman. In order to avoid a direct clash, he left Judea and journeyed northward to Galilee. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 54) .
The question to be answered is…
What does this encounter with the Samaritan woman reveal about Jesus and true worship?
In this encounter, Jesus again cements His preeminence as the source of real life, satisfaction, and truth. He alone can satisfy what our souls thirst for, and in order to truly worship Him we must do so in spirit and in truth.
The word of the day is… thirst
What is revealed about Jesus from this encounter?
- Jesus’ offer of living water is for everyone; regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, social status, or past.
(Mar. 16:16; Luk. 24:47; John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:40, Acts 10:43; Rom. 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:4)
The fact that Jesus had this conversation with an immoral woman in an obscure village should tell us something. God isn’t seeking worshipers only among the significant and popular people, the successful and powerful ones. The Maker of the universe is seeking true worshipers among us all. (Bob Kauflin, True Worshipers, 26)
“Jesus said unto her, Give me to drink.” The picture presented is unspeakably lovely. Christ seated on the well, and what do we find Him doing? Sitting alone with this poor outcast, to settle with her the great question of eternity. He shows her herself, and reveals Himself! This is exactly what He does with every soul that He calls to Himself. He takes us apart from the maddening world, exposes to us our desperate condition, and then makes known to us in whose Presence we are, leading us to ask from Him that precious “gift” which He alone can impart. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 175)
- Jesus alone can satisfy what souls thirst for. (v.13-14)
(Ps. 107:9; 145:16; Prov. 19:23; Jer. 31:25; Mat. 11:28; John 6:35; 10:10; 1 Pet. 2:2;l 2:24)
Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 16)
The Lord Jesus is far more ready to hear than we are to pray, and far more ready to give favours than we are to ask them. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 143)
- To Jesus, the heart of the matter… matters.
(Num. 32:23; Ps. 90:8; Prov. 28:13; Luke 8:17; John 4:24; Heb. 4:13)
Worshiping in spirit is the opposite of worshiping in merely external ways. It is the opposite of empty formalism and traditionalism. Worshiping in truth is the opposite of worship based on an inadequate view of God. Worship must have heart and head. Worship must engage emotions and thought. (John Piper, Desiring God, 81)
Conclusion: How should we live in light of all this?
A. If and when Jesus asks you to go to your “Samaria”, go.
(Is. 6:8; Mat. 9:37-38; 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom. 1:16; 10:10-17; 1 Cor. 9:22; 1 Pet. 3:15)
The gospel is for every person, no matter what his or her race, social position, religious orientation, or past sins. We must be prepared to share this gospel at any time and in any place. We must also be prepared to deal with those who may be accustomed to being ill-treated and who are not sure of our motives. Jesus crossed all barriers to share the gospel, and we who follow him must do no less–even if misunderstood. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 80)
B. When your soul thirsts, go to Jesus. When others thirst, point the way.
(Mat. 11:28-30; John 14:27; 16:33; Rom. 15:13; Phil. 4:6-7; Heb. 4:9-10; 1 Pet. 5:7)
Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 95-96)
Man can find nothing in this finite life to give him an infinite peace. Man must go outside himself or he will live his life in despair. The only way a person can avoid this is by living in denial. (Tommy Nelson, A Life Well Lived, 37)
C. Realize that spirit and truth are inseparable when it comes to genuine worship; worship accordingly.
(Ps. 145:18; Mat. 15:9; John 4:23-24; 17:17; Rom. 12:1; Phil. 4:8; Heb. 13:15; James 1:27)
Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full of artificial admirers. On the other hand, emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the discipline of rigorous thought. But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine. Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship. (John Piper, Desiring God, 81-82)
To worship is to experience Reality, to touch Life. It is to know, to feel, to experience the resurrected Christ in the midst of the gathered community. It is a breaking into the Shekinah of God, or better yet, being invaded by the Shekinah of God. (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 158)
Our worship is the subjective echo of God’s objective worth. The immensity of his worth is reflected in the intensity of your worship. (John Piper, An All-Consuming Passion for God, 76)
Worship happens when truth-filled minds and passion-saturated hearts find their sole satisfaction in Jesus.
(Ps. 4:8; 16:5; 73:25-26; 84:2; Mat. 6:21; John 4:23; Heb. 13:15; Rev. 15:4)
Worship is more than an act of mere willpower. All the outward acts of worship are performed by acts of will. But that does not make them authentic. The will can be present (for all kinds of reasons) while the heart is not truly engaged (or, as Jesus says, is “far way”). The engagement of the heart in worship is the coming alive of the feelings and emotions and affections of the heart. Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead. (John Piper, Desiring God, 86)
The greatest lie we sometimes are told is that in pleasure lies our fulfillment. I would say pleasure unbounded by sacredness will leave you emptier than before. (Ravi Zacharias, “The Death of Truth and the Decline of Culture” event video, 42:28)
I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven. (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship, 13)
If we are not worshiping “in spirit” our worship will be dry and lifeless. Worship not done “in truth” becomes deceitful or irrelevant. “In spirit” reminds us who we are worshiping. “In truth” exposes the required genuineness of those doing the worshiping. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 86)
Jesus has satisfied the righteous anger of God so that in Him we might find life, freedom, and ultimate satisfaction.
With one simple sentence, “Go, call your husband,” the One who is Light has exposed her evil deeds, the disorder of her domestic life. If she cannot face herself and admit that her tangled, sick relationships are sin, she can never drink of living water. The gift is free, but it cannot be received without repentance, (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 99)
Spiritual Challenge Questions…
Reflect on these questions in your time with the Lord this week, or discuss with a Christian family member or life group.
- As you look at Jesus’ response to this woman, what do you think matters most to Him?
- How does Jesus’ conversation with the woman in vv. 16-18 relate to his definition of true worship?
- Who or where is your “Samaria”. To whom or to where are you least likely to go to share the good news of Jesus? What’s stopping you from going there?
- What barriers exist in making sure your worship is both spirit-filled and truth-centered. What impact does your attitude have on your worship? How does your attitude influence your thoughts regarding this question?
Quotes to note…
There is no such thing as genuine worship based on ignorance or what one does not know. (Beacon Bible commentary, John, 67)
The proud and lofty man or woman cannot worship God any more acceptably than can the proud devil himself. There must be humility in the heart of the person who would worship God in spirit and in truth. (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship, 84)
To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God. (William Temple, The Hope of a New World, 30)
Our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. (C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, Kindle Locations 1017-1018)
Sin is the insanity of forsaking the pursuit of your pleasure in God. (John Piper, An All-Consuming Passion for God, 21)
First, true worship, will result from the Father’s initiative; He is a God who seeks worshipers. God does not simply wait around for folks to show interest in Him. Like the shepherd seeking the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7), God pursues His creatures and draws them to himself (John 6:44). His desire for worshipers stems not from vanity, but from His self-giving love for them (3:16) which will not rest until He lives within them (14:23) (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 80)
Never does a man see any beauty in Christ as a Saviour, until he discovers that he is himself a lost and ruined sinner. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 144)
FURTHER QUOTES & RESEARCH…
Jesus’ response to the woman at once affirmed her ignorance of His real nature, and at the same time deeply aroused her curiosity. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The word for gift, dorea, carries the idea of “free gift”; that is a gift with no strings attached. Gift here is a regal word, used of the benefactions of a king, or a rich man. (Beacon Bible commentary of John, 65).
What is worship? Worship is to feel in your heart and express in some appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of that most ancient Mystery, that Majesty which philosophers call the First Cause, but which we call Our Father Which Are in Heaven. (A.W. Tozer, quoted in D.J. Fant, A.W. Tozer, Christian Publications, 1964, p. 90.)
For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose — and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, 119)
“All true worshipers must worship God in “spirit and in truth.” That is, true worship takes place on the inside, in the heart or spirit of the worshiper (cf. Psalm 45:1; 103:1-2). Worship pleasing to God must be unfeigned and transparent, offered with a humble and pure heart (Psalm 24:3-4; Isa 66:2). (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical theology)
Nothing keeps God at the center of our worship like the biblical conviction that the essence of worship is deep, heartfelt satisfaction in Him and the conviction that the pursuit of satisfaction is why we are together. The great hindrance to worship is not that we are pleasure-seeking people, but that we are willing to settle for such pitiful pleasures. (John Piper, The Dangerous Duty of Delight)
Men and women continue to try to persuade themselves that there are many forms and ways that seem right in worship. But God in His revelation has told us that He is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. God takes the matter of worship out of the hands of men and puts it in the hands of the Holy Spirit. (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship, 44)
Tell me, what is evil? What is the definition of evil, that which appalls the universe, that causes the angels of God to say, “No! It can’t be!” According to Jeremiah 2:12–13, evil is looking at God, the fountain of all-satisfying, living water, and saying, “No, thank you,” and turning to the television, sex, parties, booze, money, prestige, a house in the suburbs, a vacation, a new computer program, and saying, “Yes!” That’s evil. (John Piper, An All-Consuming Passion for God, 21)
The animosity toward the Samaritans was greatly intensified about twenty years before Jesus’ ministry when some Samaritans defiled the temple in Jerusalem by scattering human bones in the courtyard during Passover (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 18.30)
His own physical experience, therefore, Jesus modeled for this Samaritan woman a vital spiritual truth: a deep sense of need will drive one to whatever lengths necessary to resolve it. Jesus needed water and was willing to ask a Samaritan woman for it. Would the woman do the same? Would she sense her need of living water and find herself matching the shocking request of Jesus? Yes she would, Jesus predicted, but only if she knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink (4:10). (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 77)
Both Nicodemus and this Samaritan woman, representatives from two ends of the scale of respectability in their day, had to face the singular truth that eternal life came from above through the Spirit. (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 79)
Why does Jesus leave Judea and move northward to Galilee? particularly if He is becoming increasingly popular and the word is out that He is baptizing more disciples than John, although the writer is careful that it was the disciples who did the baptizing. That “success” is both a blessing and a problem. People are hearing and responding, but getting the attention of the Pharisees can only mean harassment and opposition. This is not the time for confrontation with the Pharisees, who become more and more His bitter opponents. That will come later. So it is better to move to another “front”. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 94)
There is a kinship between Jesus and every weary pilgrim who drops tiredly into the nearest chair after an exhausting day at the office or after struggling with the children and the telephone at home. Jesus has joined us in the frailty of our flesh. Otherwise, salvation is unreal. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 95)
The well was a social institution, a gathering place with its own particular ritual. Here the women of the village came toward evening to exchange small talk and learn the latest village news while they drew water. But this woman sought to avoid all that. Why go through the pain and embarrassment of being avoided and ostracized, the object of village gossip? (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 96)
9-10 There was a trace of sarcasm in the woman’s reply, as if she meant, “We Samaritans are the dirt under your feet until you want something; then we are good enough!” Jesus paid no attention to her flippancy or to her bitterness. He was more interested in winning the woman than in winning an argument. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 54-55)
Jesus’ second reply emphasized the contrast between the water in the well and what he intended to give. The material water would allay thirst only temporarily; the spiritual water would quench the inner thirst forever. The water in the well had to be drawn up with hard labor; the spiritual water would bubble up from within. Because of her nonspiritual perspective, the woman’s interests were very selfish. All she wanted was something to save the effort of the long, hot trip from the village. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 55)
Jesus was endeavoring to convey to the woman that God cannot be confined to one place nor conceived of as a material being. He cannot be represented adequately by an abstract concept, which is intrinsically impersonal, nor can any idol depict his likeness since he is not material. Only “the Word become flesh” could represent Him adequately. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 56)
There is no geographical necessity for going through Samaria. The necessity is due to God’s plan, as had (edei) indicates (cf. comment on 3:14). The Father was sending him there to look for those who would Worship him in spirit and truth(4:23). (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 101)
It was the hottest time of day, not the best time to be traveling and a very unusual time for a woman to fetch water. The fact that it was noon may highlight both Jesus’ desire to avoid the Pharisees and the woman’s desire to avoid her neighbors, who would come to draw water at cooler periods of the day. Since she had had six of the men of the village, the other women would have little love for her. Her immorality is well known to the villagers (4:29), as one would expect. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 101)
The ritual impurity of the person was thought to pass to whatever he or she had contact with, like spiritual germs. There is thus an enormous religious barrier between this woman and Jesus, the first of several barriers. Jesus takes the initiative and will keep at it until of the barriers are dealt with. This gentle persistence should be a great comfort to us who are not without barriers ourselves. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 102)
It is a source of great comfort to us to realize how patiently God works with each of us to lead us out of our misunderstanding and shallowness to come to ever deeper levels of faith, knowledge and union with God. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 105)
To worship in spirit and truth means to worship as one who is spiritually alive, living in the new reality Jesus offers, referred to here as the gift of God, which is living water. For behind the earthly things are the heavenly things, that is, God himself (cf. 3:12). (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 106)
In stressing His absolute Deity, we are in danger overlooking the reality of His humanity. The Lord Jesus was perfect Man: He ate and drank, labored and slept, prayed and wept. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 162)
At His birth we behold His humiliation — lying in a manger— but we discover His Divine glory, too, for the angels were sent to announce the One born as “Christ the Lord.” See Him asleep in the boat, exhausted from the toil of a heavy day’s work: but the boat, exhausted from the toil of a heavy day’s work: but mark the sequel, as He rises and stills the storm. Behold Him By the grave of Lazarus, groaning in spirit and weeping: and then bow before Him in worship as He, by a word from His mouth, brings the dead to life. So it is here: “wearied with his journey,” and yet displaying His Deity by reading the secrets of this woman’s heart. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 163)
“Jesus said unto her.” How striking is the contrast between what we have here and what is found in the previous chapter! There we are shown Nicodemus coming to Christ “by night,” under cover of the darkness, so that He might guard his reputation. Here we behold the Lord Jesus speaking to this harlot in the full light of day – it was midday. Verily, He “made himself of no reputation!” (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 175)
This woman was ignorant of “the gift of God.” The language of grace was an unknown tongue. Like every other sinner in his natural state, this Samaritan thought she was the one who must do the giving. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 181)
To her He never so much as mentions the need for the new birth; instead, He tells her at once of the “gift of God.” In the case of this woman there was no legalistic and religious pattern to be swept away – Her moral character and religious \u2029standing were already gone. But it was far otherwise with Nicodemus. It is very evident that he felt he had something to stand upon and glory in. What he needed to know was that all of this in which he prided himself was worthless before God. Even though a master of Israel, he was utterly unfit to enter God’s kingdom, and nothing could show him quicker than for the Lord to say unto him “Ye must be born again.” (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 183)
There is a principle here of great importance to the believer. An exercised conscience precedes intelligence in the things of God. Spiritual illumination comes through the heart more than through the mind. They who are most anxious to have a better understanding of the Holy Oracles need to pray earnestly for God to put His fear upon them, that they may be more careful in avoiding the things that displease Him. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 199)
The only music which ever passes beyond the roof of the church in which it is rendered is that which issues from born again people, who “sing with grace in their hearts unto the Lord.” (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 209)
Her reaction to this is a classic example of what every pastor and evangelist knows only too well. Put your finger on the sore spot, and people will at once start talking about something else. And the best subject for distracting attention from morality is, of course, religion. (N.T. Wright, John for Everyone, Part 1, 45)
The Samaritans were a mixed race, part Jew and part Gentile, that grew out of the Assyrian captivity of the ten northern tribes in 727 BC. Rejected by the Jews because they could not prove their genealogy, the Samaritans established their own temple and religious services on Mount Gerizim. (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1, 299)
The only way to prepare the soil of the heart is to plow it up with conviction. (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1, 300)
At this point, the woman put her faith in Jesus Christ and was converted. Immediately she wanted to share her faith with others, so she went into the village and told the men she had met the Christ. When you consider how little spiritual truth this woman knew, her zeal and witness put us to shame. But God used her simple testimony, and many of the people came out to the well to meet Jesus. The rabbis said, “It is better that the words of the law be burned than be delivered to a woman!” but Jesus did not agree with that narrow prejudice. (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1, 301)
Baptism and the Lord’s supper will always be most truly reverenced in those churches where the truth as it is in Jesus is most fully taught and known. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 135)
Our Lord’s conduct in this place should be carefully remembered by all who want to do good to the thoughtless and spiritually ignorant. It is vain to expect that such persons will voluntarily come to us, and begin to seek knowledge. We must begin with them, and go down to them in the spirit of courteous and friendly aggression. It is vain to expect that such persons will be prepared for our instruction, and will at once see and acknowledge the wisdom of all we are doing. We must go to work wisely. We must study the best avenues to their hearts, and the most likely ways of arresting their attention. There is a handle to every mind, and our chief aim must be to get hold of it. Above all, we must be kind in manner, and beware of showing that we feel conscious of our own superiority. If we let ignorant people fancy that we think we are doing them a great favour in talking to them about religion, there is little hope of doing good to their souls (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 142)
Till men and women are brought to feel their sinfulness and need, no real good is ever done to their souls. Till a sinner sees himself as God sees him, he will continue careless, trifling, and unmoved. By all means we must labour to convince the unconverted man of sin, to prick his conscience, to open his eyes, to show him himself. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 144)
The feeblest gathering of three or four poor believers in a cottage to read the Bible and pray, is a more acceptable sight to him who searches the heart than the fullest congregation which is ever gathered in St Peter’s at Rome. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 145)
What a contrast she is to the man, Nicodemus, we saw in the preceding chapter. And notice how differently our Lord deals with her. With Nicodemus, a man who was religious to his fingertips, our Lord was harsh and blunt, but see how gentle He is with this woman. He asks a favor of her. He appeals to her sympathy—He is thirsty and asks for a drink. (J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Commentary Series, John, 67)
There are many people today who want to argue religion, but they don’t want to live it. I’m convinced that most of the superficiality in our churches today is there as a cover-up of sin. (J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Commentary Series, John, 70)
Hearing the experiences of other believers significantly affects our spiritual growth. The Bible itself is a collection of the firsthand experiences with God that people like us had in the past. As Christians we have the privilege of passing on to others what we we have learned from God. Insights, lessons, and corrections that we receive from God can help and encourage other believers.\u2029 We must be eager to tell others about the most important person in our lives! (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 75)
John always pointed his followers to a greater one, the coming Messiah. Because the greater one had come and was in fact drawing the crowds away from John, the Pharisees began to watch Jesus closely. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 75-76)
Spiritual functions often parallel physical functions. Our bodies hunger and thirst; so do our souls. But our souls need spiritual food and water. The woman confused the two kinds of water, perhaps because no one had ever told her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before. We would not think of depriving our bodies of food and water when they hunger or thirst. Why then should we deprive our souls? The living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible, can satisfy our hungry and thirsty souls. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 81)
The human needs for love, food, sex, security, and approval, even when met, do not give complete satisfaction. Attempts to find full satisfaction will lead only to disappointment and despair. The Samaritan woman would have to admit that she was not satisfied, for she had had five husbands, and the man she now lived with was not her husband. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 82)
Are differences between Christians and non-Christians merely the surface or even imaginary? Did Jesus overstate his claim? Questions like these come from interpreting Jesus’ words as the Samaritan woman did—expecting that physical thirst and all other life-related needs will be satisfied by Jesus’ “living water.” But that is not what Jesus promised. He offered freedom within life, not freedom from life! Later he told his disciples in no uncertain terms: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (16:33). Believers will experience many of the same difficulties encountered by unbelievers, but the presence of Jesus in our lives should make a significant difference in the way we respond. Living water gives us spiritual power to face the challenges of living, not escape from them. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 82)
Jesus did not come to take away challenges, but to change us on the inside and to empower us to deal with problems from God’s perspective. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 83)
The conclusions we reach without knowing the facts will usually err in one of two directions: We will accuse others and raise their defenses, or we will excuse others and enable their denial. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 83-84)
The location of worship is not nearly as important as the attitude of the worshipers. The specific conditions that enhance worship tend to be quite individual and should not be legislated. By emphasizing where we worship, we may neglect the substance of our worship where we are. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 85)
For if ever the Son of Man broke through barriers to reach a soul, it was in this very instance. (J.C. Macaulay, Expository Commentary on John, 50)
There is no inner reality in religion without sincerity and absolute honesty with God. (Samuel Young, Beacon Bible Expositions: Vol 4, 44)