Broadcast

Jesus – Models His Mission

From the series Jesus Unfiltered - Believe

Who hasn't done things they wish they could take back or do over? No one is exempt from the guilt of poor choices. Those chains of guilt, however, are exactly what Jesus came to unlock and toss on the heap of "Forever Forgiven." Chip explains that, in Jesus, we can experience the power of true healing and lasting freedom.

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Message Transcript

I would like to have you lean back and I have a profile of four women. I have changed their names. They are women that you know. Some of them are your neighbors, friends, some of them are daughters of people that you know from school.

Jennifer is in junior high. Her body and her emotions are changing rapidly, her mom is busy with two jobs, her dad lives out of state. She has a yearning to deeply connect, relationally – to be loved, to be important especially to a man. Her mind often still thinks like a little girl, but her body is reaching adulthood.

Older boys have started noticing her. She learns to give sex to get what feels like love. And by her sixteenth birthday she has been there and done that.

Debbie is a senior in high school. She really found true love. They have been going together for about a year and a half, the last years of high school. She has had one abortion, her boyfriend has gone away to college, and they have decided that they will stay in touch. It’s going to be great. And someday they will get married. Except he came home from spring break and let her know that he found someone new. She feels alone, abandoned, desperate. She smiles on the outside, she is dying on the inside, she is doing things she never did before.

She got drunk, she is sleeping around, and she feels like there is no hope for her future. She has been there and she has done that.

Late twenties and mid-thirties Sarah is burned out. She lived with her college fling for about three years, they had a child together, got married quickly, divorced a couple of years later. She has now lived with two other guys in the last twelve years. She dropped out of college to help support her family, she is bitter, she is wounded, and she is tired. She looks really great on the outside, she has learned how to get what she wants from a man, everything that is, but love.

Now she feels empty, she is raising a child on her own, she feels like life is passing her by and at thirty-two, she feels a lot older than she is.

Finally, there is mid-life Nancy who is making the best of a really bad situation. She has got two teenagers and a ten-year-old. She is still working through the emotions of her divorce. Life after his affair shattered her world. Her violent outburst actually shocked her. She is barely making it, financially. She has no hope, no future, but keeps a good face on for the kids. She aches with loneliness, she keeps replaying the tapes in her mind of poor choices that she made, and vacillates between feeling sorry for herself, depressed, guilty, and self-hatred and white-hot anger toward those who have hurt her.

Her life is nearly half over and she feels like she has been there and she has done that.

I would like to suggest that these four stories, not their real names, are all over where we live and you know them, or you will meet them. And the question I have is, If Jesus walked into a local coffee shop and sat down with that junior higher or senior or thirty-two-year-old or mid-life woman who has been wounded and hurt and is angry and been used – what would He say? How would He help? How would He view them? And that is what we are going to find out today.

If you’ll look at your notes, we are going to find that He meets a woman exactly like this, and here is what I want you to get. He is going to walk into a coffee shop or in a living room and He is going to have a conversation with them. But the odd part about this conversation, it won’t be Him in His physical body. It will be Him in His spiritual body, called “the Church,” and the person that He is going to talk to them through is you.

Because He lives in you if you are a follower of Christ and you will sit down with that junior high or senior or twenty/thirty something or midlife woman or man and you will speak the words of life to them. That’s the plan. And so, what I want to do is help you understand, well, How could I do that?

I want to help you move from learning what it says then and even being where you interpret it to passing it along. And so I want to try and model something that Jesus models for us. When you sit down with a person who is hurting, when you sit down with someone who feels like they are worthless, that they have messed up their life, that God could never care, I want you to just go through this process. You can use John chapter 4.

First, you can just share the big idea. As you read through it and make observations – paragraph by paragraph, “This is just the big idea. This is what it is talking about.” Second, then you can read those verses and when we get done, you’ll be able to do it. You can explain to them, “This is what it meant in that day and this is what it means today.”

And then you can personalize your response. You can say, “This is what He was saying to this lady and this is what God is like. And this is what He has been saying to me.” And so, it’s really what we have been learning.

But the next step is then, I want you to pass it on. I want you to learn to communicate it. And so, you need to explore their needs and their concerns and their questions. And what you’re going to find is the way you help people the most isn’t, This is what I know, this is what you ought to do, here are all the things I’m telling you. Ask questions, “How do you feel? What was it like when he left you? What is going on down inside? Why do you feel like there is no hope? Do you think God could ever care?”

And when you get on the same page and love and care for people, I want to tell you that God has divine appointments for you in the next few weeks, the next few months, and in this year where you will be, Jesus in you, loving and helping people, and He has divine appointments.

So with that,  if you’ll look at your notes, I’m going to walk you through the process that I learned from Jesus, that He is passing on me to pass on to you. And so you’ll look, God wants to use you to share His Word and so we have learned, What does it say? What does it mean? What does it mean to me? How do you pass it on? Write the word, communication.

You want to learn to make observations of the Bible, you want to learn to do interpretation, you want to learn to apply it to your own life, and then you want to learn to communicate. God’s plan was never that we come into a room, talk to one another about God, and go into our little corners, and live our life. The game plan was that He would speak to us, transform us, and then lovingly, we would communicate that truth by how we live and what we say.

And so, are you ready?  In your notes, you’ll notice at the very top, I put a summary. That’s just the big idea. I have made the observations. So in verses 1 through 9, here is the big idea.

Basically, what Jesus is going to say is Jesus breaks through barriers. He is going to break through gender barriers, cultural barriers.

So follow along as I read. “The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John – although in fact it was not Jesus who was baptizing, but His disciples. When the Lord learned of this He left Judea and went back at once to Galilee. Now He had to go through Samaria,” would you put a little box around the word, “had to? We’ll come back to that.

“So He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus was tired as He was from His journey, and so He sat down by the well. And it was about the sixth hour,” or noon our time.

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give Me a drink?’ (His disciples had gone into the town to buy some food.) The Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.’” She accents grammatically on woman. “‘How can You ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)”

Now if you understand the culture and what is going on here, you’re going to see that He is going to break down a gender barrier, a racial barrier, a social barrier, a cultural barrier, and a religious barrier. Whatever He has to do to let this woman know He loves her.

Now, what we know and it’s important to know, is that this woman is coming out at noon because most women come out in the early morning. Her jar is, actually a jar, it’s a leather type pouch that is woven together. You can fold it when you travel. The well is one hundred feet deep; it is still there today. And it has a hole in the top and sort of a cover, a large, large cover. And, actually, in the text is says, “Jesus,” is literally sitting on the edge of the well. Jews and Samaritans, notice the text says, He is going from Judea in the south up to Galilee. All right? He is going south to north. If you walked directly, you have to go through Samaria. Jews thought that Samaritans were so defiled that they would walk another two or two and half, sometimes three days to get up to this region so they didn’t have to touch the ground that a Samaritan was on.

They had five hundred years of hatred for one another. The Samaritans had developed their own kind of religion, they only accepted the first five books of the Bible with Moses. They worshipped on this mountain, Mount Gerizim. The Jews over here on Mount Zion. And so they hated one another.

Jesus is going right through Samaria, breaking geographical, cultural barriers. When a Jew was out, not just alone, but a Jewish man never spoke to a woman in public. A rabbi would not even make eye contact. In fact, they had a group of rabbis called “The blue and the bruised.” When a woman would come, they would cover their eyes and they would bump into stuff. Literally. This is true. Because they didn’t want to be defiled.

So this woman comes up, culturally, when she gets about twenty feet away, Jesus is vulnerable. He doesn’t have, He is thirsty, He is tired, He has nothing to get it. He doesn’t move. She keeps coming closer. She is coming at noon, not in the morning when most women come, because she has had five husbands, is currently living with a guy, she is an immoral person, and on the totem pole of social value, somewhere between the very bottom of the bottom she is a worthless person who no one cares about.

But notice, He had to go through Samaria. In Greek, there are three little words, it means, “A divine necessity.” In English you would translate it, “DEI.” It’s a day of necessity.

When this is put in the Scripture, it’s, for purposes we may not understand, there is a divine necessity for He had to go through. Not because it was shorter, but because of God’s plan.

And so He is on it, she gets about twenty feet away, He doesn’t move. And then He does the unthinkable! “Will you give Me a drink of water?” Wait a minute. He is dressed, He’s a rabbi, He is a Jew, He is speaking to me. One, two, three strikes. This is unbelievable. She gets closer. Now, He wouldn’t, a Jew would never drink out of a cup or something that a Samaritan had – it would be defiled. He not only speaks to her, “Would you give Me a drink?” That means she is going to dip her water down in there and He would drink out of it. “How are You, a Jew, speaking to me, a woman?”

He gets up and the conversation starts. And then notice what He does. This is a woman who has been used and abused. She has certainly made some bad choices. But most people who go through multiple men and are promiscuous, have been wounded or abused and hurt and are looking for satisfaction and worth and value and her life is totally messed up.

And Jesus does something very humble. He puts Himself in a position of need rather than authority and said, “Would you give Me a drink? I don’t have anything.” He says, “I need your help.”

And notice at the bottom of your notes, here’s the lesson. We must intentionally break through any and every barrier to the gospel. Jew and Samaritan, male and female, rabbi and Samaritan, social barriers, whatever it takes. And then He humbles Himself.

Like you, I am praying that God will help my neighbors come to have a personal relationship with Jesus and when we first moved in, I have one neighbor who we have actually become good friends now but he made it very clear early on, “Look, I’m not a good neighbor. Okay? Don’t bother me. I’ve got a reputation in the community,” and a couple other people confirmed that reputation. “And don’t mess with me and,” and just was like, the walls were coming up. Then he heard I was a pastor. Ooh.

And it’s kind of like, “Hey, don’t give me any of that Jesus stuff either.” He didn’t quite say it like that. But a little later I found out he came from a background where – not a good religious experience and he really has rebelled and just, you know? “And so, I just want you to know, forget it.”

And we tried little things and helping out and doing things and praying and didn’t see lots of results. I just remember, doing some stuff in our garage and I was trying to cover something. It took two people.

And I remember thinking, and so I went over, I just asked him, “Could you give me a hand?” And he looked at me. “Now, I really need your help.” And he came over with me and as we were doing it. And these kinds of things, everyone is smarter than me. He goes, “Actually, you ought to do this and do that and do that.” He always has lots of good suggestions or at least suggestions.

And so anyway, we did it his way and we got done and something happened. Just something happened. Something happened because this isn’t the pastor who is going to tell him what he ought, be, should. I needed help. Remember, this is how you build relationships.

See, sometimes we think, as Christians, we are supposed to fix people and tell them what they ought to do and, We’ve got all this “something” and they need. Jesus models just the opposite. Who are the people at work that you need to ask help? Who is a neighbor that you need to ask help for? You build relationship when there is mutual need.

The second big section is Jesus offers to quench her deepest thirst. There is going to be a bit of play on words, there is going to be physical water and spiritual water. And Jesus, verse 10, answers her.

“If you knew,” underline the word, gift. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink,” underline the word, who. See, no one cares about this lady. No one. And His first response is He has a gift and if she understood who He was, you would ask Him and He would give you living water.

“‘Sir,” the woman said,” she looks at Him, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is very deep.” Actually, it’s one hundred feet deep. “Where will you get living water?” And then she throws in a little sarcasm. That would be impossible, one hundred foot well, living water, this running water that’s a fountain that’s even better than well water, You’re saying You could offer it, You don’t have anything…

“Are You greater than our father Jacob,” and, grammatically, it’s like, No way, “‘who gave us this well, drank from it himself, and also his sons and his flocks and his herds?’ Jesus answered,” now He is making the parallel, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” And He is tapping in, thirst is a metaphor for: What satisfies? Physical stuff, physical – you drink, you get thirsty again. You drink, you get thirsty again. “But whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I will give him will become,” notice, “in him a spring of water welling up to,” change of topic, “eternal life.” He is offering her eternal life.

“The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to come back here and draw water again.’” Just like the play on words, Nicodemus, the word Spirit and wind? Now there is physical water and He is speaking of the Holy Spirit in relationship, “And your life revolves around coming out here alone as a desperate, lonely woman who is wounded, because you are rejected by the women and by everyone in the town and you are promiscuous – past and present.”

If “gift,” who it is, God, I want to give you not just something to fix your temporary life. I want to fix your heart, I want to forgive you, I want to restore you, I want to put you on a new path, I want you to know that no one else may think you’re valuable. I made you, I love you, I think you’re valuable, and I want to help you.

And she doesn’t quite get it. Basically, she gets the idea that it might be sort of magical water. If I don’t have to make this trip all the time, that sounds good.

Here’s the life lesson, the application, the timeless principle – grace, not condemnation is what draws people to Jesus. Jesus met the woman’s perceived need and offered help. He moved the conversation from her physical needs to spiritual issues. And then He sought to give her grace.

See, we tend to think these people need this and, you know what? Here’s what He didn’t say, “Oh, you know why I’m sitting on this well?” “Why?” “Because we need to have a talk. You know and I know why you’re here at noon. Right. You’re one of those kind of women. Right. Now, go clean up your act. And, by the way, I know about the husbands, I know about the live-in boyfriend, I know about your whole lifestyle. Clean up your act, lady! Then we’ll have a talk and we’ll get you right.”

That’s kind of the approach that you hear. And sometimes it’s not that explicit but there’s sort of this self-righteous sense when some Christians talk to people outside of Christ and Jesus does just the opposite. If you knew the gift.

See, it’s serving people. Jot in your notes: Romans chapter 2. Just put Romans chapter 2. It says this, “It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance,” or to a change of mind.

The people at your work, it’s your kindness. The people in your neighborhood, it starts with little things. You can bring in their trash cans and for those of you that don’t have a gardener, you can mow their lawn. You bring in their mail, you find out what is going on in their life, you serve them.

It’s building a relationship with the person who serves you coffee, it’s getting to know the person on the treadmill next to you, it’s volunteering and being the assistant coach for the little league and you’re going, I just don’t have time to do this, and you actually meet the needs and invite people to your home. It’s you love people. That’s what opens the door.

Most people have a pretty decent idea of when their life is not rightly aligned. The Holy Spirit has a full-time job; He probably doesn’t need you. But what He needs you to do is offer grace. Offer kindness.

Now, for some of you thinking, This sounds like a soft gospel. Where is this guy coming from? Grace and truth always come together.

Notice in the next section the big idea is Jesus helps her face the truth. But He helps her face the truth in love. So she goes, “Yeah, you know what? This magical water that you have, that I never have to come back here, I’ll take some of that.”

And so, He gives her three commands. “Go, call, and come back.” He told her, “Go, and call your husband and come back.” Her answer is truthful, just not all the truth, “I have no husband,” she replied. And Jesus said, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you’ve had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

I just can’t help imagining the eye contact going on here. And first of all, it’s weird, Why is He talking to me? He doesn’t get off the well, He doesn’t have anything, He would actually drink out of my thing. No man talks to me. Boy, if He knew my background. And He offers me this thing, you know, maybe I’ll give it a try!

“Well, go call your husband,” moment of truth. Okay, hm, how far do I go on this? Well, I’ll be honest, but not completely. “I don’t have a husband.” And Jesus gives her this, “You couldn’t be more accurate. You not only don’t have a husband…” So now, first of all, there is a male in the distance that is uncalled for. Not just a male, but a Jew. Not just Jew, but a Jew who talks to her. Not just a Jew who talks to her, but a rabbi who is offering spiritual guidance. Not just a rabbi, now, He’s a prophet. How could anyone know that about me?

She goes on, “‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, Gerizim, but you Jews claim the place where we must worship is Jerusalem.’ Jesus declared, ‘Believe Me, woman, a time is coming when we will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.’”

And she does what most all of us do and what will happen to you as you start building and loving and caring for people, because you’re the Jesus in you, in your body as followers, that will sit down and talk with a junior high girl who feels rejected because she doesn’t have a daddy at home and some guys started sleeping with her and she thought it was love, and now she just feels used.

And you’ll be the person who sits down with someone in mid-life who has two kids and no husband and he had an affair and her life is shattered. And what they need is hope and you need to know how to talk to them. And what you need to understand is that what Jesus is going to do is He is going to very lovingly help them get honest about their life, because He wants to offer grace.

But transformation only comes when there is both grace and there is truth. Notice, here is the timeless principle or the life lesson. It’s simply that honesty with ourselves and with God is the prerequisite to authentic relationship with Christ. He gently takes her to a place where she has to be honest.

Jot down, if you would, in the corner: Psalm 145:18. This has been transformational – it’s one verse, one truth. It says this, “The Lord is near to those who call upon Him,” – that’s like praying, right? “to those who call upon Him in truth.”

A little bit later He is going to say that the Father is seeking or pursuing ordinary, regular people who would worship in spirit and in truth. This woman has to understand: You have to come out of your denial, you have to come out of your self-hatred, you have to come out of your lying, you have to come out of all the stories you have told to all kinds of people.

And we’ve got to understand we can’t share the truth unless we have it. If you want to have an authentic, deep relationship – you have to cut through all the denial, all the blaming, all the stuff and get ruthlessly honest with God. My experience with my own self and my experience even with pastors and missionaries and my experience with God’s people is we spend an inordinate amount of time projecting, protecting, denying, blaming others, giving people unlimited amounts of, yeah, it’s true – it’s just not the whole truth.

And we play all kinds of games to project that we are a little bit more loving, a little more kind, a little more holy, a little different than we really are. And so instead of the power of God welling up as a spring that flows out into the lives of others, our energy is spent trying to project that we are better than we are. Because we don’t want to face, it is a painful thing to face the truth, isn’t it?

I remember a number of years ago, I had what I would call the most radical experience of someone being honest with me, ever. The guy was not a Christian. And if you have ever seen people – totally unchurched, totally “I don’t know what’s going on,” came in off the streets.

Then Monday I came in and the same guy was around. I said, “Hi, how are you doing?” He gave me his name. I said, “I kind of saw you wandering around.” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Your first time?” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Well, how did you find it?” He goes, “I was just walking by and I saw the sign and something said, Go in. I have been clean and sober three and a half months. I have twenty-five-year drug and alcohol habits. My life is just absolutely, absolutely messed up. But I am on a journey. And I’m trying to find the higher power. And something said He might be in this building. So I came! I listened to you yesterday. I think you might know Him!”

He said, “Now, I would like, would you do step four with me?” I said, “What’s step four?” He said, “Step four is a ruthless inventory of my life where I stop blaming or denying and own every single part of my responsibility in anything I have ever done wrong, so that I can clean the slate and confess that to another individual, so that I can move from there to step five.”

And we had a significant Celebrate Recovery so I called Jim who led it and I said, “Jim, what is this about step four because I am new at all this stuff?” And he said, “It’s what that guy said.” I said, “I don’t know anything about this and would you do it with me?” And he said, “Sure!”

So the guy that afternoon comes, gets in my office and I’m there, Jim’s there, and no Christian clichés, no, “Do you want to pray? How are you doing? It’s nice to be…” None of that. He has a legal pad that looked thirty, forty pages that he had written, scribbled, he sat down, looked at me, “When I was in junior high…” and then he graphically described a horrid thing that he did.

And then after he described specifically what he did, “I will no longer blame my father who abused me as a little boy from this age to this age. I now come out of denial and refuse to blame him or other people for this. I personally own my responsibility for exactly what I did to this person and I am very sorry for it.”

And we went from junior high to high school to multiple marriages to prison to lying to cheating. And two hours, we went through about twenty-five pages and I had an elders’ meeting. I turned to Jim, “I think we have another couple of hours.” And I said, “Could you finish up?” He said, “I got it.”

I have been in Bible studies, I’ve been with leaders, I have been with pastors – I have never, ever seen a human being be ruthlessly honest about every aspect of their life and own their responsibility. And little did he know that when we confess our sins to one another, we are healed.

I don’t know where you’re at in your life, but I will say that ruthless honesty with yourself and God will be the beginning of the Spirit of God, one, making you awake to what – you know what? When you do that, you need a Savior. Right? A lot of people don’t come to Christ, you don’t need Him. The reason you don’t need Him is you haven’t been honest about who you really are – the motives, the coveting, the lust, all the rest that we – hey, by the way, if you’re human, you have all that stuff.

And Jesus leads her gently to a place where what she realizes is, I need the truth, but I don’t know how to get it. And so in the next section, notice the big idea, the summary is Jesus explains how true worship works. Well, how does this work? This living water? How does your life ever really change?

And so He begins to explain to her. He says, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know.” You have a form of religion and you’ve got a system, but it’s in error. “We worship what we do know for salvation is from the Jews.” God’s plan for Messiah, the Savior of the world, is going to come through Abraham and the special people.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” Circle the word seeks – we’ll come back to it.

Why? “God is spirit,” God is immaterial, God is spirit. He’s not a geographical place. It’s not on this mountain. It’s not some system. It’s not some religious stuff. “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in Spirit,” from the heart, not external religious activities, “and truth,” ruthlessly honest.

“The woman said, Okay, she is going from, Look, You started talking about the God stuff, prophet, let’s argue about theology or smokescreens or your mountain, my mountain. And Jesus said, “Look, I’m not getting into political talk with you. We’re not going to talk about types of baptism or whether electric guitars or organs are best in churches, or we’re not going to talk about whether you’re Armenian or this or that or Calvinistic.

No smoke screens. I am talking about you and your life and your heart. God loves you.”

And then, finally, she gets this thought. Can you imagine, for her, I’ll guarantee she has never had a relationship with a man that was meaningful and deep and valued her and saw her as precious. And now this prophet, who she thinks says, “The Father,” God? This distant probably angry God with rules to keep? Father! Father! You’re His daughter! He loves you! He cares for you! You come honestly and from the heart, He is seeking! The word means “pursuing!”

That’s why He had to go through, that’s why He had to go through Samaria. There was a divine appointment. There is a city called Sychar and there is a woman who is worthless and no one cares about her except her Father. And so Jesus cuts through, sits on a well, violates nearly everything possible that you could in terms of prejudice, gender, background, race so that this person who no one cares about could understand: There is a Father, God. And He is seeking, He is pursuing.

Your neighbor, He is pursuing; your coworkers, He is pursuing; your kids, He is pursuing. And it’s the Jesus in you that needs to show up and not just observe the Bible or interpret the Bible or even apply it to your life, but to communicate it. How? The way He did. Gently, lovingly, caringly, non-judgmentally. But probing to where you get to the truth. And now the lights come on, she goes, “I think we’ve got something in common.”

“When the Messiah comes, the Savior of the world, when that person comes, He will make everything right.” What You’re talking about, I get it.  Look in your notes. What does Jesus say?

He does something that – the Pharisees ask Him this, the disciples are slow on the uptake of this, this is an immoral woman from a half-breed race, completely rejected by Jews. And of all people, talk about revelation – “Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am He.’” A literal translation, because especially for someone who only believes in the first five books of the Bible, literally it’s, “I that am talking to you – I AM.”

Anybody remember where the word “I AM” came from? Exodus chapter 3. “Moses, take off your shoes,” burning bush, worshipping, this is the job. “Who shall I say sent me?” “Tell them: I AM THAT I AM sent you.” He is telling this woman, “I am the Messiah and I am God. And I value you, I love you, I forgive you, I want to give you eternal life.”

Just as Nicodemus learned he needed to be born again from above and have a spiritual birth to have spiritual life, she is now receiving the offer, “I know when the Messiah comes…”  “You’re standing in front of Him.”

Notice the application. Life lesson number four: True worship is a matter of honest relationship, not religious systems. Jesus is talking about a relationship. He has revealed a completely, completely new view of God.

Can I ask you: How do you see God? We’re talking about reaching out and loving people and having conversations. How do you see God? Is He a Father who pursues you?

We often talk so importantly because it’s true that Jesus is God, “If you have seen the Father, you have seen Me.”

But how many of you, when you read this this week thought to yourself, Wow, Jesus got tired. Why? Because He walked for two days. Well, Jesus is thirsty. Why? Because He hadn’t drunk something in a while.

Do you realize that the reason God became not just fully God, but fully human in human form is so that He could understand – He knows when you’re tired, He knows when you feel impatient, He knows when your back hurts, He knows when you’re anxious, He knows when life is hard, He knows when you’re up half the night.

He is not just fully God, He is fully human. So His heart, He was tempted in every way, like us. He understands you! And, yet, somehow we get Him so far away as opposed to when you just come and you’re honest and someone really loves you, have you ever prayed prayers like, Lord, I’m really tired. I have a really bad attitude. I know the right thing to do. I don’t feel like doing it right now. I know I’m supposed to forgive so-and-so, but this is, like, the fourth time. Candidly, between us, I’d like to punch him out.

These are the kinds of prayers God wants to hear! Instead of, Well, I know I should do something spiritual…I’ll try…Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…if I say seven of them really fast, will it help?

See, that is what the religion was then. External performance, trying to please a God who is unpleasable. Now notice this is so precious, the next big idea is Jesus allows her wounds to be leveraged to bring others to faith in Himself.

“Just then His disciples returned and they were surprised,” understatement, “to find Him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking to her?’” Literally, that’s an idiom from the Middle East, “Why are You talking to her?” – literally is: “Do you want us to get rid of her?” Because that’s what a servant would do, it would be like, “Whoa, this is inappropriate. Hey, Boss, you want us…?”

But they thought, We’re not sure what’s going on here, but they have now learned, Just shut up. “‘Come and see,’ the lady says, leaving her water jar, the woman goes back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come and see a Man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’” She has got no platform to preach, “Could this be?” What do you all think?

“They came out of the town and they made their way toward Him. Meanwhile His disciples urged Him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’” And, again, you see, Nicodemus, Wind, Spirit, deeper truth. Water, real water; food, real food. Do you get it?

So the disciples are living at the very functional level. “Could someone have brought Him food?” I mean, we are out in the middle of nowhere, the town is about a half mile away, Did He order takeout while we were gone? This is ridiculous.

“Jesus says, ‘My food,’” what satisfies, what matters, what’s meaningful, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” What is your food? What matters? Where does your energy go? Where does your time go? What are your dreams about?

See, whatever we think food is, drives us. Think of what we do when we are hungry. I’ve got to get this. And for some of us, when I get my house, or when we have kids, or when I get married. That’s my food. But no matter what food you get, it’ll never, ever satisfy.

I have a confession to make. I will say this as kindly as I can. I’m rooting for the Seahawks today. They asked me to do the chapel, the guy who was normally going to do it couldn’t make it, so I did the chapel for the Seahawks.

And as I spent about an hour with those guys, I taught and then we shared and I taught and kind of gave them some tools to help them grow. And one of the great conversations was this. His assistant, the guy that orchestrates everything, is a very strong Christian and I had the most time with him. And he said, “You know what the biggest thing that happened after last year was the level of let-down, not just with unbelievers, but with believers.” It was like, “The Super Bowl! The Super Bowl! The Super Bowl! If we are ever champions, our food! Champions of the world! We got the ring! We have done it! Our legacy!” And he said it was like, “We won the Super Bowl.” And literally, the non-Christians were going, forty-eight hours later, “This is it? We have been hyped up for this? This is the pinnacle of being a pro football player? This is it?” And then he said the Christian players, it was like, “We know Jesus and we know this isn’t really it, but we all get caught up and stuff.” And as they got together and said, “This is it?” And he said, “The conversations for the last year were, ‘How do you get motivated and realize, hey, this is a great opportunity, but football cannot be your food. Because football, even as a Super Bowl champion, will not satisfy.’ Neither will going public, neither will a big house on the hill, neither will having all your kids turn out great, neither will finding the hottest, cutest, whatever person out there that you want. Neither will getting in just the right school at the right time. Have I hit most of them? What is your food?

Jesus said, “My food is to do the will,” nothing will satisfy you ever until you understand, What is God’s will for me? And you do it and you finish it.

Jesus, in response, says, “Do you not know there are four months more until the harvest? I tell you the truth, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages; even now he harvests a crop for eternal life,” notice the metaphor. It’s agricultural. You sow; you reap. You sow in about September, you reap in about April or March.

And then as you plant, in about four months, don’t you say it’s coming? He goes, “No! We are talking about a harvest that comes right now, spiritually. And it’s for eternal life.”

“Thus the saying, ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap where you have not worked. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Others – Old Testament prophets. John the Baptist. In this situation, Me. And now this woman. This woman of ill repute. They have done all the work and now it’s only a half a mile out. People from this town are coming out. Hundreds of people are following the lowliest person and the disciples are seeing all these people and He goes, “Look, behold, the harvest is ripe! I had to come through Samaria. Before we came here, you all were prejudiced. You wouldn’t even talk to a Samaritan.”

They were half-breeds. It’s like some of you, you look at people and you see their Rolex watch and their Lexus and their big house and you’re intimidated and you think all rich people are this way. Some others of you, you see people in the corner with a little sign, all poor people are that way.

Other people, you see this junky car and you wonder, What are they doing around here hanging? Other people it’s, Man, that guy has a Bentley. Who does he think he is?

Jesus says, “Rich, poor, Asian, Indian, white, black – God doesn’t see as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart.” God doesn’t look at tattoos, God doesn’t look at piercings, God doesn’t look at expensive watches and handbags with insignias that tell you you spent ten thousand dollars on them. God looks at the person behind all that stuff and He says, “I love you.” But it’s not religion, it’s spirit and in truth.

And so He is teaching the disciples and teaching us, How in the world do we do that? Notice, He says, “I sent you for what you haven’t worked for. Others have worked.”

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” Could you circle the word, believed? It’s everywhere. They have come to faith. And put a box around the word, because. They believed because! He didn’t just have angel dust come down and they all became Christians. They believed because!

Are you ready for this? Most of us, down deep, not everybody, but most of us feel like, God could never really use me at work, or my neighborhood, or with the other ladies, or with this group, or to be really bold for Christ because, one, I don’t know enough. Two, I don’t really have a platform. Three, there’s some stuff in my past that if people sort of probed…so all these reasons why God could never use me.

I don’t fit in with that group. Now, let’s back this up. Woman – immoral, half-breed, non-Jew, disrespected, she knows Jesus for maybe fifteen minutes, knows a lot of Bible, right? No reputation. Because of her testimony, her living water in her shares, “This is what He did for me. I can’t answer all your questions. This is what He did for me.”

“Therefore, many did,” – what? They believed.

And then, notice, it goes on. The testimony was, “‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay for another couple days.” And the disciples, can you imagine them? Oh my gosh. We’re going to be staying in Samaritan houses with Samaritan cups! We are violating everything we learned! We are out of our comfort zone!

Two-day revival and Bible conference. Phew! Why? Because Jesus had to go through Samaria because the Father was pursuing that woman that most of us thought no one cares about. Who is God pursuing in your network? Better?

Who is God pursuing in this room? And maybe you just came for whatever reason to watch something or a friend invited you, and you’re going to come to a moment where, if you would be honest, He will forgive you, fill you with His Spirit, give you a brand new life, and take you on a journey. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. But your life is not easy now. He loves you! It’s called grace.

The final life lesson is God will use even our baggage to bring others to eternal life. He will use our baggage. He will use some of the worst things that have happened to us and some of the worst things we have done as we confess and turn from them and ask Him to come into our life and forgive us. And rather than being ashamed, we are literally, like this woman, a trophy of God’s grace set on the mantle and platform that people could know there is always hope. You’re never too far gone. You’re never too messed up. You’re never too immoral. You’ve never lied too much. You have never hurt too many people. If you’ll be honest and turn and come, He will forgive.
Honesty with ourselves and with God is the prerequisite to authentic relationship with Christ. He gently takes her to a place where she has to be honest.

Jot down, if you would, in the corner: Psalm 145:18. This has been transformational – it’s one verse, one truth. It says this, “The Lord is near to those who call upon Him,” – that’s like praying, right? “to those who call upon Him in truth.”

A little bit later He is going to say that the Father is seeking or pursuing ordinary, regular people who would worship in spirit and in truth. This woman has to understand: You have to come out of your denial, you have to come out of your self-hatred, you have to come out of your lying, you have to come out of all the stories you have told to all kinds of people.

And we’ve got to understand we can’t share the truth unless we have it. If you want to have an authentic, deep relationship – you have to cut through all the denial, all the blaming, all the stuff and get ruthlessly honest with God. My experience with my own self and my experience even with pastors and missionaries and my experience with God’s people is we spend an inordinate amount of time projecting, protecting, denying, blaming others, giving people unlimited amounts of, yeah, it’s true – it’s just not the whole truth.

And we play all kinds of games to project that we are a little bit more loving, a little more kind, a little more holy, a little different than we really are. And so instead of the power of God welling up as a spring that flows out into the lives of others, our energy is spent trying to project that we are better than we are. Because we don’t want to face, it is a painful thing to face the truth, isn’t it?

I remember a number of years ago, I had what I would call the most radical experience of someone being honest with me, ever. The guy was not a Christian. And if you have ever seen people – totally unchurched, totally “I don’t know what’s going on,” came in off the streets.

Then Monday I came in and the same guy was around. I said, “Hi, how are you doing?” He gave me his name. I said, “I kind of saw you wandering around.” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Your first time?” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Well, how did you find it?” He goes, “I was just walking by and I saw the sign and something said, Go in. I have been clean and sober three and a half months. I have twenty-five-year drug and alcohol habits. My life is just absolutely, absolutely messed up. But I am on a journey. And I’m trying to find the higher power. And something said He might be in this building. So I came! I listened to you yesterday. I think you might know Him!”

He said, “Now, I would like, would you do step four with me?” I said, “What’s step four?” He said, “Step four is a ruthless inventory of my life where I stop blaming or denying and own every single part of my responsibility in anything I have ever done wrong, so that I can clean the slate and confess that to another individual, so that I can move from there to step five.”

And we had a significant Celebrate Recovery so I called Jim who led it and I said, “Jim, what is this about step four because I am new at all this stuff?” And he said, “It’s what that guy said.” I said, “I don’t know anything about this and would you do it with me?” And he said, “Sure!”

So the guy that afternoon comes, gets in my office and I’m there, Jim’s there, and no Christian clichés, no, “Do you want to pray? How are you doing? It’s nice to be…” None of that. He has a legal pad that looked thirty, forty pages that he had written, scribbled, he sat down, looked at me, “When I was in junior high…” and then he graphically described a horrid thing that he did.

And then after he described specifically what he did, “I will no longer blame my father who abused me as a little boy from this age to this age. I now come out of denial and refuse to blame him or other people for this. I personally own my responsibility for exactly what I did to this person and I am very sorry for it.”

And we went from junior high to high school to multiple marriages to prison to lying to cheating. And two hours, we went through about twenty-five pages and I had an elders’ meeting. I turned to Jim, “I think we have another couple of hours.” And I said, “Could you finish up?” He said, “I got it.”

I have been in Bible studies, I’ve been with leaders, I have been with pastors – I have never, ever seen a human being be ruthlessly honest about every aspect of their life and own their responsibility. And little did he know that when we confess our sins to one another, we are healed.

I don’t know where you’re at in your life, but I will say that ruthless honesty with yourself and God will be the beginning of the Spirit of God, one, making you awake to what – you know what? When you do that, you need a Savior. Right? A lot of people don’t come to Christ, you don’t need Him. The reason you don’t need Him is you haven’t been honest about who you really are – the motives, the coveting, the lust, all the rest that we – hey, by the way, if you’re human, you have all that stuff.

And Jesus leads her gently to a place where what she realizes is, I need the truth, but I don’t know how to get it. And so in the next section, notice the big idea, the summary is Jesus explains how true worship works. Well, how does this work? This living water? How does your life ever really change?

And so He begins to explain to her. He says, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know.” You have a form of religion and you’ve got a system, but it’s in error. “We worship what we do know for salvation is from the Jews.” God’s plan for Messiah, the Savior of the world, is going to come through Abraham and the special people.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” Circle the word seeks – we’ll come back to it.

Why? “God is spirit,” God is immaterial, God is spirit. He’s not a geographical place. It’s not on this mountain. It’s not some system. It’s not some religious stuff. “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in Spirit,” from the heart, not external religious activities, “and truth,” ruthlessly honest.

“The woman said, Okay, she is going from, Look, You started talking about the God stuff, prophet, let’s argue about theology or smokescreens or your mountain, my mountain. And Jesus said, “Look, I’m not getting into political talk with you. We’re not going to talk about types of baptism or whether electric guitars or organs are best in churches, or we’re not going to talk about whether you’re Armenian or this or that or Calvinistic.

No smoke screens. I am talking about you and your life and your heart. God loves you.”

And then, finally, she gets this thought. Can you imagine, for her, I’ll guarantee she has never had a relationship with a man that was meaningful and deep and valued her and saw her as precious. And now this prophet, who she thinks says, “The Father,” God? This distant probably angry God with rules to keep? Father! Father! You’re His daughter! He loves you! He cares for you! You come honestly and from the heart, He is seeking! The word means “pursuing!”

That’s why He had to go through, that’s why He had to go through Samaria. There was a divine appointment. There is a city called Sychar and there is a woman who is worthless and no one cares about her except her Father. And so Jesus cuts through, sits on a well, violates nearly everything possible that you could in terms of prejudice, gender, background, race so that this person who no one cares about could understand: There is a Father, God. And He is seeking, He is pursuing.

Your neighbor, He is pursuing; your coworkers, He is pursuing; your kids, He is pursuing. And it’s the Jesus in you that needs to show up and not just observe the Bible or interpret the Bible or even apply it to your life, but to communicate it. How? The way He did. Gently, lovingly, caringly, non-judgmentally. But probing to where you get to the truth. And now the lights come on, she goes, “I think we’ve got something in common.”

“When the Messiah comes, the Savior of the world, when that person comes, He will make everything right.” What You’re talking about, I get it.  Look in your notes. What does Jesus say?

He does something that – the Pharisees ask Him this, the disciples are slow on the uptake of this, this is an immoral woman from a half-breed race, completely rejected by Jews. And of all people, talk about revelation – “Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am He.’” A literal translation, because especially for someone who only believes in the first five books of the Bible, literally it’s, “I that am talking to you – I AM.”

Anybody remember where the word “I AM” came from? Exodus chapter 3. “Moses, take off your shoes,” burning bush, worshipping, this is the job. “Who shall I say sent me?” “Tell them: I AM THAT I AM sent you.” He is telling this woman, “I am the Messiah and I am God. And I value you, I love you, I forgive you, I want to give you eternal life.”

Just as Nicodemus learned he needed to be born again from above and have a spiritual birth to have spiritual life, she is now receiving the offer, “I know when the Messiah comes…”  “You’re standing in front of Him.”

Notice the application. Life lesson number four: True worship is a matter of honest relationship, not religious systems. Jesus is talking about a relationship. He has revealed a completely, completely new view of God.

Can I ask you: How do you see God? We’re talking about reaching out and loving people and having conversations. How do you see God? Is He a Father who pursues you?

We often talk so importantly because it’s true that Jesus is God, “If you have seen the Father, you have seen Me.”

But how many of you, when you read this this week thought to yourself, Wow, Jesus got tired. Why? Because He walked for two days. Well, Jesus is thirsty. Why? Because He hadn’t drunk something in a while.

Do you realize that the reason God became not just fully God, but fully human in human form is so that He could understand – He knows when you’re tired, He knows when you feel impatient, He knows when your back hurts, He knows when you’re anxious, He knows when life is hard, He knows when you’re up half the night.

He is not just fully God, He is fully human. So His heart, He was tempted in every way, like us. He understands you! And, yet, somehow we get Him so far away as opposed to when you just come and you’re honest and someone really loves you, have you ever prayed prayers like, Lord, I’m really tired. I have a really bad attitude. I know the right thing to do. I don’t feel like doing it right now. I know I’m supposed to forgive so-and-so, but this is, like, the fourth time. Candidly, between us, I’d like to punch him out.

These are the kinds of prayers God wants to hear! Instead of, Well, I know I should do something spiritual…I’ll try…Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…if I say seven of them really fast, will it help?

See, that is what the religion was then. External performance, trying to please a God who is unpleasable. Now notice this is so precious, the next big idea is Jesus allows her wounds to be leveraged to bring others to faith in Himself.

“Just then His disciples returned and they were surprised,” understatement, “to find Him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking to her?’” Literally, that’s an idiom from the Middle East, “Why are You talking to her?” – literally is: “Do you want us to get rid of her?” Because that’s what a servant would do, it would be like, “Whoa, this is inappropriate. Hey, Boss, you want us…?”

But they thought, We’re not sure what’s going on here, but they have now learned, Just shut up. “‘Come and see,’ the lady says, leaving her water jar, the woman goes back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come and see a Man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’” She has got no platform to preach, “Could this be?” What do you all think?

“They came out of the town and they made their way toward Him. Meanwhile His disciples urged Him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’” And, again, you see, Nicodemus, Wind, Spirit, deeper truth. Water, real water; food, real food. Do you get it?

So the disciples are living at the very functional level. “Could someone have brought Him food?” I mean, we are out in the middle of nowhere, the town is about a half mile away, Did He order takeout while we were gone? This is ridiculous.

“Jesus says, ‘My food,’” what satisfies, what matters, what’s meaningful, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” What is your food? What matters? Where does your energy go? Where does your time go? What are your dreams about?

See, whatever we think food is, drives us. Think of what we do when we are hungry. I’ve got to get this. And for some of us, when I get my house, or when we have kids, or when I get married. That’s my food. But no matter what food you get, it’ll never, ever satisfy.

I have a confession to make. I will say this as kindly as I can. I’m rooting for the Seahawks today. They asked me to do the chapel, the guy who was normally going to do it couldn’t make it, so I did the chapel for the Seahawks.

And as I spent about an hour with those guys, I taught and then we shared and I taught and kind of gave them some tools to help them grow. And one of the great conversations was this. His assistant, the guy that orchestrates everything, is a very strong Christian and I had the most time with him. And he said, “You know what the biggest thing that happened after last year was the level of let-down, not just with unbelievers, but with believers.” It was like, “The Super Bowl! The Super Bowl! The Super Bowl! If we are ever champions, our food! Champions of the world! We got the ring! We have done it! Our legacy!” And he said it was like, “We won the Super Bowl.” And literally, the non-Christians were going, forty-eight hours later, “This is it? We have been hyped up for this? This is the pinnacle of being a pro football player? This is it?” And then he said the Christian players, it was like, “We know Jesus and we know this isn’t really it, but we all get caught up and stuff.” And as they got together and said, “This is it?” And he said, “The conversations for the last year were, ‘How do you get motivated and realize, hey, this is a great opportunity, but football cannot be your food. Because football, even as a Super Bowl champion, will not satisfy.’ Neither will going public, neither will a big house on the hill, neither will having all your kids turn out great, neither will finding the hottest, cutest, whatever person out there that you want. Neither will getting in just the right school at the right time. Have I hit most of them? What is your food?

Jesus said, “My food is to do the will,” nothing will satisfy you ever until you understand, What is God’s will for me? And you do it and you finish it.

Jesus, in response, says, “Do you not know there are four months more until the harvest? I tell you the truth, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages; even now he harvests a crop for eternal life,” notice the metaphor. It’s agricultural. You sow; you reap. You sow in about September, you reap in about April or March.

And then as you plant, in about four months, don’t you say it’s coming? He goes, “No! We are talking about a harvest that comes right now, spiritually. And it’s for eternal life.”

“Thus the saying, ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap where you have not worked. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Others – Old Testament prophets. John the Baptist. In this situation, Me. And now this woman. This woman of ill repute. They have done all the work and now it’s only a half a mile out. People from this town are coming out. Hundreds of people are following the lowliest person and the disciples are seeing all these people and He goes, “Look, behold, the harvest is ripe! I had to come through Samaria. Before we came here, you all were prejudiced. You wouldn’t even talk to a Samaritan.”

They were half-breeds. It’s like some of you, you look at people and you see their Rolex watch and their Lexus and their big house and you’re intimidated and you think all rich people are this way. Some others of you, you see people in the corner with a little sign, all poor people are that way.

Other people, you see this junky car and you wonder, What are they doing around here hanging? Other people it’s, Man, that guy has a Bentley. Who does he think he is?

Jesus says, “Rich, poor, Asian, Indian, white, black – God doesn’t see as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart.” God doesn’t look at tattoos, God doesn’t look at piercings, God doesn’t look at expensive watches and handbags with insignias that tell you you spent ten thousand dollars on them. God looks at the person behind all that stuff and He says, “I love you.” But it’s not religion, it’s spirit and in truth.

And so He is teaching the disciples and teaching us, How in the world do we do that? Notice, He says, “I sent you for what you haven’t worked for. Others have worked.”

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” Could you circle the word, believed? It’s everywhere. They have come to faith. And put a box around the word, because. They believed because! He didn’t just have angel dust come down and they all became Christians. They believed because!

Are you ready for this? Most of us, down deep, not everybody, but most of us feel like, God could never really use me at work, or my neighborhood, or with the other ladies, or with this group, or to be really bold for Christ because, one, I don’t know enough. Two, I don’t really have a platform. Three, there’s some stuff in my past that if people sort of probed…so all these reasons why God could never use me.

I don’t fit in with that group. Now, let’s back this up. Woman – immoral, half-breed, non-Jew, disrespected, she knows Jesus for maybe fifteen minutes, knows a lot of Bible, right? No reputation. Because of her testimony, her living water in her shares, “This is what He did for me. I can’t answer all your questions. This is what He did for me.”

“Therefore, many did,” – what? They believed.

And then, notice, it goes on. The testimony was, “‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay for another couple days.” And the disciples, can you imagine them? Oh my gosh. We’re going to be staying in Samaritan houses with Samaritan cups! We are violating everything we learned! We are out of our comfort zone!

Two-day revival and Bible conference. Phew! Why? Because Jesus had to go through Samaria because the Father was pursuing that woman that most of us thought no one cares about. Who is God pursuing in your network? Better?

Who is God pursuing in this room? And maybe you just came for whatever reason to watch something or a friend invited you, and you’re going to come to a moment where, if you would be honest, He will forgive you, fill you with His Spirit, give you a brand new life, and take you on a journey. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. But your life is not easy now. He loves you! It’s called grace.

The final life lesson is God will use even our baggage to bring others to eternal life. He will use our baggage. He will use some of the worst things that have happened to us and some of the worst things we have done as we confess and turn from them and ask Him to come into our life and forgive us. And rather than being ashamed, we are literally, like this woman, a trophy of God’s grace set on the mantle and platform that people could know there is always hope. You’re never too far gone. You’re never too messed up. You’re never too immoral. You’ve never lied too much. You have never hurt too many people. If you’ll be honest and turn and come, He will forgive.