John 4:7–18, 25–26, 39 comment (0)
October 4, 2012
By David Hogg
Related Scripture: John 4:7–18, 25–26, 39
Bible Studies for Life
Academic Dean at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
From Failure to Salvation
John 4:7–18, 25–26, 39
Recognize Your Need (7–14)
The stunning truth about John 4 is that it comes immediately after John 3. Granted, you probably knew that, but have you stopped to consider the similarities and differences between these two chapters? In John 3 we meet Nicodemus. Here is a Pharisee, a man of education and probably of at least moderate income if not reasonably well off.
Nicodemus is a man who knows his Bible and teaches it. But he is also a man who struggles with courage — after all, he came to Jesus in the night.
In John 4, however, we meet not a man but a woman. She does not appear to be well-off or well-educated. She certainly does not teach the Bible to anyone and is not a leader in the community. She meets Jesus during the day and has the courage to go tell everyone she can find about Him.
In the space of two chapters, Jesus meets two very different people.
In light of this, you would be right to ask what could possibly be common or similar between these two? The answer is quite simple: Jesus.
What matters in these two stories is not simply that both of these people met Jesus, but that they were both in need of Jesus. Moreover, while both of these people needed Jesus, it appears that neither of them knew they needed Him. Left to our own wisdom and knowledge not many of us realize how much we need Jesus. Many people either are convinced they are doing just fine or think Jesus cannot help them for one reason or another. After all, what could Jesus have to add to a Ph.D.-holding community leader who has a whole lot of religion already? How can Jesus be relevant to a woman of five failed marriages, a sixth on the go, who is low on the social scale and belongs to a people group the spiritual elites despise?
John is not merely weaving stories together, but drawing our attention to the fact that no group of people is beyond needing Jesus. In fact, no one ever gets past needing Jesus.
Confront Your Failure (15–18)
The reason no one ever gets past needing Jesus is that we are continually in need of being confronted by our own sin. What is amazing about the way God deals with our sin is how direct and specific He is. It is not enough to think of our sin in generic terms, as though it is not really personal; rather, Jesus gets to the heart of our sin, which is the sin in our heart.
Confronting our sin is never easy though. Notice how the woman deflects Jesus’ request to go and get her husband: “I have no husband.” In other words, let’s not talk about me; let’s get back to this living water of which you speak.
How many of us would love to have eternal life and happiness without having to address our sin? The prospect of affirming that I am fine and I just need a little help is very appealing, but that is where the danger lies.
Apart from confessing our sin and seeking forgiveness from Christ, there is no hope of eternal life and blessing. The problem is not that we are a little bit bad, but that we are completely sinful and in need of being created anew.
Jesus was no television evangelist saying, “Just believe”; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life calling us all to repent in addition to believing.
Tell Others About Jesus (25–26, 39)
I once heard a well-known preacher answer the question, “Why are you always so excited to preach and proclaim the gospel?” He said he was excited because he never got over the fact that Jesus died for him and saved him.
There is no better impetus for evangelism, for urging others to “come and see ... the Christ,” than gratitude for what Jesus has done in our lives.
Who will you tell today?