Satisfaction Guaranteed
January 19 2001 by William (Mac) McElrath , John 4:13-14

Satisfaction Guaranteed | Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

Satisfaction Guaranteed

By William (Mac) McElrath John 4:13-14 Once Betty and I met a woman at a country crossroads; she was minding a village store. She told us how sickness in her family had driven her to seek help from spirit healers - a fact of life in Indonesia. One healer advised her to make special sacrifices of rice, fruit and flowers every month. Another healer told her to go on a partial fast for 31 days. Still another said she must offer up fried soybean cakes to demons that hovered near. Finally that woman went to 17 different spirit healers. None of them brought health or peace to her family.

Her husband was the first to hear of a different way of life. He brought home a Bible in their Javanese language, saying, "This is better than all those spirit healers put together!" Later the woman found that what he had said was true.

Once Jesus met a woman at a country crossroads; she was drawing water from a village well. She, too, had been seeking satisfaction in all the wrong places.

Everyone needs what Jesus gives (John 4:4-10) Bible scholars differ as to the meaning of "the sixth hour" in John 4:4, but many of them believe it means six hours after sunrise, or about noon. If this is correct, then the woman had come to the well in the heat of the day, when others weren't as likely to be around.

Can you blame her? Considering her lifestyle, she probably wasn't the most popular woman in the neighborhood. Village children were more than likely told not to talk to her.

Yet everybody, good or bad, needs drinking water in order to stay alive. So the woman came to the well.

She was startled when a man sitting there spoke to her. In those days men didn't usually bother to converse with women in public places. Besides, this man's clothing or His accent told her He was not Samaritan (as she was) but Jewish. She knew most Jews looked down on Samaritans. She had no idea that this strange man, this particular Jew, was about to offer her something everybody needs even more than we all need water.

Jesus offers what no one else can (John 4:11-15) When Jesus offered "living water" to the Samaritan woman, she thought at first He was making light of Jacob the patriarch who, according to Samaritan tradition, had dug the ancient well at that village crossroads. But Jesus was speaking of something far more ancient than Jacob: the wellspring of life itself that comes from God the Eternal One.

When you think about it, it's surprising that the woman immediately asked Jesus to give her this "living water." Or did she only understand His words to mean "running water" - water she could access without having to trudge out to the well?

Either way, Jesus knew there was a deep-seated problem to be faced before she could receive His matchless gift.

Jesus goes to the heart of the problem (John 4:16-18) When Jesus asked the woman to go get her husband, this simple request reminded her of two things she already knew. According to social conventions of her time, she knew she wasn't supposed to be chatting with a man in a public place without a male member of her family nearby. She also knew that she had tried (and failed) to find satisfaction by living with several different men; at least one of them she hadn't even bothered to marry.

If you had been there instead of that Samaritan woman, what would Jesus have asked you to do? What's the heart of the problem in your own life?

Jesus is the key to experiencing God (John 4:19-26) The woman pointed to Mount Gerizim looming nearby - a place of worship since Old Testament times, considered by Samaritans to be more sacred than the Temple in Jerusalem. Some people say that, in doing this, she was trying to change the subject because Jesus had quit preaching and gone to meddling. Maybe so; but note that she called Him "a prophet." Earlier she had addressed Him merely as "Sir" (vv. 11, 15). Later on she would call Him "the Christ" (John 4:29), and those who believed through her testimony would call Him "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42).

Once again, Jesus told her that what He could give her was more lasting than any ancient tradition, more important than deciding the best place for worship.

Why did Jesus say "salvation is from the Jews"? (v. 22, NIV). Because God chose to send His Savior and Messiah to planet earth through the Jewish people.

The point is - for Samaritans, for Jews, for all people everywhere - that the way to know God, experience God and worship God is through our Lord Jesus Christ. Only this relationship can guarantee satisfaction in human life.

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1/19/2001 12:00:00 AM by William (Mac) McElrath , John 4:13-14 | with 0 comments
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