John 4:15-24

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 15, 2009


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

(Operation Christmas Child – calling all servants)

Last week we started to look at Jesus’ trip through Samaria. (Play Map clip to Sychar)

We saw that even though going through Samaria was something that most Jewish people avoided, John records that

(John 4:4 NKJV) But He needed to go through Samaria.

It seems to me that Jesus felt He had an appointment with a certain Samaritan woman. Show Gospel of John clip.

4:15-19 True to self

:15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

Jesus has been talking about spiritual things, about a spiritual thirst for God.

The woman thinks He is talking about some sort of super water.

She is tired of coming “here”.

:16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."

Why does Jesus ask for her husband? Is He one of those male chauvinists who won’t talk anymore with her, but only to her husband? No, He’s just drawing her out.

:17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."

Technically this is true. But it’s one of those little “half-truths”. She isn’t telling the whole story.

:17 Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,'

:18 "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."

Earlier, when Jesus had been talking to the woman about living water, He said to her:

(John 4:13 NKJV) …"Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,

We have a peek at the “well” this woman had been drinking from.

We talked last week about the “God-shaped-hole” that’s inside each of us.

People try to fill that emptiness with all sorts of things – drugs, alcohol, possessions, but only God is the one that can fill that hole.
This woman has been trying to fill her emptiness with men, with relationships.
Some of us are caught in that trap of expecting a person to fill the place in your heart that only God can fill.
A single person can make the mistake of thinking that they won’t be happy until they find that certain, special someone.
Married people can fall into the trap of expecting their spouse to give them the kind of fulfillment that only God can give.

:19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

perceivetheoreo – to be a spectator; to see; to discern

The woman is a bit stunned. She realizes that this fellow is more than just a man looking for a drink of water.

It seems He can see right through her.

Later, she will go into the city and tell the people,
(John 4:29 NKJV) "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

:16 Come here

:16 hereenthade – here; hither

This is not a common word used to translate “here”.  It sticks out in the Greek.  It also happens to be the same word used for “here” in verse 15.  It’s as if Jesus is drawing attention to “here”.

This is the same Greek word that translates “here” in verse 15 as well (“nor come here to draw”)

This particular word isn’t a common one in the Greek. I had to stop and look it up. Our English word “here” is found about 90 times in the New Testament, and only six of those times is it a translation of the word “enthade”. In the Gospel of John, the word “here” is found ten times, but only twice does it translate “enthade” (the two times are in verse 15 and 16).

What’s my point? The unusual word usage makes a connection between the last “here” and this “here”.

The woman is tired of coming “here”.

Yet “here” is where Jesus asks her husband to come.


Deal with “here”

The woman says she wants Jesus’ “living water”, but she finds that the conversation isn’t over until she learns to deal with what’s “here”, the place she doesn’t want to come to anymore.
Jesus deals with what’s “here”, her “issues”, where she’s “at” – men…
When Jesus met with the “Rich Young Ruler”, the “here” was another issue.
(Mat 19:21 NKJV) Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

His issue was with his possessions. The fellow went away sad because he didn’t want to part with his “stuff”.

What is your “here”?
Don’t misunderstand me. The point is not that we need to clean up our act before God will accept us. The point is that we need to be honest about our issues and stop playing games.
God wants to be a part of the solution.
That isn’t going to happen as long as we’re in denial about our problems.
Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking that we’re going to be able to get through life without ever having to deal with our problems.
We’re like this car running a red light. Show “Intersection” video clip. (where car runs red light and doesn’t get hit)
In reality, our life actually turns out more like this. Show “MyAccident” clip (where the car wipes out several other cars).
King David had messed up royally.

He had stayed behind when the rest of the army was at war. One night while he had too much time on his hands he went out on his rooftop and caught a glimpse of a beautiful young gal taking a bath. He ended up committing adultery with her. Then to make things worse, when it was found that she was pregnant, he tried to cover up his sin, and eventually had her husband killed.

David wrote,

(Psa 32:3-4 NLT) When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. {4} Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

But God didn’t let David get away with these sins. God cared enough to send a friend to David who confronted David over the evil things he had done.

It wasn’t until David admitted his guilt that he found forgiveness.

Solomon wrote,

(Prov 28:13 NKJV) He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Are you facing up to what’s “here”?

4:20-24 True Worship

Since this man is a prophet, she has some questions to ask about God.

:20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."

:20 this mountain – Jacob’s well is at the bottom of Mount Gerizim, where the Samaritans had built their temple.

The Samaritans believed (play Map clip of Gerizim) that worship should be done on Mount Gerizim, within view of Sychar. 

Samaritan worship:

During the time of Nehemiah, one of the priests, named Manasseh, was married to the Persian governor over Samaria, Sanballat.

When Nehemiah kicked him out of the priesthood for not giving up his pagan wife, Sanballat built a temple for him on Mount Gerizim, and set up a new priesthood under him.

Eventually, this temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus B.C. 129.

The Samaritans kept up their worship on this mountain and a handful do it still.

The Samaritans twisted several things in the Scriptures including:

Adam was formed of the dust of Mount Gerizim

Gerizim was where Noah’s Ark landed

Abraham offered Isaac on Gerizim

They had their own temple on Gerizim.

Samaritan worship is another great example of “Have it your way”

Rather than do things properly, they decided to form their own religion.

They ended up twisting the Scriptures to make things fit the way they thought things ought to be done, in their own hometown rather than in Jerusalem.

:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.

:22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

The Samaritans had things a bit mixed up. Because they had strayed so far from the truth, they didn’t even know what they were worshipping.

The Jews had the correct understanding of God.

:23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

truealethinos – that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine

seekingzeteo – to seek in order to find; to crave

God is actively looking for people who are going to worship Him properly.

(2 Chr 16:9 NKJV) "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…

:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Some of us think we’re a little too tough, a little too manly to worship.


A tough old cowboy from South Texas counseled his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a little gun powder on his oatmeal every morning. The grandson did this religiously to the age of 103 when he died. He left behind 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchidren, 25 great-great-grandchildren, and a 15 foot hole where the crematorium used to be.

It’s okay to be a “tough guy”, but sometimes all a tough guy leaves behind is a hole.


Defining worship

For some of us, the word “worship” means “music”. You will hear from time to time someone say, “Wow, wasn’t worship great this morning?”
It’s not bad that we define our music as “worship”, but it’s kind of important that we really understand what the Bible means when it talks about “worship”.
There are three different ancient words that define what worship is all about.
 One is a Hebrew word, the other two are Greek words.
1. Bowing
worshipshachah – to bow down; prostrate oneself

The first time we see the word “worship” in our English Bibles, it is translating shachah, when Abraham is going to sacrifice his son Isaac …

(Gen 22:5 NKJV) And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."


In reality none of us like the idea of “surrender”. It implies losing or admitting defeat.

One of the keys to growing as a Christian is learning to surrender to God.

A.W. Tozer wrote, “The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.”

C.S. Lewis wrote, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because he made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be … It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”

It doesn’t have to be physically getting on your face (though that is a great thing to do from time to time), but it’s about bowing your will, bowing your life before God.
God does not want us worshipping anything else except Him:

(Exo 20:5 NKJV) you shall not bow down (shachah) to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…

One of my heroes as a young Christian was Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. Through his ministry something like 150 million people have come to Christ. Someone (Rick Warren) asked Bill Bright, “Why did God use and bless your life so much?” Bill answered, “When I was a young man, I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said, “From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ”.”

That’s the essence of “bowing” before God. This is true worship.

2. Loving
The word used throughout our passage in John 4 is…
worshipproskuneo (“toward” + “to kiss”) – to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
From the heart.

The relationship God wants with us is one that is characterized by love.

He has loved us so much that He gave His Son to die and pay for our sins.

(1 John 3:16 NKJV) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.

(Rom 5:8 NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We respond to God’s love by learning to love Him back.

(1 John 4:19 NKJV) We love Him because He first loved us.

The church of Ephesus was one of the early “mega-churches”. God had done some awesome things through the Ephesians. But there came a time when their hearts began to drift a bit. Jesus writes them a letter and says,

(Rev 2:4 NKJV) "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

They were a busy church. They were a doctrinally correct church. But they had wandered away from their passion for Christ.


The following was written by a nurse: It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease. As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him. “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?” He smiled as he patted my hand and said. “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”

Jesus hasn’t stopped loving you, even if you’ve drifted away a bit. His relationship with you is like a marriage, one where the commitment to love doesn’t stop.

3. Serving
worshiplatreia – service rendered for hire; the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law; to perform sacred services
(Rom 12:1 NASB) I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

The idea is to live a life that honors God, a life that is useful to God.

The Bible says,

Ephesians 5:10 (The Message) Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.


Eric Liddell was the Scotsman portrayed in the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire”.  He was a Christian.  He was an athlete who competed in the 1924 Olympics.

Play clip from Chariots of Fire.

I love that line, “When I run, I feel His pleasure”.  Eric learned to do the things that pleased God.  He used his God-given abilities to honor God.  After the Olympics, he would move on to the other passion of his life – missions.  He served in China from 1925 until his death in a Japanese internment camp in 1945.

What does it mean to serve God?

It might mean doing things in church.  But it will definitely mean using the gifts, talents, experience, all that you are to bring pleasure to God.

It might be through something like running.  It might be through how you honor God at work.

Worship is more than just singing a song.  It’s what you do every day that you honor and serve Him.


True Worship

What does it mean to worship in “spirit and truth”?
(John 4:24 NKJV) "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

God does not have a body like the Mormon church teaches. God is a spirit.

Some might say that since God is Spirit, that this is referring to the Holy Spirit, and that true worship requires that we be “in the Holy Spirit” in order to worship.

I have no argument with that suggestion. I think the principle is sound, I’m just not sure this is what Jesus is talking about.

The word could also refer to the human spirit as well.

Since God is “Spirit”, then the true worship to take place, man must worship by having his own “spirit” connect with God.

Before we were “born again”, our inner spirit was considered “dead” to God.

(Eph 2:5 NKJV) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Being born again involves a spiritual birth, and now we have something inside us that’s alive and able to communicate and fellowship with God.

Worship is something that takes place inside of you, not outside of you.

It is not limited to a location, such as worshipping in Jerusalem, or here on Chapman Avenue.

It is not based on your outward actions, like singing, lifting your hands, etc.

It is based on whether or not your inner person is in a state of adoration and reverence before God.

True doctrine – as in the Jews vs. the Samaritans

Some would say that it doesn’t matter which church you go to as long as you go to church.

I would mostly agree, but there is a limit.

There are churches that have twisted to truth a bit too far.

The Mormon church teaches that Jesus is a god, but that you and I will also one day be gods. They teach that your salvation is dependent upon you doing good works.

The Jehovah Witnesses teach that Jesus is NOT God. They too teach that you must do good works in order to be saved.

There are some churches that are teaching that the Bible is not always God’s Word and that talking about the cross as God’s will is horrible – as if it is child abuse for the Father to allow His Son to die.

I have a problem with these kinds of doctrines. Like the Samaritans, these are twisted truths.  Like the Samaritans, Jesus is pointing her towards truth, true doctrine.

True you – as in “call your husband”

True worship of God requires that you be honest about yourself.

You can’t put up a front before God. You can’t get by with pretending that you don’t have problems and that you are not a sinner.

Some of us live our whole lives trying to impress people and make them think that we’re something special. We want people to accept us and love us and we hope that if we convince them that we are important, they might like us.

This will not fly with God.

God loves you the way you are. But you’re not going to get anywhere with Him by pretending to be something you are not.

Honesty is everything.

What are you going to do with Jesus?

Are you ready to believe in Him?

Are you ready to turn your life over to Him?