The Jews were terribly prejudiced against the Samaritan people—even calling them dogs. They viewed the area they were from as a wretched ghetto. Nevertheless, Christ traveled there. While His disciples were off in the city buying meat, He went to Jacob’s well and there met a woman of Samaria.
Jesus dared to ask this woman for a drink of water from the well. If His disciples had been there, surely they would have tried to stop Him. So how did John know about this, in writing his Gospel? He probably learned about it later, maybe during one of those evenings when he was lying on Christ’s bosom, and Christ was teaching him and correcting him. This event really does have some strong correction for John and the disciples—and for all of us if we fail to reflect the world-encompassing love that Christ demonstrated here.
The woman was taken aback that Christ would talk to her, since the Jews were so contemptuous of Samaritans. She said, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). What despicable self-righteousness! What a horrifying misunderstanding of God’s holy and righteous Word.
Jesus Christ took this opportunity to begin teaching this woman—a human being who was made in the likeness of God. Christ answered her, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water” (verse 10).
This was the Word—God in the flesh—talking to her, and telling her that He would give her living water.
The Jews treated the Samaritans like they were a plague. Christ, on the other hand, went straight into this ghetto area and began to deal with this Gentile woman. Why? Because Jesus Christ came to die for the WORLD!That’s what this is all about!
Christ didn’t die for a particular race or ethnic group. He came to die for the world! And to anyone who repents, comes to Him and asks to drink, He will give living water! To anyone and everyone!
Jesus Christ carefully planned this episode at Jacob’s well to teach the world this lesson. It is a lesson that every person must learn before he or she can enter God’s Family. Water is a type of the Holy Spirit, and it gives life. In a dry desolate place without water, you have no life. That’s the way this world is: There is no real life, because there is no living water. People don’t know what life is. This woman didn’t know. Our temporary, chemical existence isn’t really life.
But what water that living water is—and what life it brings! This water leads to everlasting life—endless glory. What a lesson at the well!
Ask the Big Questions
This Samaritan woman asked for water from Christ. When she did so, He revealed that He knew a great deal about her and her very sordid past. She responded, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet” (John 4:19).
This woman must have been very sobered by Christ’s statements. He knew all of her sins. He knows about ours. But no matter how dark our history, when we repent God removes those sins from us as far as east is from west! He no longer remembers them, and He doesn’t want us to think about them either.
Now Christ really had this woman’s attention. She must have been quite a humble, lowly woman, to accept what He had to say to her. He really began to teach her. (If only the “religious” Pharisees and Sadducees had been so teachable!)
“Ye worship ye know not what,” Christ said (verse 22). Telling people that today could get you killed! In fact, it did eventually get Christ killed. But this woman accepted it. “[W]e know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews,” Christ continued. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (verses 22-23).
Again Christ pointed to His Father as the Head of the God Family—unlike Christians in this world.
We must worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. We obey in the letter of the law, but we also take it to the spiritual level. With God’s Spirit, we can worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
We not only don’t murder, we now know it is a sin to hate our brother. We not only don’t commit adultery, we don’t lust for another person in our minds.
The Father is looking for people who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth! Christ was giving this woman some strong spiritual meat.
“The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he” (verses 25-26). This woman had heard all the prophecies about the coming Messiah—and here He was standing right before her! This moved her deeply.
But then the disciples came along, and they were apparently upset at what was going on, though they didn’t say anything. John records, “[Y]et no man said, What seekest thou? Or, Why talkest thou with her?” (verse 27).
John wrote this—these were not the words of Christ. John knew what he and the other disciples were thinking.
There is tremendous depth in this verse. Today, we always need to be trying to understand what Christ is doing and why. The Bride needs to understand her Husband’s mind.
They were obviously confused—and, truthfully, they should have been asking these big questions! Christ wasn’t speaking with this Samaritan woman in vain. He had a lot to teach the disciples about what He was doing, and they had a lot to learn!
I’m sure that later Christ told John and the rest of them how their attitude was wrong. There is something important you don’t understand! He surely told them. I’m not here on Earth in vain. This is very important, and you all must learn it: You are here learning to teach the Whole World!
We all have to learn to think about and ask the big questions: What is Christ doing? Why would God give me this trial? Why must I go through this? Why does God command tithes and offerings? We may never know all the reasons, but at times God can reveal quite a lot of them to you. But we are hard-headed, and there is a lot we don’t get because of that. We all have carnal nature, and we must continually ask God to bring His Spirit into our lives and show us where we are wrong. We all need to open ourselves up to God’s correction and humble our- selves before the Father the way our Savior does. If He can do it, surely we can do it. There has never been humility on this Earth like Christ had—not even close! And He was the Word— God made flesh! The disciples had to learn that, and we do too.
We are supposed to think like Christ! That means we need to begin to ask the big questions: What is Christ doing? What does this mean? He does nothing in vain!
This example is taught only in the Gospel of John. That is because John’s purpose was to help us understand the mind of Christ.
We are to let His mind be in us (Philippians 2:5). That means we must constantly be seeking how He thinks and why. Then we can think more deeply the way He does.
John carries this lesson on in the following verses.
Christ’s Meat—God’s Work
After the episode at the well, the disciples tried to get Christ to eat something. He responded, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32).
This confused the disciples. They were so concerned about Him eating. Jesus Christ told them something here that we all need to learn deeply.
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (verse 34). That’s my food, Christ said. My way of life is just to do the Work of God with all of the passion I possess. That is all I’m here for! That is my main delight—to finish the Work the Father has given me to do!
This is the key to having passion and high spirits! The Work of God has a built-in vision of joy! It always keeps us looking beyond the difficulties of the present and seeing where this is all leading! What difference does it make to miss a meal? Christ wasn’t even thinking about physical food. His mind was on why He—the Word—was made flesh.
If you get your heart into God’s Work and give it every- thing you have, it will give you all the exuberance and joy God has to give us on Earth!
Of course there will be trials. The very fact that you’re doing the Work will bring trials. Jesus Christ knew that in a short while, He would be savagely beaten, crucified and killed! There had to be a strong nagging pull toward self-pity. Yet here He was missing meals to serve a Samaritan woman! That made no sense to the Jews, but it made a lot of sense to Jesus Christ, because He saw how it all fit in with His wonderful, beautiful master plan! He was energized and in high spirits by doing God’s Work.
Whenever Mr. Armstrong spoke about a project that would help the Work, he conveyed tremendous excitement about it. He was thrilled because his heart was in the Work. That was his life. Every time something good happened, he rejoiced in that— and he had a lot to get excited about. Of course, he had some heartaches too; some things went wrong. That’s the way it is if you love—you can get hurt. But you know how to really live.
Every member in the Philadelphia Church of God can be energized that way. Whatever you are able to contribute, do so. If you can only pray and fast, just do it. This is the Work of God! We are part of the Work of the Word, who came to Earth to declare His Father!
Jesus Christ just wanted to finish His Father’s Work. That was His great passion. We ought to think as He does. “Let this mind be in you.” We have one splendid goal: to finish God’s Work. That is why we were called today!
Christ continued: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (verse 35). The same is oh, so true today! The work is there—it is ready for more growth! The fields are already white to harvest! We must not fail to harvest the crop. Times are urgent! Prospective members and co-workers and Laodiceans are waiting to hear this message, and then for ministers to help them while there is time! People we don’t even know about urgently need to hear what God is saying! If you are like Christ and you miss some meals to do the Work of God, that’s not bad! Christ had enough passion and excitement that He didn’t mind those kinds of inconveniences. His mind was teeming with the vision of God! He was thinking about the World Tomorrow, not the world today. If you are really doing the Work, you have vision!
As we have heard so many times, we are not here to save ourselves—but to save the world! You don’t attend Church services just to socialize and maybe pick up a nice idea or two. You are here to learn to teach the world! We are preparing to educate the world in a different way of life! Christ is preparing an office for you according to how well you are going to do as a teacher, and how hard you have worked to prepare for that! If you miss a meal in order to secure a greater office in God’s Kingdom, that is wonderful!