God’s Providence

Beloved brethren the blessing abounds towards us as we study the Gospel of John chapter four.  I have been exceedingly encouraged by this chapter because Jesus Christ declared Himself to be the Messiah to a sinful woman.  I love the kindness and the love of our Savior Jesus Christ on display in this historical account of His visit to Samaria.  He is so amazing and awesome.  We see another principle at work in this passage of God’s Holy Word, the Bible, the principle of God’s providence in the salvation of sinners.  This portion of Scripture is rich with this theme.

3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  4 But He needed to go through Samaria.  5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  6 Now Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus therefore, wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  John 4:3-9

In this passage we see the providence of God from the need of Jesus to go through Samaria, to the city He stopped to rest in, to the time of day, the location of His respite, and all of His disciples heading into town for provisions.  Jesus came to this place, in this city, at this time so He could meet with this Samaritan woman.  The Samaritan woman came to the well in her town at this time to avoid the townspeople because of her sinful lifestyle.

The conversation starts with Jesus Christ asking the woman for a drink of water.  He was wearied from His travel and wanted some refreshment.  The woman was amazed that a Jew would ask anything of her, because Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, especially Samaritan women.  What she said in response to Jesus’s request highlights clearly that their meeting was not by chance.  Why would Jesus need to go through Samaria?  The ensuing conversation and amazing work of salvation makes clear Jesus was in Sychar doing the work of the Father which is the salvation of sinners.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”   13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:10-14

Jesus Christ did not react to the woman’s responses, but continued with His goal of speaking the truth for the salvation of this woman.  Jesus did not get diverted by the woman’s questions about the living water nor her claim’s about Jacob’s well, He continued to offer her the living water of eternal life.  This water of everlasting life is revealed to us in Isaiah chapter fifty-five; they are the very words that Jesus Christ spoke which are the source of everlasting life.

“Ho!  Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come buy and eat.  Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.  2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.  Incline your ear, and come to Me.  Hear and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—The sure mercies of David.  Isaiah 53:1-4

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  16 Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband, and come here.”  17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”  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.”  John 4:15-18

Here is the reason the woman was interested in the offer of living water, she didn’t want to come to the well anymore to endure the scorn of the townspeople.  She was an adulteress and a fornicator.  Jesus Christ revealed her sin to her.  This is important for two reasons; one we must come to Jesus Christ as sinners in need of His finished work on the cross and resurrection from the dead to be our offering and sacrifice for sin before Holy God so we can then receive the gift of eternal life, and second, it reveals that sinners do not own up to their sin.  Jesus Christ, merciful God and Savior, however, did not badger the woman, but then went on to answer her response.

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  20 Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”  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.  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.  24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).  When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  John 4:19-26

The woman does not deny her sin, but acknowledges the accuracy of Jesus’s indictment by stating that He is a prophet.  She then asks about worship, both out of a desire to know and to deflect the truth about her sin, something she had been doing for a long time.  Jesus didn’t blast this despised woman with her sin, but answers the woman’s questions with the truth.  He states it explicitly, not in parable form.  He tells her that salvation is of the Jews, and the Samaritans worshiped in ignorance, but genuine worship the Father accepts would from now on be based upon spiritual regeneration and the truth of the Word of God.  No longer would the Levitical system of worship be the standard of worshiping the Father, but rather worship coming out of the heart of regenerated sinners born again through repentant faith in Jesus Christ that is based upon the revelation of Jesus Christ found only in the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God.  As if this revelation to her wasn’t enough, He then let’s the Samaritan woman know that He is the Messiah for whom she has been waiting.  God’s providence rescued this wicked woman from the destruction awaiting her by Jesus Christ bringing to her the good news of salvation through faith in Him.

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”  28 The woman left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?”  30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.  31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”  34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’”  Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  36 And He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  37 For in this the saying is true:  ‘One sows and another reaps.’  38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored, and you have entered into their labors.”  39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”  40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  41 And many more believed because of His own word.  42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”  John 4:27-42

Jesus Christ came to the well in Sychar, wearied from His journey to do the will of the Father, which is to save souls.  God sent His Son providentially into this city in Samaria for the purpose of reaping souls for eternal life.  The woman’s transformation through meeting and listening to the Savior, brought about a hearty response from the townspeople, they wanted to hear Jesus too.  So He stayed with them for two days, speaking the truth of the Word of God and many came to salvation.

Dear reader, do you know the Savior Jesus Christ?  Have you heard Him speak to you in truth and righteousness?  His message is always the same, repent and believe the gospel.  He came for the sole purpose of saving souls from their sin and the just judgment of God that rests on every sinner because of their lawless deeds committed against Holy God.  Please turn from your sin and receive the Savior, believe that He died on the cross for your sins and rose again from the dead for your justification.  Call upon His name.  All who call upon His name in truth will be saved.  May God’s providential work be performed in your life for your salvation.  Amen!

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus… Ephesians 4:20-21

11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  13 For “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:11-13

Lord Jesus Christ, may Your word go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work that You have ordained for it, the salvation of sinners.  Amen!

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