LESSONS FROM A HARLOT

Jn. 4:13,14 – Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Jesus loved to shock people into reality. This story in John 4 is an example of Jesus and His tendency toward shocking and borderline scandalous behavior. For us twenty first century readers we may not catch the radical nature of this story at first glance. Jesus is stepping on centuries of racial tension by going to Samaria, engaging a questionable woman in conversation, and actually asking her for a drink of water. This is unthinkable to Jesus’s disciples and unthinkable to the Samaritans living in this village. What was Jesus after? What He is always after, He was looking for worshippers. So What does He do? He decides to find a woman of the night to teach the world a lesson about worship. Here is a description from John Piper.

“Sometimes casual sleepers need to be shocked. If you want them to hear what you have to say, you might even need to scandalize them. Jesus is especially good at this. When He wants to teach us something about worship, He uses a whore!

“Go call your husband,” he says to the Samaritan woman.

“I don’t have a husband,” she answers.

“That’s right,” Jesus says. “But you’ve had five, and the man you sleep with now is not your husband.”

She is shocked. We’re shocked! But Jesus simply sits there on the edge of the well with His hands folded, looking at the woman with razors in His eyes, ready to teach us about worship.”

So what was the Lord’s point? Worship is closely associated with pleasure and satisfaction; this woman was in search of both and had found neither. So the Lord offers her what she was looking for in all of the wrong places. He told her that if she would come to Him and ask, He would give her living water that would satisfy her thirst for the rest of her life. He was offering her forgiveness for her past and a solution for her future. He is offering us the same thing today. What well are you drinking from? Is it sexual sin, or alcohol, or maybe even a career, or even something as wholesome as your family? It’s all the same and none of those wells can quench our thirst. Just leave your bucket by that worldly well and ask the Lord for a drink, like He promised, you will never thirst again.

THE DRINK THAT LASTS FOREVER

Rev.22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

The fact that humans get thirsty proves there must be something somewhere that will quench our thirst. Thirst is basic to being human and water is the basic substance that quenches that thirst. Is it possible that there is a spiritual parallel? I believe there is. The fact that our soul gets thirsty shows that there has to be something to quench our soul thirst. You may not identify the correct substance to satisfy your thirsting but our thirst for God is basic to our human condition. To those who meet Christ there is a taste of this living water but this taste is more of a tease than a completion. The times we encounter living water in this world points to something greater, a completion or fulfillment that awaits in the life to come. The world offers only substitutes, Christ offers a drink that is a foretaste of life to come. Here is how C.S. Lewis describes it.

“What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body. In the light of our present specialized and depraved appetites, we cannot imagine this torrens voluptatis, and I warn everyone most seriously not to try. But it must be mentioned, to drive out thoughts even more misleading—thoughts that what is saved is a mere ghost, or that the risen body lives in numb insensibility. The body was made for the Lord, and these dismal fancies are wide of the mark.”

I have to admit I have been quite surprised at the abundance and power these tastes often provide for sons and daughters in this world. I can only imagine the immensity of what these moments point to. To see Christ for myself and drink at His fountain in eternity is beyond my ability to comprehend. So the conflict still goes on inside of me, I thirst and drink and I am grateful. I know what I taste now is just a drop of the ocean of love that waits in His kingdom come.

THE UNLIKELY EVANGELIST

Jn.4:39 – 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.

The woman at the well in Samaria seemed the least likely candidate to be an evangelist. She was more likely to die an early, soon to be forgotten death. She was far too well known amongst the men of that village, she was especially hated by the women. Who knows the damage this home-wrecker had inflicted on her home town. A preacher, an evangelist, unthinkable. That all changed the day Jesus stopped for a drink at Jacob’s well. All it took was one conversation and this woman’s life was unalterably changed. Jesus had operated on her soul, the results were undeniable. Rather than hiding in the shadows, this woman of Samaria began to share the story of her life change to whoever would listen. She had drunk the living water Jesus had spoken of, the results were undeniable. Here are some thoughts from Barclay on this unlikely evangelist.

“There was introduction. The Samaritans were introduced to Christ by the woman….

It is at once our precious privilege and our terrible responsibility to bring men to Christ. The introduction cannot be made unless there is a man to make it.

Further, that introduction is made on the strength of personal witness. The cry of the Samaritan woman was: ‘Look what he has done for me and to me.’ It was not to a theory that she called her neighbors; it was to a dynamic and changing power. The church can expand until the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord only when men and women themselves experience the power of Christ, and then transmit that experience to others.”

So maybe she was the unlikely evangelist to people who knew her, she was the perfect choice for the Lord. Why would He trust His most precious message to unscrupulous people like this former adulteress? Surely He could have found a better choice. No this was His choice because He was all about His glory, imperfect vessels carrying the most precious substance, this is how God glorifies His grace. Those who knew the woman knew her imperfections, now they saw the power of the gospel displayed in her life. Maybe you will be the next unlikely evangelist.

DOUBLY BLESSED

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,

streams of living water will flow from within him.

Jn. 7:38

The promise given by the Lord about living water is one of the greatest promises in the Bible. First He said that if we would drink this living water we would never thirst. That in itself is really over the top. Jesus is describing utter and total satisfaction that only comes from the Lord. Nothing from His glorious creation could ever make that boast, total satisfaction. What is different about this living water? It is actually a reference to the Holy Spirit Who is not created at all, He is the glorious third person in the deity that makes the satisfying life of intimacy with God a reality. The second promise associated with living water is in today’s verse. The living water would flow out of our innermost being, that place of intimate fellowship, to minister to others. This is the second blessing of living water. Here is Andrew Murray’s description.

“Jesus said in his conversation with the Samaritan woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst”. In today’s text the promise is even greater: Rivers of living water will flow from his heart, bringing life and blessing to others. John says that this refers to the Holy Spirit who, while Christ lived, had not yet been poured out. Christ first had to be sacrificed to God by the eternal Spirit and, by virtue of the resurrection, be declared by the Holy Spirit as the Son of God. Then only would the Son of God receive power from the Father to pour out the Holy Spirit, for the children of God to be able to declare, “The Holy Spirit of Christ lives in me.” What does one need to be able to experience the promise of the streams of living water? Only one thing: an intimate clinging to Christ—an undivided submission to Him and the assurance that His Spirit will do the work within you that you yourself cannot do. You need a faith which trusts Him from day to day to let the living water flow from you.”

That is a great description of our Christian life. We drink this water, we are satisfied, and it flows out to meet the needs of others all around us. So are you thirsty today? Go ahead and have a drink, soon streams of living water will be flowing out from you.

DOUBLY BLESSED

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,

streams of living water will flow from within him.

Jn. 7:38

The promise given by the Lord about living water is one of the greatest promises in the Bible. First He said that if we would drink this living water we would never thirst. That in itself is really over the top. Jesus is describing utter and total satisfaction that only comes from the Lord. Nothing from His glorious creation could ever make that boast, total satisfaction. What is different about this living water? It is actually a reference to the Holy Spirit Who is not created at all. He is the glorious third person in the deity that makes the satisfying life of intimacy with God a reality. The second promise associated with living water is in today’s verse. The living water would flow out of our innermost being, that place of intimate fellowship, to minister to others. This is the second blessing of living water. Here is Andrew Murray’s description.

“Jesus said in his conversation with the Samaritan woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst”. In today’s text the promise is even greater: Rivers of living water will flow from his heart, bringing life and blessing to others. John says that this refers to the Holy Spirit who, while Christ lived, had not yet been poured out. Christ first had to be sacrificed to God by the eternal Spirit and, by virtue of the resurrection, be declared by the Holy Spirit as the Son of God. Then only would the Son of God receive power from the Father to pour out the Holy Spirit, for the children of God to be able to declare, “The Holy Spirit of Christ lives in me.” What does one need to be able to experience the promise of the streams of living water? Only one thing: an intimate clinging to Christ—an undivided submission to Him and the assurance that His Spirit will do the work within you that you yourself cannot do. You need a faith which trusts Him from day to day to let the living water flow from you.”

That is a great description of our Christian life. We drink this water, we are satisfied, and it flows out to meet the needs of others all around us. So are you thirsty today? Go ahead and have a drink, soon streams of living water will be flowing out from you.

FALLEN PREACHERS AND OTHER EMBARRASSMENTS

Jn4:13,14- Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

You ever get tired of hearing stories about fallen ministers? It really brings a reproach on the gospel and is quite an embarrassment to Christians. The reasoning goes something like this, “if it doesn’t work for this great man of God how can I stay pure?” Or maybe like this “Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites. Everyone sins.” Just recently another major minister resigned from his ministry with a string of indiscretions following after him. What is the reason for these renowned ministers not being able to live the basics as a Christian?

I have pastored almost 40 years now and I think I can answer that question. Preachers are human too. All of us can get off track if……. if what? If we are finding our happiness and worth in our accomplishments. Today’s verse says it all, our joy comes from intimacy with Christ alone, nothing else can satisfy. If you are a minister looking for contentment in the greatness of your ministry it’s only time until you too are another sorry statistic. Here is a famous quote from Augustine that will help answer this dilemma.

“During all those years [of rebellion], where was my free will? What was the hidden, secret place from which it was summoned in a moment, so that I might bend my neck to your easy yoke? . . . How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! . . . You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. [There’s the key phrase and the key reality for understanding the heart of Augustinianism.] You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure , though not to flesh and blood, you who outshine all light, yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honor, though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves. . . .O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.”

So this is a word for ministers as well as mature Christians, look to Christ alone for satisfaction. Learn how to drink deeply of this living water. If you do Jesus says you will never thirst for satisfaction anywhere else.

HAVE A DRINK WITH ME

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

(Is 12:3 KJV)

When I was touched with joy in 1994 and begin to experience the new wine outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I had no idea that this type of outpouring had been happening since the earliest days of the church. From the Day of Pentecost to Azusa Street, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is very similar. Recently I was reading through prophesies and testimonies I had received from Dick Mills over the years. I was struck with the testimony of how his grandmother had been baptized in the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the outpouring at Azusa Street. Here is part of her testimony.

“1906 started a revival at Azusa St. in Los Angeles that now totals 600 million believers worldwide. In 1908 a couple came to our town and ministered to a prayer group that Sally Mills (Dick Mills Grandma) was heading up in the local Methodist Church. Sally told me that when she heard the couple sharing their experience she said to herself, “I always felt there was something more for all of us than what we currently experience.” She went forward for prayer and had a dynamic encounter with her Saviour and Lord. He imparted to her the infilling and indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. It satisfied her spiritual thirst immensely. She and several other newly filled Methodists went to the Pastor and asked him if they could start a skid-row mission. He not only gave them permission but offered his services in locating a facility. The only building available was a saloon whose owner was retiring. His last night of business was Saturday. After he closed down a dozen people went in a changed a saloon into a place of worship. Their first service was Sunday afternoon. They sang over and over- “You ask me why I’m happy? You ask me why I’m free? I’ve been drinking from the wells of full salvation. Won’t you come and have a drink with me?” A lot of local winos didn’t know the saloon was gone and came in hearing a gospel song… won’t you come and have a drink with me?”

So maybe you are like Sally Mills and you recognize your need for more of God. You can see in this short testimony that the Holy Spirit satisfies and anoints for ministry. So if you are thirsty for the new wine of the Spirit, don’t be surprised when you receive the double blessing, plenty for you and enough to pour out on others. So come on, come have a drink with me.

COME DRINK!

John 4:13-14 ¶ Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 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.”

“Have another drink!” I had no idea what the preacher was talking about. He kept exhorting the crowd, “Drink. Don’t just sit there, go ahead and have a drink”. The preacher was Rodney Howard Browne and it was August of 1994. The services were packed with people, joy was in the air, and I had no idea what was going on. I saw some laying on the floor as if they were in some sort of coma, others were laughing uncontrollably, and some were crying tears of joy. I had never been in a service like this even though I had pastored a “pentecostal church” for sixteen years (actually I had started an Assembly of God in NOLA in 1979). This was full on revival and somehow this “drinking” was a major part of it. Here is something Spurgeon said about spiritual drinking.

“No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking represents a reception for which no fitness is required. A fool, a thief, a harlot can drink; and so sinfulness of character is no bar to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We want no golden cup, no bejeweled chalice, in which to convey the water to the thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and quaff the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope. Dear reader, hear the dear Redeemer’s loving voice as he cries to each of us”

“IF ANY MAN THIRST,

LET HIM

COME UNTO ME

AND DRINK.”

I love what Spurgeon said, anyone can drink. From the preacher to the pimp, from the hooker to the nun, drinking is available for whosoever will. During those services in 1994 The Lord began to help me understand what this drinking really was. Drinking is a form of receiving. I had forgotten how to receive. This blessing of receiving was being restored to my life.
What characteristics in our lives enable us to drink? First, we have to come to The Lord empty. Many times we think we are spiritually mature and therefore we are the givers not the receivers. That was my problem and is the problem with many in the church today. Only the empty, the humble, can drink this spiritual water. We come to The Lord with empty hands and empty hearts in desperate need of Him. Another trait of those that drink is actually spiritual thirst. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty…”. Are you thirsty? It takes more than just being “open”, we have to be thirsty for God. Finally, we have to make time. Spiritual drinking has to be a priority in our lives. As we wait in humility and hunger, we will find ourselves drinking in this life changing living water.

THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR

Jn.7:37 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink”.

 

Everyday, from the Lord’s perspective is important. You can see it in today’s verse, the scriptures specify that the Lord’s appeal came on the very last day of the feast. No one knows how many days they have on this side of eternity, we do know this is the last day of the year. For some, today is just a day for another party or another opportunity to get high. Maybe there is something else that matters on this New Year’s Eve. Rather than fireworks and party trays and adult beverages maybe there is something else, something more satisfying. That is exactly what Jesus was saying in today’s verse. For many, this Jewish feast was a chance to go on a trip, not to have to work, and hang out with friends and family. The Lord was calling out that there was something more. He was begging His hearers to come drink from Him, drink living waters that will quench the thirst of your soul. This living water would not only quench your thirst, it would flow out to others. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes it.

 

 

 

“Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the feast he pleaded with the Jews, even as on this last day of the year he pleads with us, and waits to be gracious to us….Pity expressed herself most plainly, for Jesus cried, which implies not only the loudness of his voice, but the tenderness of his tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. We pray you, says the Apostle, as though God did beseech you by us. What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep must be the love which makes the Lord weep over sinners, and like a mother woo his children to his bosom! Surely at the call of such a cry our willing hearts will come.”

Maybe 2017 was not all you hoped. Maybe you are happy to say goodbye to whatever the last year held. Don’t enter 2018 the same way. Listen to the crying out of Jesus. “If anyone is thirsty come and come to Me and drink!” Just come to Him, take the thirst that was directed at other activities and turn it to Jesus.

THERE IS A FOUNTAIN

John 4:13 ¶ Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
John 4:14 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.”

Humans have a huge thirst for pleasure. It is often misguided but the thirst is very real. The Bible says we were created in the image of God. Our God knows about pleasure (He created it) and He has an infinite thirst for pleasure. Now this is where the problem starts. The Lord’s thirst is a holy thirst. He enjoys purity and holiness that flow from wholesome relationships and pursuits. Even though man was once like that, we were created that way, our thirst for pleasure has been tainted. Our capacity for pleasure is still God sized, its just that our vision has been blurred and our heart has been corrupted. We now try to drink from the cup of lust and immorality or medicate ourselves with alcohol or drugs. Still the God sized thirst remains, nothing of this created world can ever fill our insatiable thirst. Here is how Jonathan Edwards explains it.

“They that have found Christ have a fountain that is exceeding full, full of that which they stand in need of for the supply of the wants, and satisfying the cravings of their souls; a fountain of that happiness that is true happiness, that which is exquisitely sweet, a fountain of living waters from whence rivers are continually flowing. They that find him find rivers of waters in a dry place. Here they find an inexhaustible treasure. Here they find balm to heal the wounds of their souls, excellent food, “fat things full of marrow, and wines on the lees well refined”. Here they find that fruit that is sweet to the taste. Here they find gold tried in the fire. Here is white raiment to clothe them. Here are crowns of glory. Here they have enough, enough to live upon as long as they live in this world, and to all eternity. Here is enough; they can desire no more. The fountain is inexhaustible and never can be diminished.”

There is a fountain filled with life that can quench the longings of our heart. This is the very heart of the gospel message and the ultimate reason Christ came. He came to give us life. Not the kind of life offered by riches, fame, or accomplishments; He came to give us the kind of life He has enjoyed with His Father from before time began. So if your thirsty, come to His fountain and have a drink.