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Unleashing The Power of the Gospel

by Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


HovansWe welcome you to this broadcast of Words of Life. And what a pleasure it is for us to come into your home or by way of your vehicle as you are traveling along and to share with you the good news of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to introduce you to our great God, the creator of this marvelous world and universe. And we hope you will stay tuned. If you are where you can get your Bible and join us in Bible study this morning, we would like for you to turn to the gospel of John and to chapter four, a very familiar story and we want to take time this morning to deal with that and to talk about this beautiful story that reveals to us our wonderful Lord Jesus. We want to commit this time to the Lord in prayer. God, we ask you to give a special blessing to the listeners of this broadest this morning that they will glean some information that will be a blessing to their life, will bring peace to their hearts and joy as well. So bless us today as we share this message in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In the fourth chapter of the gospel of John the attention is centered upon the Lord Jesus and his experience with an individual who needed to know about him and about God. We begin reading in the third verse of John chapter four and we read: He left Judea and departed again until Galilee and he must needs pass through Samaria. So he came to the city of Samaria called Sychar near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to this son Joseph and Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

We are immediately introduced to two things in these brief readings. We are seeing the divinity of Jesus. He must needs pass through this area. He knew there was someone and something there that he needed to talk to, that he needed to deal with. And so rather than take the long journey over the Jordan way up around and bypass this area when these Samaritans lived—and if you are familiar with this, you are aware that Jews and Samaritans did not have anything to do with each other. Often times a very strict Jew would walk way out of his way to avoid passing through this area. But for Jesus, he knew, being God in the flesh, that he needed to go there. It is godly and God-like to seek those in trouble and those that are lost. And Jesus does that.

But we are also introduced to his humanity, for in verse six it tells us Jesus was wearied as he came after the long walk and it was hot. He was thirsty and he came there to take a break and get a drink of water. Begin reading now in verse seven in this same chapter. And so there came a woman of Samaria to draw water from the well. And Jesus said to her: Give me a drink. His disciples had gone away in the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said unto him: How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink of me who am a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
We are introduced to the social problem of the day that we have already told you about, that Jews and Samaritans simply had no contact with each other or very little at best. They would not dare do business or eat with one another in most cases. And so the Lord is here. The disciples have left him. They were willing, being hungry, to go into the city and try to find some food and then they were going to come back and, I assume, share it with the Lord Jesus. The social problems of the day were similar to many of the problems that we now have. In whatever country you live, there are social problems. There are the rich and the poor. There are the educated and the uneducated. There are the religious and the unreligious and even those who are against religion. And so there are a multitude of social problems that we are facing in our day. Let’s see how Jesus handled this situation.

Begin reading, if you are following in your Bible, as I begin in verse 10. Jesus answered and said unto her: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that saith unto thee give me to drink, you would have asked of him and he would have given you living water. The woman said unto him: Sir, you have nothing to draw with from the well and the well is very deep. How, then, can you give this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and he drank from it himself and his sons did and his cattle? Jesus answered and said: Everyone that drinks of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinks of the water I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall spring up in him and become a well of water springing up unto eternal life.
There are two things that produce a misunderstanding of Jesus and of God himself. When we have little knowledge, especially little religious knowledge, little knowledge of the Bible, we have incomplete knowledge. We know a little bit. We have heard about Jesus or we think we know a little bit about him, but we don’t know nearly enough. And such is the case with this woman. She had, even though a mixed race Samaritan, Jewish blood. She had the Bible books of the Old Testament that we have today, the first five books. She would have been familiar with those books and those laws. And so she had some religious leaning in that direction. But she had an incomplete knowledge about this coming one we call Jesus.

And then there is a second thing that poses a problem for our misunderstanding spiritual truth about Jesus or about salvation or about other matters and that is the natural mind. The natural mind, that is without the help of the Holy Spirit, our natural mind cannot and will not fully understand spiritual truth.

Now notice the development that happens beginning in verse 16. And Jesus said to her: Go call your husband and bring him here. The woman answered and said unto him: I don’t have a husband. And Jesus said unto her: You have said well. What you are telling me is the truth, I have no husband, for you have had five husbands and he with whom you are now living is not your husband. You have said truly. Wow. Jesus reveals this woman’s life, her true situation, her true condition. Now let’s be very careful here. This is something Jesus can do, for he is God. We must not take that prerogative and think that we can be like Jesus and figure out the very heart and life of people with whom we are a little bit familiar. But Jesus knew her true condition. Especially we must be on guard by first impressions. We see a person and they are dressed a little differently or their hair style is different or they are a different nationality or whatever it might be. And we might begin to draw conclusions about them that are not true. Jesus will only draw those conclusions that are exactly true.

Now Jesus admits in verses 19 and 20 his divine perception. The woman says: Well, you must be a prophet. You have revealed the truth about my life. How could you possibly know that? In verses 19 and 20. The woman said: Sir, I perceive you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

Now having admitted that Jesus must be somebody very special, a prophet, well, much more than that he was as we well know, and she will later learn. But notice what the woman does. She throws up a smoke screen about where to worship. Jesus had revealed her very long, sinful life. Having lived with five different men and now living with one who was not even her husband. And so she tries to divert the attention from the true situation to talk about something rather controversial, where we are to worship. Well, Jesus walks right through and sees right through this smokescreen. For we know that people do the same today. You try to talk to them about being saved and becoming a Christian and believing in Jesus and they want begin arguing about baptism or about instrumental music or about the millennium or about a hundred other subjects to divert the attention from their true condition.

Well, the Lord brings up and joins with her a matter of worship beginning in verse 21. Jesus said to her: Woman, believe me. The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father. You worship that which you know not. We worship that which we know. For salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth for such does the Father seek to become his worshippers. For God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

You worship with lack of knowledge about worship and what you worship. Is it not true of so many today who worship the wrong god or the wrong thing or do the wrong things in their worship that are not ordained in the inspired Word of God? The woman put great stock in the place of worship and Jesus points out the place is not the most important thing. You have to have a place. Whenever you are is a place, but that is not the most important. All of the ritual that you can come up with and the rules and the regulations about how we do this and what order we do them in, that is not the true heart of worship. Spirit and truth are the heart of worship. Seeing and believing in him who is truth, that is Jesus, that is worship. When the Holy Spirit reveals to your heart that this Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, having died at Calvary for sinners, ah, then he has revealed to you truth and that spirit will help you truly be able to worship.

Now the woman had a little knowledge. Notice verses 25 and six. The woman said to him: I know that Messiah is coming, the one that is called Christ. When he is come he will declare unto us all things. And Jesus said unto her: I that speak, unto thee am he.

You have heard about the Messiah coming. You have read about it in the Scriptures that you have. You need to know that I am that Messiah. You know about the Messiah. Now you have the opportunity to learn and to meet that Messiah. I am he. Oh, my friends, what a joy it is to lead someone from knowing about Jesus to have them knowing Jesus personally, putting their faith in him, confessing him as Savior and Lord, following him into that watery grave, being raised to walk into a newness of life. What a beautiful picture there is here.

Now the disciples returned in verse 27. Then came his disciples back from the town and they marveled that he was speaking with a woman. Yet nobody said: What are you seeking or why are you speaking with her? You see in public, a Jewish man would not even speak to his mother if he was a very strict Jew. And so they were surprised that Jesus was carrying on a conversation with this woman, and not just any woman, but a Samaritan woman. And likely, because of the time of day that she comes to the well, not wanting to be around others, she did not have a very good reputation in the town where she lived.

Now what is the woman going to do when she is faced with this one called Jesus the Messiah, the Christ? Verses 28 and following give us a hint when it says the woman left her water pot, a pretty valuable possession to leave behind, but she leaves it. And she went away into the city and said to the people: Come see a man who told me all the things that I have ever done. Can this be the Christ, the Messiah? And they went out of the city and were coming unto Jesus.

This woman could not contain the news that she had heard. She had to go share it and she immediately hurries into town to tell the population of the city that maybe we have had the Messiah come into our very city. Jesus has a little aside here with his disciples beginning there in verse 31. The disciples said one to another—and let’s jump up a couple of verses. In the meanwhile his disciples said to him: Rabbi, that means teacher, eat. They had brought some food. They knew he was hungry. But he said to them: I have food to eat that you do not know about. The disciples wondered if somebody had brought him something to eat. And Jesus answered: My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Something more important.

Have you ever had a situation in your life where you didn’t want to eat? The sudden and possibly tragic death of a loved one, the loss of a business, a financial collapse, a horrible accident. And your appetite is taken away at dinner time. You normally eat about then. But now your appetite is gone. Jesus has found something much more important than food and that is taking the message of life to a woman like this woman in the city of Sychar. Here is the overwhelming desire of Jesus. And, my friends, that is his desire for you today. His desire is that you, like this woman, would learn about him, but not just know about him, would come to believe in him with all of your heart and to follow him as Savior and Lord.

And Jesus looks out. The men are coming from the town. And Jesus is now looking out upon them in verse 35. Notice. He says: Don’t say there are four months and then comes the harvest. Behold. I say to you. Lift up your eyes and look on the fields. They are white already unto harvest. He that reaps receives wages and gathers fruit until life eternal. And he that sows and he that reaps, they rejoice together. One sows and another reaps. That is an old saying. You have heard it. I sent you to reap where you have not labored. Others have labored and you have entered in to their labor. I can picture Jesus looking out over the valley where these people are coming from and they are coming to see him and to learn about him. And he sees them as a ripe harvest field. And they come and there they learn more about Jesus. Look at verse 39 as this story begins to close. From that city many of the Samaritans believed on him. Isn’t that beautiful? Many believed on him, because of the word of the woman who testified: He told me all things that ever I did. So when the Samaritans came they besought him. Lord, come stay with us. And he stayed for two days and many more believed because of his word. And now they said to the woman: Ah, we believe now, not because of what you told us. We have heard for ourselves and we know this is, indeed, the Savior of the world.   Now we know and we believe.

Oh, what a difference between knowing something and knowing about something. Those who lived 300 years before Christ heard about a man named Alexander the Great. We are told this great conqueror wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. We know about him, but we do not know him. If you could have lived in the lower Middle Ages you might have had some first hand knowledge of the man Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. We might have seen him atop that muscled stallion as he carried the crucifix before him into battle. We know a lot about him because of history. But none of us ever knew him. We see the difference, then, between knowing and knowing about.


And so this woman now knows Jesus. She was a prospect for the gospel as is every person, as you are, my friend, as you listen to this broadcast. You have heard me talk to you about this Messiah, this Jesus, this anointed one. You may be religious, but not righteous, not right with God. We hope that you will inspect this message a little further and delve into the Word of God, be willing to accept this gospel that was so important to Jesus that he had no desire for food, but rather wanted to give the living water to this woman and all of those in the city.

And so we see the power of the gospel. Prejudice was resolved between Jews and Samaritans. The past was not important in the light of the present and the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Primary things become primary again. Listen to the words written by the apostle Paul in Romans chapter one and verse 16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

My friends, have you believed in the gospel? Have you given your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? It is good news. That is what it is. And God has the power to take away your sin, your guilt, all of your badness. He plunges that beneath his blood and you can become born again as a child of God and have the hope of everlasting life.

If we can be of help to you in any way, contact us as the announcer will tell you how you can get in touch with us at Words of Life. God bless you today for joining in.


                                                   Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY.

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4