Third Sunday in Lent (2023)

Lent--Our Greatest Needs  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:30
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They all live together in one of those small farming towns that you need to live in to understand what it's like in those towns. It's not just that you know who everybody is, you know what they do and what they're like. You eat at the same places and go to the same spots for fun. If you only lived and the anonymity of the city. You might look at a little farming town like that and think, “how quaint. How nice it would be to live there.”
But little towns like that have a way of being unforgiving. It's not just that you know everybody, it's that they know almost everything about you. As soon as anything happens the whole town hears about it. The whole town talks about it. In towns like that there's always a place where everybody gets together to talk about things like that, and maybe it's where they shop or eat or drink.
In this town they talked about a woman and her string of bad relationships. Maybe she thought that all that talk around town didn't bother her, but it must have. She stopped going to the places where they get together and talked. Why give them more material? It seems that she retreated from life in that little town.
One day she went to the place where everybody got together, but she made sure to go when no one was there. All the ladies came to gossip and gab at about 6:00 PM. She got her stuff together and went at 12 noon. No one would be there and so much the better. At least she wouldn't have to put up with the stares.
She got there and ran into a stranger, someone new in this town. He looked right at her and said, “will you give me a drink?” This man was different. He didn't care that society told him not to talk to anyone of her nationality. He didn't care that the gossipers of this town would tell him to stay away from her. He said, “everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.”
“Sir, give me this water so I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming to draw water.”
She was thirsty, but she had set her sights too low. All she hoped for was a solution to her social problem, but she was face-to-face with a man who was the solution to all her problems. Jesus came to give living water, that wells up to eternal life. Living is what happens when the Lord is amongst his people. Israelites questioned it at Massah and Meribeth, so God proved it with life giving water flowing from the least likely of places. Paul marvels at the peace given to us when that living water is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. He is water for the thirsty.
I read somewhere that a person can survive between one and two months without food. But a person can survive only two to three days without water. Water is one of our greatest needs. Research shows that even slight dehydration will adversely affect your mood, memory, and motor coordination. Become seriously dehydrated, and life ends quickly. This helps us understand what Scripture means when it says things like, “My soul thirsts for God” (Psalm 42:2). If one is separated from God, he is adversely affected. If he remains separated from God, he will die an agonizing eternal death.
Not all admit it; yet it remains true for all. Everyone has a deep spiritual thirst. In our heart of hearts, we all long for everlasting life. Unbelievers try to satisfy that deep thirst with worldly things, a strategy doomed for failure. Believers look to the One who has promised, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” Jesus meets our greatest needs. He alone possesses the water that satisfies those who are spiritually parched. He alone grants eternal life.
What is remarkable about this account is that John wrote that, Jesus “had to pass through Samaria” John 4:4. Jews generally avoided this area, but Jesus did not. He sat down to rest, but forgot all about His weariness when the opportunity presented itself to lead a lost soul to know the Gift of God.
Jesus, who suffered weariness and thirst for us, has come to us and pleaded, “If you knew the gift of God...” He comes to us again today and offers that gift, His own self, to know and enjoy.

Jesus Makes Us Aware of Our Need for God’s Gift.

He reminds us that earthly wells cannot quench spiritual thirst John 4:13.
We, like the Samaritan woman, have earthly wells of whose waters we boast John 4:12 “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?”
There are times when we yearn for something more than the water of these miserable wells John 4:15 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
Jesus puts his finger on sin as the cause of our thirst John 4:16 “Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
Jesus condemns as sin action we may have excused in the past John 4:17-18 “The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
We can no longer hide or beat-around-the-bush about it. John 4:19 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.”
What is wrong in our life must be made right, IF we want to have satisfaction.
Jesus stimulates in us a desire for the gift of God. 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.”
Jesus leads us to know the gift of God by first bringing us to an awareness of our need for that gift. Then she show us where to find it.

Jesus Shows Us Where to Find God’s Gift

We find it in the true Church.
We may be perplexed as to which church is right John 4:20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
The true Church is present where God’s Word is taught purely and the Sacraments are administered according to God’s command. There we find the gift of God — Salvation John 4:22 “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.”
We find it among true worshipers.
They are not bound to any particular place or ritual John 4:21 “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.”
They worship the true God in spirit and in truth John 4:23 “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.”
God is not bound to any outward group or building.
Church organizations can cease to exist, but true worshipers, who make up the church, will continue.
We find it in the Savior Himself.
Jesus reveals Himself to us in His Word John 4:26 “Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
We can have Him now, as we are, in our emptiness and thirst.
He is the gift that satisfies John 4:28-29 “The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
Do you know the Gift of God? Jesus says to you, “I who speak to you and He.”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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