[0:00] Well, we're going to look at Jesus tonight and the woman of Samaria and just looking at this passage and just briefly looking at some of what we see in it, what we can learn from it and to help ourselves in regards to Jesus and his relation with people like us.
[0:23] We can have, we can all have a relationship with Jesus Christ because it is sinners that he came to seek and to save and nothing is different tonight.
[0:36] He is here to seek us, so as to find us and to save us and it doesn't matter what walk of life that we come from or what race we belong to, what colour of our skin the Gospel of Jesus Christ it is universal.
[0:56] And there is no greater chapter, I believe, than this chapter in John chapter 4 which breaks down barriers for us that we see Jesus doing which gives the church the right to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
[1:13] It's not that long ago that a whole plumbing system was fitted so as to accommodate water from fountains to be given to white people and to black people.
[1:27] Black people could not drink from a white person's fountain and there are still many racial issues in our world today but that does not come from God, it comes from our sinful nature and there is nobody, nobody is excluded from the Gospel, from the salvation that God is offering us and he's offering us again tonight.
[1:56] The offer is to everyone. In Jesus' ministry what is amazing is that he came to break down many barriers that religious people had put up and raised and sadly a lot of these were brought on and brought into the church as it would known then in Jerusalem and in Israel and it was religious people that did it and this sadly happens still today.
[2:27] Most of our opposition that you find in the church today comes from within. Paul warned the Ephesian church as he was saying his goodbye to them in Acts chapter 20 and this was his farewell speech to them but he warned them to look out and to be careful of those within the church and as we read in Acts chapter 20 and verses 29 and 30 Paul said this to them, I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you not sparing the flock and from among you your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them.
[3:18] That is not what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to do away with religion. Jesus came to give us his Gospel and that is what we have tonight.
[3:29] I think it was also Begg who spoke about the importance of the main things being the focus of the main things that we are looking at and we are thankful as well that the building of the church is not to do with us because if it was it would be an asory state.
[3:51] It is Christ who builds his church and when you find and when you see new people coming to our doors and people coming to church maybe for the first time and remember Kenny MacDonald telling us this when we were in college.
[4:05] Kenny was the minister in Roskeen and remember Kenny lost his daughter Alison and I am sure the folk here will remember it was our very first communion in Carly. We had Kenny here with us and you know what was important for him basically was to preach the Gospel itself.
[4:25] People need to hear this. He said if you have a professor in your midst and a professor of religion he said he has already converted.
[4:36] If not he said he should be. What you are worried about or what you are concerned about is that person you have seen coming in the door. You have never seen them before or you haven't seen them for a while.
[4:50] That is who you want to reach to with the message of Jesus and Kenny was one of the best at doing that. What do we have here in John then?
[5:01] Well in chapter 3 and chapter 4 we find Jesus meeting two people from the opposite end of the spectrum in our social lives.
[5:12] In chapter 3 he meets Nicodemus who came to him under the cover of darkness. This was a ruler of the Jews so he was highly respected in his own culture.
[5:25] He was a learned man, a religious man. He would say the way we are we live in Glasgow if you live in the West End you are in the Posh End if you are in the East End you are among the common people.
[5:39] That is the way it was in cities and the reason for that is when their chimneys blew the smoke with the wind being so westerly it came away from the West over the poor people on the East.
[5:53] Even where people live shows that there is a class in regards to our social lives. I think Nicodemus had a home in the West End.
[6:05] In chapter 4 we come to the opposite end of the spectrum. This was a woman who encountered a tough life.
[6:16] She encountered a tough life and she comes to the well at midday. No one comes at midday for water is the hottest part of the day.
[6:28] She was a despised Samaritan. She is probably unschooled. She is a female. She is not even named and she is a moral outcast.
[6:40] But you know they both, this woman and Nicodemus, they were united in one fact and that is that they both needed Jesus.
[6:53] They both needed Jesus. So wherever we come from tonight our walk of life or our status or whatever it is we all need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
[7:09] This message to Nicodemus was as it is for us tonight that you need to be born again if we are to enter into the kingdom of God.
[7:19] So you might be here tonight just like Nicodemus. You have no needs in this world. You have a lovely home and you've got plenty of money to see you through life.
[7:30] But the question is, are you born again? If not in regards to those who belong to the kingdom you are the poorest in this building tonight if you don't belong to Jesus.
[7:46] Well for the rest of our time tonight I want us to consider Jesus and this woman of Samaria. And first of all I want us to see Jesus action and it's clearly pointed out here for a reason and John wants us to notice this and it's in John 4 verse 4 and it says, and Jesus had to pass through Samaria.
[8:11] Jesus had to meet this woman and in many ways and whenever those of you, you can think back those of you who are saved and have come to faith already, you can possibly think back to moments where possibly you sat under the gospel and you heard something spoken and it was like a narrow going through your heart.
[8:34] What took place there? Well the fact that you were there and Jesus of Nazareth was passing by and he stopped in to meet and to arrest your heart for himself.
[8:48] And who knows? Maybe that is the case here tonight. Yes God is here in his spirit. I wonder if he's here looking for you.
[9:00] Looking for you so as to find you for himself. Well it was so unusual for a Jew to go through Samaria because Jews did not pass through Samaria.
[9:12] Why wouldn't they? Because they saw the Samaritans as an unclean race. So what they did, they would avoid going through Samaria, they would skirt around the border possibly along the Jordan valley so as to avoid walking through a certain area known as Samaria.
[9:35] Remember when the children of Israel, that was the Northern Kingdom as we know it, they were carried off into exile in 722 BC by the Assyrians.
[9:46] What the Assyrians did, they took the cream of the crop but the nobodies they left behind in Samaria. But what they did, they sent down a few Assyrians so as to mix the race.
[9:59] So what the Samaritans are, they are a mixed race of Jews and Assyrians. And that is why the Jews looked down upon them because they weren't pure Jews as they were.
[10:13] The woman of Samaria herself mentions that to us she shows us that Han highlights the difference in verse 9. The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, how is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?
[10:30] But what is Jesus doing here? He's not like other Jews. Jesus is breaking down barriers and is cutting through the Jewish prejudice.
[10:41] But you're saying, but that wouldn't happen in our day. That wouldn't happen in Scotland. We had heard here years ago from a dear friend who was with us who was from a travelling family and they were brought up on the west coast of Scotland.
[11:01] As a child, as a five-year-old child, it was the day I went to school I noticed and I learned that I was different.
[11:13] And it was at the dinner table. I put salt on my food and I put the salt back down and someone went to reach for the salt and said, someone said, don't touch it because he touched it.
[11:32] That's in Scotland. Do you remember these days? I'm sure some of you will remember dear people in our islands and we used to think, well, they're different.
[11:44] They're different to us. This woman from Samaria, she was different. And to be honest, she didn't have much going for her.
[11:57] So what can we glean from Scripture in regards to this woman? What would life have been like for her? Well, I want you to consider possibly a day in her life.
[12:10] We've seen Jesus. He needs to go to Samaria through Samaria. His reason is to meet with this woman. But this woman's mundane mourning would have been just like any other.
[12:25] She got up one morning and the husband lying beside her was not her husband. In fact, in her life, she had had five husbands.
[12:37] Now to have had five husbands already, she must have been up in years. And as I tried to picture this woman after having five husbands and now the one with her, not her husband, I can imagine the guy beside her would have been more like Rabzi Nespid than Tom Cruise.
[13:01] Because the years have passed and she's worn and she's broken and she's neglected. This woman, and you can imagine Rabzi saying to her in the morning, go and get me water.
[13:17] Go and get me water. But she couldn't go at the usual time. She couldn't go in the morning. Why? Because that's when other women went.
[13:28] She couldn't go in the evening. Why? Because the ones who didn't go in the morning, they would go in the evening, the other women. So what does she do? She goes at midday.
[13:41] Why? Because that was in the heat of the day and nobody else would have gone for water then. But she went. Why? So as to spare the blushes all round.
[13:55] Ah, I don't want to spoil it. I can hear them whispering. I can hear them speaking about me. I don't like it and I feel so ashamed.
[14:07] I don't want to embarrass them to see them with me and to be honest, I don't want to see anyone. I just want to go myself.
[14:19] Little did she know that she was about to meet another man that was about to change her life forever. If you were to ask her previous to this woman of Samaria, do you know you're going to meet a man at the well today?
[14:39] I'm sure she would say, no, not another man. I've had my fill of them. I've had my fill of men and look at me.
[14:50] Look at where it got me. Look at the state and even having to go for water at midday. Well, I am sure this is what she would have said.
[15:04] Do you know when Jesus was another time in the house of the Pharisees in Luke chapter seven? We are told that a woman of the city, what's incredible of these dinners if you were invited to a dinner, they were in the courtyard and passers-by could come in even if you weren't invited, passers-by could come in and watch the people that were invited to the meal.
[15:30] And that's what must have happened when this woman, we are told, a woman of the city which says that she was a prostitute. And she anointed Jesus with ointment and with her tears.
[15:44] And the Pharisee, whose house it was, questioned this. He said in Luke seven, 39, if this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is, who is touching him, for she is a sinner.
[16:02] Don't you think Jesus knew that? Don't you think he knew it? Just as he knows about the life of this Samaritan woman and just as he knows about our lives tonight and he is not put off, he's not put off one bit.
[16:23] That is Jesus. That is Jesus. Don't you just love how he spoke to her? In verse seven, then came a woman of Samaria to draw water.
[16:36] Jesus said to her, just so casually, give me a drink. Because he was there, he didn't have anything to draw water with. You can read that we read that in the story.
[16:47] Well, this is quite incredible that he even spoke to the woman. She's a Samaritan. He's known as a teacher, a rabbi. And rabbis did not speak to women.
[16:59] Do you know that even rabbis who were married would not speak to their wives in public? Because they would be seen as speaking to a woman. A Jew speaking to the Gentiles.
[17:12] You can build up the prejudice of what all of this is like. You can build on it, brick on brick. And what does Jesus do?
[17:22] He just simply pushes the wall down and says, give me a drink. Give me a drink. Well, it's quite incredible that when you think of this woman, she made her own, her way to the well, and when you think of what would have happened on her way there, who would she have passed?
[17:48] Remember who went into town? It was the disciples. And I can guarantee you this, that when the disciples saw her coming, she would have put her head down, oh no, look.
[18:02] And they would have seen her coming, and knowing she was going to the well at midday, there's something up here, but she was a Samaritan anyway, and they would have walked on the other side.
[18:15] And no one would have spoken to her. They wouldn't have spoken. She was a Samaritan after all. But Jesus didn't avoid her.
[18:26] And what a comfort that is tonight. Maybe it is that you've been ignored. Maybe it is that people don't speak to you anymore.
[18:38] Well think of the joy tonight, that there is one in heaven who wants to get your attention, and he's willing to speak to you, to speak to us.
[18:49] That is our Lord, and whatever our situation is, he's willing to do it. Well what is incredible is that God saves to the uttermost.
[19:02] There was a minister in Stornoway one time for the younger focal, no, no, but his name was Mordewalek McLeod, and he used to say, God saves to the guttermost.
[19:13] He saves to the guttermost. It doesn't matter where we've been. He's able to save us. Jesus lovingly offered salvation to this woman.
[19:26] Remember there was a conversation going on about the drink, and then Jesus answered her, if you knew the gift of God in verse 10, and who it is that is saying to you, give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.
[19:44] If you had known the gift of God, do you know the gift of God tonight? While God is offering his gift, his precious gift to all of us, and that is his Son, Jesus Christ, are we willing to take his gift?
[20:03] And you know the way God does, and sometimes, and many of you I'm sure, how Jesus deals with us, he does it so gently, but God does show us ourselves.
[20:15] And sometimes, and quite often you see folk with addictions, and that they say to him, you know, it was when I hit rock bottom, it was then, it was then that I thought I am hopeless.
[20:30] But I need to hit that rock bottom. And you know, in many ways, this woman, that is where she was. But Jesus noticed what he's doing.
[20:42] He wanted her to know that he knew what she was like. Go and call your husband. I have got no husband. Oh, but you've had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.
[20:57] What is Jesus doing there? He's just opening her mind up so as to see what exactly her life was like, and to leave her at a point that there's nowhere to go but to Jesus, and to find help there, what he's offering the gift of God.
[21:18] Has God been showing us what our lives are like, what we're left with, nothing, and what's it going to end up like?
[21:28] One day we will die. But the question is, have we done business with Jesus in this life as he comes to meet with us just in this situation tonight?
[21:43] So what Jesus does, he gently asks her to consider her life. Do you sense a note of condemnation? Did he say, oh, what a terrible life?
[21:55] Five husbands? Who are you like? And the one you're living with, you're living in sin? What's that about? There's none of that.
[22:07] There's none of that. I can't get my head round where the church can get a spirit of condemnation. How come the church, when our master never showed it?
[22:22] Never. The spirit of condemnation is not in Jesus at all. And of all people, and to consider Jesus, what he did with this woman is quite incredible.
[22:38] We are only in chapter four in John, and we read this about what she said and what he said, verse 25. The woman said to him, I know that Messiah is coming, he who is called Christ.
[22:55] When he comes, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I who speak to you, am he. What is John telling us here?
[23:07] He's telling us that the first time Jesus admitted to anyone that he's the Messiah and John's Gospel, it is to the woman of Samaria and nobody.
[23:22] And Jesus reveals himself to her like that. That is what he does with us when we give our hearts to him.
[23:32] He just reveals himself. Here when Paul said, who are you, Lord? On the road to Damascus, I am Jesus, whom behoo I persecute.
[23:44] I am Jesus. But say, there wasn't the note of condemnation, was there? There wasn't. Because he said, I remember what he said to Ananias, how he was going to use the Apostle Paul to go to kings and to authorities and to rulers, so as to tell them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
[24:07] Here he is. But I want you to notice this in verse 27. And where he was speaking, where he spoke to this woman and he confessed that he was the Messiah.
[24:19] And then we read in verse 27, just then his disciples came back in the original language which says, at that moment, which suggests that the disciples heard him saying to the woman of Samaria that I am the Messiah, they heard it.
[24:43] But isn't it interesting, as you read verse 27, as it goes on, notice the prejudice. They marveled that he was talking with a woman.
[24:56] But no one said, what do you seek? Or why are you talking with her? It's funny, isn't it, that sometimes we know that people are talking about us.
[25:11] But does it really matter, does it really matter if it is that the main things are the main things for us?
[25:23] Everything else is trivial, to be honest. Whether you do this and that or have to wear this or that, it's trivial. The main things is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is what he said to this woman.
[25:38] But what does the church do? It comes with this prejudice, attitude, in this sense and saying, oh, they marveled that he was talking, that he was talking with this woman.
[25:53] Well, what do we know about this woman? We are told that there was nothing holding her back now, not even her buckets. She left him behind.
[26:03] She came for water, raps and espad, thirsty back home, but who cares? I've got a message to tell people and that is exactly what she did.
[26:16] She didn't care anymore what people thought of her. What mattered to her was what Jesus thought of her and what she had shared with the townspeople in verses 28 and 29.
[26:31] The woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, come see a man who told me all that I ever did.
[26:42] Can this be the Christ? What is Jesus telling us? What is Jesus telling the church here as time is passing?
[26:54] What is he telling us? Well, he spoke to the disciples who were to be the church and we read this in verse 35 where he says, do you not say, do you not say there are yet four months then comes the harvest?
[27:11] Look I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest. What are nerves he talking about? Well it must have been here where he says there are yet four months until the harvest.
[27:26] So this must have been in December. The seed would have been sown in November and in mid April the harvest would be lifted.
[27:37] But notice what he says, look I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest. What's he talking about?
[27:49] What was white was the white clothed Samaritans making their way to Jesus and the fields were white with him.
[28:01] Where were they going? They were going to see the man that the woman told them about. To go and see Jesus, this is the message for the church.
[28:14] What does he say, look I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest. Where are these fields?
[28:26] Where are they? They're in the western isles and they're round about Glasgow. They're all over the world and they are white.
[28:37] And whatever people social standing tonight may be, well the Gospel is for you. I mentioned last evening about a church that sometimes ministers have to look after, other churches too.
[28:54] And I look after Dumfries and we've been praying for people to come to church. There's only about 20 folk. And just recently three men from Iran have come and they are telling us that they're Christians.
[29:11] We've been praying for folk from Dumfries to come and they rarely come. Three men from Iran who are seeking asylum in Scotland and they come already as Christians.
[29:29] What a lesson. What about you Scottish people? What about you English folk, United Kingdom folk? Where are you tonight in regards to the Gospel?
[29:43] We are seeing them coming from all over the world. We had a man called Mark Foster speaking to us from the Slavic Gospel Association and he said this, there has never been a time in the world where there has been so many Christians but they're not in Scotland.
[30:02] Why is that? Are you to blame because you won't come to Jesus? Last Tuesday, last Monday, A. McCaskill sent me a text saying, Kenny Jim Simbola from the Brooklyn Tabernacle is speaking in Cumbernauld.
[30:22] You can imagine Brooklyn to Cumbernauld, similar places. I spoke to you when I was here about Jim Simbola because he wrote a book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.
[30:33] Just to see the man in the flesh, it was just quite incredible and to hear him. He spoke for about a couple of hours or so, preached first of all and then spoke about the work of the church.
[30:47] Where they started decades ago, he said, it must have been back in the 80s himself and his wife, he had no education in regards to, he had a degree but nothing theologically and he said my preaching was bad.
[31:00] I think it was turning people away to other religions when I first of all started my preaching was that bad. But now so used by God and bringing people to him.
[31:11] But he said, I remember one day he said, preached and we did four sermons and at the end of the day he said there was a wall like this and I was absolutely so burnt out, so tired and I grabbed myself a chair and I sat down.
[31:28] And he said just as I was sitting there, I was just waiting for everyone just to go. But I noticed four rows up, there was an African American sitting, sitting there.
[31:41] And I thought, you know, I could smell him from my seat. And I thought, no. So I thought, I am so tired, I can't cope with this.
[31:55] I just want him to go away. And he saw the man getting up and he saw him coming closer and he said the smell was just absolutely awful.
[32:06] And he said I found myself putting my hand in my wallet to take my wallet out just to give him money just so he would go away because I was so tired.
[32:19] So tired. And the man said to him, Sir, I don't want your money. I want that Jesus that you are speaking about because my life, he said, is hopeless.
[32:36] I was, he said, sitting at the back of the church, drinking the dregs of my wine. And I heard the most amazing music coming from this building.
[32:48] And that is why I came in. I came in and I've heard about Jesus. And that is what I want. I don't want your money.
[32:58] Well, Jim said, if there was anyone in that church that night that was soiled, it wasn't the African American, it was me.
[33:10] And then I just fell myself sitting to God. Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for thinking this of this man.
[33:21] And he said, you know, at that moment, this man sent something. And there was this beautiful aroma that came into the room, he said.
[33:34] And this man, his name was David. And he came and he buried his head in my bosom. And it was the most amazing moment ever.
[33:44] Now you can read this in one of his books. So he said, I was so, so taught a lesson because of that.
[33:55] I thought I could get rid of him, but God had other means for this man, for him to be saved. And God taught me.
[34:07] And he said, David became one of my best friends. And he said, he ended up, he said, working for us in the congregation. And we taught him loads of things.
[34:18] And then he taught me loads of things. And then he said, he got married. And he said himself and his wife, because of all the drug addiction and all that he had been doing with drinking drugs, they couldn't have children.
[34:34] So he said, he came to me one day and he said, Pastor, will you pray that we will have children? He says, yes. He said, we'll pray, come on. And they prayed together.
[34:44] Not long after that, they had a child. I can't remember what was now. They had a child. Six months later, they had another child. And David came to Pastor Symbol and he said, Pastor, is there any way you could reverse that prayer?
[35:02] He said, we've had two. Today, he said, David, he is a pastor in New Jersey. He's got his own congregation.
[35:14] And he said, from time to time, when we meet, we always say, remember that night, remember that night when I came into your church.
[35:29] We were here today and we were asked to remember Jesus, remember my death, until I come again.
[35:40] You read of him tonight and just what I love about him. We were thinking the other day that in our church, we could count seven or eight different nationalities that come to our congregation.
[35:54] We've got Iranians down in Demphys. What is happening is that the nations are coming to Scotland. And one of our guys that goes to our international cafe went home and going home into a corner in a context which is Buddhist.
[36:12] And what he said to Monica, one of our workers, he said, one day, I will become a Christian. And Monica says, why not do it just now?
[36:25] He said, it's going to be difficult. But who knows? For people like that, it's easy for us to become Christians because we've seen it happening.
[36:38] These people are going back home and they're telling their parents and they're ridiculed and they're cast out of the family and they're all alone.
[36:50] But there's one thing and one person who will never leave them and that is Jesus Christ. If there was anything that we would desire tonight for you, anything, it would be Jesus.
[37:09] Why don't you consider him? Consider him for yourselves and pick up the sword with him in the battle, source to tell others and to see and maybe if God spares us.
[37:27] You know, Kenny, I've given my life to Jesus now and it's just incredible and I know if you do that, you will be taken care of here in this church because that's what they're like.