Sermons of David Chadwell
Click here to listen to this sermon read by Greg McAbee.
The American society has many great qualities that produce
incredible opportunities. Among them are our high degree of individual freedom;
our number of personal rights; our economic opportunities; our standard of
living; and our educational opportunities. Though troubled, we are still a
nation of freedom and opportunity
The irony: with all this, we still produce people filled with problems. Often in
our society, there are significant groups of deeply troubled people. A common
problem is many do not feel loved and are very cynical about love. "True
friends" are a myth. "Lasting marriage" is a myth. "Lasting love" is a myth.
Many think there are only two enduring laws in this society. (1) Everyone is out
to get everyone else. (2) If you want to survive, you better look out for number
More tragic is the fact that many feel unlovable. They are convinced they are
horribly flawed. They have endured lots of rejection. They have been exploited
so much they conclude they are worthless.
Feeling unlovable is produced by many conditions. Some of those conditions: the
victimization of racial, economic, or religious prejudice; experiencing forms of
social rejection; the absence of love in a childhood home--perhaps the parents
being at war with each other, or divorce, or abuse.
The tragedy deepens. People who feel unlovable often refuse love. Sometimes they
do not know how to accept love. Sometimes they do not trust love. Sometimes they
do not wish to risk being hurt again.
Consider Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.
Three questions: (1) How do you feel about yourself? (2) Do you know what Jesus
can do for you? (3) How are you reacting to Jesus?
- Many of you know this encounter by heart.
- Jesus passed through Samaria as he traveled to Galilee.
- He passed near Sychar as he came to a well built 2000 years earlier.
- A tired Jesus sat down by the well to rest as his disciples went to get food.
- A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and he asked her for a drink.
- A man asking a woman for a drink was not the substance of this encounter.
- Today asking for a drink of water is an innocent request.
- The significance was not in the request or the need for water to drink.
- The significance is found in the fact a Jewish man made a request of a Samaritan
- She must have been shocked!
- A Jew speaking to a Samaritan in public, a man making a request of a woman in
- Jews did not associate with Samaritans!
- Jewish men did not speak to women in public!
- This was an incredible incident!
- By our standards, the Jewish view of women was undesirable.
- Consider some statements by the Jewish Mishnah.
- Horavoth 3:7--if a man and a woman are in danger, the man must be saved first;
if a man and a woman are defrauded, the man's property must be restored sooner;
if a man and a woman are in danger of defilement, the man must be freed first.
- Tohoroth 7:9--a woman is gluttonous and nosy.
- Ketuboth 7:6--a Jewish woman was to be given a document at marriage by her
husband guaranteeing she would receive a sum of money if he died or divorced
- She gave him untithed food.
- She did not set aside a dough offering.
- She did not keep a vow she made.
- She went into public with her hair unbound.
- She spun around in the street.
- She spoke to a man.
- Ketoboth 1:8--if an unmarried woman spoke to an unknown man in the street, it
was proof of her fornication, unless the man was a priest.
- Aboth l:5--"He that talks much with womenkind brings evil upon himself and
neglects the study of the law and at last will inherit Gehenna."
- Jews simply did not associate with Samaritans.
- Shebiith 8:10--He who eats the bread of a Samaritan is like one who eats the
flesh of a swine.
- Kiddushin 4:3--intermarriage with Samaritans is forbidden.
- Nidah 4:1,2--a Samaritan woman is to be regarded unclean from the cradle.
- Gittin 1:5--no written agreement using a Samaritan as a witness is valid except
a writ of divorce and a writ of emancipation.
- Ketuboth 3:1--there are certain women with whom a Jewish man could commit
fornication and not be tried:
- A woman born a illegitimate child.
- A woman descended from the Gibeonites.
- A prostitute.
- A woman taken captive in war.
- A slave who has been redeemed or proselytized.
- A Samaritan woman.
- Read Leviticus 20:10.
- Can you imagine how this Samaritan woman felt when a Jewish man she did not know
spoke to her in public?
- This Samaritan woman began a deliberate attempt to reject Jesus from the moment
he spoke to her.
- Of the many probably reasons for her resistance, two are obvious.
- Given Jews attitudes toward Samaritans, she likely had no kind feelings for
- She likely felt unlovable.
- She had been divorced 5 times [Jews and Samaritans followed the Law], and a
woman could not divorce her husband--only the man had the right of divorce.
- The man she was currently living with was not a husband.
- What rejection and abuse!
- She tried to reject Jesus' concern in 4 ways.
- When Jesus asked for a drink (7), she asked him why (9)?
- She stressed two relevant facts: "I am a woman, and I am a Samaritan."
- "Why do you ask me?"
- In our words, "Something is wrong here!"
- Perhaps her coming alone at noon indicates she was an outcast in Sychar--which,
if true, would make her even more suspicious.
- When Jesus offered her water (11), she said he had nothing to draw water with.
- A thirsty man promising you water does not make sense!
- "Are you greater than our ancestors who dug this well?" Or, in our words, "Are
you promising something you obviously cannot deliver?"
- "Just who are you trying to fool?"
- When Jesus promised water that would permanently quench thirst, she asked for
- She did not like the task of drawing and carrying water!
- "Produce your promise--do not play games with me!"
- Jesus then proved he knew about her though he never had met her.
- In a final effort to reject him, she used the most prejudicial issue between
Jews and Samaritans--"Where is the correct place to worship?"
- This was the "hot issue."
- Read Deuteronomy 12:1-14--Where is this place?
- I think she was confident of how he would answer, and that would give her reason
to reject him.
- Note how carefully and patiently Jesus dealt with her efforts to reject him.
- He treated her like a person.
- When she asked in essence, "What are you up to?" he answered, "I have a gift for
- When she said, "You have nothing to draw with," he said, "We are talking about
different kinds of water."
- When she challenge him to immediately produce his promise, he said, "You need to
take me seriously."
- When she resorted to strong religious prejudices, he said, "Your whole concept
- She then had two choices.
- She could walk away from a "weird situation."
- Or, she could realize who Jesus was and turn her back on past rejections.
- How strange people can be!
- Thousands of Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
- With all her problems, she saw Jesus for who he was!
- Most of us are much like that Samaritan woman.
- At some point in our lives we have been hurt, troubled people.
- We have felt the sting of rejection when others used us.
- We have sinned in ways we cannot excuse.
- We have felt guilt that devastated us.
- In this state of guilt and self-contempt, we encountered Jesus with his gospel
of forgiveness and hope.
- Jesus says to us, "Regardless of what happened to you, I see you as a person who
I care about."
- Like her, we say, "Something is wrong! You cannot know me and still care about
- Jesus says, "I have what you need! I can make you whole!"
- Like her, we say, "There is no way you can keep that promise!"
- Jesus says, "I have answers you never knew or experienced!"
- Like her, we try to prejudice the issue.
- "What about the hypocrites in the church?"
- "What about the rules?"
- "Is this really sinful?"
- Jesus says, "Your whole religious concept is in error--you are not even asking
the right questions."
- At this point, we have two options.
- We can walk away saying to ourselves, "What a weird man."
- Or, we can see him for who he is.
sermon posted 21 September 2006
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