John Message #10 “John the Baptist and Introduction to the Woman at the Well”, Ed Miller, February 7, 2024

Listen to the Audio above while following along in the transcript below which is also available for download at

As we get ready to look in the word, we need to trust the Holy Spirit, the author of the Bible; He breathed once, and He wants to breathe again, and show us the Lord Jesus.  I want to share a verse before we go to prayer.  It’s from Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know; I will lead them.”  We are the blind, and He’s promised to lead us in a path that is not natural to our thinking.  His ways are not our ways, and we need to renew our mind, rather, have our minds renewed, and that’s by seeing things the way God sees them, and that’s not natural.  We’re going to trust the Lord to lead us in paths that we don’t know and in ways that we have not experienced.  Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, thank You for gathering us again, and we do want You to be the teacher, and we pray that you would protect Your people from anything that comes from the flesh, and is from man’s mind.  Lord, we come to You as those who need to be shown the right way, and need to be instructed in Your way.  We wait upon Your Holy Spirit; show us the Lord Jesus in a new and fresh way.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Welcome to another occasion we have to come aside for a short session, and just behold our Lord Jesus.  Our prayer is that you be completely detached from all legitimate concerns, and all legitimate cares, and let the world spin underneath us for a while and we’ll just focus on the Lord and what He has for us.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on review, but I want to get you back into the flow of the book, and then where we left off, and then we’ll pick up our new material.  Every week I’ve been pointing out the clear theme of the Gospel of John.  It’s clear because John, the author, the human author, told us why he wrote it.  John 20:31, “These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”  John tells us that he’s written for three reasons; #1 That you might know the Lord; #2 That you might believe in the Lord; #3 That you might enjoy the Lord and have Life in His name.  Every story in the Gospel of John sheds light on knowing the Lord, trusting the Lord and enjoying the Lord.  Even though it’s in a loose way, as we go through the stories, we’re going to try to pick up how does this story unveil Jesus, how does this help me depend more on Him, and how does it help me know and enjoy Him more intimately.

In the Nicodemus story, for example, which we just finished, since John wrote that we would know the Lord, how is He presented in the Nicodemus story?  Listen again John 3:14-15, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”  And John 3:16, Who is Jesus? Jesus is the substitute Savior for perishing sinners; He’s the substitute Savior for snake-bitten sinners. 

In the Nicodemus story, how is faith presented?  According to the same verse 14, faith is looking, faith is beholding.  As the sinners in Moses’ day simply had to look to the brazen serpent on the pole, and they did not perish, so sinners in every day in our day, all we have to do is look in simple faith to the Lord Jesus, our substitute, and we are going to be delivered, as well.  Moses, in that story, was a picture; Jesus, of course, is the reality.

Then, how does the story of Nicodemus present life?  John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Eternal life is not duration.  In Moses day, in the picture, the snake-bitten sinners were saved from death; they had life, but it was physical life.  What He promises, if you look to Christ, you’ll have eternal life.  That’s not just duration. The life He promises is the Life of the eternal One; it’s quality of life.  John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  You see how that story just presents John’s theme; Jesus is the substitute Savior for perishing sinners.  Trust Him; all you have to do is look and behold Him.  Enjoy Him, because He lives inside of you and you have the Life of the eternal One.

That brings us, then, to our meditation on the next section.  It’s still in chapter three, and it’s verse 22 all the way to the end of the chapter, verse 36.  John in his presentation brings John the Baptizer back into focus.  We saw him in chapter one, and now John the Apostle, the human author of this book, says, “I want you to look at John the Baptist again, because I’m going to advance on the truth concerning John the Baptist.”

Before we visit the reason that John the Apostle brought up John the Baptist again, I want to just clear up three simple technical things; they just sort of clarify, so that we’re on the same page.  The first is in John 3:22, “After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.”  It’s a generally accepted fact that the private conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus took place in Jerusalem.  It was the Passover, and it was near the temple, and he could come at night, and so on. 

From there we read in verse 22 that Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea.  If you are familiar with the geography of the land, he didn’t go very far.  Jerusalem is in Judea.  Judea is a region, and they left the city and went to the country.  That’s pretty much what He did.  If I said New York to the average person, they might think of Albany or New York City with a great population and hustle and bustle and busy, but if I said New York to my granddaughter, since she has been there for a while, she wouldn’t think of the city; she’d think of the cold winters, because she is way up north in New York in Warrensburg and they had a ministry up there.  It’s still New York, but it’s in the rural section.  You remember our friend Tom Wontrop; He and his wife lived way in the boonies; in fact, the name of the town was Booneville, N.Y.  Once again, it’s New York, but it’s not the city.  We have friends for years that we’ve been visiting in Granville, N. Y.  They have a farm; that’s not like the city.  They have barns and cows and pastures, and they’re out in the country.  So, that’s the first observation; Jesus did leave Jerusalem, but then He just went into the country of Judea, and not very far.

The second observation is from John 3:22, “After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.”  It looks from that verse, if you take it by itself, that Jesus, also baptized people, and then someone could say, “Who baptized you?  John?”  “Oh, I was baptized by Jesus Himself; Messiah baptized me.”  But if you look at John 4:2, “Although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but his disciples were.”  Jesus never baptized in water.  I can’t say that He never baptized because He baptizes in the Holy Spirit, so He’s a baptizer, as well, but not in water.  We say, “Biden bombed Syria.”  He didn’t bomb anything; he was in the cellar, but his disciples did.

The third observation is John 3:24; John had not yet been thrown into prison.  Why is that important?  It’s important because Matthew, Mark and Luke, when they give the history of Jesus and His ministry, it begins after John was thrown into prison.  The gospel of John is the only place that we have the early ministry of Jesus, before John was thrown into prison.  Clearly, John and Jesus were ministering at the same time.  His disciples were baptizing in the south, and John was up north, and he was baptizing.  Usually, when you think of John’s baptism, you think of the Jordan River.  There’s nothing special about the Jordan River, and just for interest, there’s no such thing as holy water.  Some people have the idea that you get baptized in the Jordan, that’s a big deal.  Verse 23 says that he was in Anon near Salem.  I’m going to save you some time; nobody knows where that it is.  There are a lot of guesses, but nobody knows for certain where that is.  All God is trying to tell us is that they had a simultaneously ministry; John was baptizing and Jesus and His disciples were also baptizing, and the two ministries were going on at the same time.  It’s that fact that becomes the occasion for why the Apostle John brought John the Baptist up again.

John 3 is not the end of the story of John the Baptist, so we’re only going to go as far as John 3.  John comes up again; we’ll take him up later.  So, we don’t want to look at the whole story of John, but we want to look at this next part in John 3 of the story of John the Baptist.  I want to review what we’ve seen in chapter one already, even though we’ve already touched it, I want to show you what we’ve seen, and then how chapter three enlarges that, how it sheds light on that. 

What we’ve seen so far, John 1:6, “There came a man sent from God whose name was John; he came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him.  He was not the light; he came to testify about the light.”  We called attention to the fact that John was sent by God, and as a witness of Christ.  That description is best described I think in verse 23, he said, “I’m a voice of one crying in the wilderness; make straight the way of the Lord.”  He’s somebody sent by God, somebody to testify about the light, and just a voice to prepare the way for the Lord to come and do the real work.  That’s the idea of preparation.  Mark 1:8 says, “I baptize with water; He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”  Water is just a picture.  The Holy Spirit is the reality.

In our early discussion of John I described his ministry as a forerunning ministry.  Was John the Baptist ever called a forerunner of Christ?  It’s interesting, in the New American Standard Bible He was, but the word “forerunner” is in italics.  It’s a good description of Him, but that word is not actually applied to Him.  John knew that Messiah was on the earth.  John 1:26, “John answered saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands one that you do not know.”  That little phrase, “among you,” after four thousand years of being promised that Jesus would come, that the Messiah would come, John arises and tells everybody that He’s here.  He hadn’t been revealed, yet, but He’s here.  That was a big deal, and that created an expectancy.  Listen to Luke 3:15, “While the people were in a state of expectancy, all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ.”  So, John was sent by God to bear witness of the light, he was a voice only, and he knew Christ was somewhere.  He didn’t know who He was, He hadn’t been identified, yet, but he was warning people to get ready because He had come.

When we discussed the revelation that God gave John the Baptist, we suggested that John’s contribution to the history of redemption is that he pictures what ministry ought to be.  He’s God’s illustration of ministry.  Like I said, in Luke 1:17 he’s called “the forerunner”, but again, in italics.  The whole point is that the true ministry of any ministry must be a forerunning ministry.  In other words, human ministry prepares the way for the Lord to come and actually do the real ministry.  All we can do, is we can warn you and we can get you wet, and we can give you an illustration, but only the Lord Jesus follows up.  If in any ministry Jesus doesn’t come after and do the real work, that ministry fails and people get very discouraged.

I study the word of God, and I try to present what I think the Lord has shared, but if He doesn’t come after and open your eyes and open your heart and draw you to Himself, there’s not ministry here.  If all you get is what I give, you might have something in a notebook, but you want something in your heart, and only the Lord can give that.  That applies to all ministry, not only professional so-called ministers, pastors and teachers and elders and priests and missionaries and evangelists, or whatever other name you give them, but all ministry, even living, is a forerunning ministry.  That’s the reason that I can tell you and any minister of the Lord can tell you, “Do you want deliverance from sin?  He’ll give it to you.  Do you need forgiveness?  I guarantee forgiveness.  Do you want assurance that you’re going to heaven after you die?  I can give you that assurance.  I can tell you about rest, and I can tell you about victory, and I can tell you how to walk in union with Christ.  I can promise those things because I am assured that He is going to come and fulfill His word.  I can’t give you deliverance; He does.  I can’t give you victory; He does.  I can’t forgive your sin; only the Lord can do that. 

There’s no other hope for a minister of the Lord than that Jesus shows up next and does the real work.  Nobody has anything to offer another person except to point them to Christ.  That’s what John did.  Whether it’s a church or whether it’s a mission or a camp or a website, or whether it’s a prison ministry or shelter ministry, or whether it’s a school or a seminary, all ministry must be followed up by the Lord doing the real work.  That’s what we saw so far.  That’s the presentation of John in chapter one, someone sent by God to bear witness of the light, to be a voice of the Lord, and to prepare people for His coming, for His work, for His ministry.

In John 1:36&37 we have the first hint of what we’re now going to develop in chapter three.  The hint is in John 1:36, “He looked at Jesus as He walked, and he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.”  John is testifying of the Lord, and when he says, “Look at Jesus,” they walked away from him and started following the Lord.  We’re going to develop that in John 3.  The Apostle John and Andrew, the brother of Peter, left John and began to follow Jesus.  So, we’re going to begin there.

John’s contribution to the history of redemption is that he’s John’s chosen instrument to demonstrate the heart of true ministry.  God does that in the Bible.  In other words, if God wants to demonstrate the truth of faith, He anoints Abraham, the father of faith, and says, “Look at Abraham.”  If the Lord wants to demonstrate the New Covenant, He says, “Look at the Apostle Paul; I’m going to anoint him for that one great message.”  If He wants to demonstrate His sufficiency in suffering, He’ll point you to Job.  That’s God’s great illustration of God’s sufficiency in suffering.  If He wants to demonstrate progressive sanctification, here comes Peter; he’s God’s great illustration of progressive sanctification.  So it is, to demonstrate Christian ministry, He has anointed John the Baptist.

That brings us to John 3, the same truth, not new truth, the same truth enlarged, the same truth further explained.  It’s the very same truth, but in John 3 it is wonderfully developed.  The wonderful truth is that we live to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus to come and do the ministry.  Your life and my life, your ministry and my ministry, everything depends on follow-up, and not ours, but His, that He comes. 

Alright, let me give the occasion of this enlarged vision.  John 1:35, “Again, the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples.”  Even though John was a faithful minister of the Lord, he had disciples.  People flocked to him; he had a following.  I’m not saying that he liked that, but he had it.  John’s disciples were loyalists.  When you go through the New Testament, it almost looks like they thought other ministries were in competition with John, even the ministry of Christ.  John’s disciples, for example, in Mark 2, they came and said, “Look, our disciples are fasting, and your disciples aren’t fasting; even the Pharisees fast.  How come your disciples don’t fast?”  They are constantly comparing ministries.  In this chapter they came to John with what they thought was bad news.  John 3:26, “They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, He who is with you beyond Jordan, whom you have testified, behold He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.’”  That bothered them.  The disciples of John said, “Listen, we’ve got some bad news for you, and we’re sorry to have to break it to you, but you are losing disciples to Jesus.  People are leaving you, and they’re going to the Lord Jesus; they’re flocking to Him.  We thought you should know that your disciples, your following is shrinking, and His is growing.  Sorry about that bad news.”

Did John receive it as bad news?  Listen to verse 29, He gives a little parable, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice, so this joy of mine has been made full.”  And the next verse says, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” 

In his little parable, he mentions three people.  He mentions the bride, He mentions the groom, and someone called the “friend of the groom”.  Let me take a little aside here and give you a principle of Bible study.  When you’re studying the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, be aware that He sometimes uses the same word, the same illustration, to illustrate different things.  For example, rock, Jesus is the rock.  But in the context is He talking about a firm foundation, or is He talking about a stumbling stone, or is He talking about a place of shelter, or is He talking about a precious gem, or is He talking about a source of supply like water out of the rock, or is He talking about a hard heart?  You need to know the context of that word “rock”.  It’s the same word, but it’s used differently.

For example, the word “snow”, in one place it’s talking about abundance, like the snowflakes.  In another place it’s talking about the color, white as snow; He’ll forgive you and you’ll be whiter than snow; that’s positive.  Oh, but you could be as white as a leper, and that’s negative.  It’s still the word “snow”.  Sometimes He talks about the temperature of the snow.  So, you need to read the context; it makes a difference.  When you see the word “lion”, is that the enemy or is that Jesus?  Even the word “Lucifer”, who is He talking about?  You need to understand the context.  The serpent, Jesus on the tree.  Is salt good or bad?  It depends on the context.  They used to salt the field, so they couldn’t grow things.  What is salt talking about?  Is leaven good or bad?  Some will say, “Every time you see ‘leaven’ it’s bad.”   Read the context.  The kingdom of heaven is like leaven; it’s not all bad.

I say that because John used the word “bridegroom”, and how is it used in this place?  We know that it refers to the Lord, that He is the groom.  In my relationship with Jesus, my relationship to the groom, I am the bride; you are the bride.  In your union with Christ, you are the wife of the Lamb.  Ephesians 5:31, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife.  The two shall become one flesh.  The mystery is great, but I’m speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”  In my union with Him, I am the bride.  Romans 7:4, “Therefore, my brethren, you were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that you might bear fruit to God.”  We’re married to Him, to bear fruit unto God. 

This is not only New Testament.  Several books in the Old Testament were dedicated to show the relationship of the bride and the groom.  The book of Ruth, the Song of Solomon, the prophet Hosea; these are all illustrations that the groom is the Lord, and the bride is His people.  In my union with Christ, I am the bride; I’m the wife.  But is that how John is using the word “bridegroom” here?  You see, he’s not talking about my union with Christ.  He’s talking about ministry; he’s talking about Christian service, and in my service to the groom I’m not the bride.  Once again, verse 29, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.”  In my service, in my ministry, I am the friend of the bridegroom; I’m not the bride.  I’m the friend of the groom.

Very loosely understood, the friend of the groom in our culture would answer to the best man.  That’s the idea of the friend of the groom.  The best man has the duty, the privilege and his job is to facilitate the fact that he’s going to help the bride and the groom come together, and he’s going to stand and honor the groom.  That’s the whole idea, to promote the union of the bride and the groom, to help out, to remove any obstacle that would be in the way of the wedding. 

There’s an absolute limit to what the friend of the groom can do.  Here is the powerful advance, John 3:29, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.”  Let me put it in these words, this is the advance, “Minister of the Lord, servant of the Lord, keep your hands off the bride; she doesn’t belong to you.  You have no right to touch the bride.  The best man does not touch the bride.  The bride belongs to Jesus, and not to any ministry, not to any church, not to any denomination.   The bride is off-limits to the true minister of the Lord.  It would be a turning of things upside down; it would be a scandal if the best man dared to make advances on the bride.

I was married on June 6, 1964, and my best man was Russell Hickman, and I chose him because he was one of my closest friends at the time, but if he tried to make advances to my Lillian, if he drove off with my Lillian, he wouldn’t be the best man anymore.  He’d be like that friend in the “Tennessee Waltz”, “I was waltzing with my darling to the Tennessee Waltz, when an old friend I happened to see, I introduced him to my loved one, and while they were dancing, my friend stole my sweetheart from me.”  That’s a sad song; it’s a lot sadder in Christian ministry when the friend of the groom actually steals the bride from the Lord Jesus.  This illustration is stronger than the illustration in chapter one.  In chapter one, “I baptize in water, and He comes after, and He’ll do the real work.”  That shows that the ministry belongs to the Christ.  But this is stronger; it’s not only wrong to seek a following; it’s sin and it’s immoral.  Hands off the bride; the church belongs to Jesus, and not to any person or any ministry. 

This news was not bad news to John.  In fact, it was good news.  It was the joy of his heart to see the bride and groom come together.  Notice verse 29 & 30 again, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice, so this joy of mine has been made full.  He must increase, and I must decrease.”  What is the joy that John experienced?  The joy of the bridegroom is described in Jeremiah 7:34, “The voice of the bride and the voice of the bridegroom is the voice of joy.”  In Song of Solomon 3:11, “The day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.”  It’s the grooms joy when he enters into a union with the bride, and it’s the best man’s joy to see the bride and the groom come together.  That was not only agreeable to John, but it was his joy. 

As the friend of the groom, as a minister of the Lord, the greatest joy that I can ever have is to see you in a closer union with Jesus.  That’s the friend of the groom; that’s what the minister is.  In fact, everything else, we discourage loyalty to a person, and loyalty to a church and loyalty to a ministry or denomination.  It’s not the one that can say, “Oh, we have the most effective ministry; we have a program for kids and a program for teens and young married people and military people and young adults, and we have a prison ministry and we work with the addicted…”  They might have those ministries to point people to Christ, so we can’t judge just because they have all of those things.  But just to say, “I got so many notches on my Bible, and we had this many join the church and this many baptisms and all that kind of things, the reason we can promise you all those good things, like forgiveness and rest and victory, is because Jesus is going to follow-up.  The reason we are happy is when you go away with the Lord…

What a joy I would have if I could see you and Jesus working out a sin problem!  What a joy I would have if I could see you and Jesus settling some controversy of faith!  What a joy would be mine if I could see Jesus restore some relationship with you and somebody that you had a fractured relationship with!  That’s our joy, to see you go forward in Him! I love it when someone says, “Look what the Lord showed me in the Bible, a revelation of Christ!  That’s thrilling to me to hear the testimony that “God delivered me or God healed me or God provided for me or God guided me.”  That’s the joy of the true minister of the Lord, not to have a following, not to have a name, not to have a flock, not to have his own kingdom, but the joy of seeing people and Jesus come together and walk in intimate union with one another.  Nothing else matters to the true minister of the Lord. 

I think this is one of the greatest temptations that ever found its way into the pulpit—jealousy.  Some people are so threatened if somebody would dare to depart from their little group and go somewhere else, “I’ve got my people, and I want to build up my block, and I’ve got to get more people, and if you leave and go to some other ministry, I feel so threatened.”  John the Baptizer wasn’t like that; he was a true servant of the Lord.

Do you realize this, that having a ministry like John the Baptist had, you don’t just decide that; that’s a miracle of God.  To have a heart that honestly only desires to see Jesus and people come together, you can’t work that up, and I can’t work that up.  That’s a mighty miracle of the Lord, and the enemy hates true ministry; he doesn’t want to see a true ministry that just encourages the bride and the groom to have their time together.  I think that’s one reason that has crept in.

God knows what is needed for you to go forward in Him.  Maybe you’re one of these intellectuals, and you say, “I need theology and I need to study the original languages and I need to read about all the creeds,” and if that helps you go forward with Christ, then do it; go for that!  If you say, “Well, I need to be free and I need expression, and I want to lift up my arms when I praise the Lord, and I’m not ashamed to cry, and I believe in the gifts, and I want to exercise spiritual gifts.”  Does that help you know Jesus better?  Then, go for it!  I’m serious; that’s the true ministry of the Lord.  Some people get closer, they think, or they say, “I need stained glass, and I need ritual, and I need something that’s more formal, and I need the pictures, and you’re just throwing the pictures away; I need the pictures.”  As the groom’s friend, if that helps you know Jesus, don’t let anybody stop you in that kind of thing. 

Someone says, “Do you know what does it for me?  It’s a walk in the woods, nature.  Then, go for a hike!  If that helps you know Jesus, whatever helps you know Jesus.  If one denomination works better for you than some other…  Now, if you leave just to backslide, if you leave a certain ministry just because you get lazy or worldly, that’s different, and that causes concern for the minister of the Lord, but if you are departing because you found a different place to know Jesus more intimately, the true minister of God rejoices in that and is happy about that, and he’s not threatened, and he doesn’t care.  He must increase, and we must decrease.

Thank God for the instruments that He’s used in your life to help you know the Lord Jesus.  I hope our ministry is like the ministry of John the Baptizer; I hope you are sent by God, and I hope you’re bearing witness of the light, and I hope you’re just a voice, and I hope you’re a forerunner and knowing that He’s going to come after, and I hope you’re a friend of the groom, and your only heart is to know the bride and groom coming together.

John viewed, and he addressed his disciples, as diminishing and as a gift.  In verse 27, “John answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.’”  In the context, he’s talking about his ministry, and he said, “You think it’s bad that I’m losing disciples, but what a gift God gave me,” the privilege of verse 30, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Alright, I’m going to leave that there, and I want to just introduce the next story.  It’s forty-two verses; it’s the entire chapter four, the woman of Samaria, the woman at the well.  I’m not going to go into the background of that or the details of the precious conversation, the discourse between the Lord Jesus and her.  Lord willing, we’ll begin looking at that next week.  This morning let me relate the story we just looked at, the ministry of John, with the story of the woman of Samaria, because they both have to do with ministry—John, with ministry but now the woman at the well is going to focus more on the Minister, and we’re going to look at that.

Those who have studied the life of Jesus in the gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—have noticed that He was always trying to win people to Himself; He was a soul winner.  He had six contacts in the temple, and He had four contacts in the synagogue and more than a hundred contacts in the mainstream of life, just as He went along.  Sometimes he dealt with groups and sometimes individuals.  Because of His dealing with so many sinners, some have suggested that our Lord Jesus is the great model of soul winning, so we should study how Jesus dealt with people, so we would know how to deal with people, and we should study His example, and then we would know how to win souls to Christ.

Let me give a little testimony.  When I was a student at Bible college, I was required to take a course on soul winning, how to lead people to Christ.  At that time, with my light then, I ate it up.  I look back now, and I reject everything that I heard in that soul winning course, but back then I ate it up.  This particular soul winning course, the whole semester was on John chapter four, the whole semester, and the idea was, “Let’s study Jesus and see how He dealt with this woman, and we will learn what a soul winner is.” 

I’m not going to bore you with all of the observations they gave, which today I reject, and reject for two reasons.  The first reason is that they presented Jesus as the master psychologist.  That was the idea, if I’m going to win souls, the premise is that Jesus used psychology, human behavior, since He knew all men, in order to win souls.  I went and reviewed some of my notes, and I’m going to give you a couple of the early principles we had to learn, all taken from John 4.  John 4:7, “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”  The principle we were taught was to appeal to their sympathy.  In other words, they said there are two ways to get people to like you.  You can give them something, or you can get them to give you something, and that’s more effective.  If you can get somebody to give you something, then they are ready for a conversation.  So, appeal to their sympathy; Jesus came as somebody needy, “Will you please help me?  Will you please give me a drink?  I need you.”

The second principle that they gave is to find a point of contact.  In this case it was water, thirst; she came for water, and Jesus said, “I’m thirsty; I need water,” and so then we had a whole bunch of things.  It could be any point of contact; it might be your kids.  It might be your pet.  They have a parrot, and you have a parrot, a point of contact.  It might be some sport, it might be a vacation place that you went, or it might be a common illness that you both had; we both had the same kind of surgery.  Find a point of contact if you’re going to win souls.”

Another principle they gave was in verse 22, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know.  Salvation is from the Jews.”  You’ve got to show them that their religion is wrong, “You worship what you do not know.”  So, we had a whole section in this soul winning course where we had to learn about the cults and about the teaching and what do Christian Science teach and what do Mormons teach and what do Jehovah’s Witnesses teach and what do the Muslims have, and Hindu, and we went through all of that because we had to be prepared to tell them what’s wrong with their teachings.  We had a whole course of this psychological babble where they would try to tell us how to win the Lord.

I’ll give you one more, verse 20, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”  In the context you’ll remember that’s when Jesus touched a sore spot and talked about her five husbands, and she changed the subject.  That’s the principle.  Don’t let them change the subject.  You’ve got to stay on to the subject.  We had a whole semester of how to copy Jesus.

I told you there are two reasons that I presently reject that whole course.  One of them was, and I already mentioned it because they presented Jesus as a master psychologist, but the second is that they presented Jesus as the example of soul winning, the model to follow.  He is not the example of soul winning; He’s the soul winner who lives in your heart; He’s the soul winner who lives in my heart.  He wasn’t using psychology.  He was living in union with His Holy Father God.  That’s how He won soles.  Listen to verse 4, “He had to pass through Samaria,” that’s the New American, that He had to pass through.  King James says, “He must needs to pass through Samaria.”  Wuest says, “It was necessary in the nature of the case.”  Was it necessary? 

I’m going to ask you to glance at that map that I handed out.  Next week we’ll look a little deeper at the awful prejudice and rivalry between the Samaritans and the Jews, but for the orthodox Jew to go from Galilee to Judea, you could go straight through, Samaria is in the middle.  Because they were prejudice, notice the arrows around, they would cross the Jordan River twice, just to avoid going to Samaria.  They would cross the river, and it depended on if they were going north or south, they would cross the River Jordan, and then they would go down south and cross the river again to get either to Galilee or Judea, and avoid Samaria.  Especially, the orthodox did that.  Some people, because they were more liberal and it’s the shortest route, they would go right through. 

The One who lives in your heart, brothers and sisters in Christ, just like ministry is letting Him do the work, the Minister is the One who lives in your heart; you don’t know where the hungry are, and you don’t know where the thirsty are.  Why does it say that He must go through Samaria?  He must go through, because in eternity past God the Father had made an appointment with God the Son to meet that thirsty woman at the well at Samaria, and that’s why, in obedience, the One who lives in your heart was obedient to the Father, and He was just keeping the appointment that was everlastingly made to Him.  That’s not psychology; He’s just obeying His Father.  Jesus, because He lives in you, will find Nathaniel under the fig tree.  You won’t know; you’ll knock at a lot of doors trying to find Nathaniel, but he can take you right there to Nathaniel.  He knows where the Samaritan woman was.  How many trees would you have to visit before you found Zachaeus?  Jesus knows which tree Zachaeus is in.  He knows when the Eunuch’s chariot is going to go by, and He’ll send Philip down there to meet that Eunuch.  He knows where Cornelius is in Caesarea, and how to get Peter to go there.  You would never find that suffering demon in Gadara, but He lives in your heart and He’s moving and He’s living.  The Lord knows where the sinners are, and especially the ones that are hungry.  He knows the lame man in Bethsaida.  He knows the hungry, blind person in Jericho, and He lives in your heart.  This is not copying Jesus; He’s not our model; He’s our substitute.  He lives in our heart to do it again. 

In His first body in verse 6, “Jacob’s well was there, so Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well.”  His first body got weary, and it became redemptive.  He now has a new body—you and me, and sometimes He lets His body get weary because He’s going somewhere, and you don’t know who it is.  All you have to do is live in union with Him.  He didn’t sit by the well hoping for a chance to witness.  He didn’t send His disciples away so He could be alone and have a private conversation.  She didn’t come to the well to find Jesus.  He sat at the well because he was weary.  His disciples went to buy food, and that’s why they went.  She came to draw water, but did you notice, and we’ll point it out, how supernaturally natural everything was; it was just living.  There is a sweet naturalness when Jesus is allowed to be the missionary, the soul winner, the evangelist in your heart.  You  just live in union with Him.  Everything is redemptive.  Don’t be shocked if the soul winner in your heart lets His body become very weary.  That’s part of it; don’t try to copy Him.  He’s not your example; He’s your substitute.  He’s going to guide you to the thirsty. 

So, may I just suggest, just live.  If you have somewhere to go, go there.  If you’re tired, sit down and rest.  If He wants you to be by yourself with somebody, He’ll arrange it.  If He wants you to meet somebody, you’re going to meet them.  It’s amazing, and it takes the burden away, “I’m a soul winner, and I’ve got to go out and win my generation for Christ.  Let’s saturate the area with literature and invitations.”  No, just know Jesus; just abide with the Lord.  While you are living in the will of God, God is living in you engineering the path so that you will come in contact with those He wants you to come in contact.  You don’t need psychology and you don’t need to copy Jesus.  You just need to abide in Jesus, and just abide in the Lord. 

In John 1 John is the forerunner, in chapter three he’s the friend of the groom, and Lord willing, next week we’ll come back to this story and look at the precious conversation between our Lord Jesus and the woman.  Let’s pray together.

Father, thank You for making everything so simple.  Thank You for living in our heart.  Grace us to become Your friends, the friend of the groom, and help us to enable others to come into contact with You, into union with You.  Oh Lord, work these things for us and prepare our hearts for what You have yet to teach us.  We thank You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.