One of the greatest Christian minds in history was a 17th century thinker named Blaise Pascal. Referring to the spiritual condition of mankind he famously said, “There is a God–shaped vacuum in the heart of each man, which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
About 2,500 years earlier, King Solomon echoed the same concept in Ecc. 3:11 when he says that God “has put eternity into man’s heart”. In other words, though His image in us is marred by sin, ultimately within every human soul we have an awareness that there is something more than what this world offers.
And as a result, when we are separated from God our sin-sick, rebellious hearts are constantly, even desperately running after things to fill the place reserved in our hearts exclusively for our Creator.
We can all testify to it. We’re experts at building altars to false gods. We are a society plagued by emptiness. Haunted by the fear of being alone. Ravaged by restlessness, and surrounded by an entire culture worshipping the false gods of money, pleasure, recognition, and materialism. The God shaped void is on full and brutal display right here in St. Petersburg, Florida
In light of this, I want to submit 4 biblical principles found in the story of the Woman at the Well that show us the way out of this endless cycle of emptiness. Please turn with me to John chapter 4.
1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour (noon).
o We know that the quickest route from Judea to Galilee was directly
through Samaria… o but pious Jews avoided Samaria like the plague. They would not step foot in Samaria, instead they would travel all the way around it in order to get to Galilee… o the reason is that they despised the Samaritans. The Samaritans were
racially and religiously mixed, the result of Assyrian captivity and inter-marrying between Jews and pagans. They had a hybrid racial identity and a hybrid faith. They were considered impure on several counts by the Jewish people. Yet…
4 he had to pass through Samaria. Jesus intentionally confronted and overcame years of racial hostility and prejudice in this one simple act.
o None of this was accidental, it was all in the plan of God. o Jesus had a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman. o He chose to go through Samaria. He pursued the Samaritan
women at the well knowing that… o eventually a great revival would break out in Samaria, which no
doubt finds its beginnings in this divine encounter. o He had to go through Samaria, not because it was quicker, but
because there was a people who would need the Gospel
This leads to our first principle to remember when you are overwhelmed by spiritual emptiness, that God is in pursuit of you.
o Luke 19: 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
o Matt. 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and
one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
o Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in
the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” **He knew where Adam was…he is establishing the fact
that he would pursue fallen mankind, and has been doing so every since.
We think we’re hiding, but He sees us. He chases us. He brought us here this morning. He brings others into our lives. Think of your own experience. Everywhere we turn, there He is. There may be some He’s been pursuing for years. Reckless Love Lyrics
There’s no shadow You won’t light up Mountain You won’t climb up Coming after me There’s no wall You won’t kick down Lie You won’t tear down Coming after me
And little does this heartbroken, used and abused Samaritan woman know, that Jesus, the mender of broken hearts is coming after her.
Let’s continue… 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, 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.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
Look at the details…it’s interesting to note… 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water:
o She came at noon, which was uncommon. Typically, women came in the morning when it was cooler in order to socialize and interact at the well. But not this woman…
o she was alone, probably a social outcast, living a life of quiet
Yet, Jesus said to her…
o It was very unusual for any Jewish person of that time to ask a favor
from a Samaritan. They would never even think of it… o not to mention, by tradition, a rabbi would not speak with a woman in public, not even with his own wife, but Jesus doesn’t care about the social taboos of the day.
8 The disciples had gone away into the city.
o Sometimes He comes to us in a crowd, sometimes he comes to you
when you are all alone
9 shows us her response. “How is it that you speak to me?” She is surprised that Jesus was speaking to her.
o Do you expect Him to speak? Are you surprised when He does?
You’re not alone. o Some feel like He’s hiding… o Some feel forgotten… o Some feel like He’s no longer speaking…
But the word of God became flesh and dwelt among us, which brings us to Principle # 2… Not only does God pursue us, but He actually initiates the relationship. Even when you are all alone, cast aside by others, God speaks, He constantly is inviting us into fellowship.
o Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
o John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we
have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
o John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all
people to myself.
Michael Card, Final Word Lyrics He spoke the incarnation, and then so was born a Son. His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one. Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine. And so was born a baby who would die to make it mine.
It is through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that God has spoken to us, inviting us to repent of our sins, turn by faith to Him, and trust in the finished work Jesus to save us. God is calling.
Let’s continue… 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Isn’t is amazing that…
o Jesus is not surprised or intimidated by her sin. o After 5 failed marriages, the women had given up. She’s living with a
man she’s not married to… o but despite this, Jesus identifies the real need with the woman at the
well, and it was not a relationship with a man, but a relationship with the living God. Her real need was an unsatisfied spiritual thirst
This leads to our third principal in ending the cycle of emptiness—not only does God pursue us and initiate relationship with us, but God knows that we are born with a thirst that only He can satisfy. Thirst is a powerful thing.
In the article: What it’s like to die of thirst Jeffrey Berns, president of National Kidney Foundation, Prof. U Penn “Thirst, as you probably know, is one of the most potent drives for behavior we have. It may be the most potent we have, more than even hunger. Thirsty people are going to be miserable.”
If you’re dying of thirst you become desperate. You may drink anything to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Even if in the long term, it poisons your body or just prolongs your agony. Why? Because thirst can be absolutely consuming.
13 Jesus uses physical thirst to illustrate our lack of spiritual fulfillment when he says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again
This was the situation with the Samaritan woman at the well. Five husbands. Living with a man now. It was almost impossible in this culture for a woman to get a divorce, so she was probably possessed and passed around by various men. At some point she may have been a young widow. She is a social outcast. Rejected by her community. Tired and jaded by life’s experiences. Emotionally exhausted. Absolutely alone and dying of a seemingly unquenchable spiritual thirst… that is until she ran into this stranger at the well.
20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
It’s interesting that after all of the discussion on emptiness and thirst, we turn to the topic of worship. It may look totally unrelated, but it actually has everything to do with breaking the cycle of emptiness.
Let me begin with a simple question. Who or what do you worship?
In the original, the word Worship means to kiss the hand, to kneel before or prostrate, to show profound reverence or to place the greatest worth on something. It is an attitude of the heart.
What’s the thing or person you just couldn’t live without? What defines you?
Is it your job? Your house? Your retirement account? How about your spouse? Child? Our social status? Your friends?
All of those things are fine in their proper place, but if the answer is anything other than Jesus, then you are attempting to fill the void in your heart with something that will never truly satisfy.
And so here is the fourth and final principle that leads to ending the cycle of emptiness in your life …. We must come to embrace the truth that Only God Can Truly Satisfy Our Need Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
o Ecclesiastes 1:2, “’Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher, ‘vanity of
vanities, all is vanity’”. (vapor, empty) o Ecclesiastes 2:11, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” o Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember your Creator in the days of your
youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.'”
o Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion
of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Philippians 4: 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Jesus is our everything! So, in summary, if you are empty this morning, thirsting for more, remember that God is in pursuit of you and that He has initiated the relationship He desires for you to have with Him by sending His son Jesus. Know that He is aware that you are thirsty, and that the only true way to satisfy that thirst is to forsake your idols and run into the arms of the Savior.
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.