We are not startled to see the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and exalted. We acknowledge that the Lords rightful place is at the right hand of the Majesty on high. It is moving to see the Lord sitting "just as he was at the fountain" (v.6, JND). More surprising it is to find this incident (Jn 4.1-29) in the Gospel that establishes beyond doubt the deity of the Lord Jesus. There is no other like Him in the whole universe God and man, absolute in His deity and perfect in His humanity.
The Holy Spirit has left on record a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus and has highlighted many captivating facets of Him in His service. Here are qualities that all servants of Christ should emulate!
The circumspection He showed
The Lord Jesus did not seek the praise of men, nor was He at all interested to see His Name in large print in the equivalent of the Jerusalem Gazette. He was no braggart. Prophecy declared: "He shall nor strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets" (Mt 12.19). The opening verses of John 4 indicate that in the Lords life there was an absence of:
The Lord Jesus performed miracles and signs. In fact, this very same Gospel declares that there were "many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one the world itself would not contain the books that should be written" (Jn 21.25). The Son of God did not "advertise" Himself.
The Lord was not competing with the Pharisees, with John, nor with His own disciples. He had more followers than John, but He left the act of performing baptism to His disciples. Robert Morrison of China wrote: "The great fault, I think, in our mission is that no one likes to be second". Commenting on this, J. Oswald Sanders said: "The world has yet to see what could happen if everyone lost the desire to get the glory. Wouldnt it be a marvellous place if nobody cared who got the credit?".
The control He displayed
"He must needs go through Samaria" (v.4). All the Lords movements were controlled by the Spirit of God. The Jews avoided passing through Samaritan territory even when this meant a considerable detour and adding many miles to their journey. The Lord Jesus took this shortcut. He did so, not because the wanted to spare Himself, but because He wanted to save a poor sinful woman. If the Lord had not been under the absolute control of the Spirit, a needy soul would have been left in sins darkness, dominion, and doom. We must be more sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God.
The circumstances He endured
Jesus being wearied with his journey (v.6). God never becomes weary or tired, never needs rest or sleep to recover His strength (Is 40.28). This story shows how real the Lords humanity was, for He felt tired (v.6), thirsty (v.7), and hungry (vv.8,31). The Lord was fatigued, faint, weary, and worn out with his journey, but he knew He was to meet a woman who was "labouring", "weary" (Mt 11.28) under the load of her sin and past life.
When the woman looked at the Lord she saw a tired Jewish traveller, but before she left for the city she discovered that He was the eternal God, able to satisfy her deepest longings and forgive her worst sin. In her own words, she came to draw from a cistern (v.11), but the Lord gave her a drink from His spring (v.14).
The disciples had the joy of reaping where they had not laboured to the point of being weary. Do we work to the point of exhaustion for the Lord? I can well recollect a member of the local assembly repeating time and again that the Lord Jesus was often weary in the work of the Lord but never weary of the work of the Lord.
The compassion He revealed
There cometh a woman (v.7). At the beginning, the woman looked at the Lord and saw a man, a tired man, a Jew, and nothing more. The Lord looked at her and, despite all her protests, profession, and pious talk, He saw her as a poor sinner, a thirsty soul, and a future witness. He condemned her sin but loved her soul. So, today, we must condemn sin in all its hideousness, as an offence against God. Society may condone sin, but we must condemn it. The world around us becomes more secular and sinful, promiscuous and permissive, but we must stand true and preach the necessity of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. At the same time we must love people with the love of the Lord Jesus and seek to rescue them.
The cost He bore
Give me to drink (v.7). With these words the Lord instigated the conversation. It is impossible to evaluate the sacrifices that the Lord made in order to reach this needy soul. He sacrificed His rest and also His repast to touch the womans life and teach the disciples valuable lessons about sowing and reaping. The sacrifice that He made to reach us in our misery was even greater. This must produce true worship; worship in spirit and in truth.
Calvary! O Calvary!
Mercys vast unfathomed sea,
Love, eternal love to me:
Saviour, we adore Thee!
- S. T. Francis
The Lords sacrifice inspired the woman to make a sacrifice. Did He give up His moment of relaxation and meal for her? Then she would leave her water pot for Him. On one occasion David Livingstone was heard to say: "People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own rewards of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with such a word and such a thought!"
The call He made
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? (v.35). His discourse on sowing and reaping highlights several important facts.
Yes, there is a difference between sowing and reaping, but both are necessary. No Christian possesses every spiritual gift. No Christian is without a spiritual gift. No Christian should neglect the use of the spiritual gift God has given him or her.
Without the sower no harvest will be possible. Without the reaper, the harvest will be lost. Cooperation in the work of the Lord is essential.
No jealousy, no inferiority complex should exist between Christians at work. The work of the sower and the reaper are distinct, but both have one object in mind - the harvest - and therein lies the joy of both.
The sower might think that his or her work is more difficult that that of the reaper, but God is not unjust, and He will reward both according to each persons input.
How we need to hear the words of the Master: "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (v.35). It is possible to have ears and not hear, eyes and not see, hands and not work, feet and not go, mouth and not speak.
In one of Lloyd Corys books this comment is to be found: "The evangelistic harvest is always urgent. The destiny of men and of nations is always being decided. Every generation is strategic. We are not responsible for the past generation, and we cannot bear the full responsibility for the next one; but we do have our generation. God will hold us responsible as to how well we fulfil our responsibilities to this age and take advantage of our opportunities".