PDF File Download [icon_link style=”download” color=”blue” href=”http://enbbs.goodnews.or.kr/bbs/download_onlist.php?bo_table=latimes&wr_id=44&no=2″][/icon_link]
“When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)” (John 4:1~8)
I received salvation in 1962. Till then, I thought I had lived my spiri-tual life well. But at that time, I had failed in everything, had no hope, and my spiritual life was a complete mess. I broke the law, committed many sins, did many evil things . . . , I speak about my life before salvation to explain salvation, but my life then was so bad that even thinking of it makes me feel dark and fru-strated. At that time, if I were asked who the most miserable person in this world was, I would answer that it was me. If I were asked who the most deceitful and dirty man was, I would answer that it was me. This was the amount of pain I was in. When I look back and think about this, I feel that it was Jesus who had compassion on me.
When I look closely in the Scrip-tures at the people who receive the grace of God, it is not that they are blessed because they did well, did something compliment-worthy, were loyal, or gave much offering. I could strongly feel in my heart that they received grace because God had compassion on them.
Recently, I spoke about the man who fell among thieves in Luke chapter 10 during the Sunday ser-vice of my church. I saw how similar I was to that man who fell among thieves, and I felt that I resembled him so much. The story of the man who fell among thieves begins, “A certain man went down from Jeru-salem to Jericho, and fell among thieves.” Jericho is a city of pleasure. It is the world as it is. I went to Jeri-cho a few years ago and there were many coconut trees and date palms, and the city was very luxuriant and exuberant. Everyone, you know very well that Rahab was the harlot of Jericho, right? Jericho from long ago was an elaborate city of pleas-ure, of lust and riotousness.
A man went down from Jerusa-lem to Jericho. This means leaving God to follow the pleasures of the world, flowing after his ambitions. He met thieves on his way, and the thieves stripped him and left him half dead. This man who fell among thieves had no hope. But a priest happened to pass that way and saw him, but passed him by. A Levite also just passed him by and now he could only remain and die. But the great thing about the Scriptures is, at the end it says, But a certain Sa-maritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.
People follow their own thoughts and think that they have to be good; be loyal, in order to re-ceive salvation. There are many peo-ple who think that they receive sal-vation as an award for keeping the Ten Commandments, giving offer-ing, and praying well. But the rea-son we gain salvation is because we have no methods and no ways. It means that we are saved because God has compassion, sympathy, and mercy for us. It says that the Samari-tan saw the man who fell among thieves and had compassion on him. It means that the Samaritan had a burning heart to show mercy to the man.
In the story of the prodigal son, when the son returns to the father who had been waiting for him, it says, “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion.” The father’s heart of compassion had him run to the son, had him fall on the son’s neck, and had him kiss his son. That heart continued to work in the father and he says, “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand. Put shoes on his feet.” This is how the story goes.
This is also true with the woman taken in adultery in John chapter 8. She committed adultery and is be-ing dragged to be stoned to death. When other people consider her as just some woman they would think, “Hey, that woman! I knew she’d do this. She was always too flirty. Hey, now she’s gonna die.” But in the eyes of God who made man and who loved man, He has the heart to truly have compassion concerning this woman being stoned to death. Therefore we see the Lord meeting this woman, bestowing grace on her, and taking care of every prob-lem. This story is so beautiful, pre-cious, and lovely.
The Samaritan had compassion on the man who fell among thieves, the father had compassion on the prodigal son, and Jesus had compas-sion on the woman taken in adul-tery.
He Must Needs Go Through Samaria
In the story of the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4, we can see that this woman is thirsting for something. We can see the heart of this woman through these Scrip-tures that her soul is so desperate and nothing was able to help her, and she remained thirsty and hun-gry. This woman went through five husbands. “If I live with this man, I will be happy. I will be satisfied. I will be joyful.” Saying so, she would place her hopes on a certain man and marry him. She did this several times. She had her hopes one by one all the way through the sixth husband, but there was no one who could be her true husband. The men would live with her only because she would satisfy their ambitions and she would make them comfort-able. They did not fill her empty heart nor love her. Hence this wom-an suffered in terrible thirst.
The woman went to the well to draw water. The flesh can be satis-fied through drinking the water drawn from a well, but the Lord is showing the tormented heart of this woman whose thirst of the soul could not be quenched.
He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (John 4:3-5)
It talks about Jesus seeking the woman and meeting her. Jesus leaves Judea and goes to Galilee, and when we read the Scriptures closely, we can know that Jesus did not go to Galilee because He had to do something there but He went there to meet this woman. If He had gone there because He had to do something, He would quickly pass through the city of Sychar. But we can know that He had compassion on this woman and purposely went there to see her, seeing that He re-mained two more days. Like a per-son suffering from hunger in the fields, this woman’s soul was so hungry and thirsty she could not bear it.
Jesus waited for the woman to come at the well so He may meet her. If the disciples were around, it would make it difficult for the woman to speak freely so He sent them to buy food. He then created an opportunity to be alone to meet this woman.
Jesus asked for water from the woman who came to draw water from the well. The woman spoke. “How is that you, a Jew, ask for wa-ter from me, who is a Samaritan?”
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked of him and he would have given you living wa-ter.”
“Living water? What does that mean? Sir, this well is deep and you don’t have anything to draw with. You cannot draw the water yourself and are asking me for water. How can you then have living water that you will give to me?”
The woman’s heart succumbed to the words of Jesus. She asked be-cause she was curious about the liv-ing water. Jesus knew that this woman was thirsty and gave the liv-ing water to her heart that would forever quench her thirst. Then her soul was satisfied, rejoiced, and she threw away the water pot to go into the village to boast and shout of the living water.
The People Who Receive Grace in the Bible
When many people do not know the Bible deeply, they understand the Bible backwards with their logic of the world. There are many who think that if they do good things, God will bless them and accept them into heaven. There are too many people who think that their spiritual lives are not well because they are not diligent enough, not faithful enough, and not loyal enough. Most people, to do spiri-tual life well, have the heart to be loyal, give offerings, keep the law, and have compassion on others.
But when we open and read the Bible, there is no story of anyone re-ceiving grace before Jesus through doing well and being loyal. Zac-chaeus the publican, the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years, the man with the infirmity for 38 years, the man who fell among thieves, the thief on the cross, the woman taken in adultery, the Sa-maritan woman . . . , When we read these stories, what they have in common is that they did not receive grace because they did well. How did they receive grace? Jesus had compassion, mercy, and sympathy that they received grace. It was that He wanted to bestow mercy and grace upon them.
But people think completely op-posite of this. They think that they have no faith because they cannot do well. When some people are asked to believe Jesus, they answer, “Wait a little. When my son gets married, I’ll leave all my life and zealously believe God.” When the circumstances become good, when they make a lot of money, when they live well, then they think that they can work hard for God and be-come people who live spiritual lives well. But that is not what the Bible says. The people who received the grace of Jesus and the blessings of Jesus did not do so because they did well in the Bible. They had no way and no hope. Then Jesus had com-passion on them and bestowed grace and mercy upon them. The paralytic, how was he healed? It was all through the grace of the Lord. The Lord had compassion on them all and visited them.
The Soul’s Thirst
The Samaritan woman was truly thirsty.
“What is wrong with me? Why am I so thirsty? Why do I have all this emptiness? Why can’t I be hap-py no matter how hard I try?”
Even in her own eyes she seemed so sad and pitiful. She had no hope at all. She put all hope and expecta-tions on her new husband, but that husband was the same as all her previous ones. She would divorce again and had hope in another man. “This man is different. I think he will understand me. He will make me happy. He will fill my heart. He will give me joy!” But still, it was all the same. This happened once, twice, three times, four times, five times.
Even among pastors who witness the gospel there are times they fall into difficulty, quit preaching the gospel, and go to the world to find jobs. What such people have in common is that in the beginning, when living was difficult, they work zealously to eat and to live. But as six months pass, as one year passes, their lives become somewhat com-fortable. When they can eat, al-though not well off, but not poor enough to starve, emptiness then comes upon them. “Am I living to be this way?” Before, they thought they would be at peace and live fine only if they could eat well. But un-speakable emptiness comes upon them. I can see them then falling into pain and crying.
The eunuch of Ethiopia of Acts, he had the position people desired, had money, had respect, and had authority. What do people desire for the most part? Isn’t it position, authority, money, respect? The eu-nuch of Ethiopia had all these. But why did he one day come on a cha-riot to Jerusalem from Ethiopia? He was thirsty. The thirst that the Sa-maritan woman felt was also felt by the eunuch of Ethiopia.
In the Bible, there is the queen of Sheba. She, too, had high position, authority, and honor. But she also came the long distance from Ethio-pia to Israel. Back then they did not have airplanes or well-made roads. But she came on a chariot to see So-lomon and spoke of the thirst in her soul.
When a person has fallen into something, he can forget his thirst. When one says, “I need to gain honor. I need to gain money. I need to gain status. I need to gain a pret-ty wife,” and like crazy pursuing something, he cannot feel the thirst for he is following that one thing. Then when he returns to his mind, he feels the thirst of the soul, the emptiness of the spirit. It is this way until he meets Jesus and gains the true life.
Our Lives Which Cannot Gain Satisfaction
It was not that the Samaritan woman did not have a husband, was hungry, or was without clothes and was naked. But she was hungry.
There is one college professor I know well. He studied through many difficulties. He suffered through terrible poverty, and stud-ied through these circumstances to become a college professor. Then he married a woman from a rich family. Because he was a professor, he was always at the laboratory reading books, researching with his disciples, and that is what he en-joyed doing. But since he was al-ways at the school with his disciples, the wife was always home alone vainly looking to the ceiling. “What is this?” The wife became more and more frustrated. What does the husband then say?
“Honey, what’s wrong? We have money, we have clothes, we have a car. Go to the markets. Don’t you see the ladies with the little stashes of vegetables, shivering in the cold all day long trying to sell them? Honey, what do we lack that you are acting this way?”
The wife became angry.
“I’d rather have no money and go sell vegetables!”
The husband studied through difficulties and was satisfied to be able to eat, to be able to wear clothes, to be able to live in a nice home, and to be able to own and drive a car. But the wife could never be satisfied with this. Therefore they did not get along and they fought. One day, the husband came to see me.
“Pastor, my wife took the sofa out to the garden at eleven o’clock at night and set it on fire. The neighbors saw the flames flaring in the middle of the night and ran over, and she told them, ‘I’m burn-ing my things. Mind your own busi-ness!'”
Upon that professor’s request, I went to their home and spoke with that couple.
When people go crazy, it is okay when they are going crazy to make money to become free from hun-ger, or become crazy to achieve something, but when they return to their right mind, they are not satis-fied with living in a nice home. They are not satisfied with good cars. They may be satisfied with the first or second concert, but if they keep going, that cannot satisfy them as well.
The person who cannot be satis-fied with anything has the hunger of the heart. People who know this realize how pitiful they are. When they do not know, they simply think, “I drive a nice car, I live in a nice apartment,” and are satisfied. They are satisfied with having reared their children well and with having a good position, but as they continue living, those things cannot bring satisfaction to them.
Why Did Jesus Go to the City of Sychar?
Jesus purposely went to the city of Sychar to find the Samaritan woman. Why did He do this? Was it because this woman was great? Was it because this woman was smart? Was it because this woman was wise? Not so. He went to see her because the Lord had seen that she was thirsty and hungry, and He had compassion on her. Loving folks, I do not know what you will think if I say this, but do not ever try to do well yourself to meet God. No matter how well you do, you can-not reach the standard of God, and you cannot meet God with your good deeds. What must we do to meet God? We can meet God through Him having compassion on us. As we live in Satan’s shackles through sin in this dark world, and as we precisely realize our image, saying, “God, unless you bestow your grace I can only be cursed,” right then God has compassion on us and meets us. When we meet God and when God takes care of all of our problems, I believe we can live the safest and the most blessed life.