Monthly Archives: March 2022

Give me a drink, continued

See part one here:

As the woman recovers from her astonishment that a Jewish Rabbi is speaking to her at all, Jesus answers her.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is speaking to you, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

She misunderstands him, and apparently thinks he is talking about the spring that is flowing at the very bottom of the well. It would be the freshest, coolest water. But Jesus doesn’t have a rope or a bucket. How will he get to that water?

But Jesus has water that is even greater than that. It is water that satisfies our deepest longings. He intends to draw us back into fellowship with God.

We look to Jesus to fix things for us. We want him to give us things that will solve our earthly problems. We want to be free from anxiety, from care, from trouble, from trials, from death…

And eventually, Jesus will give us all of that and more. But he has an even greater plan. He seeks to solve the original problem that is the core of everything else.

We want the Great Physician to fix the headache and the fever. And he will eventually. But first, the cancer must be removed.

We are in a cursed world because we are unclean. We are unclean because of our sins and because we are in a cursed world. We are miserable, because we were created as image-bearers of God, dwelling with him in eternity, and we are cast out of his presence.

God is holy. Man is sinful. We have a far greater problem than we can possibly imagine.

Jesus came to call his sheep, to gather them into his fold. He came to clean them, to lead them, to feed them, to take away their sins, to call them his own.

So he tells her to ask for living water, and she asks.

She genuinely desires it. She thinks that it would be great if she didn’t have to come to the well every day to get water…

So she asks. And Jesus wasn’t tricking her. He is going to give her exactly what she is asking for.

Jesus is lifting her thoughts higher. But first, a common hindrance must be removed.

And there are two things getting in our way of receiving the living water, depending on what kind of people we are. If things have gone relatively well for us – if we have money and health and reputation and a large, well-behaved family – we tend to settle too easily.

This is pride. We won’t allow anyone to shake us out of our complacency, even if it is to give us the Pearl of Great Price.

The other hindrance is the one that is common among those who are the outcasts, the losers, the people just like this woman. These are the normal people, with their normal anxieties and their normal fears.

And the biggest fear is this – if people found out who I really was, they would want nothing to do with me. If people knew what things were like in my house, if people knew what horrible things I’ve done, if people knew that I’m a fraud, if people knew the things that go through my head, if people knew my sins and my struggles and my shame, they would throw me out and never let me back in.

So you hold people at an arm’s distance. You keep yourself to yourself. You might be social, but there is a part of you that no one gets to see.

And the thought of Jesus inviting you into fellowship is terrifying. What if he finds out who I am?

THIS is what Jesus is giving this woman. He isn’t shaming her. He is saying, “I know who you are. I know your living situation. I know what you’ve been through. I know what your home life is like right now. I know all of your sins, even your most shameful.

“And I still asked you to give me a drink. I still want you in my family. I still want to give you living water.”

So he says, “Go get your husband…”

And he puts his finger right on her thirst.

Its funny how we read current cultural battles into the text. We blame feminism for high divorce rates (rather than abusive men) so we read that into this text as well.

We think that Jesus is confronting a fornicator, when there is no such thing in this text. But she is a divorcee! That is just a step above a prostitute, isn’t it?? But in that day, women didn’t divorce husbands. Husbands divorced them. A husband could throw his wife out for any reason whatsoever. And she had been cast out 5 times.

And now, she has given up and is simply living with a man. She still needs shelter. She still needs to eat.

And she is living with the shame in front of the whole community. She’s “that woman.”

But to Jesus she is “my sister, my spouse, my bride. The one I came to seek and save.”

Jesus is pulling back the curtain. He is doing the same thing he did in Eden when he said, “Adam, where are you? I want to cleanse you. I want to clothe you. But first, you must come out.

“You must first realize that I already know exactly what you did, I know exactly what your most shameful secret is. I already know your home situation. I already know who you are.

“In fact, I am going to take all of it on myself. I will take your shame on myself when I am lifted up naked in front of the world. I will be outcast and driven outside the city and take that from you. And I will take your sin and your misery and your death sentence upon myself – so that you can enter into Eternal Life.”

But again – I’m getting ahead of myself.

Because Jesus is God and his words carry power, the woman does NOT change the subject. She gets the subject. Jesus is talking about fellowship with God, which is what worship is. We get pictures of that on this earth.

So it reminds her of a long dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans. “Since you are talking about cleanliness, can you tell me where I can meet with God? The Jews say Jerusalem. But we have always worshiped here.”

When Jesus begins to gather his sheep together, he awakens in them the longing for worship. Where do I go? How do I act? I understand that you are desiring to gather me into your fold, but how, exactly, do we go about doing that?

The pictures and shadows are beginning to fade away. Jesus told her that in this particular debate, the Jews were right. Jerusalem and the worship there was the only proper form of worship.

But soon all of that would change. Soon, it wouldn’t be Jerusalem OR Gerizim.

God is not satisfied with empty rituals. He doesn’t want our sheep and our goats and our feast days and proper sabbath observance. He wants US.

This doesn’t mean that the rituals are not important. It is important to know what you are worshiping.

But if you just stop there, you have missed the whole point (Isaiah 1).

God wants YOU. He is gathering his sheep together.

He is calling us to put off our pride and our silly little dignities that we like to carry around.

He is calling us also to fully understand that he knows us inside and out, up and down, every word that has come or WILL come off of our tongue.

He knows what men have done to you. He knows what shame you are carrying around. He knows the sins that you are carrying around.

He knows your frailty and your weakness. He knows your greatest fear and your greatest longing.

He knows what you would do if you had the opportunity. He knows what you would do if you never got caught.

He hears the prayers under the fig tree when you don’t even know what to say.

And he STILL says, “Give me a drink.”

YES, he can get it himself. But he wants YOU, his bride, to take your part because you have dignity and worth. Just like Adam named the animals, and displayed his image-bearing, so also this woman is called to take part displaying her image-bearing. So just as Jesus asked for a drink, so now she gives that “drink” to her whole community – she brings them all to Jesus.

Bring the hope and the light and the joy of being forgiven, loved and accepted to the world. Take that water and pass it around.

Drink deeply of the Spirit and let that life flow all around you. LIVE!

It isn’t because he needs you. He is almighty God, and He upholds everything with his power. He doesn’t need his creatures.

But he loves you and you were created to bear his image. Give me a drink – because regardless of who you are and what you have done, you are still an image-bearer of God.

And he will wash you, purify you, take away your sins, clothe you with his perfect righteousness, and bring you into his family. He is preparing a place just for you.

And so you have dignity and worth. You aren’t what everyone says about you. Look deeper. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Take that water that he gives you and tell all of your neighbors about it.

This is a little bit different than Jesus simply shaming her for being a sinner and then allowing her to change the subject, isn’t is?


Filed under Gospel

Give me a drink

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw water.”

16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said to Him, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this which you have said is true.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and yet you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one must worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Believe Me, woman, that time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But aa time is coming, and even now has arrived, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:15-24)

I have preached on this passage several times before, but I thought that it might be helpful to put my thoughts down in writing. There are plenty of misunderstandings on this passage, most of them seem to center around our own biases and culture wars, rather than a sober analysis of the words.

It seems to always be a trend. Some guy on Social Media will say something cruel and heartless. Maybe dismiss someone because they are gay, or trans, or divorced, or otherwise not worth our honor and respect as human beings. When someone calls them on it, they contend that by pointing out everyone’s sins they are simply doing what Jesus did. And then they quote this passage. The assumption is that Jesus confronted this woman about her sin of fornication and she tried to change the subject. But is this truly what is happening here?

Jesus is traveling through Samaria. Samaria is in the ancient territory of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. For centuries, the citizens of Israel (NOT Judah, that was the Southern Kingdom) had refused to go to Solomon’s temple to worship. Instead, they built altars and idols at the cities of Dan in the north and Bethel in the south. Eventually, after centuries of warning, God cast them off. The inhabitants had all been taken captive by the Assyrians and scattered, except for a few of the poor that were left. Eventually, the few poor that remained intermarried with Gentiles from all the surrounding kingdoms and adopted those religions on top of the religion of Dan and Bethel (2 Kings 17).

You really can’t understand what is happening in John 4 without some knowledge of these events. If you haven’t read First and Second Chronicles in a while, a brush-up might be in order.

It was THESE people that this woman descended from. The ancient nation of Judah – now known as “Jews” – still despised them. They rejected the proper form of worship. They rejected God’s king. They intermarried with pagans. They didn’t know the law. They were sinners.

This woman has three strikes against her in the mind of a Jew. She was a Samaritan. She was a woman. She was a sinner.

But Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. So he is traveling through Samaria.

He sits down at the well and waits. Soon, the woman comes. She is apparently an outcast even in her own city, for she comes alone.

And then she sees Jesus, dressed in the traditional garb of a Jew and a Rabbi. You can just hear her thought process:

“Oh great.  A Jew. Like I need this today. The toilet backs up,  the goats are breaking through the fence, the kids are totally hyped up and all I need is a little peace and quiet for a minute. And now I have to deal with a Jew!”

A Jew sitting at the well would normally give her a look of absolute contempt and then move away from her. Perhaps you are familiar with that look. Maybe you know what it is to be viewed as something filthy on the bottom of the shoe of life.

This is what she is expecting. She sighs. She has work to do, so might as well get on with it.

And then – something astounding.

“Please give me a drink”.

She might have dropped her pitcher at that one.

He is speaking to her. TO HER! Jews don’t speak to Samaritans and Rabbis don’t speak to women. But he is speaking to her??

After gathering her wits together, it hits her that he has also asked her for something. Wait…I have something this guy wants? I have something of value to offer? Holy Mackerel. What is going on here?

And then it occurs to her that what he is asking her for is something that will require him to put his mouth on something that belongs to her. If she gives him a drink, he would have to drink it out of her bucket. Woah.

The Jews’ rituals of cleanliness were like childhood cooties on steroids. The revulsion that any Jew would have at drinking out of a woman’s pitcher would have been staggering. Much less a Samaritan. Much much less a sinner!

I remember as a child my brothers passing my comb around by the tips of their fingers as if it were the dirtiest thing they had ever seen. It still shames me.

And this woman has been dealing with far, far worse shame her whole life. Can you imagine someone refusing to touch you or even something you touched because the thought of your uncleanness makes them retch?

And here is this Jewish Rabbi saying “Give me a drink”.

What is going on here?

She stammers – how?

What…? Um…

OK – You are a Jew. I’m a Samaritan. Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.

What is going on here…

Jesus, with one request, has opened up the greatest need and longing of the human heart. Fellowship with God.

This is the problem of mankind. We have been cast out of Eden, unclean, sinners, under God’s wrath and curse.

But God has determined to save a people for himself – to be their God and we will be his people.

Every law and every statute about cleanness and uncleanness pointed to this one thing – God is calling us back to himself, but in order to do so, he must clean us.

The Temple of God, which was at the heart of the debate between Jews and Samaritans, was a picture of God dwelling with his people, just like he did in Eden.

All of the rituals and sacrifices and ceremonies of the law pointed to Jesus who would cleanse us from all sin and uncleanness and defilement so that we might be taken into the embrace of the Father Himself, which is the longing of every human heart.

Another way to describe this longing is to use the word “thirst”. What are we thirsty for?

“As the deer pants after the water-brooks, so my soul pants for YOU, O my God” (Psalm 42).

But the curse that is on us is such that we always seek to quench our thirst with anything BUT fellowship with God. We are prone to hate him and hate our neighbor, and yet the thirst remains. We refuse to see how defiled we are in the sight of perfect holiness, perfect righteousness, perfect purity – so we will not come for dress, for cleansing, for purity.

Instead, we would rather fashion our own aprons out of fig leaves and hide behind the bushes of our own making.

We might be outcast and alone, but at least we did it our way.

So we seek to quench that thirst with money, respect, honor, work, good works, religious rituals, reputation. Or with less dignified idols – drugs, alcohol, sex, putting people in their place, gossip, slander, reviling, violence, abuse…

All of it to satisfy our deep longings for fellowship with God but twisted into an evil thing.

And because God loved the world, and because he desires to enter into fellowship with his fallen and filthy creatures, he sent his only begotten son into the world that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

So Jesus is on a mission. He must go through Samaria, because he has a sheep there that needs to be introduced to her true thirst. The one who can’t fellowship with God because she is unclean, and so she needs a savior.

Jesus opens the conversation by talking about cleanliness.

“Give me a drink.”

And she understands – You think everything about me is unclean. You think that even touching my bucket will make YOU unclean. You think having a conversation with me makes you unclean.

What is going on here?

What is going on is this: Jesus is about to make you clean and give you your hearts desire…

More next time….See part two here:


Filed under Gospel

Why do I do it?

There are two distinct religions in the country. Both go under the name of Christianity. Both claim to follow Jesus. Both understand the importance of living a righteous life.

But they are two entirely different religions.

One can be summarized by the phrase, “Do these things, and you will live.”

Get married. Obey your husband. Control your wife. Discipline your kids. Homeschool them. Move to a homestead and grow your own food. Learn to shoot a gun and do self-defense. Get proper exercise. Eat right. Make the right choices. Vote the right way. Go to the right church. Attend the right conferences. Be manly men and feminine women. Become the best complementarian the world has ever seen. Go on pilgrimages to all the holy sites – Focus on the Family. The Giant Ark.  Chick Fil-a. Search the scripture and find the formula. Apply it, and your life will be orderly, happy and blessed. You will live.

But things don’t always go to plan. Your husband turns out to be abusive. Your kids rebel and dye their hair green. You get sick anyway. Your body grows weaker by the day. You struggle with chronic pain. Your marriage falls apart. Your kids turn out differently than you expect. Violence still finds you and you are attacked by someone stronger than you are and there is nothing you can do about it. No matter how often you say, “I’m not a victim” you suddenly are a victim.

And you say to yourself: I did everything right, and God didn’t keep up his end.

And so perhaps you try different things.

Leave your husband. Leave your wife. Dye your hair blue with your kids. Exercise harder. Buy a bigger gun. Vote for the other guy this time. Go to another church. Choose different conferences. Quit listening to what others say and do your own thing. Send the kids to another school. Eat at Burger King because quite frankly they taste better than Chick Fil-a.

And you still feel empty inside. Abandoned by God. Lonely.

And worse than all, the same sins that you always struggled with are all still there.

I “did this” and I “didn’t live”. Death is still king. Chaos, war, illness, pain, suffering are all still with me.

So now you turn on the sinners. It has to be their fault you are losing the war. Attack the gay guys next door. Launch campaigns against the LGBTQ agenda. They are destroying the country, you know.

Those effeminate preachers who wear pink and refuse to get their women in line are destroying all of us. The feminist agenda will destroy the church. Preachers who speak to sinners. Guys who listen to women. Same sex attracted people coming to church. Black people getting uppity and not wanting to be shot by the police anymore…They’ll destroy us all.

And you look fondly back to the days when America was great. People knew their place. Men were men and women were women and we were God’s country…

(at least, if you were white, middle class, male and had the right haircut, didn’t grow a beard, like good Christians…now I guess the beard is the mark of righteousness…It’s hard to keep up).

And the result of this religion was death. It always was. And it still is. The legacy of this false religion is the wreckage of innocent lives, abuse, incest, destructive addictions, women and children crushed underfoot, “beta males” incessantly mocked and ridiculed, shame and disgrace…

The problem with “do this and live” is that if you look to ANY list of rules to find your righteousness, then you are on the hook to keep the WHOLE law, not just the parts that you like.

If you strongly denounce the “effeminate” then you also must denounce the revilers. The liars. The heretics. The adulterers.

The point of Romans 1 ISN’T just that men lying with men is a sin against God. Romans one builds to Romans three, and the conclusion is this: ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous.

NO – Not one.

Not the manly hunter that lives next door. Nope. Not him.

Not the mother that has everything together and perfect kids that don’t ever ever wiggle on Sunday? Nope. Not her.

Not the pinnacle of the patriarchy – the guy on the cover of the books with the huge ministry and the well-coifed wife and happy faced children? Nope. Not him.

The homesteader? The liberal? The conservative? The anti-woke preacher? The woke preacher? – nope. Not him either.

The wife who never backtalks or ever has her own ideas? Nope. Not here.


No. Not one.

It is almost as if the Holy Spirit is anticipating our objections….

Not one.

But I’m heterosexual and cisgender!! Nope. Not you either.

This is the problem with the first religion masquerading as Christianity. It isn’t Christianity at all. It is what Paul calls “The law”. It is the reason why the Jews of Paul’s day hated Jesus. They thought that righteousness would come by keeping the law. They thought that they could establish their own righteousness.

Do this, and you will live.

For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
5 For Moses writes of the righteousness that is based on the Law, that the person who performs them will live by them. (Romans 10:3-5)

But there is a big problem with this way of thinking. You don’t have any righteousness of your own. If you want to establish your own righteousness, you have to keep EVERYTHING in the law, not just the parts you want to keep.

It isn’t enough to be against abortion. You have to love your neighbor as yourself, continually, every time, without one failure.

It isn’t enough to be anti-LGBTQ. You also have to never once, not ever, lusted after anyone – same or opposite sex. EVER. The law doesn’t give you a pass because you are heterosexual.

You get the point. It Paul’s day, the ultimate “righteousness” was circumcision. Get circumcised, and live. And he says this.

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Galatians 5:3.

Then he goes on to warn the Galatians. He tells them that thinking that they will somehow establish their own righteousness is of the flesh. Really, it is the same thing that every human born of Adam tries to do. We inherited it from him.

It is why Cain got so angry. How dare God not keep up his end of the bargain!!

And God told him, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” And that is true. If you do well.

That is the problem with the thinking of the flesh. “If you do well.”

Compare that with the other great truth. There is none righteous.

No. Not one.

And the results of this false religion are always the same thing.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-20)

And doesn’t that pretty much sum up the results of what we are seeing in so many ministries that are rooted in the thinking of the flesh?

It isn’t a disagreement over an interpretation. It is another religion entirely.

Which leads us to the second distinct religion. True Christianity.

True Christianity is this (Go back to Romans 10). In contrast to “do this and live”, Paul shows the righteousness of God. Righteousness comes outside of ourselves, for we have none of our own. We have no righteousness, ever, not even after we are saved, that can stand before God’s righteous judgment.

But God has provided another way. He first announced it in Eden. Then foreshadowed it in the sacrifices and ceremonies of the law. It is the righteousness that is ours by faith. Jesus did it, and it is as if we have never had nor committed any sin, if only we accept it with a believing heart.

As the scripture says “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which is why Paul calls this “the spirit” as opposed to “the flesh”. The flesh is what we inherited from Adam. “Do this, and you will live.”

The Spirit drives us to mourning, true humility, and an overpowering sense that we are in desperate, desperate trouble unless God is merciful to us.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

And does this have fruit? It certainly does! But it is a far different kind than the fruit that the flesh brings forth.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

So why do I do what I do? Why do I endure the continuous insults, ridicule, threats and abuse online? Why do I continue to critique the idols of this present age?

Because I hate the flesh in myself and know that I have no hope other than in Jesus Christ.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Ask yourself, what is your view of someone who DOESN’T do things the way that you do things, and then you will know somewhat of where your idols are and where your hope is.

As for me, my hope is not in my view of gender roles, my control of my wife, the way I choose to raise my children. It isn’t in submission to your husband, in your ability to homestead and homeschool. It isn’t in your heterosexuality. All of those are the way of death if you are holding on to them as your righteousness before God. All of our sexuality is corrupted by sin. All of our works are corrupted by sin. All of our masculinity and femininity are corrupted by sin. The only one who was not, ever, corrupted by sin was Jesus.

And he took my filthy garments – including my self-righteousness, lusts, pride – and nailed them to the cross. And then he gave me his perfect, spotless righteousness.

If only I accept them with a believing heart.

And now is the time when one hears, “yeah, but also…”

That’s the beauty of Christianity. There is NO “Yeah, but also” in Christ. You add nothing. He already did it all. It is finished. It is yours without any “yeah, but also”, other wise it isn’t good news at all!

So why do I continue to stick my hand in that hornet’s nest?

Because I hope that at least one person will hear me, and come to know true freedom and joy, no matter who they are or where they are from or what they have suffered. No one is beyond the reach of God’s compassion.

But even more importantly than that, it is because God has called me to be a preacher of the gospel. Not a purveyor of the opinions of men. So I will continue to do so and I will continue to call out the false messiahs of this age, because it is what God has called me to do.


Filed under Gospel