Sermon 2423. The Model Soul-winner
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, JULY 28, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JULY 10, 1887.
"There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink." John 4:7.
THIS was the beginning of that interesting conversation which not only blessed this woman, but has been a means of Grace tomany others ever since, for this chapter and the previous one must be looked upon as among the most soul-winning parts ofGod's Word. I suppose that every portion of Scripture has had its use in the experience of men and women, but these two chaptershave very, very largely been blessed in the commencement of the Divine Life. Many have been led through the door of regenerationand the gateway of faith by the Truth of God so plainly taught in them.
I shall not delay you with any preface, but shall take you at once to the subject mentioned in our text.
I. You have before you, here, first, THE MODEL SOUL-WINNER. Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, "Give Me a drink." I speakto many here who are wise to win souls. I hope that I also address many more who, although they have not yet learned thiswisdom, are anxious, if possible, to be used of God to bless their fellow creatures. Here, then, is a perfect model for you-studyit and copy it.
First, observe that our Savior, as the model Soul-Winner, was not reserved and distant. "Jesus therefore, being wearied withHis journey, sat thus on the well." If He had not been wonderfully anxious to win a soul, He would have kept Himself to Himself-andif this woman had spoken to Him, He would have answered her shortly and have let her see that He did not desire any conversationwith her. There is a way of being civil, but, at the same time, of repressing anything like familiarity. There are some personswho have great gifts of freezing-they can freeze you, almost, with a look! You never dare to speak to them, again. In fact,you stand and wonder how you could ever have had the impertinence to address such exalted personages! They evidently livein a very distinct world from that in which your poor self resides- they could not sympathize with you-they are too good ortoo great, too clever. And if you do not complain of their conduct, yet you give them a wide berth and keep clear of themin the future, for they are not at all the sort of people that attract you. They repel you by their coldness. They are notmagnets, or, if so, they exercise the very opposite influence from that of attraction.
Now, if any of you are in such a frame of mind as that, pray the Lord to bring you out of it! But do not attempt to do anygood while you are in such a condition, for you might as well try to heat an oven with snowballs as to win souls for Christwith a distant cold, dignified manner of speech! No, cast all that away, for nothing can render you so feeble, and so useless,as to cultivate anything like separateness from your fellows. Come close to the sinner, draw near to him or to her-show thatyou are not keeping yourself to yourself, but that you regard the person you are addressing as a brother or sister-as onewho will find, in you, a sympathizer who is touched with the feeling of his infirmities, seeing that you have suffered inmany points like he has suffered and are, therefore, on the same level, and desire to stand on the same platform with him-andto do him good.
There was nothing stiff and starched about the Savior. He was the very reverse of that and even children felt that they mightgo to Him freely. He was like a great harbor into which sailors run their ships in stress of weather-they feel as if it wasmade on purpose for them. The very look of Christ's face, the very glistening of His eyes, everything about Him made peoplefeel that He did not live for Himself at all, but that He desired to bless others! There is the model Soul-Winner, therefore,for your imitation, in Jesus sitting on the well and condescending even to speak to a poor fallen woman!
In the next place, our Savior was aggressive and prompt. He did not wait for the woman to speak to Him, but He addressed her."Give Me a drink," He said. He did not wait until she had drawn the water from the well and was about to go-and so give heran excuse for saying, "I cannot be detained. I must get home with the water and the sun is hot," but no sooner has He seenher and her waterpot, than He begins a conversation with His request to her, "Give Me a drink." The true soul-winner is likea man who goes out shooting-he is not half asleep so that when the game presents itself, he waits till it has taken wing andhas gone. He is on the alert-if a feather or a leaf moves, he has his gun all ready, and he is prepared for action at once!The cunning fowler spreads his nets early in the morning before the birds are awake, that when they first begin to move, theymay be taken in his traps. And the Lord Jesus, with a loving wisdom, went about His work. He began with the woman at once-assoon as she came to the well where He was resting, He spoke to her and soon led the talk to the things which concerned theChrist and her own sin-and the way by which the Christ might lift her out of her sin and make her useful for the conversionof others.
I am afraid that there are some of you who cannot do that-you are so reserved, you say. How often have I told you that thesoldier who was so "retiring" was shot? There was a battle going on and the man was so modest and retiring that he went tothe rear of the fight-and they called him a coward and shot him dead! I am not going to call you a coward, nor to shoot you!Still, I wish you would not get into the rear so much. While souls are perishing, it does not do to be reserved and retiring!A man who can swim and would let his fellow man sink would hardly be excused if he said, "I was so retiring that I could notpush myself upon him. I never had the good man's card and I did not want to force myself upon him without an introduction,so I let him drown. I was very sorry, but still, I never was a pushing person."
Are you going to let men be damned? Are you going to let the masses of people in this city perish in their sins? If so, Godhave mercy upon you! The question will not be, "What will become of London in this case?" But the question will be, "Whatwill become of you who let men die in their sins without trying to rescue them?" Carry the war into the enemy's country! Speakto people whom you do not know, whom you have never seen before, as Jesus did! Speak to that woman whom you meet casuallyand Providentially, as He did! Speak to her when the last thing she wants is that you should speak to her. Speak out at onceand let yours be an aggressive Christianity that is prompt to seize every opportunity of doing good! What a model Soul-Winner,then, you have here!
Next, the Savior was bold, but He was also wise. You cannot sufficiently admire the wisdom of our blessed Lord that He spoketo this woman while she was alone. He could not have said to her what He said and she would never have said to Him what shesaid, if anybody else had been there. It was necessary that this interview be held in private. But, oh, you who are so zealousthat you are imprudent, you who would gladly win souls but attempt the task without that care which ought to come naturallyto every sensible and prudent man, remember that although Christ spoke alone with this woman, it was in broad daylight, attwelve o'clock, by the well. If some people had been as prudent as the Savior was, they could have afforded to be as zealousas they have been! In the case of such a woman as this, I would have you remember the Savior's wisdom as well as His wondrouscondescension!
With Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews, He speaks by night, but with the harlot of Samaria He speaks by day. The soul-winnerlooks about him, he is wise in his plan of going to work. There are fish that will only bite in troubled waters. There aresome that are not to be taken except at night and there are others that are only to be caught by daylight. Fit yourself tothe case of the person you are seeking to bless! I do not say be so prudent that you will run no risk, but I will say, beso prudent, especially in certain difficult cases, that you run no unnecessary risk! The Savior could not have selected abetter time for talking to such a person-you will see at once that if even the disciples marveled that He spoke with the woman-itwas infinitely wise on His part that it was done at the well side and done at noon.
O Soul-Winners, win souls any way you can! Be willing to risk your own reputation, if necessary, to win them, but it is notnecessary, or not usually necessary, and it never should be done except when it is necessary. Your Savior sets you that wiseexample. Follow Him in this speaking to people singly. I do so much of public preaching that, perhaps, I lose a measure ofadaptation for private conversation, yet have I sometimes done the most successful work I have ever done in private ratherthan in public! Sitting at a table, I have marked a young man who was a stranger to me, and I have asked him to accompanyme to the place where I was to preach. I did not know the way and I asked him to walk with me. A few words on the road wonhim for Christ and he has been, ever since, an earnest upholder of the Gospel and a very useful one! I do not know whetherany were saved by the sermon, but I know that one was converted by the talk on the way there!
I know an Evangelist who is useful in his public service, but he is also greatly useful to the families in the homes wherehe stays. Almost in every case the minister's sons and daughters are converted before he leaves the house, or the servantor a visitor is won by his private conversation. I like that kind of work! Oh, that we all studied this art of speaking topersons one by one! So I say to you, again, here is the model Soul-Winner-copy His example.
Observe how the Savior begins with this woman-"Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink." When you are fishing, it is not alwayswise to throw your fly straight at the fish's mouth. Try him a little on one side, and then a little on the other side, andmaybe, presently, you will get a bite. So the Savior does not begin by saying to her, "You are a sinful woman." Oh, dear,none but an amateur in such a business would begin like that! Neither did He begin by saying, "Now, good mistress, I am theMessiah." Well, that was the truth, was it not? Yes, but that was not to come first-He began by saying, "Give Me a drink."He must first attract her attention and influence her mind-then would come the closer work of probing her conscience and changingher heart!
It was only a very ordinary, commonplace request that Jesus made. "Give Me a drink." It might have occurred to any one ofyou to say it, but not to use it as He did. Yet it was a word that was wisely chosen, for it fitted in with the woman's thoughts.She was thinking about drawing water and Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." There could be no more suitable metaphor ormode of expression than that of water and drinking if you are talking to a person who has come to draw water for herself orothers to drink.
Besides that, it was an exceedingly pregnant expression, as full of meaning as an egg is full of meat. "Give Me a drink."It contained much within itself. It gave the Savior as wide a field as He could wish for to talk to her about her spiritualthirst, and about that Living Water which He could put within her, which would abide in her, and be a well- not one to whichshe should come-but a well that she would carry about with her and that would be always springing up within her unto everlastinglife! So let us learn how to begin wisely with observations that are apparently commonplace, but such as will easily leadto higher things.
I think that the Savior, as the model Soul-Winner, is also to be imitated in that at the very beginning He broke down a barrier.The Lord Jesus Christ was evidently dressed as a Jew and this woman came out of Samaria. Now, at once, there was a barrierbetween the two, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. Our Lord broke through that caste by saying to her, "GiveMe a drink." No other expression would do this so well, for to eat and to drink with persons was, after the Oriental fashion,to come into communion with them. "Give Me a drink," therefore, shook off from Him all Judaism which would separate Him fromthis Samaritan. If you are going to try to win people for Christ, always seek to break down everything that would separate.Are you a man of wealth? Well, I do not believe in converting souls by making your diamond rings glitter and flash when youare talking to workingmen.
Are you a scientific man? Now, that word of 17 syllables that you have been so fond of-do not use it, but say something veryplain and simple! Or do you happen to belong to any political party? Do not bring that question in-you will not win soulsthat way-you will be more likely to excite prejudice and opposition. If I were talking to the French, I would devoutly wishI were a Frenchman. If I had to win a German, I should wish to know as much of the idiosyncrasies of that nation as I possiblycould. I shall never be ashamed of being an Englishman, but if I could win more souls by being a Dutchman, or a Zulu, I wouldgladly have any kind of nationality, that I might get at the hearts of men! And our Lord Jesus acted just in that spirit whenHe said to the woman, "Give Me a drink." He sank the noble dignity of being a Jew- for, mark you, a Jew is the aristocratof God-Jesus, even in His humanity, came of a race that is made up of the oldest and noblest of earthly nobility, but He droppedthat dignity in order that He might talk to this Samaritan woman who was nothing better than a mongrel, for her race was madeup of nobody knows what! They pretended to be Jewish when there was anything to get by so doing-and to be Gentile wheneverthe Jews were in any kind of difficulties. But Jesus did not snub her, nor did He hint that she was in the least degree inferiorto Himself. There is no winning souls in any other way than as the Savior won them. God teach us how to win them!
This must suffice for that first point, the model Soul-Winner.
II. Now for just a few minutes I want to exhibit our Divine Lord and Master in another light. Not this time as the model Soul-Winner,but as THE MASTER OF CONDESCENSION. He seems to me to be so thoughtful-this blessed
Lord of ours, the Son of God, the Creator, the First-Begotten of God.
He takes His seat there on the well in weariness and thirst. Do you not see Him almost ready to faint? What condescensionthis was, that He was so straitened that He had not even a drink of water, or the means to get it. Maker of all springs! Bearerof the key of the rain! Lord of the ocean and yet He needs water to drink? What a stoop is this, for your Lord and mine tocome to this! When He said, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has not where to lay Hishead," He had come very low, but now, even the water, which is such a common thing around us that it ripples from the hillsand streams through the vales-even that has fled from Him-and He says, "Give Me a drink." Bless your Lord, O you who loveHim! Kiss His feet and wonder at His marvelous condescension!
I wonder at His condescension, next, that He not only came into such straitness, but that He was so humble as to ask for adrink of water. He that hears prayer, Himself prays! He that listens to the cries of His redeemed and, with the fullness ofHis majestic bounty, opens His hands and supplies the needs of every living thing, sits there and says to the woman, "GiveMe a drink." O Master, how You have straitened Yourself! How You have humbled Yourself, that You should be a beggar of oneof Your own creatures, asking for a sip of water!
Admire that condescension still more when you think that HE asked it of her, of her who had had five husbands and he withwhom she was living was not her husband! Yet Jesus says to her, "Give Me a drink." Some of you good women would not have touchedher with a pair of tongs, would you? And some of you good men would have passed by her on the other side. Jesus, however,was not only willing to give to her, but He was willing to receive from her! He would put Himself under obligation to a Samaritansinner! So He says to her, who was not fit to come near Him to unloose the laces of His shoes-John the Baptist said that Hewas not worthy to do that-but what was she worthy to do? Yet Jesus says even to her, "Give Me a drink."
Then notice His condescension, again, when she answers Him tartly with a reply that was perhaps civil in tone, but that wasvirtually a refusal, He did not upbraid her. He did not say to her, "Oh, you cruel woman!" No, not a syllable or look of reproofdid He give her. He needed not the water that was in the well-He meant to have her heart-and He did have it and, therefore,He went on to speak to her. Is not that a beautiful text, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to allmen liberally, and upbraids not"? So the Savior will not give this woman a word of upbraiding- she shall be led to upbraidherself-but it shall be for her sin! She shall not be upbraided for her ungenerous reply that the Savior has passed over.
This is the crown of Christ's condescension, that He led her not to do what He asked her to do, but He led her to confessher sin. He said, "Give Me a drink," but apparently she did not let down that waterpot, neither did He put it to His lips,parched as they were. But He led her to her confession of sin, her faith in Him, her running to call the men-and all thisgave Him meat to eat and water to drink that others knew not of! He had won a soul and this had refreshed Him after His weariness.We do not hear of His being weary any more-He shook it all off at sight of that sinner saved! He was Himself, again, for Hehad received what He would die to win. He had received a heart returning to the great Father, He had found a soul that trustedin Him!
I wish that I knew how to preach better so that I might lead you to my Master, for I do want you to glorify Him. I have oftentried to set Him before you as He hung upon the Cross, and as He will come again in His glorious Second Advent. But just nowI ask you to adore Him in His weariness as He sits upon the well! He is never lovelier than in His lowliness. There is a grandeurabout Him when He rides to battle on His white horse and summons the kites and eagles to devour the slain, but we start backfrom that terrible vision of majesty to the attractiveness of His Love when He thus humbles Himself and makes Himself of noreputation and talks with a fallen woman! Seeing Him thus condescending, we love, reverence, admire and adore Him! Let usdo so now.
III. I shall have done when I have taken up my third point with considerable brevity, but with no little earnestness. It isthis. You have seen the model Soul-Winner and the Master of condescension. Let us now notice THE MANNER OF THE WORKING OFGRACE with the view that we may see it here this evening.
So you have come here, my Friend. You have not come to be saved. Oh, no! That is very far from your mind. You came to seethe place, you came to look at a building to which a crowd will come and listen to a minister of the Gospel.
Yes, yes, but even that is no reason why you should not get a blessing, for this woman only came to draw water. "There camea woman of Samaria to draw water." She had no desire to see Jesus, or to learn of Him. She was only looking for water! Saulwent to seek his father's asses and found a kingdom! So you may find what you never sought and you may be found of Him whomyou never sought!
Listen! Open your ears! Perhaps your Day of Grace has come and the great silver bell is striking the hour of your sal-vation-Ihope that it is so. It may be so, though you have no thought of it. You are not converted, you are not a Christian, but youwould like to do good in the world, would you not? You desire to do some kindly action, something generous. I have known thatthought arise in a great many who yet did not know the Lord. Some people will not ask an unconverted person to give money.I would, for my Master said to a woman who was a great sinner, "Give Me a drink." It may be to the everlasting good of someof you to do something for the Church of God, to do something for the Christ of God! Before you know where you are, it maybe that you will commit yourselves by some kindly act. I wish you would do so.
The way to win a person to yourself is not always to do him good, but to let him do you good. Jesus knew that, so He beganby saying, "Give Me a drink." So sometimes it may be wise-and I would try it now-to say to some of you, "You would like todo someone good, would you not? You would like to do some kindly action." Well, notice, the Master is here, tonight, and Hehas come with much the same cry as He came to the Samaritan woman. Jesus says to you, "Give Me a drink." "Oh," you say, "Whatcould I give Christ to drink? If He were here, I would gladly give Him a drink. I am sure that if I were at my cottage doorand He passed by on a dusty day, I would gladly turn the handle of the well and bring up a bucket of water. Though I am notconverted, I would do that." Well, dear Heart, you may do that! I want you to do it! It is your privilege to refresh the veryheart of Christ! If you were not a sinner, you could not do it, but being a guilty sinner, you can do it! Your very guiltand sin give you the possibility of refreshing Him. "How?" you ask. Why, repent of your sin! Have done with it, quit it, turnfrom it. "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents." It does not say that the angelsrejoice, though I have no doubt that they do, but it is said, "There is joy in the presence of the angels." That is, the angelssee the joy of Christ when a sinner repents! They spy it out and notice it. If you let fall a tear of repentance. If in yourheart there is a sense of shame because of your sin. If in your soul there is the resolve to escape from it, you have refreshedHim!
Next, guilty as you are, you can refresh Him by seeking salvation from Him. Did He not say to the woman, "If you knew thegift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you livingwater"? And when she said to Jesus, "Sir, give me this water," that refreshed Him! Ask this of Him, now, quietly in your soul.Oh, may God the Holy Spirit persuade you to do so! Cry to Him to save you! Say, "Lord Jesus, save me! I am but a girl andcareless, but save me." "I am a young man and thoughtless, but save me tonight." By so doing, you have given Him a drink,and He is already refreshed! The sweetest drink of all is when you perceive that He is the Christ, and that God has sent Himto save you-and you give yourself up to be saved by Him!
Trust Him now-may the good Spirit lead you to trust Him now! So will you refresh Him-this is the recompense for all His woundsand even for His death-when sinful souls come and trust Him. I remember hearing of one who, while walking the fields, founda little bird fly into his bosom. He could not understand why the creature should come there, but when he looked up, therewas a hawk which had pursued the bird, and the little thing had flown into the bosom of the man for shelter. What do you think?Did the man tear it in pieces? No. He kept it safely till he had taken it away from the place where the hawk was-and thenhe gave it its liberty again. The Lord Jesus Christ will do just that with you if you trust Him! Sin pursues you-fly to Hisbosom, for only there are you safe!
I have heard of a great king who had pitched his royal pavilion and when he was about to move it, he found that a bird hadcome and built its nest there. He was such a king that, although the pavilion was of silk, he ordered his soldiers not totake it down until that bird's young ones were hatched and could fly. I love the generosity of a prince who will act likethat, but my Lord is a nobler and kinder Prince than all others! Oh, what a Prince He is for generosity! Poor bird, if youwill dare to trust Him and make your nest in the pavilion where He dwells, you shall never be destroyed, nor your hope, either,but you shall be safe forever!
Oh, that I knew how to bring you to Christ, dear Hearers! This is a hot summer's night and you are weary, perhaps, of my talking,but I would not mind that if I could bring you to Jesus! Oh, that I might have fruit from this sermon! This week I believeI might say that I have met and heard of hundreds who, in past years, have been brought to the Savior by the printed sermons.They came to me, grasped my hand, and thanked me-and I praised God-but then I thought, "Yes, God did bless me, and He hasblessed the printed sermons, but I want present fruit, and to see sinners, now, close in with Christ and be eternally saved."Is all that I preach to you only a dream or a fiction? Then, fling it away from you and despise both it and me! But if itis true and if I only tell you of a true salvation, and a true Savior, come and have it, come and trust Him now, for He castsout none who come to Him! May this be the deciding time with many of you, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN4:1-32.
Verses 1-4. 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 Judea and departed again into Galilee. And He needed to gothrough Samaria. When He was needed in so many places, He did not care to stay among the Pharisees where He was not wanted.They would not receive His message, so He left the lordly professors and went to look after a fallen woman! Christ's estimatesof usefulness are not always the same as ours. We think it a grand thing to be the means of converting a great man-Christthinks it a worthy work to convert a great sinner!
5. Then He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph.You remember how the Patriarch said to his favorite son, "Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, whichI took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow." This was "the parcel of ground" which was near to Sychar.
6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well. What could the weariedSavior do? Why, He could save a great sinner! And now that He is no more wearied, what can He not do? Brethren, when you goto preach or to teach, you like to feel fresh and vigorous, but do not think that this state is at all necessary! Your weariedMaster won the woman at Samaria. So may you win souls, even in your weariness! Let us not make excuses for ourselves becausewe do not feel fit for our work. God may bless us more when we feel weary than He does at any other time.
6. And it was about the sixth hour. Twelve o'clock in the day, I suppose. Was that the time when the women usually came todraw water? No, but it was the time when a woman who was shunned by other women would be most likely to come-and the Saviorknew that. She had to take odd times to get to the well, for her neighbors did not care to be seen in the company of sucha reprobate as she was-and she was probably just as anxious to avoid them.
7, 8. Then came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink. (For His disciples were gone away untothe city to buy meat). Or, "food."
9. Then said the woman of Samaria unto Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink, which am a woman of Samaria?for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. The woman seemed to say to the Savior, "You Jews will not acknowledge usuntil You want something from us! Now that You happen to be thirsty, You do not mind asking for a drink from me, but, at othertimes, You will have no dealings with us." This was a tart reply to our Lord's request, but He did not answer the woman inthe tone she had adopted. When you are dealing with a soul, you must not lose your temper because of a sharp word, a hardsaying, or even a blasphemous reply. Soul-winners must be very tender and gentle. God make us so!
10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me a drink; you wouldhave asked of Him, and He would have given you living water. Oh, that ignorance, that baneful ignorance! "If you knew, youwould have asked of Him, and He would have given you." Sometimes, my Brothers and Sisters, the key of a man's salvation maylie in your instructing him in the simplest matters of the Gospel, for, if he does but know, he will ask-and Christ will give!Great issues may depend upon this, which seems but the turning of a straw. Therefore, go and tell men the way of salvation,for, in the most of cases, ignorance, alas, bars the door! I mean not among those who have long heard the Gospel, but I meanthe outsiders who do not know anything about it. Tell it to them and you may, thereby, open to them the Kingdom of Heaven.
11-14. The woman said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where, then, have You that livingwater? Are You greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and hiscattle? Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: but whoever drinks of the water thatI shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up intoeverlasting life. So you see, my dear Hearer, if you get Grace from Christ, you really possess it and it is of that naturethat it remains in you and becomes, itself, a spring within you, "springing up into everlasting life." It is not that temporary,trumpery salvation which some preach, which saves you for a quarter of a year and then lets you perish! It is everlastingsalvation! Once received, it does not pass away like that little dribbling shower that watered the pavement just now, andis gone, but it shall be in you a well of water, springing up, a living and enduring principle, or, to use another Scripturalexpression, "incorruptible seed, which lives and abides forever." This salvation is worth your having! Then, get it! It isworth your pining after, praying for and believing. Oh, that you might have it, even you! As soon as you trust the Lord JesusChrist, it is yours, and yours forever!
15. The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw. The woman had not even thefaintest idea of the spiritual truth of which Christ had spoken to her. The fact is, conviction must come before conversion.No sinner is made alive till he is first killed. You cannot clothe him till he is naked. So now the Savior began that convictionwork in this woman-and He did it very wisely. He did not, at first, charge her with criminality, but He led her to accuseherself.
16, 17. Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. And, as shesaid it, no doubt she tried to look as innocent as possible. But a guilty flush stole over her face despite her attempt tokeep it back.
17. Jesus said to her, you have well said, I have no husband. Always give people credit for what is well said. If you wantto win them, you must mind that you are not rough with them, but admit what you can of the truth in their utter-ance-"youhave well said, I have no husband."
18, 19. For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly. The woman saidunto Him, Sir, I Perceive that You are a Prophet. It would have been better if she had perceived that she was a sinner! Perhapsshe did perceive it, but scarcely cared, yet, to confess it openly, so she said, "I perceive that You are a Prophet." Nowshe has a religious difficulty and what man or woman is there in the world, however far gone from morality, who has not somereligious difficulties? And the more immoral they become, the more difficulties they are pretty sure to have. I hate thatstyle of preaching which is everlastingly pandering to difficulties which never would exist except in a dissolute generationlike the present! We preach a plain Gospel and when men's hearts are right, it is all plain to them. To him who desires tounderstand, difficulties soon cease to be a trouble! We had better deal with men's hearts and lives than try to answer theirquibbling questions. This was the woman's dilemma-
20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain. That is, Mount Gerizim-
20-23. And You say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hourcomes when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what-weknow what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worshipthe Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. You see, Brothers and Sisters, all the difficultiesthat arise are but temporary! Put them away and get to the great spiritual business that concerns us all- the truly seekingafter God in spirit and in truth! If you really want to find God, you shall find Him. He is already seeking you and your verydesire after Him is the proof that He has already had dealings with you by His Spirit! Therefore, come unto Him and come atonce, "for the Father seeks such to worship Him."
24-27. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The woman said to Him, I know thatMessiah comes, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I that speak unto youam He. And upon this came His disciples. This gracious work of the Master had been done in private. Christ knew that sucha person as this woman was not to be spoken to in the presence of His disciples, who were scarcely sympathetic enough forsuch service. But her heart is now won by the Messiah! So now you may come in, you disciples! Providence shut the door andkept them waiting a while until this delicate piece of work was done!
27. And marveled that He talked with the woman. These men who had, themselves, been picked off the dunghill, marveled thatChrist spoke to this woman! So have I known some who were, themselves, once grievous sinners, yet they have become horriblyconceited some years after conversion. And they have thought that other great sinners might not be saved as they were! Goddeliver from such abominable pride any soul that professes to be saved! Every Believer should feel, "If the Lord has savedme, He can save anybody." And that state of mind ought always to be ours.
27. Yet no man said, What seek You? or, Why talk You with her? They had some sense left, sense enough to keep silent.
28. The woman then left her waterpot-Possessed only with one thought, going to tell others the glad news she. herself. hadbelieved! She "left her waterpot."
28, 29. And went her way into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a Man which told me all things that ever I did. Isnot this the Christ? They must have been surprised to hear her talking about good things. There was no more likely messengerto win men, or to strike them with curiosity, than such a woman as this.
30-32. Then they went out of the city and came to Him. In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, Master, eat. But Hesaid unto them, I have meat to eat that you know not of. So has every man who lives to win souls for Christ! There is a tablewhich he enters where the very delicacies of God are brought before him and his soul is sustained and his strength is renewedby the dainties that the Lord has provided for those who do His will! Brothers and Sisters, may we often feed upon this heavenlymeat! Amen.