John 4:4-30
Your Bucket’s Empty

The story that we are reading most often has messages applied to it concerning
the unsaved.  Rightfully so, but tonight I want to direct the message not to the
unsaved, but the saved.

Tonight, I would like to look at the story by looking at the woman at the well.
I see three things about her.

    I. The woman’s needs
        A. This woman, like every human being in the world, had needs.
            1. Without doubt, her biggest need was for the Savior.
            2. And there is no doubt that this is the topic of conversation
                between Jesus and the woman.
            3. However, as I said, I don’t want to talk as much about salvation to
                the lost as I want to talk about the needs of the saved.
                a. Of course, if you are here tonight and unsaved, I pray that you
                    would trust Jesus as your Savior.
                b. Salvation is such a simple act of faith that can bring so much
                    to your life and eternity.
                c. Salvation takes two things:
                    (1) You must believe who Jesus is and what Jesus has done.
                    (2) You must surrender to God.
        B. \\#10, 13-14\\ What I want you to notice is that as Jesus talks to this
            woman about her spiritual needs, He does so by referring to the well
            and her repeated returns to get more water.
            1. Jesus was telling her that she had spiritual needs just like she
                had a need of water.
            2. Her spiritual need was her soul longing for a relationship with God
                like her body longed for water.
            3. Jesus then pointed out that there were two sources of water.
                a. There is an earthly well that you can draw water from.
                    (1) If you draw water from this well, you will thirst again.
                    (2) He tells her that she has drawn from this well before,
                         but her empty water jug is proof that what she drew out
                         did not satisfy.
                    (3) You are back to fill it again.
                    (4) That empty bucket tells the story!
                b. Then Jesus tells the woman of another Source of water.
                    (1) Himself.
                    (2) Those who come to Him, Jesus tells her, will never thirst
        C. Now, that is the point and context of the text.
            1. Jesus talking to a woman about her lost condition and comparing
                that need to water.
            2. As Christians, we still have needs.
                a. The more mature Christian might understand that all of our
                    needs, physical, emotional, and spiritual, are met in Christ.
                b. However, every saved person may not comprehend that yet.
                c. Some are looking to other things to meet their needs, to
                    satisfy their longings, just like this woman was looking to
                    the earthly well to give her satisfactions so Christians look
                    to earthly things to give them satisfaction.
                d. Friend, just like this woman’s water jug was empty, so is
            3. What Jesus is saying to this woman is that earthly substitutes
                can not satisfy.
            4. Christian, you need to know that truth too.  You must learn to get
                your satisfaction from Jesus!

   II. The woman’s substitutes
        A. In this conversation, the conversation weaves around some of the things
            that this woman was using for a substitute.
            1. All of them were of this world.
            2. None of them satisfied.
            3. This woman’s empty water jug is a representation that all the
                worldly things she had failed to satisfy her.
            4. What is ironic here is that some of the same things this woman was
                using to try to satisfy her need for Jesus, Christians use to
                try to satisfy their own needs.
        B. Notice her substitutes.
            1. \\#19-24\\ She was using her nationality as a substitute.
                a. This woman was a Samaritan.
                    (1) By claiming her mountain was the place to worship, she was
                         saying that her people were the heirs to God’s promises.
                    (2) She was claiming, in part, a national relationship with
                b. To get this, you need to understand the history of this nation.
                    (1) In the year 740BC, God allowed the Assyrians to remove
                         the ten northern tribes of Israel from their land.
                    (2) Assyria’s policy was to gain and keep control over their
                         conquests by moving them out of the land.  It was a
                         real game of Chinese Checkers.
                    (3) Where the Assyrians moved those ten tribes is not certain.
                    (4) However, Assyria moved Gentiles into the Jewish land area.
                    (5) The incoming Gentiles eventually married with the Jews
                         that were left, producing a group of people called the
                    (6) The Jews of the south, those who kept their lineage pure,
                         had—as John said—no dealings with the Samaritans.
                c. Even though disliked by the Jews, the Samaritans continued to
                    largely claim their Jewish history.
                    (1) Just like the Jews were extremely proud of the history,
                         so were the Samaritans.
                    (2) We know from Scriptures, that some of the Jews thought
                         that because they were Jews, they were good enough to
                         go to heaven.
                    (3) Some of the Samaritans felt that way about their
                         nationality to.
                    (4) So this woman was claiming her nation as a substitute
                         for what she really need.
                    (5) She was drawing from the earthly well of national pride.
                 d. The problem was, her water jug was empty.
                    (1) This woman had drawn from the well of national pride
                         before and it had not satisfied her.
                    (2) So she brought her empty water jug back to get more
                 e. Again, I am speaking to Christians about relying on earthly
                    things to satisfy.
                    (1) Christians, I am proud to be an American.
                        (a) We are still celebrating our country’s birthday.
                        (b) Although national patriotism has largely fallen off
                             to a one world mentality in these recent, there are
                             still some who hold our nation in high regards.
                    (2) However, national pride is no substitute for relying
                         on Christ.
                         (a) National patriotism won’t satisfy.
                         (b) Not for security, not for comfort, not even for a
                              place to live.
                         (c) We need to learn to see our needs in Jesus.
            2. \\#20\\ She was also substituting her religion.
                a. She wasn’t just talking about her mountain.  She was also
                    talking about the worship the Samaritans did on that mountain.
                b. It makes sense that if you are going to claim a national
                    relationship with God, you have to a national religion.
                    (1) The Samaritan Jews, took the Jewish Torah, and rewrote
                         parts of it, substituting locations in their nation for
                         some of the locations in Israel.
                    (2) Of course, they were living in what was northern Israel,
                         so it would not have been very hard to do some minor
                         doctoring of the Old Testament to make this work.
                c. So the Samaritans in general, and this woman in particular, had
                    gone to the well of religion to satisfy.
                    (1) But there was a problem.
                    (2) She was back at the earthly well with an empty jug again.
                    (3) Her religion had not satisfied her and the empty jug was
                         the proof.
                d. Understand, I am a Baptist by choice.
                    (1) I have studied the Bible and have considered the doctrines
                         that we hold to may be incorrect.
                    (2) In studying the Bible, I believe that Baptist doctrine is
                         the most correct.  (Not that Baptists are perfect by any
                    (3) However, being a Baptist is not where I fill my jug,
                         because no religion is going to satisfy.
                e. I remember when we were ordaining Matt Hollis, we had invited
                    several preachers to participate.  In our examination, some
                    wanted to press Bro. Matt to state that he was a Baptist and
                    would always be a Baptist.  I understood the point they were
                    making.  Many today are taking the name Baptist off their
                    church like they are ashamed of it.  They should not be.  It
                    is a name with a history and a heritage.  I think those men
                    were trying to impress that upon Bro. Matt, but I felt like
                    they were pushing to get a commitment from Matt that I myself
                    will not give.  God calls preachers to preach Jesus Christ,
                    not to solicit for Baptist. I stepped in and told them, that
                    I was proud to be a Baptist and intended to be one my whole
                    life.  But if the day ever came when the Baptist ceased to
                    lift up the Word of God and Jesus Christ, I would be the first
                    one in the church to rip the sound Baptist off the signs.
                f. I read an article just today.  Cal Thomas, a syndicated
                    columnist wrote an article entitled "No Substitute for
                    Christ."  It appeared in the 7/6/2011 edition of the
                    Washington Post National.  In that article, he quoted what
                    the Dalai Lama has said on his Washington visit.  That
                    religion is not necessary, being good is all that is
                    required. Cal Thomas said NO.  He said man’s goodness is not
                    substitute for Jesus Christ.  He quoted Romans 3:10, and
                    stated no one but the Son of God was perfect and we must
                    accept a new nature through the atoning work of Christ.

                    At the end of article, were 53 comments. I did not read them
                    all but everyone I read condemned Cal Thomas.  His Christian
                    religion was proud, arrogant, hurtful, bigoted, of the Old
                    Faith (one wrote); he should be replaced (someone suggested).

                    All of the people whose comments I read has substituted some-
                    thing else for Christ.  As Cal Thomas said, there is no
                    substitute.  Not religion, not being a Baptist, and not man’s

                g. Look at your feet.  You see an empty water jug there.  It is
                    telling you that your religion did not satisfy you.
            3. \\#16-18\\ She was substituting relationships.
                a. It is interesting that through most of this conversation, the
                    woman is directing it.
                    (1) She probably did not know it, but she was telling on
                    (2) She was revealing what she had pulled out of the well.
                b. But Jesus knew of something that she had pulled out of the well
                    that she apparently was going to tell.
                c. Jesus asks her how many husbands she had?
                    (1) Five, and the man she was living with then was not her
                    (2) This woman had tried to find what she longed for by
                         filling her bucket with men.
                    (3) Obviously, it had not worked.  She had tried at least five
                         and was working on her sixth.
                    (4) She was back at the well with her empty water jug.
                d. Oh, how many have tired to find satisfaction in the arms of
                    (1) It can’t be done.
                    (2) No, not even in good relationships with good, godly
                    (3) Christian, you cannot find your security, your needs,
                         your desires, or anything else in another person.
                    (4) You cannot find it in a woman, in a man, or even in your
                         own children.
                    (5) As lovely and nearly perfect as they might be, they are
                         are still bound by the limits of the earthly well.
            4. These are the things this woman was looking to fill her water jug
                with, but there are others.
                a. Some are trying to fill their water jug with money, with a
                    job, with position.
                    (1) Christian, these things cannot gain you security,
                         happiness, or peace of mind.
                    (2) You are drawing from the wrong well.
                    (3) You must find these things in Christ.
                b. Some, and I am still talking to those who claim Christ, are
                    trying to fill their water jug with sinful things.
                    (1) Pornography, alcohol, drugs… whatever else they can
                    (2) It won’t work.  It won’t satisfy.
                    (3) You’ll be back and your jug will be empty again.
                c. Some fill their water jug with expensive toys.
                    (1) They are trying to find happiness in a new car, a new
                         house, a bigger vacation, a bigger television.
                    (2) You will be back to the earthly well with an empty bucket.
                d. Others put time consuming hobbies in their jug.
                e. Some want to fill their jug with "comfort food."
                f. All of these things, as diverse as they may be, are all drawn
                    from the same well.
                    (1) They are all earthy.
                    (2) Jesus said there are two sources of water, the earthly and
                    (3) Anything and everything drawn out of the earthly well will
                         fail and you will be back with an empty water jug trying
                         to put more of what you tried before or something new
                         into it.

  III. The woman’s satisfaction
        A. How long this conversation went on, we do not know.
        B. \\#28-30\\ However, finally, the woman decided to quit drawing from
            the earthly well and to draw from the eternal one.
        C. Suddenly, she had a satisfaction that she had never had before.
            1. How do I know?  Two thing:
                a. First, she left the well running through the town telling
                    everyone she met that she had found the Messiah.
                    (1) This woman had been to the earthly well on many occasions
                         but she had never left so full, so happy, so satisfied.
                    (2) Her countenance was so changed and powerful, that others
                         had to come meet Jesus for themselves.
                    (3) This woman had never run through the town bragging about
                         how her nation meet her needs.
                    (4) She had never run through the streets singing the praise
                         of her religion.
                    (5) And she had never found that kind of satisfaction with her
                    (6) This woman had found something she had never found before!
                b. \\#28\\ Second, she left without her water jug.
                    (1) What did the empty water jug represent?
                    (2) It represented all the failed attempts of drawing from an
                         earthly well.
                    (3) She left that bucket behind.
                    (4) Why?  She had received from Christ something that would
                         satisfy her forever.  She would never be back to the
                         earthly well with an empty water jug again.
            2. Christian, you have searched high and low for the things that will
                bring you peace, happiness, security, and satisfaction.
                a. You claim Christ, and I hope He is yours, but He is just what
                    you do on Sunday.
                b. You have not learned yet that Jesus satisfies all the longings
                    of your soul.
                c. You keep going to the polluted well of earthly devices.
                d. Go there no longer.
                e. Draw from Christ.  If you are saved, you know the way.
                f. Draw from Him and leave you empty water jug behind.

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