Sermon #1384 Miscellaneous Notes
Title: Is Your Religion
a well of Living Water
or a Broken cistern?
Text: John 4:11-14
Reading: Matthew 1:1-17
Subject: True Religion – A Well of Living Water
Date: Sunday Morning – December 12, 1999
Tape # V-59b
Is your religion a well of living water or a broken cistern? Do you drink from your own cistern; or do you draw water from the well of salvation that is in Christ? This is God’s complaint against man. –
So I ask you again -- Is your religion a well of living water or a broken cistern? Do you drink from your own cistern; or do you draw water from the well of salvation that is in Christ?
It is my prayer that God the Holy Spirit will, this day, cause you to know the gift of God, cause you to know who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and thereby cause you to ask of him, and he will give you to drink of that living water, which shall be in you “a well of living water springing up into everlasting life.”
To that end, I want to take you back to the city of Sychar, in Samaria, where we see the Son of God conversing with the Samaritan adulteress at Jacob’s well. We will pick up the conversation at John 4:11.
Verse 11 – Here is an example of that spiritual blindness and ignorance, which holds sinners in the bondage and darkness of unbelief, superstition, and idolatry.
The Lord Jesus spoke metaphorically in verse 10, comparing his mercy, grace, redemption, and salvation to living water. He often did this regarding the new birth, the vine and the branches, the head and the body. But this woman (blind to the glory of him who spoke to her, occupied only with material things and ignorant of spiritual matters) replied much like Nicodemus when Christ spoke to him of the new birth. All natural men are ignorant of spiritual things until they are enlightened by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-14).
Verse 12 -- Still ignorant of the fact that she was speaking to Jacob's Lord and God, and ignorant of the fact that he was speaking of the water of life, she asked if he thought himself wiser and greater than Jacob, who could find no better water for himself, his family and his cattle.
She was being an insolent, smart-mouth. Like Nicodemus (3:4), when confronted with spiritual things about which she had no knowledge, rather than acknowledging her ignorance, this proud woman spoke with rude insolence to the Son of God.
This poor soul’s stubbornness and obstinate insolence arose from three great evils she displayed.
1. Ignorance is ever the mother of rudeness, insolence, and obstinate behavior.
2. Added to her spiritual ignorance was the fact that she was completely overwhelmed (though she knew it not) with material things.
When the Lord spoke to her about grace, salvation, and eternal life, she thought only of carnal ease, pleasure, and gratification (v. 15 – “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw.”). Her eye was focused on “I.” She had no regard for the glory of God or the benefit of any one else. This poor woman could not see beyond her lusts.
Be warned, and be wise. The care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are the most effectual tools Satan uses to keep sinners from Christ.
3. This poor soul, in her blindness and carnality, presumed to limit the Son of God to a certain method of operation.
She thought that since she could not get water without a rope, he couldn’t either. – “Thou hast nothing to draw with!” What foolishness! Yet, it is a foolishness ever apparent in fallen men.
Though Jacob’s well was deep (v. 11), the well of God’s free grace is infinitely deeper. The well I am talking about, the well of grace and salvation in Christ, is as deep as –
· God’s infinite, everlasting love.
· The pit of hell (God’s indescribable justice and wrath!) Christ had to endure to redeem us.
· The very glory of God himself!
This woman was an insolent rebel; but our Lord is ever long-suffering toward his elect. The Lord Jesus did not turn away in disgust. He did not leave her to suffer the just consequence of her obstinance. Instead, he bore with her stupidity. By his great long-suffering, and patience, he wore down her opposition. By the irresistible wooing of his omnipotent grace, he at last won her to himself. Before he was done, she was perfectly willing, in that day of his power, to ask and receive the living water of life from him (Ps. 110:3; 65:4).
Now, look at verses 13 and 14. I want to show you just two things in this message.
I. The religion of this world is a broken, empty cistern.
Over all of the wells of this world, it must be written: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again and again.” The thirst within your soul lies too deep for the waters of the earth to quench. The thirst of your soul is a spiritual thirst. It is a thirst which cannot be satisfied by the things of this world.
· Material Wealth.
· Physical Beauty and Strength
· Power, Position, and Influence.
· Learning and Education.
· Family and Friends.
There is in the soul of every man an emptiness, an aching void, the world can never fill. All these things, the wise man tells us, are vanity and vexation of spirit. Yet, our text is not talking about the things of the earth in general. This text is dealing with religion. Our Lord is here telling this deluded Samaritan woman that the religion of this world is a stagnant cistern. And all who drink the water found in that cistern, drink water that can never satisfy the cravings of their souls.
Oh, I do not suggest that the religion of this world gives no relief. I do not suggest that it is incapable of giving momentary satisfaction. That is not what our text teaches at all. Religious rituals, ceremonies, incantations, services, sacrifices, and disciplines do gratify the flesh. But these things only, at best, provide temporary satisfaction.
Illustration: -- The Man on the Plane with Me
If your religion requires your water pot, or your rope, if it requires the pull of your hand, you are drinking water from a broken cistern, the broken cistern of your own corrupt, depraved, polluted, sinful heart.
In fact, any form of religion which tells you you must drink and find satisfaction from your own cistern is but the religion of Babylonian deception (2 Kg. 18:31; Isa. 36:16).
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, said to the children of Israel…"Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern." He promised them great ease and prosperity, if they would heed his counsel. But those who drink water from their own cisterns never find it so.
II. God’s salvation, True religion, the religion of Christ, the religion of the gospel, is a well of living water, springing up into everlasting life.
The person who receives the Holy Spirit, the grace of God in Christ, and the light and life of Christ shall never want any good thing, anything that is necessary to peace, rest, comfort, hope and eternal glory (1 Cor. 1:30; 3:21-23; Col. 2:9-10).
Look at what our Lord here tells us about God’s salvation and grace, about true religion.
A. It is the gift of God.
Our Master calls it, “the water that I shall give.” There is not a word here about working, or digging, or learning. Salvation is all about giving – God’s giving!
1. This gift comes to sinners only from the hands of Christ.
If your religion is not a religion of blood, a religion which you have received from the nail pierced hands of the crucified Son of God, your religion is a false, damning religion.
2. Yet, our Lord tells us plainly that this is a gift which you must personally receive. – “He that drinketh of the water that I shall give him.”
B. The grace of God in Christ, the salvation that is here compared to water, living water, satisfies the cravings of a man’s soul.
1. Immediate Satisfaction
· Satisfaction of Conscience
· Redemption and Reconciliation
· Pardon and Peace
· Divine Approval and Acceptance
2. Continual Satisfaction
One draft from this fountain of living water creates within an artesian well of living water, constantly springing up from within. The grace of God is not a robe we put on. It is a life God puts within. Our faith is not a badge we pin to our lapels. It is a fountain of life in our souls, an inexhaustible supply of living water from Christ, called God the Holy Spirit.
It is true, every child of God in this world, like David, pants after God and godliness. Every believer continually desires and longs for spiritual growth and fresh supplies of grace. Yet in Christ he has all that he needs and wants (Co. 1:12).
3. Everlasting Satisfaction
The life God gives us by and in grace here is the same life we will possess in heavenly glory. The only change that will be made is this. – We will drop this robe of flesh!
Application: Let me ask you two or three questions about your religion, and I’ll send you home, praying that God himself will make his Word effectual to your heart.
1. Where did you get your religion?
2. What has your religion done for you?
Does it quench your thirst? Does it satisfy your soul? Does it speak peace to your heart? Does it give you rest?
3. Does your religion spring up within your soul?
Does Jesus Christ live in you? Do you live and walk in the Spirit? This is what I mean by that.
· Do you live by faith, trusting Christ alone as your Savior?
· Is your religion inward, or outward, substance or show, mechanical or spiritual?
Do you pray by prompting, or because you can’t help it? Do you groan in your soul because you must groan for your sin, or do you just pretend? Do you sing, and praise, and worship because you do so in your heart, or because it is expected? Does your obedience to God arise from a principal of legal fear, or from a principle of love, grace, and gratitude?
Blessed is that man, blessed is that woman, whose religion is in them “a well of living water springing up into everlasting life!”