Our souls long for something only the Lord can satisfy.
I want to dive right into this message and really help you guys out. There were some cool, unique, I should say, circumstances that happened this week that opened the door for me to teach this morning. There were some really unique things that developed for this thought to be put in my heart, to speak to you today. I mean this when I say, I think someone here is specifically meant to receive what I’m going to say. I think something incredible is going to happen in your life. I think someone is going to break free today through this. So I’m going to dive right into this. This is our series called Spark. I was looking at that title, kind of the subtitle when faith comes alive, I was just praying to God, what do you want me to say?
Who’s going to be there? What’s going to happen? That word alive kept jumping out at me, alive. I am not only on way too much allergy medicine and caffeine right now, but I firmly believe I want to live until I die. I want to live, you know what I’m saying? That’s not easy. I’m walking with and praying through this, and it was a no-brainer that all of us are looking to feel alive. We just want it. If you look at what’s going on in our city, I mean, many of you moved to San Francisco with the hopes that something would develop and you would feel life. You would feel alive. From pride to this BBC article I read last night, I had too much time on my hands, obviously. It was a really interesting article on the death of all things. I typically don’t dive into that stuff, but it was about how reflecting on death can enhance life now. Then I started reading this article for you millennials in the house, trying to help you guys out here.
By the way, as I’m helping with young adults here, it’s because I’m only 28 years old. That was good at first, no one laughed, but then I think you caught on there. I was even reading this article about millennials. There’s this new thing that they’ve dubbed a quarter-life crisis. We know about mid-life, I’m in it, kind of. I’m doing well. Don’t worry. I will be 40 on August 29th. Come on, come on. I will pay the shipping on all gifts you want to get me, but there’s a quarter-life crisis as well. This is interesting, which is to say, when you go through college and then get married, you get the house or whatever it is. What you find out is it didn’t do what you thought it would do.
There’s kind of a new journey that starts, a journey of life. We’re trying to feel alive. I guess we could ask, what does that even look like? That’s very subjective stuff. I was teasing this out. I was walking with this thought this week. I’m not kidding, if you want to hang out with my wife and me, we do great thinking in DSW. We literally walked through the aisle. We do not ever buy anything. I think the people know us by now. We just kind of contemplate them, walk, and talk. There’s this deep thing, our shoes inspire us. I don’t know what it is, but I was walking through DSW, not purchasing anything with my wife. I was thinking, “what does it look like to be alive?” The words of Jesus hit me that we are supposed to be more like children.
I got you right there. You’re like, “Uh-huh.” You know where I’m going with this. The cool thing is Jesus says, “Don’t be like children when it comes to good and evil, know what’s going on around you, but be like children in your freedom. Be wise but be free.” I’m walking through DSW and there’s this little girl, she’s the cutest thing. I don’t know, maybe she’s five or six or seven. I couldn’t tell and here’s why, she had the coolest, most expensive pumps on. They were 18 sizes too big. She’s got her mom’s sunglasses on and the background music is jamming like an old Britney Spears song or something. She’s in front of one of the mirrors dancing with this big old grin. She’s not aware of anybody around her.
That’s what it’s supposed to look like without the pumps or something. She’s so alive. Maybe that’s a little adolescent and all of that, but we really need to figure this out because there is a beautiful life for us. I’m going to ask you this question. How would you fill in this blank? If I just had _____, I would feel alive. Just fill it in. It’s okay. We’re all human. We’re a beautiful mess. If I just had ____, I would feel alive. Maybe it’s a degree. Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe it’s location or just lower rents, right? In this awesome city of ours. But what is it for you? Because I’ve got my 10. If I just had that thing, I would feel alive. Some of you who’ve studied Psychology, Social Science, Philosophy, or whatever will recognize the name Maslow. He’s got that famed hierarchy of things that if you get it you’ll feel alive.
I think it’s right in so many ways. It starts with safety, shelter, and food as the base level of things to feel alive. Next, it’s quality relationships, then it’s goal-oriented drives of accomplishing things and all of that. You could wrestle with that and say, well, maybe that’s what it’s about. One more article hit me as I was thinking about that. Like maybe if we just get this, this, and this, nothing wrong with those things, we’ll feel alive. Then I listened to this amazing interview with Jim Carrey. Remember the Funny Man, Jim Carrey? There is some intense stuff going on with him. I would even encourage you to listen to it. Something’s breaking through in a really unique way. This man has had everything, according to him. The wife was a model, all the money one person could ever contain within a life.
He could go anywhere in the world and be recognized. He is famous. He’s got the life. He’s kind of disappeared because he’s on a new journey. Here’s what he said in this interview. I had to hit pause and write it down. He says, “that you can still be unhappy is a shock when you accomplished everything you ever dreamed of and more, and that kind of messes with our head.” He was shocked because he was told this trajectory; if I just get this, this, this, this, this, this, this, then I’ll finally feel alive, I’ll feel alive. I can have these things. He says, “I was shocked once I was able to grasp it all because I stood on the mountain top and went, ‘Okay, okay, here it comes. I’m ready to feel alive.’” Nothing came. He’s devoted his life to getting these things. These things are, I don’t want to speak for him, but material things, relationships, and a house, they’re not wrong, but there’s something else going on in the human.
I want to lay this out and if you’re wrestling with this, give me a chance to work this out. As I’ve been journeying through this, I have been looking at men like Jim Carrey, little kids dancing in DSW, and my own life, when I feel most alive. I believe that feeling alive is a spiritual issue. The reason we struggle with it, in all honesty, as just humans on this journey, is because I believe so often we’re trying to experience feeling alive by using the physical world, but we’re more than physical. We’re more than a vacation. We’re more than houses. We’re more than money. We’re more than relationships. We’re more than sex, exciting parties, and friendships. Those are all gifts of God.
Those are all good things, but there’s something else operating inside of us. If you think about it this way, and this is not to create guilt, it’s to open your eyes to freedom. If I was to ask myself how much time did I spend on my physical life this week? It was a pretty good amount, nothing wrong with that. But how much time did I spend focusing on my soul? If I still don’t feel alive, maybe that’s an arrow pointing to where the leak is. Maybe my soul is not being dealt with at the level it needs to be so I can really feel alive. Maybe we can come into contact with God in such a way, or maybe Lewis was right. C.S. Lewis, of course, he’s right, the wardrobe thing? Maybe he’s right in saying, “if we can’t find pleasure in life at the level we’re looking for on this earth, maybe it’s because we’re made for something else. Maybe there’s more.”
I began to search the scriptures and without a doubt, this amazing story in John 4 hit me. This is the most real, honest, authentic, and most “us” story in the Bible. I don’t want you to be afraid to see yourself in this narrative. We’re here to find hope. We’re here to move forward, no sweat. As I work this story out, I want you to allow yourself to enter into that story because this woman that we’re going to meet in just a minute, she’s in all of us. The end of the story is so beautiful and powerful. The thing that she experiences at the end is the little girl in the shoe store. She becomes that girl, again, minus all the crazy stuff. Her soul begins to regenerate. She comes to life. So if you’re here and thinking, “Okay, my life is good. I’m getting these things. I’m moving up the ladder and my family’s expanding. But I’m still empty.” Then this is for you. I want you to have a breakthrough. I want you to refocus things today just for a moment and enter into a new place. Start looking at the soul and how it connects to God. Allow God to bring new life into your soul. In John 4, let me lay out the scene. I have a lot of scripture that I’m going to put up, if you don’t have a Bible, I’ll do my best to make this as simple as possible as a beautiful story and so very human.
There are women and men who are living this out. There are wells everywhere in our city where we’re trying to find life. So John 4, here’s the deal. Jesus is deep in His ministry. He’s teaching the ways of God everywhere. He’s weaving through religion and teaching a new way to find God that’s been forgotten through faith. It’s a beautiful, liberating thing that He’s teaching. All these people are coming to Him, it’s a fantastic moment. Jesus is going to keep traveling. He’s got to go from this region. If you think of a map, He’s got to go up in the map just a little bit. The problem is to get to this city, this area He wants to get to, there’s this city called Sychar. That’s a cool name. Sychar. He’s got to go through Sychar. The problem with Sychar is they’re half-Jew, half non-Jew people living there. Jewish people would not go through that area. They would rather go all the way around, which is a beast of a journey rather than going through. They thought that if you just touched one of these Sycharians, you would be unclean. Jesus has to get through this area somehow. He sends His crew off. He says, “Go find some food. I have to deal with something. I’m not going around the city. I’m going straight into the city.” That’s what I love about Jesus.
He is not afraid to challenge culture. He’s not afraid to challenge racism and bigotry and break those walls down and bring healing. He dives right into Sychar. He’s not just going there to blow the place up with some Beasley-like Billy Graham sermon. He’s going there for one dear person. There’s a lady there He wants. There’s a lady there who’s hurt, busted, and broken. The world’s been hard on her. She’s tried to find life. She’s tried to feel alive. She’s tried relationships and religion. I’ll break this out in just a minute. She’s even looked at race and all these different things to truly feel alive. She’s coming up empty. Jesus has this woman in His heart. I’m serious when I say this because I have been the woman at the well, I’ve been this lady in my life.
If you’re this person, struggling to find life and you’ve tried all these things, let God speak to you this morning. Jesus Christ wants to meet you, speak to you, heal you, bless you, love you, and make you feel alive. He doesn’t see the person who’s broken and say, “Well, clean it up and I’ll come to you.” He says, “I want to meet you right at the well where you’re broken. I want to talk to you with love. I want to bring you into a new place, a new life.” That’s where we find ourselves in John 4:6. Jacob’s well was there. That’s our city, Sychar. Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey walked 20 miles.
Now, He’s up in Sacramento. Yesterday, it was 105. I was telling our first service that I was with some friends and said, “Why are you guys living here? What are you doing? Go south.” I literally caught myself. “No way, we don’t have the parking. You have to stay here.” Stay out of our city. But just imagine that type of heat, like last summer, remember how hot it was? Imagine that intense heat and Jesus, while He’s the son of God, He’s robed himself in a human body so He’s limited. He gets very tired on this 20 mile journey. I walked from my car to their porch and was exhausted looking for a well. The Bible says, “He was weary from His journey and He was sitting beside the well.” The sun is beating down on Him. He is exhausted. It’s noon. It’s the peak hot weather time of the day. Go take care of yourself. It says it was about the sixth hour, that’s noon. The sun is beating down and He’s not thinking about Himself. He’s thinking about this one person. I love this. In verse seven, a woman from Samaria came to draw water. There are so many problems with that sentence. It is loaded with problems. One, she’s alone. Women did not go to the well alone. Apparently, according to history, they went together, it’s a dangerous world and women did not have the rights that they should have had. They would travel kind of in a pack. It was a social thing as well, apparently. She’s alone.
The other thing they didn’t do is get water at the hottest time of the day. I remember drinking out of the hose in summer when it was super hot and the water’s hot. That’s exactly the point. Jesus thinks,
“There’s something wrong here. You’re alone. You’re coming out when no one will see you, you’re hiding.” When Jesus says to her, “Give me a drink.” He is not asking for a drink, contrary to what we just read. He is forgetting about Himself. He is setting up a conversation to heal her. He is literally saying, “I am going to thirst, sacrifice, and talk to you so you can never thirst again and have life.”
He says, “Hey, can I have a drink of water?” Look at verse nine. Now, I love this girl. I feel like some of my cousins are like this girl. I love the edge to her. It’s awesome. In verse nine, the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” Here’s what she just said. This shows you she has a chip on her shoulder and the culture has worn her down. She’s tired of cultural norms and rules. They’re killing her, cultural pressures. She says, “Okay, wait a minute. I’m not supposed to speak to you. It’s against our law. It’s against our tradition. You’re a rabbi. You’re a man. I have no rights. I am not supposed to be speaking to you. Why are we talking?”
You have to love this girl. In other words, I’m sick and tired of my culture. It’s eating me up. I need something else, is what she’s saying. Game on. Jesus is like, that’s the combo we’re about to have. Here’s Jesus’ beautiful response. He says, “Okay, listen, I know you’re dying inside, but take it easy. I’m not against you. If you knew what you were really longing for and who I am, you would be asking many different questions.” In verse 10, Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, give me a drink; you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” If you knew what I could supply, if you knew the things that I can give a human life, if you knew the wisdom I have to truly tell you where you’re coming up empty with that God-sized hole in your heart, we would be having a different conversation. I have something you really need.
It’s so cool because she totally misses it. He says, “I got water. I got different water and it will blow your mind. It will be able to bring you alive.” She says, “Show me where it is.” Well, I didn’t know there was another well around here. Let’s go look. If I don’t have to go out here like an outcast anymore, I’m cool with that. Give me another thing. Give me another place to find life, literally. Well, look, if you know of another place I can get this water if I can get out of this situation, show me. Let me just say it about me. What often happens is when I’m feeling kind of that deadness inside, I don’t feel alive. I don’t feel energized about life, full of faith, hope, adventures, and all of that. There are seasons when we go on those ruts, it’s part of the human journey. I often look to another physical thing to kind of reapp me. Let me try a new thing. That’s what Jesus is telling this lady, “We’re not going there. That’s not what I’m talking about.” In verse 11, the woman said to Him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, you’ve got no bucket so there’s no new water down in this well. That well’s deep, you’re certainly not going to climb down so where’s this water? Let’s get moving. I’m sick and tired of coming out here.” Jesus was so gentle and so loving. It’s amazing how He moves with people. How He moved with me.
He just looks at her with eyes of love and says, “I’m not talking about another physical thing.” Lady, I love you and I need you to know that your thirst is coming from your soul. Look at verse 13. Jesus said to her, “Everybody who drinks this water, everybody who tries to find life in physical things will be thirsty again.” Every time you try to satisfy soul thirst with another physical thing, you’re going to stay thirsty. You’re going to keep trying new things. Then He just lays it out. I just want to lay it out for you to encourage you. Jesus says, “I have something spiritual.” It’s not only going to make you feel alive, but it’s so good it’s going to overwhelm you. It’ll never run dry. John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him, will never be thirsty again.” I’ve got something and when you taste that thing, you’re not going to be okay. You’re going to be blown away. “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up into eternal life.” It’s not a bucket of water. It’s a living well that’s bubbling and pouring. It brings not life, not satisfaction alone, it brings something eternal. It’s forever life.
This lady sitting there trying to process this whole thing thinks this is quite the afternoon. Almost seeing her overwhelmed and confused, Jesus says, “let me just prove to you gently that outward things can’t make your soul feel alive. Your soul needs something else. It needs God. Remember all the relationships you tried? Remember all the men that you tried. Remember the marriages, nothing wrong with marriage. Remember you tried to find life in your soul through these relationships? One didn’t work and so you moved to the next one and that didn’t work and you moved to the next.” He’s not saying this to hurt her. If you’re like me, we’ve done that. We have leaped from one thing to another. Jesus isn’t condemning us. He’s just trying to open her eyes and our eyes. I understand it’s hard down there, but I need you to understand, it doesn’t work. Relationships are good for their own thing. They’re beautiful. They’re gifts of God, but the soul needs something else. Look at John 4:16-18.
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband.” Let me prove to you that these physical things can’t quench this soul thirst. “Go call your husband and come here.” I had to pierce her heart because she knows she’s got baggage. The woman answered Him, “I don’t have a husband.” Jesus said to her, “Well, you’re right about that, you’ve had five husbands.” Awkward. I get tense when I read this, I think, “Oh man, that’s awkward.” Jesus thinks “We need to go a little deeper in the heart. We need to start going into those cracks, those hidden things.” He says, “And the one you now have, He’s married. He’s not your husband. What you said is true, you don’t have a husband. You have a relationship that’s not great right now. I’m just telling you this so you can stop trying to fill your soul with these things and look at why you were made, look to me.” The edge comes back with our girl. I mean, what would you say right there? I would bounce.
I tried for 10 years to walk away from Jesus in this conversation He had with me. Baseball and all these different things I was using to try to find life. But she gets sharp. I mean, there’s an interest happening in verse 19 and she basically says, “Why do you know this about me? Why in the world do you know this about me?” She just straight up says, “Hey look, dude. Only God can judge me.” Don’t Google that. Let’s just leave it alone. Just trust me on that. In verse 19, the woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” That’s a very stoic way of saying, what is going on? You are a religious prophet. In verse 25, she starts getting agitated. The woman said to him, “Look, I know the Messiah is coming. I know God is coming back to the earth. He who is called Christ. When He comes, He will tell us all things.” When God comes, this is between me and God. Don’t get in here. Don’t toy with this. This is my business. Jesus just looks at her with the most beautiful eyes, eyes of love. He says, “I’m God.” Drop the mic.
He just says with love and grace, not judgment, “You were made by me, and only I can make you feel alive.” Verse 26. Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” Let me just spend a few minutes talking. I just want to be real. I’ve been this lady so many times. I forget that I’m soul. I forget I’m more than physical. I try to find life in amazing, great things. I try to quench my soul thirst with my wife, kids, fun adventure, vocation, drive, and ambition. I mean, she’s in all of us. So often, after a while, I think, “man, I’m so dry.” What’s happened to my adventures, pursuits, and joy? It’s in the hustle of life. God understands.
We so often forget we’re more than just work. We’re more than ambition. We’re more than passion. We’re more than sex. We’re more than trips. They’re all good gifts of grace. Jesus is so amazing. I’m going to say Jesus is so cool. Can I say that? He’s pretty cool, but He’s so amazing that He just patiently waits for us to walk up to those wells. Just like in those moments, maybe you’re here this morning. You’re in this moment where you’re just like, “Ah,” with life. I’m just in a shade of gray and I can’t snap out of this, but I had fire once. I had passion once. Jesus is just patiently waiting to have this convo with you, saying, “Look, I understand. Let’s put the buckets down. They got holes in them. They can’t hold the water. You come back to me. You drink of me. You worship me. You talk to me, you be with me, you’ll be with God’s people. You praise me, sing, dance, and rejoice in me.”
What our souls are thirsty for is God. If I break that down, here’s what our souls need. We need to feel loved. Amen. We need to feel accepted. We need to feel truly loved by God, constantly for our soul to awaken to life. That’s what was lost. That’s what sin has done and we still carry the ache. That’s what salvation is all about. Finding life in Christ, coming to Him in faith. For the believer, this is where our soul continues to feel alive. When we continually experience His love and acceptance, the fact that He knows all about us and loves us the same. I love what happens to this lady because she’s sitting there not even arguing anymore. She just drops the bucket. All you hear is the rattle of the bucket on that dry desert day.
End of the story? Not a chance. She turns around. This is the most awkward thing in the Bible. She just turns around and starts booking. Jesus says, “Okay, we’ll talk later. I’ll email you.” She’s just moving. When you feel that love, acceptance, and God knows all about you and loves you the same, then the soul comes alive like you don’t care about all the other things. What she does is runs back into the very city where she’s an outcast because of her relationships with men. She runs in, and guess what she does, “Come, meet my new man.” What is that? You don’t do that. You do that when you know you’re loved by God. When you find the real man, the Lord Jesus Christ, all these weights come off of you. Everything starts falling in its own place and everyone was so blown away. What is this new joy in this lady? They all went out and dropped their buckets. They all came to Jesus and found life. That’s your story. That’s your birthright in Christ.
I’m going to give you three quick things. I’m going to go through these fairly quickly. Check out the video online. Here’s a rhythm we need to be in to constantly feed our souls and feel alive. Number one, we got to recognize our thirst for what it is. Your body was made to live on water. Your soul was made to live on God. The physical life needs to find life in physical things. Spiritual life has got to find life in spiritual things, that’s our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. We got to remind ourselves. By the way, that’s why Christianity is designed to be done in community. We will forget this by Tuesday, but together we remind ourselves. Number two, no physical thing can sustain the weight of fulfilling our souls and making us feel alive. I did this to my poor wife.
I was like, “Finally, a girl likes me. I’m marrying her.” Then I was like, “Oh, she’s going to complete me, Jerry Maguire.” She’s just a human on her own journey, but I needed her to complete me, but she’s just a human like me. This weight I had put on her, it’s like this thing for me. But when I let that go, that physical thing and I found it in my worship with Jesus and my relationship with Jesus, I was able to free her and love her correctly. Everything will work that way. No physical thing can sustain the weight of fulfilling our souls. Number three, and I love this because this is church. This is what we call church. This is what we call small groups, ministries, friends, and lunch after church on Sunday. We have to build a regular rhythm and remind ourselves constantly to put down these buckets and drink of God and feel alive in God’s love.
We’ve got to hear about His love constantly through great music, great preaching, great fellowship, and great friendships in this thing called the church. I’m telling you, you’ll be like that little girl in DSW in your soul. Your soul will dance. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to sing an awesome closing song that goes right in tune with this. But I want you to pray with me just for a few moments. Just pray with me.
I want you to drink of God right now in prayer. I want you to hear my voice. He loves you. He knows all about you just like He knew everything about this woman and He loves us the same. You are fully known yet fully loved. Let it touch your soul. During the offering. During the last song, stay there. Let Him touch your soul. Lord Jesus, we need you and we ask Lord Jesus that if there’s anybody here and he’s sweet and precious human life who doesn’t know you, who has never tasted this water, this joyous, beautiful water called salvation, that in these last moments they would come to you in faith, they would just ask you to save them. For your children, your sons and daughters, just tell us to drop the buckets and to drink of you again. Define life so our souls can dance on this beautiful afternoon and we can feel free and alive in your love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.