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John 4:1-42


“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 must needs go through Samaria.  Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water:  Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.  (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?  for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.  The woman answered and said, I have no husband.  Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I  have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias [Messiah] cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.  And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things I ever did: is not this the Christ?  Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.  In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.  But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.  Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him aught to eat?  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.  So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have head him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:1-42)


Jesus evangelizes a city through one Samaritan woman


“Good morning.  Let’s turn in our Bibles to John chapter 4….we’re in John chapter 4.  Let’s say again a word of prayer together as we start our Bible study.  ‘Lord, as we now consider your truths in your Word, of course we come with all sorts of things going on in our minds and our hearts.  Nobody here has a perfect understanding of who you are.  In fact, we don’t even have a perfect understanding of our own selves.  But we ask, Lord, today you would heighten, you would increase our understanding of who you are.  Certainly we need it Lord.  And we thank you for your grace, your grace is sufficient for us, Lord.  Thank you so much for that.  But thank you for these truths in your Word.  We’d ask now, even now, that you’d open our eyes to the wondrous things that are here.  And Holy Spirit, that you’d be upon all of us, upon even myself now as I share your Word, in Jesus name, Amen.’ 

          ….No doubt, God is orchestrating an event, and when he’s orchestrating, when he’s moving, it’s exciting to be part of that.  And sometimes God will do that, he’ll orchestrate a big event, a big evangelistic outreach, and sometimes God will do a small thing, maybe he’ll just use me as an individual.  But there’s two keys to evangelism, one is being led in the Spirit, and the second is being willing, being available.  It’s key for effective evangelism for you and I to be led by the Spirit, ‘What does God want to do?’ and then be part of that.  But secondly it’s also important for us to be available, to be willing to step out in faith, to be willing to take a risk, to be willing even to be embarrassed if so be.  Sometimes that’s our greatest fear.  So, that’s the way evangelism works, that’s the way it’s working in this evangelistic outreach [Festival of Life, he’s taking about].  We have seen, Jesus, thus far, obviously work in this mode of evangelism, share the gospel, share about himself [John 3:1-21, with Nicodemus].  And as we’ve seen him do it, we’ve seen him do it also in this environment of just one-on-one, him ministering.  He ministered to Nicodemus, one-on-one, shared the truth with him.  Now this week in John chapter 4, we’ll see him work one-on-one with a particular lady, but the same thing, being led, being available, we’ll see those principles.  Of course, the Lord just wants to remind us of those things, and teach us more about those things as we go on and we study this chapter together this morning.  There will be times, as a church, we’ll be part of big evangelistic outreaches, there’s even September 11th in our own community, churches coming together….we’re going to do an outreach on that evening, use the opportunity to just get together as a church, invite the community and share the gospel with them.  God will do that sometimes, and lead us in a bigger way.  But God most often leads us individually, to just go out, as individuals, as we just go out from this service and go out into the community this week, God will lead us individually, to share his grace and to share his love.  And he’s looking for people that are available, and looking for people that will just simply be led by him.  And that’s how this community will really be impacted.  Healthy sheep produce sheep.  You hear that said a lot in Calvary Chapel, but as we come together and study the Word, and grow in Christ, and then as we go out as individuals, and just simply share the things that God has done in our lives.

          So, chapter 4, beginning with verses 1-10, “Therefore when the Lord knew the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples), he left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  But he needed to go through Samaria, so he came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus therefore being wearied from his journey, sat thus by the well, it was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’, for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to him, ‘How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me a Samaritan woman, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans?  Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’’  Well Jesus has heard about their religious leaders, their inquiry into the ministry of John the Baptist.  Obviously there’s some criticalness toward that ministry, and then now hearing that Jesus’ ministry is surpassing that of John the Baptist, he’s baptizing more, maybe not directly himself, but his disciples certainly together, there’s more being baptized than even John the Baptist’s.  The Pharisees and the religious leaders, of course, that is a concern to them.  And Jesus hearing that they heard, he now decides to leave the area, and to move on to Galilee.  Of course, from this point on, as we go on, every time he gets together with the Pharisees and religious leaders, there’s a confrontation.  There’s this confusion that takes place.  So he’s choosing now, because of their knowledge about his workings and this work that God is doing, he decides to depart from the area and to head to Galilee.  Now in verse 4 it says as he heads for Galilee, John mentions to us that he then needs to go through the area of Samaria.  There were essentially three ways to go from Jerusalem, Judea, to Galilee.   One would be along the coast.  Another would be going inland eastward across the Jordan River and then heading up through Peria up to Galilee.  Those were common ways for a Jew to travel to Galilee.  The most direct way was through Samaria, although most Jews would not go this way, for certain reasons we’ll talk about as we go on.  But it says here that Jesus needed to go through Samaria, and we don’t exactly know why, but we can surmise a few things, and we’ll do that as we go on.  So he goes through this way of Samaria.  Essentially the area of the West Bank [today].  And as you even consider today, for the Jew to travel through the area of the West Bank, obviously we know from CNN, that’s not a popular area for a Jew to go.  They would stay away from that, they would go along the coast if they wanted to travel.  My first time to Israel, and as we were in the bus driving together, and we came to the limits of the West Bank to go to our hotel that was in that area, man, seeing the soldiers there guarding the entrance into the area of West Bank, and of course, stopping our bus and talking to us, certainly revealed to us about that area and the dynamic that exists in the West Bank even to this day.  And then going to the hotel and turning on CNN and learning about what was going on just down the street from where we were---violence and things that were being reported on CNN.  That situation exists today.  It was a bit like that for different reasons, but a bit like that in the day of Christ.  So you would go around Samaria, around what would be the West Bank.  [Comment:  In 721-718BC, the Assyrian Empire took the 10 northern tribes of Israel captive, and deported them to the area of the Caspian Sea.  They never returned.  But the Assyrian empire was in the habit of deporting the races they conquered to prevent them from growing strong again and becoming a military threat all over again.  When they did this, they would often take a tribe local to them and move them into the region that had just been conquered and deported.  In 2nd Kings 17:23-41 it shows us that this is exactly what they did.  They moved a race of pagans into the region of Samaria where the ten northern tribes of Israel had dwelled.  This pagan race melded some of the religious beliefs of the Jews into their own pagan beliefs.  The Jews, knowing this, looked down on the Samaritans, considering them worse than dogs.]  But for certain reasons, Jesus goes straight through Samaria to get to Galilee.  Now why does he need to go through this area?  And why does he choose to not go around but through it?  We don’t know exactly why, but as we see in our reading, and as we’ll see as we go on, certainly God has a plan in all of it.  There’s a God-ordained encounter, and it’s necessary, certainly for that reason that he goes this route.  And that can be true for you and I.  Sometimes those detours that we go on, sometimes those job changes that we have that are sudden, that maybe we didn’t expect.  Sometimes you get jury duty and you didn’t want it, but maybe the Lord has another reason for it.  Maybe those unexpected stays in the hospital, whatever they might be, God may actually be orchestrating a God-ordained encounter with you and someone else, where you can share the gospel with somebody and share the love of God.  And we need to understand that.  I know of a number of examples in my life.  I remember one time, God just ministered to my heart.  I was in San Diego and I’d gotten a traffic ticket, and I didn’t think it was fair and I complained about it and I told the Police Officer ‘I don’t think this is fair, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong’, but he thought I did so he gave me a ticket, one of those deals.  right?  Well, you get a traffic ticket, that effects your insurance and all those things, but in southern California, you can go to traffic school, a day in class, and if you go to this class they will work it so this ticket basically disappears and it’s not on your insurance.  You don’t end up paying over and over for that ticket.  So I on a Saturday got the opportunity to go to traffic school, but it was for a ticket that I didn’t think I deserved.  So you can just imagine my attitude, but I went to this traffic school.  I didn’t want to be there, as the class started I didn’t like the instructor, I didn’t like anybody in the class, and I mean, they deserved it and I didn’t.  You know, I had a pretty bad attitude about being there, on a Saturday of all times.  But as I was there, God just began to remind me, you know there’s people in this room right now that you’ll never be with again that you don’t even know.  Maybe it’s possible I have you here for a reason.  Maybe I worked it out.  There’s people you can pray for right now, maybe get a chance to talk to during the break, maybe talk to some individuals.  So it changed my perspective, in fact it became exciting to be in that room with those individuals.  So I looked for opportunities, talked with some people during the break, you know, it just changed my perspective.  The same has happened to me on jury duty, I’ve had jury duty.  You know, life is full, I don’t want to stop and go to jury duty, although it’s part of the responsibility and I see the value in it.  [Some denominations don’t believe in voting, serving in the military or serving on jury duty.  This is a part of their deep commitment not to kill (6th commandment) nor to judge another, as part of not being a part of this world’s systems or governments, because they serve a higher government, the Government of God.  Some believers have this perspective and belief, and in that sense, it’s not wrong if that’s the way you believe and are willing to stand up for it.]  But sometimes it just makes life busier.  But I had the same experience of then being on jury duty and God speaking to my heart and saying ‘Hey man, I got you here for a reason.  You’re with a group of people you’ll never be with again.  Maybe I want to use you, to share the love of God with them, and just be a light, just to pray for them.’  So maybe that’s true in your life.  Maybe you’ve gone through a sudden job change, maybe there’s been a redirection in your life, and it’s freaked you out a little bit, but it’s possible God just says ‘Well, I need you there, because I want to use you there.’  Or maybe he’s keeping you in a situation for that reason, and you’ll find later that ‘Wow, what an excitement to have been used by the Lord in that capacity.’


“Be ready in season, out of season”


Well, we are told that Jesus arrives at this place called Sychar, and we’re told he’s wearied.  You see the humanness of Jesus, he’s God, but he’s fully man, and he’s fully man to the extent that he’s tired physically.  And we’re told that he needs to rest, so he sits down by Jacob’s well, this well you can even see today, it’s still in existence, it’s a well that’s 150 feet deep, and it’s near the area of Sychar/Shechem.  But he’s weary, and he’s tired.  But as you see, that doesn’t stop him from being available to the Lord.  And sometimes that’s the way it works, too.  I’m in a situation, I don’t feel like it, I’m tired, I’m weary, maybe I’ve got a fever, I’m sick, there’s issues, there’s confusion, whatever.  It’s like the last likely moment that I think that God would bring somebody to me or have me say something to somebody regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But you know, the truth is, often those are the times.  And it’s in those times that I can learn, yes, your grace is sufficient for me, I’m weak, but you are strong.  And I was really weak at that moment, I was tired, I was sick, man, I had just heard a heartbreaking story, I had these things happen to me.  The last thing I expected was to sit there, and over that cup of coffee and share the Gospel with that individual, but Lord you set it up, and I just knew you ministered to my heart, and I went for it, and what an excitement it was, and what a blessing it was….Well, Jesus is tired and that doesn’t stop him, and it shouldn’t stop you or me either, we should have that perspective, that yes, God wants to use us at any time, and his grace is sufficient, his grace is sufficient for you.  Don’t let anything, any other voice tell you otherwise.  God is willing and able to use you at any moment of any hour.  In fact we’re told, we’re reminded in the Word of God, right in 1st Peter chapter 3, “And always be ready” we’re told to always be ready “to give a defense to everyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”, but to always ready.  Not just when I feel like it, not when I’ve just planned my schedule, and had just enough time in my devotions, now I’m ready to go---got the cape on, got my sword, I’m out the door to share Jesus with somebody---but always, always ready.  Paul said to Timothy, he said “preach the Word, be ready in season, and be ready out of season.”  What does it mean to be ready “out of season”?  It means you’re not ready, at least you don’t feel like you’re ready, you don’t feel like it’s a good time---it’s out of season, it’s not the season for evangelism right now---but God says “be ready out of season” to share his Word, to convince, to rebuke, to exhort, with all longsuffering.  So you’re at home, it’s the middle of the night, you’re in bed, the phone rings, it’s out of season, man.  2 O’clock in the morning, you’re tired, but it’s somebody who wants to talk to you, a relative, something’s happened and they need to talk to you.  [Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”  That sounds like we’re to share God’s Word, which now includes the Gospel, in season and out of season.  So a direct reflection of 1st Peter 3 is seen in the Old Testament Torah.]   So you get up and you love them, you encourage them, you share the love of God with them.  This is also the wisdom that Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes chapter 11, verse 4, he says “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”  If you’re just looking for the right set-up, you’re not going to do it.  But if you’re faithful to do it regardless, to be ready regardless, to put in the time regardless, then you’re going to reap.  And that’s what we see here too with Jesus, he’s weary, but certainly as our example, he’s there ready and willing and that’s consistent through the Gospels.  We’re told it’s about the sixth hour, if it’s Roman time John is using, it’s six o’clock at night, if it’s the Jewish time which I would lean towards, it is noon.  So then, not only is he tired, but potentially he’s very hot.  Out in the West Bank in that area it’s dry, it’s hot, it’s the desert.  And sometimes for some of us, even the heat will become an excuse.  But he says ‘God’s Word says be ready in season, be ready out of season.’


A woman’s unexpected encounter


Well verse 7, as he sits there by the well for this rest, we’re told that a Samaritan woman comes out to draw water.  Of course this lady is just about her daily routine, her daily activity.  I mean, there’s nothing unusual about what she’s doing as far as her routine goes.  But there’s going to be this encounter, it’s an unexpected encounter, a conversation that she’s going to have that will really change her life.  And that’s how it works.  Now this lady isn’t heading to a evangelistic tent meeting, she’s not heading to church, she hasn’t been invited by a relative, she’s just going about her daily routine.  And yet in that routine God is going to reach out and give the gospel to her and minister to her, and it’s going to radically change her life.  So as you and I go about our daily routines even this week, maybe they’re even mundane routines, you’re thinking ‘I’m just going out to the well, or I’m just sitting there and resting’, your daily routine.  Maybe it doesn’t seem very spiritual what we’ll be doing, but if we’re available to the Holy Spirit, God can use us.  In fact, he can use us in great ways.  You’re going to work, you’re going on travel, you’re going to school, you’re going shopping.  Even recently I was at Victory there in our town, in the Plaza there, the Super Victory, the big one.  And as I was heading into the grocery store with my family, I noted on the back of this car a sticker, it said ‘Are you saved?’.  That’s all it said.  Well clearly that told me a little about the individual who owned that car.  But as we headed in there was no one there, and I was curious to who was the owner.  But when we came out, it turns out as we were parked next to this vehicle and we’re loading up our van, this owner of the vehicle came out, a lady, and started loading the back of her car.  So I just of course wanted to say something to her.  I said, ‘Hey, I like your sticker.’  And she turned to me and said ‘Are you saved?’  [chuckles]  She was looking for the opportunity.  It was there.  She was ready.  I said ‘Ya I am’.  We talked a little bit about her sticker and about Jesus Christ and about being born again.  But she was ready, she had the sticker.  She was just going about her daily routine, she was just going to the grocery store, loading groceries into the back of her car.  But she was looking, ‘Maybe God will have me at this moment share this gospel.’  And that’s what you see here, this lady is just heading to the well.  No campaign, no flyers, no mime, or little show, or guitars, she’s just heading to the well.  Yet the Lord is going to minister to her right there.  And that’s important, good for me to understand too.  So he says to her “Give me a drink.”  Just starts with basic conversation, you know ‘Give me a drink’.  Of course, as we see, as we read through, Jesus, the Son of God, as he discerns certain things about this lady’s heart, so he’s purposely asking her this, and there’s more to it than just the question about ‘I need some water’, it’s not just a casual thing, he discerns this heart in this lady.   So he begins with just a simple conversation.  He doesn’t rip out on hallelujah’s, or any praise the Lord’s, he just starts a conversation with her.  And that’s how it works for you and I too.  I want to be available.  Be discerning.  Maybe there’s an individual that God has put on my heart, I see them, I walk by them in the hallway.  And I wonder, they’re on my heart.  Well I just go up and start a conversation with them, and see what the Lord will do.  Maybe it’s somebody I’m standing in line with at the grocery store, just start a conversation.  See what the Lord will do.  But why does he ask this particular lady?  It’s clear he asks her because he’s discerning, discerning her heart.  [Comment:  As we read a little further on in this story, you will also see here something that Jesus, very God the Son, could do that none of us can do.  He could read her mind, perhaps by the power and ability the indwelling Holy Spirit gave him, but he could read her mind and know everything she had done in her past.  But then, this is God we’re talking about, God the Son.]  I went to the Red Sox game this week, because the church went, you know, a group of forty of us.  You know, you’re sitting there, Fenway is packed as it often is, and there’s 33 thousand people, they told us, in this ball park.  Looking around at all the people, you know, they get the wave going, you see all these people.  And I began to just think in my mind, all these people, 33 thousand of them, so I’m sure most of us in our group just started to pray for the people around us, you know, I was just doing it in my heart.  Praying for the people, this is a representation here, a good sized representation of people in New England, praying for them that the Lord would work in their hearts.  I began to consider, ‘How many people here are ripe, meaning they have an open heart right now to the gospel, how many people?’  And you figure out, what if it’s one in a hundred?  Well that’s 330 people, that’s more than there are hear today, that were seated in that stadium.  [They have two services at this congregation, which combining the two services is over 400 people.  Many people in this congregation are there through the personal evangelism of other members, and not just the radio station.  Healthy sheep produce more sheep.]  And there are people around us indeed.  God is working in their hearts.  And their hearts are prepared.  Every person has a hunger for God in their heart, there’s a void.  Some are maybe trying to fill it with other things and trying to avoid it, but there’s this thing in their heart.  But I wondered how many people there are in that area, and of course, all 33 thousand.  They looked like people on the outside, but the Holy Spirit can certainly show you, ‘Hey, there’s somebody.’  He can, he can set up that situation there at Fenway in the men’s room, you know, with somebody, for you to just say something, and there goes a conversation, and next thing you know you’re giving them a tract, or sharing the love of God with them.  I remember one time going to the beach in southern California, and I had it impressed on my heart, it was an evening where some men and I were having a prayer-meeting, it got done, and it was on my heart, I really just sensed a desire to share the gospel, didn’t know why.  And so I left the meeting, and I wanted to go out and do some street evangelism, and I wanted to go by myself, I didn’t have a jacket, so I borrowed a jacket from somebody, and I went out to the Mission Bay and was walking at night on the boardwalk, and there’s people there on the boardwalk along Mission Beach.  I was walking around and just looking, ‘OK Lord, who would you have me share the gospel with tonight?’  Of course, in my little heart, I’m looking for somebody who looks feeble and quiet, you know, that I’m not going to be intimidated by, you know, some little elderly lady, you know, shaking, I can go up and share the gospel with her.  [chuckles]  And I was walking, and I walked by these two guys, they just looked cool, drinking their beers, and I walked by them, and as I walked by them I just sensed in my heart God say ‘That’s why I sent you, those two guys right there.’  And I just kept walking, thinking [laughter], thinking ‘I’m not ready to talk to those two guys.’  I mean, they’re not gonna want to talk to me.  And I walked a little ways, and I wrestled with this thought, and I wrestled and I wrestled, and I said ‘All right.’  Turned around, and I walked back, and I walked up to these two guys and I just said to them, I said “Hey, I’m here just looking to talk to people about Jesus with.  You interested in talking about Jesus?”  “Yeah, we’ll talk to you.”  So there went the next three or four hours, as we just got into it and talked about every possible thing, talked about their evolution, talked about the college that they were going to, and talked about Jesus.  And it was a real moving time.  Clearly God was working in their hearts.  At this particular time nobody decided at that moment to receive the Lord, but man, the Lord was really working in their hearts.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if they went to church that Sunday somewhere.  But just being sensitive.  I was in this meeting again in New York City, talking with one of the assistant pastors from Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, this man is a Jewish man who got saved, and accepted Christ into his life, saw Jesus as the Messiah.  We began to talk, and I asked him about, ‘I have a sister who married a Jewish man, and I’ve tried sharing Jesus with him, just tell me, how is there a way to be sensitive in that situation, how do you share the gospel in that context?’  [Very difficult.  Contact for more information, from Jewish believers in Jesus.  Their website is at .]  And he was sharing with me about his family, you know it’s difficult to even call his mom and dad because his mom and dad are extremely upset with him for becoming a Christian, his family members. [Log onto the Messianic section, particularly]  and click on the upper nav button “BloodStainedHands” and read it for enlightenment about why it is so hard to witness to Jews.]  And he was telling me how the Lord is leading him to be sensitive, and he gets on the phone, and they will often go right into it and really get harsh with him, and he’ll say to them, ‘Listen, I love you, and I’m not calling to….it’s your birthday, I just want to call you and let you know I love you, and I’m concerned for you, I’m praying for you.’  And he’s told me at times he’s had to say, ‘Listen, if this goes on, I’m going to have to hang up the phone, it’s not why I’m calling, I don’t want to argue with you.’  But just trying to be sensitive, and used in even that very difficult situation.  We started to talk, and he shared with me how he also shares the gospel with people, and the way he goes about it.  And I shared with him, sometimes the way I approach it, and each individual maybe has a way.  But the main thing is, we agreed, is just being sensitive and led in the Lord.  Because God may have you do something very different, in a way, just to somebody that is there and has a heart, and God wants you to minister to them.

          Well, this woman of Samaria, she’s caught off guard, for certain reasons.  She says “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?  For the Jews” as we’re told there “have no dealings with the Samaritans ” (verse 9)  She’s caught off guard, she’s a Samaritan, and she’s a woman.  For those two reasons, this man, this Jewish man, in that culture would not be talking to her.  A Samaritan, there was a tremendous dislike by the Jewish people towards the Samaritans.  In fact, some of the religious leaders of the Jews would even pray that, they would ask God that no Samaritan would be raised to life at the resurrection.  That was their dislike.  That even in their prayers they prayed that God would just judge them.  Of course it went back to the exile in 722BC [721-718BC], when the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom [the northern 10-tribed House of Israel], took Israel captive [deporting the entire ten tribes to the area of the southern Caspian Sea region], then the Assyrians took some other [pagan] people from other places they had conquered and sent them into the land there of Samaria.  And what happened is some of the Israelites that got left behind and they intermarried over time with these Jews that were there.  [I think what he’s trying to say is some of the tiny number of real Israelites that got left behind, from the deported ten tribes, intermarried with those pagans that got moved into Samaria, making in the eyes of the Jews, a bastardized race that wasn’t really Israelite at all.]  So then, you had these Israelite people, whose descends were half Assyrian, half Israelite, maybe from another culture.  [Actually, the percentage that was true Israelite from the northern ten tribe kingdom was very small compared to the number of outside pagans moved in by the Assyrians.]  And that time, obviously from the Old Testament, that was a tremendous concern.  Well what happened then is the Jewish people hated them, and that wasn’t right, but they despised them.  In fact, they were barred from the temple.  So what the Samaritans did is, at Mount Gerizim they built their own temple.  And they discounted the rest of the Old Testament, they just accepted the first five books, but then they had to kind of rearrange it a little bit to fit their lives.  They changed some of the stories.  In their book, the Garden of Eden they believed was on Mount Gerizim, Noah’s ark they believed landed on Mount Gerizim, Abraham sacrificed Isaac on Mount Gerizim rather than Jerusalem.  So they had developed basically their own form of Judaism packaged for their region and their culture, now that they were ostracized by the Jewish people.  But this Samaritan, also a woman that Jesus is talking to, of course in that culture as you studied the Bible before, that was a big deal.  The rabbis even said at that time ‘It is better that the Words of the Law be burned than delivered to a woman.’  So that’s what the Jewish rabbis, their teachers taught, better to burn the Law than share it with a woman.  I mean, that’s ugly, prejudiced and chauvinistic.  In Jesus’ day a rabbi would not only refrain from talking to a woman in public, but even if he saw his own wife on the street, he wouldn’t acknowledge her.  So this lady, a woman, a Samaritan, she’s caught off guard that this Jewish man is asking her for a drink.  Cleary Jesus doesn’t have any prejudice at all.  He just loves people, they’re all equal to him, makes no difference, they all need to hear the gospel, they all need to be loved and encouraged.  I hope in our hearts today there isn’t any prejudice towards any group, I  mean God isn’t prejudiced.  All are created equal, man and woman, there’s no Jew or Greek, we’re all the same, and we all need a savior and Jesus died for every single one of us.  Certainly prejudice shouldn’t exist at all in the Church.  In verse 8, in fact the disciples going  to buy food in the city also is an indication, because the Jews at that time, they would not even touch food from a Samaritan, they treated it just like swine’s food.  So very clearly, Jesus’ perspective is different.  And that can be real beautiful.  You know, in the Festival of Life in New York City, an opportunity came to minister to the EMT workers, and there’s going to be outreaches to Firefighters and Police Officers.  But the EMT workers is an interesting one, in that there’s an interfaith thing going on with 3,000 EMT workers and their family members.  And what do you do in that situation?  Obviously, we don’t want to compromise our faith, we don’t join with other religions, but the leaders at the Festival of Life were convinced that God wants to bring them in as a, the Festival of Life, as an opportunity to share the love of Christ.  So as it kind of developed, now when this EMT gathering happens, the workers of the Festival of Life are presenting a big barbeque and feeding all these EMT workers.  We just want to be there to love them.  [Samaritan’s Purse operates on the same principles.  True evangelism walks on two legs, preaching the written Word, and showing the love of Christ to people who are in need---in the name of Christ.  See

]  Just love them.  Just love them in the name of Christ.  Just blow em’ away.  We’re not going to judge them, we’re just going to love.  We’re going to love the Islamic people that are there, the Hindu’s that are there, we’re just going to love them in the name of Christ.  And I think that’s the heart of Christ too.  Of course we never compromise what we believe.  But certainly no prejudice, just love, man, love….[tape switchover, some text lost]


“If you only knew”


Verse 10, “If you only knew who I am, you would have asked, and I would have given you living water.”  Maybe you’re here this morning and the same could be said to you.  ‘If you only knew’, if you only knew what God wanted to do in your life.  If you only knew what he wanted to do in your family, in your heart, in your perspective, the healing he wanted to bring, the power he wanted to bring, the grace he wanted to bring, the hope he wanted to bring, if you only knew.  Sometimes we’re so busy, you know, God is touching our hearts, and we’re kind of ignoring it, we’re too busy, we want just don’t want to go there.  And I wonder how many people are going to stand before God and say ‘Oh man, if I only knew.  I had the opportunity.  If I only knew….’  We were driving to the Red Sox game, we were listening to that song by Mercy Me, you know, the song “I Can Only Imagine.”  Beautiful song, this guy writes about ‘I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in heaven, you know, am I gonna dance, am I going to sing to be in your presence, am I going to worship, am I going to pray, am I going to fall prostrate, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like at that moment, to be in your presence.’  And Jesus says to her, ‘If you only knew the gift of God.’  And you’re here, and you’re wrestling with the gospel, and your family members dragged you here, you know, got the hook in you and you’re like ‘All right!  Give me ten bucks and I’ll go.’  Whatever, you know.  [laughter]  And you’re here, and you’ve bartered and all that, and if you only knew what God wanted to do in your life.  You’d feel this is so silly.  That’s what he says to her, ‘If you only knew, if you only stopped and let God minister to you, open your eyes to the awesome things he wants to do in you and through you.  Well, even today as believers that could be said to us.  Right?  If we only knew, if we only had a better understanding of his grace, of the depth of his love, of his heart towards us.  I mean if we only knew, what would we be asking God for?  It’s been said many times, ‘We pray too small.’  I mean, we pray for little things.  If we only knew the real power of God and the way God wanted to work in our lives. 


“The water that I give him will become a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life”


Verses 11-15, “The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?’  Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life.’  The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’”  There’s a stirring going on in her heart now, pretty clearly.  She still doesn’t understand, but the curiosity has been stirred.  And sometimes that’s what I do as a Christian, God just has me share things, and it stirs someone’s curiosity.  They didn’t expect it, they’re just going to work, and now you got them thinking.  You said something, and they’re like ‘Wow, maybe that’s it.’  You stir their curiosity.  Initially she refers to him as a mere Jew, now she says to him “Sir”, you know, “are you greater than Jacob”, ‘are you greater than the patriarch?  Because he’s done all these things and he’s dug this well, are you greater than him?’  There’s a stirring going on clearly in her mind.  Well he goes to the heart of the issue again, verses 13-14  , “He says to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.’---We’ve heard that already---‘But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst, but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life.’---you picture in the garden, a fountain of water coming out, he’s going to give water that will become a life-source, it will spring up just like a fountain of life, of abundant life, overflowing life, up to everlasting life, he said.  ‘But he who drinks of that water will  never thirst, but if you drink of the water of the world, physical things, man, you’re going to thirst.  Maybe you’re here, and you’re thirsty and you’ve sought different ways to satisfy, and I’m sure if you have, you are not truly satisfied.  Because in you there is a void.  God has made you and there is only one thing that’s going to complete you, there’s only one thing that’s going to satisfy you, and it’s a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ.  If you only knew, Jesus said, the way he wants to satisfy you and bring just contentment in your life.  Maybe you’re a Christian here, and you really lack contentment.  I go there sometimes.  And I have to examine my heart.  Here I’m a Christian, I got Jesus, but why am I discontent right now?  Sometimes I’m discontent because I’m listening to the Red Sox too much, listening to WBZ too much rather than listening to Christian radio and reading some good books.  It’s fine to do all that stuff, but if I go too far one way, I mean the Red Sox certainly don’t make you content [laughter].  I don’t know if you’re a Red Sox fan [laughter], by now you’ve learned, they don’t make you content. They just tease you a little bit. [this was said before they won the pennant this year.  But next year is another story again.]  And in the end, you’re unsatisfied as the season ends.  But maybe it’s the news, people that just get consumed in the news, typically are people that you don’t want to hang out with too much.  You know, they’re not happy people.  They’re not content.  Or whatever it might be.  The world will not make you content, it will leave you thirsty.  And if you’re a Christian and you’re not content, maybe it’s because you’re drinking from other places.  And you have this well that you can continue to drink from that is Jesus Christ.  And you know God said there to the Levites, he said ‘I’m not going to give you the land [as an inheritance], I’m not going to give you that, I am your portion.  I’m all you need.’  And that’s all you and I need truly is Jesus, to be content.  [And in the resurrection to immortality we as resurrected immortal believers will supercede the Levitical priesthood, as the Priesthood of Melchizedek, so Jesus truly is our inheritance.] That’s where contentment is found.  So if you’re discontent today, well, get back to the basics.  If you’re a Christian, get into the Word and prayer, and just draw near to God.  Turn on Christian radio a little bit more, read some of those [Christian] books you have on that shelf.  You’ll find the contentment return.  But if you’re discontent, that’s what you need to do.  But if you’re discontent and you’re not a Christian, well then, turn to Jesus.


“Go tell your husband”


Verses 16-26, “And Jesus said to her, ‘Go call your husband and come here.’  The woman answered and said ‘I have no husband.’  Jesus said to her, ‘You have well said I have no husband, for you have had five husbands and the one whom you have now is not your husband.  In that you spoke truly.’  The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.---I mean, her perception is growing, as you can see, and that’s the way it works---Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour’s coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know.  We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship him.  For God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’  The woman said to him, ‘I know that the Messiah is coming, who is called Christ.  When he comes he will tell us all things.’  Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”  And as we go on from here, it seems that she keys in there, and she believes based on her behavior.  It certainly seems that’s the case.  Well, she responds, he says about everlasting water, and she responds to that ‘I’d like to take a drink.’  But now what does he do?  He steers the discussion in a way, and very clearly he says ‘Go and get your husband.’  He knows, clearly he says to her, he knows that she’s not married, and he says to her ‘Go and get your husband.’  He knows that she’s living with somebody, and they’re not married.  That’s sin.  He knows that.  In fact, he knows that she’s had multiple husbands.  This woman is notorious in her community, and it certainly isn’t in a good way.  He knows that.  But he asks her, ‘Go get your husband.’  Now why would he do that?  Make her feel bad?  Make her feel condemned?  Point out her ugliness?  Not necessarily.  The reason why he does that, and this is true with the gospel, there has to be a conviction of sin.  I have to understand in the gospel, that I am a sinner, and that I need a savior.  That’s where it starts.  I’m a sinner, I need a savior.  So he’s going to make sure there’s an understanding here with her, ‘You’re a sinner, you’re living in sin.’  But he doesn’t condemn her.  Not at all.  He shows her the grace of God.  And this woman’s life is changed.  It has to be that way.  When churches take out sin, when churches have plays on Sunday morning that just make things all nice and all so sensitive that we don’t want to offend anybody, how can people get saved?  Maybe they’ll join the church and call themselves a Christian, but if you don’t know you’re a sinner, and that you need a savior, and that you’ve made a decision to say “Yes Jesus, come in and be my Savior and forgive me of my sin”, then you’re not a Christian.  That’s what the Bible teaches.  It starts with “I need a Savior, desperately, and without that I’m under the judgment of God”, so then we turn to Christ and say “Jesus, forgive me and Jesus save me.”  And he will.  And when this all ends, it progresses now to prophet, and then to the Messiah, and then to the Savior.  And that’s important.  [First, she addresses Jesus as “Sir”, then as “a prophet”, then it progresses to “the Messiah”, and finally the whole city addresses him as “the Savior of the world.”]  So you’re here today, maybe, and maybe you don’t like to go to church because, you go to church and you feel a little uncomfortable, because, well, you hear some things that make you a little uncomfortable.  When you’re out there just going to work, and watching the TV, and being in your world, it’s a little easier, you don’t feel convicted for what you do, and you don’t want to come here and feel convicted.  But the truth is, you need to be convicted, because there’s your life, and then there’s eternity.  And if you want to be with God, you need to be convicted, you need to repent of your sin, and turn to Christ and receive him as your Lord and Savior.  You can’t have Jesus and go your own way, and live in your own life.  Christ said ‘Pick up your own cross and follow me.’  You can’t serve two masters.  But you know, why would we hold onto stuff that makes us thirsty in the end?  Why would we hold so tightly to stuff that doesn’t satisfy us?--when Jesus our Creator, God our Creator says ‘I want to satisfy you and give you life everlasting.  I want to give you water that you can take part in that will fill your heart to overflowing, I want to make you content, I want to bless your life.’  Why wouldn’t we turn to him, and turn to him even today?  But he said “Whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst, but that water I shall give him shall become a fountain of springing up to everlasting life.”  Somebody put it this way, that the love of God is like the Amazon River flowing down to water one flower.  And maybe you’ve had that experience, you feel like a little flower and the Amazon River is just big-time, God pouring his love into your life.  And that is the work of the Spirit, it can be that experience for us.  But Jesus says, ‘Go call your husband to come here,’ and of course he is working and testing her heart, showing her that she needs a savior. 
“She says, ‘Sir I perceive that you are a prophet’
, and her eyes are being opened more.


True worship, in spirit and in truth


But then she goes on from there, and she says ‘Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, we have our temple here, you say that Jerusalem is the place.’  She kind of goes into this religious discussion, this religious debate really.  It’s possible that she’s trying to divert things, she’s feeling a little uncomfortable at this point.  ‘Now let’s talk this debate, you’re a Jew, I’m a Samaritan, let’s talk about where God is to be worshipped.’  Maybe it’s just a sincere question in her heart.  But it’s possible, when I’m sharing with somebody, and there’s the conviction, they’ll start to want to go a different way, talk about something else, you know, bring up who married Cain, and who married Abel, and those kinds of things, where did they get their wives, whatever it might be.  They might go down that route.  But we just need to come back in love and just continue to share as he does.  And he just goes right to the heart of the issue, and he uses her question to respond that it’s not about religion, you’re held up in this religious thing, ‘Is it us, is it them, is it this temple, is it that temple?’  It’s not about worshipping in this special spot going through this special religious ceremony, it’s about knowing God and worshipping him in spirit and in truth.  It’s all about a relationship.  And that’s where he focuses.  And today if you’ve sought out the Lord here and there, and sought out how to be religious and how to be righteous, and you’ve tried this ritual and you tried that lifestyle and haircut, and whatever dress, it’s not about that, it’s about just simply knowing God through his Son Jesus Christ.  It’s about a relationship, it’s not about a religion.  “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain” she says.  In fact you can even go to this very area around Shechem in Samaria today and there are Samaritans there even to this day.  They’ve interbred so there’s a lot of idiocy, a lot of mental illness because there’s a small group of them and they continue to interbreed, they won’t marry with other groups.  But yet even today the Samaritans offer a sacrificial lamb on Mount Gerizim as they practice their religion.  Well Jesus says “You worship what you do not know” and that’s true of a lot of people, worshipping what they don’t even understand.  “You worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is of the Jews.”  They [the Jews] have the truth at this time, they have the Law, they have God’s Word [Genesis through Malachi, the whole Old Testament at this time], and salvation is of the Jews, the Messiah comes from the Jews.  Jesus [Hebrew: Yeshua] was Jewish, so salvation is of the Jews.  “But the hour is coming and now is when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.  For the Father is seeking such to worship him.”  (verse 23)  He’s looking for people, it says he’s seeking, prodding hearts, drawing people to him, people that will simply worship him, simply adore him.  Draw near to God and he’ll draw near to you.  It’s that simple.  Because he’s looking for worshippers.  So if you seem distant from God this morning, all you need to do is draw near to him, because he’ll draw near to you.  He’s seeking for worshippers.  Well, “God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  The woman said to him, ‘I know the Messiah is coming, and he will tell us all things.’” (verses 24-25)


Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah, the I am

So she talks now about the Messiah, who is called the Christ, when he comes he will tell us all things. “And Jesus said, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”  The word “he” is not there, he says “I who speak to you am”, he essentially says I am, and he does that a number of times.  Our translation for clarity puts in the word “he”, but he doesn’t say the word “he”, but essentially he says I am in the Greek.  [In Exodus Yahweh identifies himself to Moses as “I am”, “tell the Israelites I am sent you.”]


Jesus evangelizes the whole city, essentially through this one woman


At this point we’ll just finish up this part.  “At this point his disciples came and they marveled that he talked with a woman, yet no one said ‘What do you seek or why are you talking to her.’---they all are surprised, I mean, ‘we’re not even to talk to our wives in pubic, you know, a rabbi isn’t.  Why is he talking to her?’  But yet they know he’s the Messiah, they believe he’s the Messiah, so they don’t say anything.---“The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city and said to the men, ‘Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?’  So this lady is excited, she leaves her waterpot, goes and she starts telling the people, and indeed her heart has been touched.  And what does she know?  She doesn’t know a whole lot.  She just knows a little bit she’s been told.  But it’s enough.  That’s enough.  Just go and share what you know.  You can be a Christian as of this week, and go and be used.  In fact, look how much this lady is used, look how she’s used.  “Then they went out of the city and came to him.  In the mean time his disciples urged him saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’  But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat which you do not know.’  Therefore the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought him anything to eat?’  Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work.  Do you not say there are still four months and then comes the harvest?  Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they’re already white for harvest.  And he who reaps receives wages and gather’s fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  For in this the saying is true, one sows and another reaps.  I sent you to reap for that which you have not labored.  Other’s have labored, and you’ve entered into their labors.’  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘he told me all that I ever did.’  So when the Samaritans had come to him, they urged him to stay with them and he stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word.  Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard him, and we know that this indeed is the Christ, the Savior of the world’” (verses 27-42).   I mean, we could go on and on with these verses, but you see how effective this lady was.  She just learned a little bit.  Now an entire community comes, and we’re told that many then believed.  And it’s that easy, it’s just going, being available, being led, and willing to take a risk, trusting that God is going to give you what you need to share his grace and his Word.


The food of doing the Lord’s Work


Well, these disciples, they’re concerned though that he’s talking to this lady, but they don’t say anything.  They’re a little bewildered about it.  And in the meantime his disciples then say ‘Hey Rabbi, eat.’  I mean, it’s been a long journey, he’s tired, he’s hungry, they were sent to get food.  But he says to them “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  ‘Did somebody else give him food?  Has somebody else brought him something to eat?’, verse 34, “Jesus says, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work.’”  If you want to be content, if you want to be satisfied, if you want to be nourished, just be used of the Lord.  Man, I mean, it’s a blessing.  It’s exciting.  You go from being weary to being ‘Ah, I feel fed, I feel excited, I feel renewed and rejuvenated.’  There is one man that wrote a book, and I believe there’s a true principle here.  He says Christians grow and they’ll grow to a point after they come to Christ, they’ll grow to a point and then they’ll plateau.  And the way you get beyond that plateau is evangelism.”  If you do not share Christ, you’re missing out on blessing, you’re missing out on just being energized, in being used, and getting excited, and having your faith stretched.  I believe it’s true.  He says “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work.”  Of course he’s referring to the cross, ultimately.  Someone said he was so happy in his work that he forgot the call of appetite, the soul conquered the body.  That can be true too.  Well finally he said, ‘Do not say there is four months until the harvest, but look now there’s work to be done right now.’   There’s no excuse for putting off the Lord’s Work, man.  There’s a radical work to be done even today as you leave this place.  In this town [and your town too] there’s a harvest out there, there’s maybe a harvest in this room, there’s a harvest in all the surrounding cities and towns around this city, wherever we are, there are people that are ready even now.  That’s been a true principle all along.  And those who do reap, man, they receive wages.  Those who hear the gospel, they get blessed.  Some though, will plant seeds, sometimes they’ll share and won’t see the fruit, sometimes someone will come along and it will be so easy, and they’ll say ‘Tell me about Jesus’, and it’ll be that easy, and you’ll tell them about Jesus and they’ll get saved.  But somebody else has done the work, somebody’s prayed for them, already shared things with them.  And I believe even here in this city as we minister downtown we’re reaping fruit from what other people have labored.  But man, the Lord worked, and great power through this woman, and the Samaritans come, the men, and they say ‘You told us things, it got us curious and thinking and moved our hearts, but man we heard and now we believe, we heard him speak directly to us, and we know that he’s the Christ.’  Interesting at the end of verse 42 they say “the Savior of the world.”  Verses 41-42, “And many more believed because of his own word: and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”  I mean, they really make the Jews look bad, because the Jews were thinking ‘Savior for us’.  These Samaritans get the vision, “the Savior of the world”, everybody.  Let’s close in prayer….[transcript of a sermon on John 4:1-42, given somewhere in New England] 


An interesting point another pastor brought out about this woman the Lord chose to reveal himself to.  She was known by every man in that Samaritan city, she obviously had a reputation.  So when she spoke to them and said “He told me everything that I ever did”, they listened to her because some, maybe even many of them were “involved” with the things that “she did”.  This got their attention. Jesus went to those who would know they needed a physician, not those who thought of themselves as “well” or perfect and in need of no one.

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