John 4: 4-26
Jesus, the Barrier breaker
A barrier is an obstacle that prevents movement or access or communication
The enemy doesn’t want anyone getting access to the Father. Especially women: Mary gives birth to the Savior, Priscilla evangelizes Ephesus, Phoebe is a minister/deakonis in Rome, In Caesarea it’s Phillip’s daughters prophesying. Women have incredible influence and power in the spirit.
Barriers prevent access from accomplishing our purpose. We receive communication and movement and with movement always comes momentum for the kingdom. The enemy will do everything to set up roadblocks, obstacles and barriers in our lives. He will try to keep us stuck, penned up, and frustrated so we can’t accomplish Heaven’s purposes for our lives.
What we see here in this passage is a woman who is totally stuck in every sense of the word: spiritually, socially, relationally, and emptionally. Jesus doesn’t want us stuck, bound up and unable to move so he goes out of his way to enter the scene to demonstrate his power.
No matter the barrier before you today, Jesus’ presence is powerful enough to break it! He is present in power to break barriers.
There are four barriers that stop this woman from experiencing the power of God
The ethnic barrier v 9
Jews did not associate with Samaritans because the Samaritans were half-castes.
They had intermarried with pagan tribes and mixed the language, culture and religion of the Jews. There was no way a Jewish Rabbi would talk to a Samaritan. It was unthinkable! Jesus knocked down the ethnic rift, He is the Saviour for all people and languages.
Colossians 3:11 (ESV) “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
The gender barrier v 9
The Samaritan woman asked, “How can you ask me for a drink I am a Samaritan… and one more key word “woman”” In this context that word means one sure thing: you have no rights and no future. Jesus is obviously doing something radical, if the ethnic barrier was unthinkable- this one was even more unlikely. Some people still have trouble with women being accepted. This story carriers importance. It is the only time in scripture we see Jesus waiting at a hot well. He was not waiting for a king, an emperor or an influential religious figure…. He was waiting for a woman!
This message shakes the corridors of hell message shakes the corridors of hell. Women have just as much importance in the kingdom of God as men do, In this case, even more potential for effective ministry! Peter later preaches his first public message describing this smashed barrier
Acts 2:17-18 (ESV)“”‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”
The spiritual barrier v 19
The Jewish fathers argued that our place of worship is invalid. They said worship takes place in Jerusalem. “We Samaritans don’t like Jerusalem, we prefer to worship here in the mountain so what do you say Jesus?” The Samaritan woman was hurt and even argued with Jesus.
It would be like arguing over what kind of oven a bakery needs to use when someone hasn’t eaten for a month. It is empty religious rituals and formulas that hadn’t worked for her forefathers and certainly didn’t working for her. Jesus smashes the barrier and says: “worship isn’t about exterior protocol it’s about internal hunger to encounter God!”
… and he was there to make that happen!
The social barrier v 6
“The sixth hour” She went to fetch water when it was extremely hot and unlikely for her to meet anyone else at that hour. Jesus saw incredible potential in this lady and commissioned her to go back to her village and become the center of attention. The message is clear: Jesus breaks the social and relational tension in people’s lives to restore relationships.
So we have 4 barriers: ethnic, gender, spiritual and social. If you think about it, four barriers together make a box. How do we get out of the box? How do these barriers collapse in His presence?
Barriers collapse when the gifts of the spirit are released
Verses 16 and 17 testify to why we need to experience the baptism of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:1-7Word of wisdom, word of knowledge, the gift of faith, the gift of healing, prophecy, miracles, public tongues, discernment of spirits, and interpretation of public tongues.1 cor 12;11 “These gifts are all empowered by one and the same spirit”
Barriers collapse when we cooperate with the work of conviction
Unfortunately we often resist the work of conviction, or pretend that it is not happening. Allow the master surgeon of the heart to do His work. What if this lady has said:
“I don’t have a clue what you are talking about Jesus,” or “Hey, I’m much better off than the other woman who has been married 6 times!” or even “Mind your own business!” Jesus wants to make you whole and needs your cooperation. He will cross every barrier possible for you but he can’t cross the sin barrier without your cooperation.
Barriers collapse when we accept the invitation to worship v 19-24
The word worship flies in the conversation. It shows up ten times in five verses. Jesus wants this lady to have a genuine worship experience, He knows that a box will always look like a box, smell like a box, and taste like a Box until we get our heads out of the box. We need a change in perspective!
Jesus is here today to break barriers and destroy the box that has confined and restricted you! Listen to what he says in verse 10. “If you had known the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked Him….”
Notice what happens when we ask Him… He would have given. He’s not stingy or holding back. He’s waiting for honesty and transparency He’s waiting to be invited.