Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Jesus Cares for Women

Dannah Gresh: Does it astound you that the Son of God became weary? Janet Parshall is amazed!

Janet Parshall: Jesus leaves the splendor of the throne room of heaven where He was King and Lord and heard hosanna all day long, and praises, and He comes down and puts on sandals and walks in the muck and mire and dust and dirt of the earthly experience and gets thirsty and gets tired. Why? Because the Bible says He's acquainted with all of our sorrows.

He comforts us because He knows the human condition. He weeps at our losses; He grieves at our sorrows. But thank You, Jesus, You didn't leave the story there. Knowing is one thing, doing is an entirely other thing. So Jesus got tired.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for Monday, August 24, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy: Dannah, have you ever played one of those “would you rather” games? They pit some strange thing against another strange thing. Like, “Would you rather be ripped to shreds by a shark or flattened by a steam roller?”

Dannah: Uh . . . those are bad choices, Nancy! I want to play a different version.

Nancy: Okay, here’s a thought-provoking one: Would you rather lose the ability to read or lose the ability to speak?

Dannah: Uh . . . terrible choice! Um . . . probably the ability to read because someone can read to me.

Nancy: Good answer! Here's one: Would you rather die of thirst or hunger?

Dannah: Ugh! This is a terribly dark episode on Revive Our Hearts. I'm not going to even answer that one!

It reminds me of something philosophical I read: “I would rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity.” 

Nancy: The truth is, apart from the satisfaction found in Christ, we’re all dying of thirst. Spiritual thirst.

This month we’re meditating on the fact that, because of Jesus, we have the opportunity for fresh starts. We can have our spiritual thirst quenched. 

Dannah: So first we looked at the life of Rahab, who mercifully was spared from the judgment of God in her home city of Jericho. And last week we heard the testimonies of transformed women and how the Lord is at work in their lives today.

Nancy: And today and tomorrow we're going to take a closer look at a woman with every reason to be ashamed, but whose life was radically changed when she encountered Jesus.

Janet Parshall gave this message at a True Woman conference. She started by showing us that in the Bible, God is very much pro-woman.

Janet Parshall: "Oh Lord, I thank you that I am neither a Gentile, a dog, or a woman." That was a popular Jewish prayer in Jesus' day.

Now, most of us have not heard that kind of a prayer from the pulpit, and I bet we are all very glad about that. But you know, that does not stop the great deceiver and the father of all lies from playing havoc with our gender, does it? Well, our being a woman is as much a part of God's sovereign plan for our life as the color of our hair and the color of our eyes.

We are no biological blunder. We are no boo-boo. We are a woman by God's divine design, and may we always say "thank you" for that. God doesn't make mistakes, even when it comes to our gender.

So let's just take a couple of moments and talk about being a woman. We as women, as all human beings, but women it seems to me somewhat more in particular, are searching for significance.

  • We long to be valued.
  • We long to be loved.
  • We long to be affirmed.
  • We want to know that somebody loves us deeply, madly, passionately, that's just the way we are made.

And we thank God for that because that's exactly how God made us. In the end, it would be because He wants us to desire Him more than anyone else, more than anything else. Oh, how often we have taken the wrong path in that search for significance.

Sometimes we find ourselves making statements just like this, "I'm just a woman, so can God use me?" or "I'm just a mom, so can God use me?" or "I'm just a single person, so can God use me?" or "I'm just a widow, so can God use me?"

When you think about it, are those justifications for our feelings and our inadequacies? Or perhaps we don't know who God is and what He truly desires of us.

The reality is that God loves us as women, as women. He designed us. I have to tell you something, God in His sovereignty has called me many a time to debate the leading feminists of our age, and that's about as much fun as having a root canal, I have to tell you that.

But Jesus said it's the sick that needed Him. Very often these feminists have heard of a Christian, but haven't spent five seconds in the presence of someone who is a new creature in Christ Jesus. So, in the end as Oswald Chambers said, I realize my goal is not to make someone a convert of my opinion, but to make them a convert of Christ Jesus.

And so, unpleasant as it might be, I went as an ambassador for Christ, that is part of our job description as daughters of the Most High King. Amen.

So we need to look at what Jesus did because here is what I want to tell my feminist friends who don't yet know Jesus: Jesus is the great liberator of women. Look at what Jesus did.

If you look at Mark 14, the woman at Simon's house, she broke open this very expensive jar of perfume, she poured it over Jesus' head, and she got yelled at, she got scolded. And you know what Jesus said? Jesus said that her story was going to be told wherever the gospel was preached in memory of her.

And if you go to Luke 7, the widow of Nain, here is her son being carried out of the city gates in a coffin. And what happens? Jesus has profound compassion, understanding the sting of death. And what does He do? He touches the coffin and her son comes back to life.

In John 8 we read about the woman caught in the act of adultery. Do you remember that scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ? Remember how the actress puts her face down on the ground and she just reaches her hand out to barely touch His feet. She's humiliated in her sin.

And Jesus bends down, the Bible says, to write something in the ground. God in His sovereignty did not see fit to tell us what that was. The Parshall interpretation? He was writing down names and addresses, but that's just my interpretation.

So He bends down and writes, but He stands up to the Pharisees. He makes His declaration that he who was without sin should cast the first stone. After He has rebuked this empty religiosity, He turns to this woman and said, "Go and don't live your life of sin anymore." He gave her truth all wrapped up in love.

Jesus always meets us right where we're at. He meets us intimately. He meets us personally. And He meets us as women.

Jesus' attitude and actions toward women reveal He is beyond a shadow of a doubt, someone who liberates us and sets the captive free. He values the unvalued in society. He saw true wealth in people where others saw only poverty. He saw power in humility while others fawned over resplendent leaders.

He gave a fullness to the soul when the world left people hungry and empty. He showed mercy when the crowds called for judgment. He celebrated life when other people planned a funeral. And He celebrated death and first stood as the conqueror of death before a woman. Thank you, Lord.

Thank you, Lord, for making me a woman, say that with me. "Thank you, Lord, for making me a woman."

Now, let's be really honest and transparent with each other. Women don't do that so much. We are all about the outward appearances. I mean, we read magazines called Self and Us. We dress for other women. We really don't dress for men, we all know that, right? So we are not so good when it comes to transparency.

But I think because the Lord is in this place and we're sensing His wooing, calling us deeper and more closely to Him, the time has come to take off the phoniness, the costumes of inauthentic Christianity, and to be wholly transparent before a holy God.

So when you think about it, very often we think to ourselves, Lord, I can't. I have so messed up You couldn't possibly use me. And so we pull back. And the father of lies rattles his tail, and says to us, "How could He possibly use you? Look in the mirror, look at your life, look how you have messed up. You are so covered in sin. How could that great God possibly use you?"

Well, when all else fails, read His instructions. So take a look at some of the women that God has used: Tamar. She was a childless widow who was in a holding pattern waiting to marry a brother of her dead husband. She ends up dressing as a prostitute to entice her father-in-law to create some children to protect herself and obtain a child from her dead husband's lineage. And we think soap operas are interesting?

Rahab. Here's a woman who lived in the red light district with a mailing address of Jericho. She not only conceals two spies knowing that it could cost her her life, she hangs out a scarlet cord of redemption. 

And then there's Ruth, a woman with bad blood if you look at it from the perspective of the people of Israel. Moabites need not apply. But God has other plans. She would become grandmother to a king,

And then there is Bathsheba. She commits adultery with Ruth's grandson, King David. But God still uses her. She bears David a son who will build a temple for the one, true living God. Can God use women who make mistakes? You bet He can. Amen.

So think about it. God taught some of His most important lessons for us through women. Consider: When Mary and Martha's brother died, we see Jesus' humanity so beautifully described when we read that Jesus wept. He's moved by their pain, knowing the sorrow that sickness and death brings.

He tells women that He is the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Him will not die. He is, He reminds them, the very conqueror of death. Bob started out this morning with a marvelous verse, "Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory? He trampled it underfoot and crushed the head of the serpent." As a result of that, you and I have been given the opportunity of eternal life in the presence of the God who loves us unconditionally. Ladies, it doesn't get any better than that.

Consider the Phoenician woman who wanted her daughter healed. The disciples tell Jesus, "Send her away. She just keeps crying out." And this woman falls on her knees before Jesus and she tells the Savior she would even take the crumbs of His blessing. Jesus is so moved by her faith that He heals her daughter.

Consider the woman who spent lots of money and many years trying to heal her bleeding problem. All she does is have to touch His robe and Jesus senses that; Jesus knows that, and she is healed. Why? Why? Because ladies, Jesus is always enough. And it healed her completely.

Well, let's look at one more woman. A woman who made some mistakes by just about anybody's standards, a woman who lived on the fringe of society. A woman who is very, very thirsty, so it really comes as no surprise that we meet her at the well.

I'm going to ask you to open to John chapter 4, please? I'm going to read the first few verses as we read God's Word together.

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although, in fact, it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back one more time to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

I want to go to prayer on this. Because for many of us, this is a very familiar passage and you think, Oh, yawn, I've heard it all. But let me tell you something about this Book. It is vibrant; it is living; it is inerrant; it is transcendent; it is inspired; it is absolute. And every time we dig in this Word, there are more riches to be found.

So let's ask for a fresh anointing as we read this passage. Oh, God, we are on our knees before You this morning, desperately seeking Your face, a fresh touch from You. Lord, we're going to read about a woman whose life got dramatically changed because she had an encounter with Jesus.

Father, truth be told, that's what we all want, a changed life through that same kind of an encounter.

So Lord, as we read Your Word, help us step into the passage, Father. And take Your pen and write truth in the tablets of our heart, and may we be changed forever because we have spent time at Your feet. Talk to us now in the voice that is only Yours. Teach us Your way, Father, and may we never depart from it, in Jesus' name we pray, amen and amen.

So here we are in John chapter 4, and there's so, so much. I'm telling you, the Word of God is amazing. The Bible takes the time to explain what route Jesus is taking. So there has to be some reason why we are supposed to be told that He had to take a different route. You realize, Jesus was headed to Galilee by way of Samaria.

A little history here: Samaria was outside of Herod's jurisdiction. Herod had just arrested John the Baptist. So the Bible said Jesus had to go to Samaria. What? Time. Had to? This is Jesus. Does Jesus have to do anything?

Now, what's interesting is it's not the kind of have to when you say you have to make your bed or you are going to be grounded. It's not that kind of have to. The Greek verb here means "to be necessary." So it was necessary for Jesus to take this other route.

We are going to find out in a moment why that was. Why was it necessary for Jesus to go through Samaria? Well, the Pharisees had been investigating the credentials of John the Baptist, and they were starting to press in. Now they were going to start examining the credentials of Jesus.

So did Jesus have to go to Galilee by way of Samaria to avoid a confrontation? Perhaps. But if you read His Word, you realize the time was going to come when Jesus would certainly be confronting the Pharisees. So I don't think that was the reason.

Now, the Jews, particularly the Pharisees, the ultra-orthodox, ultra-legalist, shallow religionists of the day, would never ever step foot in Samaria. They would instead go from Jerusalem down a footpath, along the Jordan plane, which today would be modern Jordan, to the east of the Jordan River, come up along the Jordan, cut a path over underneath the Sea of Galilee, and then go up to Galilee this way. So it's anything but a direct route. They did not want to go into Samaria at all.

The direct route was Jesus going from Jerusalem right up to Galilee. And down here is Sychar, this town we are going to land at in a moment. This takes Him past Mount Gerizim, which is not too far from Sychar, and it takes Him right smack dab into Samaritan territory.

What's the problem? In a word—racism. Stinking, rotten, pernicious sin of racism. And it stinks in the nostrils of our God. To say that Jews despised the Samaritans would be a gross understatement. It was an ancient animosity. To the Jews, the Samaritans were half-breeds. It goes back to the result of intermarriage between the Jews and the Samaritans hundreds of years before.

The Samaritans had in fact built their own temple and they didn't worship the temple at Jerusalem. They worshiped it on Mount Garizim. So the Jews considered them to be religious reprobates. Some Jews traced the Samaritans back to Shekem. They think the Samaritan line started out of Shekem. Shekem was the one who raped Dinah, who was the daughter of Jacob and Leah. Are you beginning to see where this hatred is coming from?

Bitter hostility existed between these groups. Rising to the occasion where even Herod decided to do the politically expedient thing. He needed to have cohesion in his kingdom. So what does he do? He marries a Samaritan woman by the name of Malthace to try and create political cohesion, appeasement—to no avail. It didn't do any good at all. So to call a Jew a Samaritan was deemed to be a gross insult. It was a racial slur.

To avoid contamination, Jews wouldn't even go into Samaria. They would avoid it altogether. But not this traveler, not this man, not this Jew. He wasn't fleeing the Pharisees. He wasn't bowing to convention. He wasn't going to give in to phony religiosity, He was on His way to a divine appointment.

Nancy said something so important last night. We are here seeking the face of God, but don't miss what she said when she began her conversation. He sought us first. Does that take your breath away?

It takes my breath away that the God of all creation, the God who hung every one of those stars in the sky last night, who put the earth in just the right spot, who made the sun rise yet again in the east, and it will set in the west, who knows the numbers of hairs on our head, who knew us before we breathed our first outside of our mama, sought us. That takes my breath away; that takes my breath away.

Sychar—interesting town. Significant place geographically because this was land purchased by Jacob, later given to his sons. It's also the place where Joseph's bones would eventually be laid to rest. If you were to come with me to Israel, we could go visit Jacob's well. It's still a tourist spot today. It's about 100 feet deep down; it's about nine feet in diameter. There's a curbed ledge sitting around the top opening of the well where people could sit and rest. It's also where they could put their jars as they were filling them up for water.

See how rich the Scripture is? There's history, there's geography, there's biographies. It's just amazing. There are no rivers in Samaria. Now, you live in an arid desert climate, you're going to need water. No rivers in Samaria. What they had instead was something called wadis. A wadi is like a natural drainage channel.

In the Shenandoah Valley where I'm from, they are dry creeks. When it doesn't rain, they're dust. When it rains, they're filled to overflowing. It's an extremely inconsistent way to get water. So a well, you can see, becomes extremely important to thirsty people.

So the distance for Jesus to travel from that Judean countryside to Sychar would have been a walk of about two days. Think about that. By foot, traveling with His disciples, two days through the desert in sandals, in the heat, in the dust, nonstop, but Jesus was a Messiah on a mission. And He wanted to get to Sychar. He had an appointment to keep. And so Jesus was tired after this walk.

And I want you to know in that passage of Scripture, I take great comfort with that. Again, understanding every single word is there for our benefit to teach us something about our King.

God revealed through His Word, and it says, "Jesus, tired as he was from the journey" (v. 6). Ladies, I don't think I'm the only one, but I've got to tell you something. I take great comfort in knowing that Jesus got tired, because I get tired. I get emotionally tired; I get spiritually tired; I get physically tired.

But it is almost, almost close to incomprehension to think of Jesus getting tired. Here's what the Scripture calls the mysterium—this unbelievable, never to be repeated in the annals of human history, connection between one who is holy God and holy human. And He understands the human condition. Think about it.

Jesus leaves the splendor of the throne room of heaven where He was King and Lord and heard hosanna all day long, and praises, and He comes down and puts on sandals and walks in the muck and mire and dust and dirt of the earthly experience and gets thirsty and gets tired. Why? Because the Bible says He's acquainted with all of our sorrows.

He comforts us because He knows the human condition. He weeps at our losses; He grieves at our sorrows. But thank You, Jesus, You didn't leave the story there. Knowing is one thing, doing is an entirely other thing. So Jesus got tired.

Now, what I find interesting is He could have been supernaturally transported, right? He could have gone from Jerusalem up to Sychar. The word is harpazo, just like what happened to Philip when he met the Ethiopian eunuch—he was harpazoed out of there. Jesus could have been harpazoed. But He didn't do it. He walked two days, tired, thirsty. Dear ones, Jesus knows when you get tired, and He certainly does know when you're thirsty.

"And so it was the sixth hour." You take out your Hebrew timepiece and you look at your clock, that puts it around noon. Noon. Now, the weather would have been hot, the sun high, the air dry. And here was Jesus—and I'm not making it up, the Scripture says it—He's thirsty; He's tired; He's been walking for two days.

And He could have said, "I've got some personal needs I need to take care of." But He didn't. Here was Jesus. We see His humanity. He's fully human, fully God, has those human needs to quench a thirst, to rest His weary bones, to catch His breath. And He's about to meet a woman who is much, much more thirsty than He is.

So we read in verses 7 and 8: "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?'" And then John—John didn't put the parenthesis there, the transcribers of the Scripture put the parenthesis there. But John wanted you to know that He was alone with this woman, so he said, "His disciples had gone into the town to buy food" (v. 8).

He wants you to get the picture. Woman at the well alone. Jesus at the well alone.

His traveling companions are out of that area right now. He's alone at the well. And there's so many things we can unpack in just two short verses of Scripture.

First, don't miss this. Jesus says to the woman, "Will you give me drink of water?" Ladies, Jesus started the conversation. Jesus started the conversation. He knew the rabbinical teachings of the day—"talk not much to womankind," one of the teachings of the day. Here's another one the rabbi said in his day, "He who pays a woman by counting out coins from his hand to hers in order to gaze at her, even if the level of his Torah knowledge and good deeds has reached that of Moses our teacher, he will not escape the punishment of Gehanna."

Hmm, a little serious about this. Jesus knew this.

Okay, she's a woman. But she's not just any woman. She's a Samaritan woman. Let me tell you how serious this is.

During their monthly cycles, the orthodox in Israel still believe this to today, the Jewish women are considered niddah. It's a Hebrew word meaning removed or separated. They were to be avoided by Jewish men, lest the men become contaminated, a niddah. The Jews considered a Samaritan woman a niddah from the moment she was born.

Are you getting how serious this is? From the moment she was born. As a result, the Pharisees instructed that Samaritan women should be strictly avoided and their teaching was this: the daughters of the Samaritans are menstruates from their cradles. Wow.

So Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman knowing the teachings of His day. He starts the conversation; Jesus knows the Law. He knows the Law inside out and upside down. But Jesus doesn't care about conventional wisdom. He doesn't care about cultural stereotypes or phony religiosity. Jesus cares about us. And so He starts the conversation with this woman.

Nancy: We’re going to cut into this message from Janet Parshall right here, and pick up with the rest of it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. We're just getting to the really good part!

Jesus’ compassion for a hurting woman was obvious on that hot afternoon in Sychar. And guess what? Hebrews 13 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever.” That means He cares about you, just as He cared about that woman in John chapter 4. 

Let me tell you: that’s good news! No matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter what you’re doing today, what addictions or disfunctions or struggles or sins or failures or temptations you are facing; you are not beyond the reach of His compassionate offer of living water. 

Do you believe that? Will you trust Him with your life? Will you trust Him to change you? If so, tell Him that. Pause this podcast or turn off the radio, and talk to Him for a moment. Tell Jesus you need Him to transform your life into something beautiful.

There’s another woman in the Bible who learned of the compassion and forgiveness of God. She’s found in the early chapters of the book of Joshua. Even though her past involved sexual sin, Rahab turned to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He not only spared her from destruction, He also gave her a place of high honor, as an ancestor of the Messiah. 

The life of Rahab is the topic of our most recent Bible study in our series Women of the Bible. And this month, you can receive a copy from us when you contact us with a donation. Your gift helps support the ongoing work and ministry of Revive Our Hearts, reaching women around the world. And your gift is readlly needed here in the summer, when donations drop a bit below their regular levels. 

Again, ask about the Bible study on Rahab when you contact us to give. Our web address is ReviveOurHearts.com, and the number to call is 1–800–569–5959.  

Dannah: Well, do you ever feel like you’re not really living, that you're just existing? Just going through the motions? Tomorrow, Janet Parshall will be back to show us how the solution Jesus offered the woman at the well is the same solution for you, and for me too.

Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Taking you to the richness of the Scriptures, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Janet  Parshall

Janet Parshall

Janet Parshall is the host of In the Market with Janet Parshall, a two-hour nationally syndicated program by Moody Radio. Broadcasting from the nation’s capital for over fifteen years, …

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