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God’s Answer for the Empty Life


Charles F. Stanley

Scripture: John 4:1-16

I. Introduction: There is an emptiness of soul that reaches deeper than physical hunger. It can be present even when, from an outsider’s perspective, everything seems fine. A person may sense that something is missing or realize that true peace and joy elude him.

The woman at the well is an example of someone who felt empty. She was searching for something or someone to complete her. Jesus Christ gave her life meaning and significance, and He can do the same for you.

II. The Woman at the Well

A. Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan—and a woman, no less—was unusual for the time (John 4:9). Samaritans were part Jew and part Gentile, and Israelites looked down on them for their mixed heritage. In Jesus’ day, unrelated men and women did not usually speak to each other in public.

B. Our Savior got her attention by referring to Himself as “living water” (John 4:10). “Living water” described a stream or brook, as opposed to a well or cistern. Jesus was speaking metaphorically: He could satisfy her heart’s need for love and acceptance in the same way living water would provide for her physical thirst.

C. The woman at the well had been married multiple times and was currently living with someone. Imagine how exposed she must have felt when Jesus asked about her husband. But instead of condemning her, Jesus offered to fill her emptiness by satisfying her with His life—the “living water.”

III. Drinking out of the World’s Well

A. Every person is created to have a personal relationship with God. That means none of us can be truly satisfied unless the Lord is a primary part of our life. But many people expect money, prestige, or accomplishments to satisfy them. Others turn to drugs, alcohol, or sex. Some people go into debt trying to buy enough things to fill the void within. Even otherwise innocent pastimes such as hobbies, sports, or other entertainment can become problematic if they take up too much time and energy.

B. If you felt thirsty, would you drink ocean water? Probably not. It would only leave you thirstier than before. That’s what pursuing the world’s pleasures is like. It will never bring lasting satisfaction. True contentment is found in Christ alone.

IV. Finding the Living Water

A. In the midst of her conversation with Jesus, the woman at the well suddenly realized that Jesus was the Messiah. As a result of her testimony, the entire town believed (John 4:42). They came to meet Christ because they could see a change in her.

B. God can also transform your life. Even if pursuing material or worldly pleasure has left you devastated, you can experience the one thing that satisfies: trusting in Jesus Christ.

C. You must begin by admitting your need for Him. Are you lonely? Do you feel rejected? Are you angry with God or resentful of others? Do you often feel insecure or dissatisfied?

D. Jesus came that we might have life abundantly (John 10:10; also see Gal. 5:22-23). In other words, He came to earth not only to forgive our sins but also to grant us peace, contentment, and security—regardless of our circumstances.

E. Even as believers, you and I can start to feel empty. When we experience insecurity, dissatisfaction, or disappointment, it is often a result of seeking joy and fulfillment through the world’s system. Let emptiness remind you that true joy is found only through intimate relationship with Christ.

V. Conclusion:

Are you drinking of the Living Water? Or are you dipping into the well that won’t satisfy? I can guarantee you this: The world’s pleasures will only leave you craving more. But there is no disappointment in Jesus; He keeps His promises. Even if nothing changes on the outside, everything can be different on the inside.

When you begin to drink of the living water Jesus offers, your attitude, direction, purpose, and security will all be renewed. Allow Him to fill you up, and you will never thirst again.

(Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)