Christ for My Sins and Christ for My Cares: Part 1

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 5
It is a wonderful thing to think of the reality of the intimacy with which the Lord carried on intercourse with people in this world-His ways and manners with them-and who He is. In truth it changes all our thoughts of God.
He has visited men before the day of judgment, and we find Him giving, and not judging-dealing with them in quite another way. He who is to be the Judge had to come beforehand to be the Savior; came in grace, seeking worshipers; came to visit the hearts of men where they were (naughty hearts); came to such, not to judge at all, but to deal with our souls about the very sins for which He would have had to judge us. If I see Him there, I find He has dealt with my sins already in a totally different way. It confirms the judgment, of course-puts the seal of God's testimony on it in the strongest way. But at the same time it gives me to know and understand that the whole thing has been decided in a totally opposite manner. Instead of coming to claim the debt, He comes to pay it; both ways prove the debt was there, but the dealing is totally different.
He comes and deals with sinners in exactly the opposite way to claiming the debt, and deals effectually; that is the gospel. "We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." It is a Savior we have to tell of, and I could not speak thus if He were not a Savior who has wrought an effectual salvation. Then comes exercise of heart and the discovery of what we are by His Word, to bring us to repentance; but it tells us we are saved. "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." It was at all cost to Himself that He could say it; but He did not recall it, or deceive this woman of Samaria. Can we go in peace? We go with the consciousness that we go on the Lord's own warrant in perfect peace, and with nothing to fear as to the consequences of sin, if He has said, "Go in peace."
Therefore He sends out the word to the children of Israel, "preaching peace by Jesus Christ." And "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Beloved friends, do you have peace? Do you have what He announced and sent out to be preached? It is no good telling me you cannot have peace. There it is. Was it to be preached and not believed? God would have us happy with Himself, and therefore sends the testimony of peace. It is no light thing, for He has made peace through the blood of His cross; and being justified by faith, we have peace with God. It is a real thing, an effectual thing, a divine thing, founded on what has been perfectly done. If I believe, I come into this to enjoy it. It is that God has visited us to bring us peace. "In the world ye shall have tribulation." "In Me... peace." Hence God gives Himself, over and over again, the name, "God of peace." It is the name of predilection which He gives Himself. He never calls Himself the God of joy-joy may change, but peace is eternally settled.
We see how He dealt with this woman. It was through grace. "Salvation is of the Jews." They had the law, the temple, everything that belonged to God, like the elder brother of Luke 15. But the Jews cast Him out, and He must needs go through Samaria. This was the beginning of His ministry.
The Pharisees were jealous of Him, so He goes out and leaves this place of salvation according to promise. It is the terrible condition of the world, that the Son of God has been in it and they cast Him out. He came here and has been rejected; hence the testimony is, that the whole world lieth in the wicked one. The world not only sinned, but rejected Him who came into it when man had sinned-the world that had grown up since God cast man out of Eden. If I call myself a Christian, I profess that the world has cast out and crucified the Son of God. Still the grace goes on. God took that as the means and occasion to bring it out. That is what is so glorious in the cross, that that which was the perfect expression of man's enmity, was the perfect expression of God's love. There was the meeting place between man's hatred against God and God's sovereign love to man. In John 4 He was not yet there, but was walking in the grace and spirit of it.
Here, rejected out of Judea, He must needs go through Samaria, and we get the blessed truth that God is above all sin, because Samaria was most hateful. He can exercise His love in the scene of the thing He abhors. "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He gave His blessed Son, one with Himself, down to death, to drinking the cup of wrath for those who were nothing but sinners. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself."
Now, mark another thing we have here. We find Him thoroughly a man, coming down to this world, "who... made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." 0 that hearts could get hold of this! I speak now of the way that He came-of His death I will speak again-that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor. It is brought out in the circumstances of this history. Wearied with His journey, He comes to the well and sits down where He can find a seat. Do our hearts really believe that this was the Lord? Why was He in a condition to be weary? Why there? It was perfect love. He comes down to take this place. He passes through the world-the Holy One that could not be contaminated to bring sinners the love they needed.
This was expressed in the most lovely way in the case of the leper in Luke 5, "Who... besought Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." The leper was sure of the power, but did not know the love that was there. He carries the love right up to the leper, "and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean." If a man touched a leper, he was unclean and put out of the camp. But He could not be defiled. This is a picture of the way the Lord was here. Holiness, undefiled and undefilable, carries to sinners the love they need.
"Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well," and the disciples go away to find meat. Oh! to think of the Lord Himself, whom none of the princes of this world knew, but who was the Lord of glory, sitting weary on the well, thirsty and dependent upon this world for a drink of water-the world that was made by Him, and knew Him not! "There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give Me to drink." He was dependent on this woman for water. In this very fact she finds out that there was something remarkable in the Man. It was extraordinary that a Jew should speak to her, a woman of Samaria, and her mind is attracted by it.
Let me say a word as to this woman, so full of blessed interest for us, as drawing out into exercise the heart of the Lord. She was a poor, vile creature-alone there. Hers was an isolated heart; she had isolated herself by sin. She finds One more lonely than herself, and that One was the blessed Lord! She could go to the men of the city, but He was totally alone and had not one to go to, though Himself the most affable and accessible of men.
There were no circumstances in which He was ever found where power, love, goodness, and truth were not readily in exercise. There was no weariness if a poor desolate sinner came. When the disciples returned, they said, "Hath any man brought Him aught to eat?" No matter what company He was in, He was always accessible to their hearts; but there was no sympathy for Him. No love and goodness met Him in going through this world; His heart was utterly a stranger in it; yet He had all sympathy for others. When He had to answer for Himself before the chief priests who were hunting Him to death, the moment the cock crew, His eye was upon Peter-never wearied. No circumstances He was in could ever touch the spring of grace and goodness that was in Him.
But mark what comfort for us! Here was the Judge of quick and dead-not as judge, of course, but the Person who is to be Judge, meeting with the poor sinner in grace, sitting with the very person that deserved to be judged. In that sense, in the communion of grace, He is sitting with us. It is just what is going on through the gospel. "We are ambassadors therefore for Christ, God as it were beseeching by us." 2 Cor. 5:2020Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20); J.N.D. Trans.
He is sitting on the well asking drink. She says, "How is it that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?" Mark the answer of the Lord. It has two distinct points in it. "If thou knewest the gift of God." It is the ground He takes with you: "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The next thing is, "And who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink." That is, if you knew-not who I am, but-who it is that has come down so low as to ask a drink of water; if your eye were opened to see God giving eternal life-come to require nothing (and who would not get it if He did)-you would be in perfect confidence before Him.
He once came looking for fruit and found wild grapes. Under the law He sought for fruit and His servants were killed. He said, I have yet one Son, but when they saw the Son they said, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him." The effect was no fruit but hatred to Him and His Father. Now He does not come (I do not say producing fruit-He does-but) looking for it. He has come to sow (not looking for fruit), dealing with the sinner personally in the gospel; and where there is grace, and the sense of need, there will be the fruit of the Spirit, and He will look for it.
Human nature judges God, but God's nature comes out entirely superior to that. He gives. Thus we get these two blessed principles: that God is giving, and that the Lord has come down to such poverty as to be dependent upon a creature for a drink of water-come to put Himself down under the wants of those who had nothing but wants, so as to meet them. She is attracted; there is power in His word; and He begins speaking of spiritual things to her.