The Left Water-Pot

Title: The Left Water-Pot

Bible Book: John 4 : 28-30

Author: Francis Dixon

Subject: Witnessing; Joy, Salvation; Missions




"The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did; is this not the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him" (John 4:28-30)

The woman in the text is the Woman of Samaria. Her story is told in this fourth chapter of John's Gospel, and what a story it is - how fascinating and heart-searching, how challenging and humbling! This woman had an unexpected interview with the Lord which resulted in her conversion. She came to the well to draw water and she found the Lord Jesus there. He was there, of course, specifically on her account, and He asked her for a drink. Then, in a very wonderful and tender way, He revealed, to her, her sin and her need of His saving grace. Then, suddenly the disciples came on to the scene, and they were amazed that Jesus should be talking with this woman - first, because she was a woman; then, because they probably knew what kind of woman she was; and also, of course, because she was a Gentile. They did not express their amazement in words, but they were amazed nevertheless, and at this point the women suddenly went away, leaving her water-pot behind her. It is this water-pot that intrigues me. John tells us that she left it. Why did she leave it? Why has the Holy Spirit recorded this fact? Let me suggest some possible reasons.

I. She Left it because she Forgot It?

She was so overwhelmed with all that had happened that she completely forgot it. Several commentators make this point. You see, in a matter of minutes her life had been turned upside-down, her sin had been uncovered, her eyes had been opened and she had come to know the Lord; she had found the "water of life", and so great was the impression made upon her that she forgot all about her water-pot. I think it is fair for us to say this. After all, Jesus forgot His hunger when He became absorbed in His mission of seeking to save this woman. When a man becomes a Christian there are things that are at once left behind, as the Apostle Paul reminds us - "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." What are we to leave behind? Let me mention two things in particular.

First, we must forget our past sins and failures, for if we have confessed them to the Lord He has forgiven them and He has forgotten them. Secondly, of course, we must forget the sins and the failures of others. This is most important. We do not always do this, but we should forget not only our own sins and failures when we have confessed them to the Lord, but we should forget the sins and the shortcomings of other people. So, she left her water-pot, perhaps because she forgot all about it in the amazing experience that had come to her. But let me suggest a second possibility.

II. She Left it for Jesus?

Did she leave the water-pot deliberately for the Lord? This thought appeals to me. After all, Jesus had asked for a drink, He was weary and thirsty. What a loving act it would be to leave this water-pot, for He had nothing to draw with! She knew that fact, and Jesus had done so very much for her. Did she not want to do something tangible to prove her love for Him? Love always finds a way of expressing itself. Perhaps this was her way, and she said to herself, "I'll leave my water-pot behind, and I hope He will use it." I think of C.T. Studd, who died in Africa on 16 July 1931. As a young man he gave his fortune to the Lord, and I am sure when he did so he said, "I hope He'll use it!" Yes, and the Lord did use it in a wonderful way. I think again of a friend of mine who was all set for a brilliant professional career, and then he went into the ministry at the call of God and I am sure that when he did this he said, "Lord, you've done so much for me. Here's my life. I hope you will use it!" - and how He has used it!

The woman left her water-pot for the Lord's use. It was all she had just then, and she gave her all. Have we left anything, given anything, for Him to use - ourselves, our talents, our time, our money? Why should we do this? Simply out of love for Him and because He needs us. But consider another possibility:-

III. She Left it because she was Frightened?

Was she frightened off by the disciples and so that she became embarrassed and therefore left in a hurry? I think we ought to consider this possibility. We are told that it was when the disciples returned and "marveled that He talked with the woman" that "the woman then left her water-pot". The important word is the word "then", which makes us ask, "When?" When was it she left? It was when the disciples came with frowns upon their faces! The disciples of Jesus often hinder the new convert by their wrong attitudes and by their wrong words. As a friend said to me recently, "Christians who have known the Lord for fifty years often expect the new convert to begin where they have practically left off!" How true this is! One of the greatest hindrances to the unconverted becoming Christians is the inconsistency of those who profess to belong to Christ. This is very solemn, but it is true. Maybe the woman left her water-pot because the presence of the disciples and their questionings embarrassed her. But here is another suggestion:-

IV. She Left because she was Coming Back?

She left her water-pot as a pledge that she intended to come back. This could be the case. She wanted to give some tangible proof to the reality of her conversion and of the sincerity of her intentions. She wanted to say to the Lord, "Lord, this isn't a passing emotion. I'm coming back for more. I must go away on an errand, but I'll be back again and I'll leave my water-pot as the pledge that I mean what I say!" What is the pledge that we give to Jesus, the proof of our sincerity and seriousness? What is the evidence of our true love and dedication? I'll tell you - it is obedience. Jesus said, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." On another occasion He said, "Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" So the woman left her water-pot as a mark of her love and as an evidence of her obedience. But if I finished my sermon here I believe it would be incomplete, because surely there is one further and quite certain reason why she left her water-pot. It is this:-

V. She left it to Speed Her Witness?

She had become a missionary, and she left her water-pot behind because it would have hindered her from fulfilling her task. She left her water-pot in order to go into the city to testify to the men there. This is very significant. She was bursting to tell others of the great Savior she had found and she wanted to do it quickly, so she left the water-pot behind, this heavy, earthenware pot which otherwise she would have needed to carry on her head or on her shoulder. Nothing must now hinder her; she must go and tell. The love of Christ was constraining her and the King's business required haste; she was going to the very men (in all probability) with whom she had committed sin, and she was going to tell them of the Savior's love and of His power to transform human lives.


What a challenge all this is! What a lot there is to hold us back from personal witnessing! How little like this woman some of us are! The men in the nearby city are waiting to be told, and the women and the boys and girls around us are waiting to know about the Savior; and not only so in the nearby city - for there are those in far-off towns and villages in Africa, Japan and South America who have never heard the name of Jesus. Of course, to go as a missionary to the nearby or the far-off places involves sacrifice and it means leaving things behind. Are we willing for that? Are we willing to leave our water-pot, whatever that signifies to us?

She left her water-pot. I wonder if it is still there? No, of course it isn't! Jesus isn't there either, but I can tell you something very wonderful. He is here, right here, in our midst waiting for us to tell Him that we love Him and that we want to serve Him with all our hearts and with all our strength.


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