A Woman at a Well
return to the main player
Return to the Main Player

A Woman at a Well

From Series: An Extraordinary Encounter

John 4:1-45  (ID: 2968)

John 4 introduces us to a Samaritan woman with a questionable past. She was socially isolated and morally confused, but as Alistair Begg explains, she was in the place of God’s appointing for an encounter with the Savior. With gracious honesty, Jesus confronted her need and revealed Himself as Lord. Every person we encounter has the same need, and every Christian can learn from the clarity and compassion of the Lord Jesus.


Sermon Transcript: Print

“A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you[’ve] nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get [the] living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock. Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.’

“Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You[’re] right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you[’ve] said is true.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’

“Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or, ‘Why are you talking with her?’ So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the town and were coming to him.

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest”? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.’

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed [these] two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’

“After … two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.”

It makes you want to just keep reading, doesn’t it? What happened next? “So he came again to Cana…” It’s just… It’s terrific.

Well, we pray:

Conduct, Lord, that divine dialogue in our hearts whereby the Holy Spirit speaks into the very core of our being in a way that is mysterious and wonderful, far beyond the voice of a mere man, being encountered by you, the one who has written this book. May it be so, for your Son’s sake. Amen.

Well, yesterday morning we considered the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus. Somebody told me afterwards that they have an evangelistic Bible study in their home, and one of the studies they do is called “Nic at Night.” I thought that was really good, and I will definitely use that and probably never give you any credit for it at all.

Nicodemus was religious, he was professional, he was educated, and he had social stature. In chapter 4, we find Jesus in conversation with a woman who was at the very opposite end of that spectrum—religiously, socially, and morally. The encounter in chapter 3 takes place in the evening with a man—a Jew and a ruler—and in chapter 4, at midday with a woman—

a Samaritan and a moral outcast. For those of you who are Beatles afficionados, if Nicodemus is Father McKenzie,[1] then this woman is the woman in “Norwegian Wood,” who “told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.”[2] Here we find the friend of sinners crossing the established boundaries of race and of gender, but we should not be at all surprised, because as we discover in verse 42, what we are dealing with here is he who is the Savior of the world.

Now, some in teaching this passage would immediately get bogged down on the history and geography of it. I find that, personally, rather tedious. I’m trying to understand that my congregation can very quickly find out all those things for themselves with a good study Bible or with just a fairly routine commentary. So I’m not going to spend a lot of time about Sychar and Samaria and Jacob and everything else, not because it’s unimportant but because it’s not the thrust of what we’re considering in this encounter. Nor am I going to stumble over the fact that it says that “he had to pass through Samaria.” Is that an expression of geography, or is that a divine must? That’s the kind of thing you can talk about when you’re falling asleep this afternoon.

All we want to keep in mind is what John has already told us in 3:17: that God has not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world. Jesus has not come with a ministry of admonition. He has come with mission. And as we ended yesterday morning, we at least confronted ourselves by the possibility that those of us who are seeking to follow Christ are in danger of adopting a posture in relationship to our culture which is not the posture of Jesus, which is one of mission, but rather is the posture of ourselves, which is one of admonition—so that in encountering an individual such as this lady, we need desperately to learn at the approach of Jesus.

Now, there are various talks taking place in chapter 4. And I want to start at the end with the talk of the town, and then we’ll come back to the talk at the well, and then we will end with the talk between Jesus and the disciples.

The Talk of the Town

So, first of all, then, the talk of the town. If you have an NIV, you will notice that there is a little paragraph heading towards the end, which simply reads “Many Samaritans Believe.” It’s almost like a newspaper heading. And, of course, that’s what we discover as we have read the passage together.

If we had been able to arrive in Sychar the day after Jesus had departed once again for Galilee—and you see that in verse 43—if we had arrived in Sychar, we would have found that the place was absolutely buzzing. We would have discovered that some of our friends and our relatives were recounting the events of the previous forty-eight hours, some of them actually professing a newfound belief in Jesus of Nazareth. We would’ve then had to say to them, “What in the world has happened here? How did this come about?”

Somebody would’ve said, “Well, Jesus of Nazareth has actually been here for the past couple of days.”

“Yes,” we might have said, “we had heard that, but how did he ever come to be here in the first place? Why did he arrive in Sychar of all places?”

Jesus says, ‘I’ve got great news for you: it’s not about where you’re gonna go to find God; it’s about God coming to find you.’

Well, they would have told us, “That’s very interesting. One of our more notorious residents, a lady, just a couple of days ago had come back into the town, calling out in the bazaars and in the thoroughfares, ‘Come and see a man! Come and see a man!’ Some of the menfolk in the town said somewhat cynically, ‘Who of all people should be walking through the town shouting like this?’ And some of them said, ‘I wonder if this is man number seven?’ Because she’d already had five husbands, and she had a live-in lover, and she’s walking through the town shouting about coming to see a man. Well, of course, we were all ears, but we never realized at that point just the man about whom she was speaking. Apparently, this man had engaged her in conversation out at the well. The conversation had had a dramatic impact on her. And when we encountered him, we urged him to stay for a couple of days, and it is, as you can see, that he has turned many of our lives upside down. And although they say, ‘“Love [is] only true in fairy tales” … I’m a believer.’”[3] And that was the story that was then told.

Well, that was the buzz of the town. And you can read it again for yourself.

The Talk at the Well

We need, then, to back up from the talk of the town to the talk that took place at the well.

Verse 27, if you notice it, helps us to understand just how dramatic this encounter was. We’ll come to that in a moment, but I want you to notice it in passing: “Just then his disciples came back. [And] they marveled that he was talking with a woman.” They were surprised; they were shocked. No one actually said what they were thinking, but their faces showed it. Yes, this was a conversation with a woman. Rabbis would never teach the law to a woman. The statement from the rabbinical writings is well-known: “Blessed art thou, O Lord, who has not made me a woman.” A morning rabbinical prayer. Absolutely true.

Jesus was talking to a woman; secondly, to a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans were different. They had intermarried with the peoples of the surrounding cultures, and the Samaritans were essentially social and racial half-breeds. It’s not very political to use such terminology—or politically correct to use such terminology—but it is actually accurate. They were an intermingling of various cultures, notions, religious and philosophical conceptions, and they were essentially taboo to the Jews. They were neither one thing nor the other.

Jesus speaks to a woman, speaks to a Samaritan woman. Strike one: gender. Strike two: race. And strike three: her way of life. Because the inference from her solo appearance at the well and in light of what we discover in the conversation that ensues is that she was ostracized—that she was not only a Samaritan woman, but she was an immoral Samaritan woman.

The time for her to show up at the well was a strange time. Usually, we’re told, people came early in the morning, or they came when they when the evening shadows were beginning to fall. Why? Because it’s incredibly hot in the noonday sun, and we all know that only mad dogs and Englishmen are intrigued by the noonday sun. It was also unusual that she would be there by herself, because it would’ve been part and parcel of the activities of the women, the town’s women, to make that a social encounter, to go together to the well, something that was part and parcel of their daily routine. And as a result of that, it would be the opportunity to catch up with one another on life. And so for this lady to have arrived on her own was striking in itself.

And furthermore, Jesus was alone. You just, as it were, take your Google Earth and click on it, and you narrow down now, and you’re going down and down and down, and eventually things are getting larger, and here you are down at Jacob’s well, and you can just see the heads of two individuals. What has happened in the entire universe to bring these people to this particular point on the compass at this exact moment in time?

Do you believe you live in a random universe? You believe that you are bobbing along on the sea of chance? And do you believe that you’re held in the grip of blind, deterministic forces? Or do you believe in the providence of God? Do you believe that nothing happens except by him and through him and according to his will? Do you believe that Jesus, as he announces here, is seeking to fulfill the will of his Father, and he is here at this exact moment in time in the providence of God in order that this encounter might take place?

Jesus is all alone. The disciples have gone off to Subway. They’ve gone off to get the sandwiches. We’re told by John that Jesus sits down by the well. He sits down at the well because he was weary, and apparently, he was thirsty. Well, of course he was! He was human. If liberalism has introduced us to a less than divine Christ, evangelicalism is in danger of introducing us to a less than human Christ. Jesus sits down, truly God and truly man, truly tired and truly thirsty and truly interested in a drink of water from a well that is deep, and he has nothing with which to draw water. There’s no legendary mythology stupidity in our Bibles about Jesus the miracle worker saying an equivalence of “Abracadabra” and then sucking water up out of the well in some miraculous way and turning it into a fountain and then drinking from it. No, there’s no foolishness like that in the Bible. No, here he sits.

And the conversation ensues. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Begins so naturally. The reason many of us make such a hash of things is because we think as soon as we’re gonna say anything that is remotely about Jesus, we have to start in an entirely different way, you know, or adopt a different tone: “I was wondering if I might have a word with you about something theological?” The person’s running out of the coffee shop. They’re out the door: “No, you may not! No! No. I don’t like you! No!” “Give me a drink.” Wow! That’s immediate impact, isn’t it?

Verse 9: “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’” Now, Jesus doesn’t begin with some great theological interlocution. No, he simply begins and allows things to cut to the chase. He begins naturally. He arouses her curiosity.

Jesus says to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that[’s] saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would[’ve] asked him, and he would have given you living water.” See, Jesus is going to show her that while she assumes herself to be in the position to meet his needs, she is actually in need of the water, and he himself is the fountain.

Now, again, when you go back into the Old Testament, you realize that this picture appears again and again—the psalmists and the prophets. “O God, … I seek you; my soul thirsts for you … in a dry and weary land where there is no water,” Psalm 63:1. “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation,” Isaiah 12:3. That’s the kind of background context that would’ve filled the mind of Jesus as he realizes what an amazing opportunity is presented here in this encounter at the well.

“Well,” the lady says, “well, I don’t see how that’s going to work, because you’ve got nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where would you get living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob?” Jesus just lets that one go! It’s a great irony, isn’t it? “Are you greater than our father Jacob? Are you claiming to be wiser and more powerful than our forefathers?” Well, of course, the answer is “Yes, I am far more powerful than them, I predate them,” and so on. But that’s not important. Jesus doesn’t immediately get off on that. And once again, that’s where many of us go wrong. We immediately jump both feet in: “Whoa, yes! I wanted to tell you all about that. Let me tell you everything I know about that!” And the person is then… Just their eyes are glazing over, and they’re waiting for us to stop the nonsense. Jesus doesn’t do that. No. The living water’s not down a well, and yes, Jesus is greater than Jacob. But these aren’t the important issues. Once again, he sets them besides.

Why? Because he knows. He knows what? He knows what we noticed yesterday in 2:24: that “he knew all people.” And he knows what is in a man, and he knows what is in a woman. He knows what’s going on inside of this lady. And so instead he addresses her longing for reality, her desire for satisfaction. That’s where some of us have gone wrong as well: “Well, the ministry of Jesus is not a ministry of condemnation. Therefore, it must be a ministry of affirmation.” No. It’s neither a ministry of condemnation nor of affirmation. He’s not affirming her in her situation. He’s going to deal with that. It’s not our task to say, “Oh yes, what you’re doing is perfectly fine. Oh yes, it’s perfectly okay for you to do this.” No, we must be subservient to what the Scriptures say.

It’s the work of the Spirit of God to convict of sin. It is our responsibility to say what the Bible says.

So, notice carefully how he handles this. She’s still thinking in very physical terms, as verse 15 makes perfectly clear. The woman said to him, “Sir, I’d like to have that water, so that I won’t be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Now, there’s always a point in a conversation—and we learned this in Parkside from one of our good friends, Rico Tice, when he was teaching us about how to do personal evangelism. And he said in a conversation in personal evangelism, there will come a point where you’re gonna have to decide whether you’re prepared to press through what he referred to as “the pain barrier.” “The pain barrier.” Or are you gonna back off at that point? Because eventually a conversation will reach the point where you’re gonna have to say something that begins now to impact, begins to make the person wince a little, begins to confront them with the reality of their circumstances. And that is, of course, what Jesus does here. Because if there’s going to be a transformation in this lady’s life, it’s not enough that she has a longing for satisfaction. She is gonna have to be brought face-to-face with her sin. See, many of our friends are longing for satisfaction, but they are unprepared to face up to the fact that they are alienated from God. It’s the work of the Spirit of God to convince people of this, to convict of sin. It is our responsibility to say what the Bible says. And that means, yes, pushing through the pain barrier.

I was with a group of men, only one of whom I knew. The rest were… It was an interesting fivesome, as it turned out. And in the course of conversation, as you might expect with a group of men, the language was not exactly seminary language, and the jokes took a severe downturn. But I was trapped, and I was there. And after a while on one of the tees, somebody said, “Hey, by the way,” they said, “Alistair, what do you do?”

And I said, “Well, I’m actually a pastor of a church in Ohio.” Well, it was just complete silence.

And then one of the men said, to break the silence, he said, “Oh, how’s business in that line?”

I said, “Ah, it’s terrific.” I said, “There’s no shortage of sinners!” I said, “Present company excepted!”

Well, we teed off, and we’re on up the fairway, as it turned out. I remember that because it happens so seldom. But I was in the fairway, and one of these men came burrowing across from where his ball was and very vociferously said to me, “I don’t like what you said back there!”

I said, “Really?”

He said, “Yes! I resent you calling me a sinner.”

I said, “Okay.” I said, “Why is that a problem?”

He said, “Because I’m not a sinner.” He said, “Those jokes that I was telling, I was telling jokes that sinners tell. See, I was explaining about what sinners are like. But it’s not me. It’s not me. I am not a sinner.”

I said, “Well, man, I have been looking forward to meeting you! Seriously.”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “Because there’s only one person in the span of human history that has ever made such a claim, other than yourself.”

And he was so angry, he wasn’t paying attention, and he said, “Well, who was that?”

And I said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

And he said, “Well, if you’re gonna put it that way…”

I said, “Well, how else do you want me to put it?” I say, “You better go hit your ball.”

By the end of the conversation, by the end of the day, we were on more of an even keel. But the thing that was so striking to me was just how unwilling this guy was to be prepared to be confronted by the perversity of his own heart.

Surely we are blind to our blindness until God shows us our blindness. We’re so blind we don’t know we’re blind. So first he has to show us we’re blind. That’s why we say the things we say. Because sin has infected and affected every part of our humanity, including our minds. So although we may have brilliant minds, although we may have scientific minds, our minds are skewed against God. Our minds are at enmity with God,[4] Paul says in Romans 8—that we inevitably think wrongly, whether we’re coming as a religious man in the night or an irreligious woman in the noonday sun.

So, how does Jesus push through the pain barrier? Well, with a simple request: “Go and get your husband and come back.” Now, what a wealth of expression there is in her reply, verse 17: “The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’” Now, this is where you wish you could have the audio track, isn’t it? How did she say it? With a rising inflection, a lowering inflection? Did she say it defiantly? I don’t think so. I think she said, “I have no husband.”

If Jesus had been a Pharisee, he would have then said to her, “Well, tell me about that? I believe you’ve had a number of husbands, and you’ve got a live-in lover. Let’s talk about that.” Jesus doesn’t do that. Jesus completes the story for her, saving her from having to articulate her sorry, sordid, messed-up past. Why? Because he’s so kind. He’s so nice. He is gentle. He is lowly in heart. He is epitomized in the story of the boy coming back up the road with his prepared speech of repentance and acknowledgment of his sin: “I’ve sinned against heaven and in your sight.” And you read in the story as Jesus tells it, “But the father interrupted him. But the father interrupted him.”[5] This so good! This is grace. This is wonderful. This is Christ with the lady at the well with the five husbands and the live-in lover, not wringing the sorry details out of her life but now saying to her, “And here you will discover the answer to your problems.”

Jesus is not simply the Messiah of narrow Jewish expectations. He is the world’s Redeemer.

The lady says immediately, “You’re a Jew, and I’m a Samaritan.” And when you read all the books, they say, “You see, this is an interruption. And the lady is just trying to get him off, because he has now put his finger on the point.” That may be true. The more I read it, the less inclined I am to that. She then asks a question about worship, doesn’t she? She says, “Are you supposed to go to Gerizim, or are you supposed to go to Jerusalem?” What’s she asking about that for all of a sudden? Well, presumably, because she’s been uncovered. Suddenly, she realizes, “I am a mess. I am a sinner.” So, where do sinners go? They go to make a sacrifice. “Where would I make a sacrifice if I wanted to make a sacrifice? Not that I’m saying that I do. But if I did, where would I go? Gerizim, or go to Jerusalem?” Jesus says, “Hey, listen, I got great news for you: it’s not about where you’re gonna go to find God; it’s about God coming to find you. You don’t really realize the wonder of what is taking place here.”

So, Jesus’ knowledge of her identity, her morally murky past, has opened up the door of confession, and Jesus’ disclosure of his identity paves the way for her confession of faith. It’s possible for us to miss this, but we mustn’t. To this obscure, nameless woman, Jesus reveals point-blank what he has chosen up to this point to conceal from others: “You say the Messiah will announce all this? You’re right. I am he.”

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.[6]

The Talk of the Disciples

A moment on the final talk, which is the talk with the disciples. What you have with the return of the disciples is a comic-tragic picture. If this was Shakespeare, if this was a Shakespearean play, then after the intensity of the encounter with the woman, there would be the placing of light relief. So, for example, in his tragedies, it is always there. The gravediggers’ scene is in order to introduce a little bit of levity,[7] because you can only hold on to the side of your seat for so long as you’re waiting for the tragedy to finally reach its denouement. And so here you have a kind of funny, sad little incident.

Is it wrong to suggest that the background music—and I always read my Bible with music in the background, at least in the background of my head—is it wrong to suggest that the background music at this point, with the return of the disciples, should be “Send in the Clowns”?[8] “Send in the Clowns.” So, it’s just playing in the background: “Here they come now, here come the boys. They’re all coming back. The core team is back. Yes, here we go.” Is it too harsh to suggest that these fellas are more interested in sandwiches than they are in salvation? Apparently so. Verse 31: “Jesus, eat your lunch.” Verse 32: “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” At least one of them ought to have said, “Maybe this is kinda like manna in the wilderness stuff.” But no, no one’s prepared to go there. They looked at each other, and they wondered about who might have gone and taken a shortcut to Subway and taken care of the problem for him. And so once again the drama unfolds by way of misunderstanding.

And he issues a wake-up call to them: “Listen, fellas. If you just lift up your eyes, you will see that the fields are white for harvest.” Already the seed sown in the woman is bearing fruit in the harvest of advancing Samaritans, because the picture is now of the Samaritans coming out of the town in order to meet these individuals. And maybe that’s the picture that gives rise to the notion of the grain bobbing in the distance—a great opportunity for the gospel.

For homework and for those of you who are doing the honors course, just read John 12:24, where Jesus is talking about the seed—he being the seed—going down into the ground. It is only as Jesus is sown as the seed in his death on the cross that eternal life may be reaped by anyone.

Jesus, the World’s Redeemer

Well, our time is gone, so let’s just finish in this way. Jesus is not simply the Messiah of narrow Jewish expectations. He is the world’s Redeemer. Jesus is seeking out not only the devoted religionist in chapter 3 but the disenfranchised woman of chapter 4. What unites them is their need of a Savior. In chapter 3 we learn that no one is so good that they have no need of a Savior. In chapter 4 we realize that no one is so bad that they are without hope of a Savior.

The woman in this story is very contemporary. She’s “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places,”[9] and she needed to hear this wonderful story of God’s love. She needed to hear the cry of God:

Turn to me and be saved,
 all you ends of the earth;
 for I am God, and there is no other.[10]

Sundays in Scotland, I went to Sunday school in the morning, I went to a Bible class in the afternoon, I went to the choir at five o’clock, and I went to the evening service at six thirty. And I’m alive to tell the tale! I’m so thankful that my father never fought for my affection but just told me what to do. That’s why I can tell you that I learned this little song:

He did not come to judge the world,
He did not come to blame,
He did not only come to seek;
It was to save he came;
And when we call him Savior.
And when we call him Savior,
And when we call him Savior,
Then we call him by his name.[11]

Do you ever wonder things like this? Do you ever wonder, as I wonder, whether this woman made her way to Jerusalem on the day the sun turned dark? Do you ever wonder if she stood with other brave women and heard Christ say, “It is finished”?[12] And did she say to herself, “When we talked at that well and I told him all the things I’d ever done, and he said, ‘I’ve got you covered,’ this is why. He hangs there covered in shame in order that one day I may stand with him in glory.” I wonder.

Father, thank you. Thank you that your Word is a lamp for our feet and a light to our path.[13] Thank you that we can study it on our own. We can do what they did in Berea: after Paul had preached, they examined the Scriptures every day “to see if these things were so.”[14] Help us to do the same. Bring us, Lord, to the place of repentance and faith and joy in the Holy Spirit. For we ask it in Christ’s name. Amen.


[1] John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “Eleanor Rigby” (1966).

[2] John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “Norwegian Wood” (1965).

[3] Neil Diamond, “I’m a Believer” (1966).

[4] See Romans 8:7.

[5] Luke 15:21–24 (paraphrased).

[6] Frederick William Faber, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” (1862).

[7] See William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 5.1.

[8] Stephen Sondheim, “Send in the Clowns” (1973).

[9] Bob Morrison, Patti Ryan, and Wanda Mallette, “Lookin’ for Love” (1980).

[10] Isaiah 45:22 (NIV).

[11] Dora Greenwell, “A Good Confession,” in Songs of Salvation (London, 1874), 27. Paraphrased.

[12] John 19:30 (ESV).

[13] See Psalm 119:105.

[14] Acts 17:11 (ESV).

Copyright © 2022, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.