True Spiritual Worship John 4:1–42 -- By: John Broadus

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 02:4 (Winter 1998)
Article: True Spiritual Worship John 4:1–42
Author: John Broadus

True Spiritual Worship
John 4:1–42

John Broadus

Editor’s Note: SBJT does not share Broadus’ high opinion of Kant’s philosophy. We are committed to the primacy of scriptural revelation as opposed to personal religious experience. In Broadus’ defense, the full implications of Kant’s philosophy could not have been known in 1879 when this sermon was preached.

John A. Broadus (1827–1895) was a founding faculty member and the second president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. One of the most renowned preachers of his day, he was also acknowledged widely as a skilled exegete and Greek expert. His two best-known works, The Preparation and Delivery of Sermons and A Commentary on Matthew remain in print over a century after his death. This sermon was delivered at the dedication of the Second Baptist Church in St. Louis in 1879 and has been edited for inclusion in SBJT.


Jesus was tired. The little that we know of the history just before enables us to see why. He had been, for long months, engaged in active efforts to save men’s souls, to lift them out of their sluggishness and worldliness toward God. That is hard work for mind and heart. And he had been at work among many who were hostile. Some of John’s disciples were envious that their master was decreasing and another was increasing, though John said this trend was right and good. Further, when the Pharisees heard that Jesus was now making and baptizing more disciples than John, they were jealous. They made it needful that he should withdraw from Judea. So often during his brief ministry he had to withdraw from the jealousy of his enemies or the fanaticism of his friends and seek a new field. Worn out and perhaps sad at heart, the Redeemer sat alone by Jacob’s well.

But now there was an opening to do good, and he who “went about doing good” would give up even his needed rest to do good to the least and the lowest. The disciples wondered not that he was ready to do good, for they had seen that often already. Rather, they wondered that he was talking with a woman, for that was contrary to the dignity of a man according to the ideas of that time and country. They wondered because they knew not yet what manner of spirit they themselves were of or that they had to deal with high saving truths that break through all weak conventionalities in their own ministries.

They would have wondered more if they had known what he knew full well, which was that she was a woman of bad character, but that he saw in her potencies for good. He won her to faith in the Messiah and sent her forth to tell others to come and see “a man who had told me all things I ever did” (v. 29). Beautif...

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