Chapter 27


Go, Call Your Husband”


Sin Exposed


“The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”

(John 4:15-18)


If ever God is pleased to save a sinner, he will cause the object of his mercy to see himself as he really is; and he will cause him to see God as he really is. No one has ever been saved without seeing who he is and who God is. These two things always go together. You can never see God in his greatness, glory, and grace in the face of Christ, without seeing yourself in your corruption, confusion, and condemnation.


            This is not a conclusion I have reached by reason. It is a fact plainly revealed in Holy Scripture. Every person in the Book of God, who is set before us as seeing God, immediately fell before him, broken and contrite, confessing his sin.

·      Job (Job 42:16).

·      Moses (Exodus 3:11; 19:16; Hebrews 12:21)

·      David (2 Samuel 7:18)

·      Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-6)

·      Daniel (Daniel 10:8)

·      Peter (Luke 5:8)

·      Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-9)


            No one will ever be saved until he sees who God is and sees who and what he really is, until he is compelled by sovereign grace to bow in the dust before the throne of God almighty, confessing himself to be a justly condemned sinner before the holy Lord God, whose only hope is Christ. James Bioce wrote…


“Christianity begins by bringing men to the truth about their own depraved condition, but it does so to convince them of their need of Jesus Christ and to prepare them for understanding who He is and what He has accomplished for them by His death and resurrection.”


            The only place you will ever see God in his true character is in the face of his crucified Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “in the cleft of the Rock” where he revealed himself to Moses (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). If ever a person sees God in Christ, he will confess and acknowledge his sin. This is where Holy Spirit conviction is wrought in the hearts of eternity bound sinners (John 16:8-11). As soon as a poor sinner confesses his sin, he obtains the forgiveness of sin by the faithfulness and justice of God, through the blood of Christ (1 John 1:9).


      In the story of the Samaritan woman recorded in this chapter, we see the Lord Jesus, the great soul winner, graciously bringing a sinner to just this place. The good Shepherd is here seeking one of his lost sheep; and he will not rest until he has fetched the sheep to himself.


“The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”


Not Always Climactic


First, in verse 15, we learn that conversion is not always climactic. Redemption is climactic. Regeneration is climactic. But conversion is usually a process. Conversion is an experience of grace that is a process. — “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw” (v. 15).


            I can almost picture the scene. The Lord Jesus has been talking to this salty old gal about eternal life, grace, and salvation. But she did not understand anything he said. She was a little cocky, sarcastic, and rude. She was, she thought, just engaged in another banter about religion. She could not care less about what the Master was telling her. As she drops her water pot into the well, holds the rope with one hand, and wipes the sweat off her face with the other, she says, “Give me that water and you won’t see me doing this again.”


            Yet, we should not be too harsh in our thinking about her, and the myriads like her. The carnal mind is always occupied with carnal things. The natural man sees everything with the confined vision of his depraved nature. He lives in the cramped, confined quarters of carnality. Therefore, all he can see, sense, and judge is limited to the carnal, the material, the fleshly. Left to himself, there he will live and there he will die.


            Look at this poor woman. The Savior of the world was standing in front of her, but she did not know him. The Light of the world was in front of her, but she could not see him. The Sun of Righteousness was shining in her face; but she was not warmed by him.


            She was, like most, full of questions. The Savior asked her for a drink of water, and she said – “How?” He told her to ask him for water, and she said – “From whence?” He spoke to her about living water, and she replied with a snicker – “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”


            All the while, the Lord Jesus was preparing her for grace. He was in the process of making her willing in the day of his power. Our Lord did not deal with this woman and the woman with an issue of blood the same way. And he does not deal with us all the same way, or bring us all down the same path. We must never presume that a person will never be converted because he is not immediately converted. And we must not presume that a person is not saved because he did not go through the same feelings, throes of the devil, or joyful ecstasy we may have experienced.


            Suddenly, the Master did something totally unexpected. He stuck his finger right into this sinner’s heart. He raised an issue she had no interest in discussing. He had been sort of poking around until now, waiting for and creating the time to say what he had come there to say. Then, at precisely the right moment, he sticks his finger right into her heart and conscience. Look at verse 16. — “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.”


            Immediately, the woman responded, “I have no husband” (v. 17). She wanted the conversation to end right there. (At least, she thought she did!) But the Master had her on his hook. He was not about to let her go.


Conviction the Forerunner


The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” — Here our Lord shows us, secondly, that the conviction of sin is the forerunner of conversion.


            Many imagine that such talk is unkind, that preachers ought never make people feel terribly uncomfortable. Preaching, these days, is intentionally evasive. If evil is dealt with, it is dealt with in such general, ambiguous terms that no one feels as if the preacher might be talking to them.


            The Lord Jesus here slapped this woman in the face, at once exposing her deepest guilt, making her know that he knew. That slap across the face was the sweetest, kindest, most gracious and loving thing he could have done for her. Now, her pretensions were useless. She still tried to change the subject (vv. 20 and 25); but the hook was set. She did not really know what was going on; but she knew that all her thoughts and actions were known to this man who spoke to her. She knew that this man was able to tell her all things that ever she had done. Can you imagine how shocked, how utterly horrified she must have been?


            Why did the Lord Jesus put her through this? Surely, there must be a better, an easier, a less painful way to deal with men and women than this. There isn’t. The doctor who promises to cure your cancer without surgery or drugs, discomfort or inconvenience, may make you feel good, but he is your enemy, not your friend. And those deceivers of men’s souls who would heal the wounds of your souls “slightly, crying Peace, peace, when there is no peace,” are butchers, of souls not the servants of God.


            The fact is, no one ever sought Christ who did not need him. You will never be saved until you are lost (Mark 2:17). Salvation is deliverance from danger. You will never flee to Christ for Refuge from the wrath of God until you know that you are under the wrath of God and deserve to be. You will never trust Christ until you know you are going to hell, and ought to. There is no conversion, without conviction. There is no pardon of sin without a confession of sin. And there will never be a confession of sin from you until it is wrung out of you by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit.


            This was the turning point in this woman’s life. It is the turning point in every chosen sinner’s life. Like the prodigal, you must come to yourself, or you will never come to Christ.


            The Word of God declares that we are all sinners. — The totality of man’s depravity, the utter corruption of our hearts and our nature is so plainly and frequently stated in the Word of God, that it simply cannot be denied. Sin is what we all are, what we all do, and what we all love (Genesis 6:5; Psalms 14:1; 143:2; Romans 3:10-23; 1 John 1:8-10). Solomon said, “There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not.” Some are hedonists, self-centered, make me happy, materialists (Romans 1:18-32). Others are moralists, philosophical ethicists (Romans 2:1-16). And others are religionists (Romans 3:10-23). But all are sinners. None do good, or even know what good is.


            Every man’s conscience condemns him for his sin. No matter what the rule book is by which you pretend to live, which you claim to be your standard, you do not measure up; and you know it. Some love to pretend that they live by the Ten Commandments, but none do. There is not even one of the commandments we do not all break all the time. Others tell us that they live by the Sermon on the Mount, but none come close to the standard there demanded (Matthew 5:48). Moralists who prefer not to be considered too religious claim Ben Franklin’s code of ethics, or something like it, as their guide, but none measure up to the code. Many pretend to live by the Golden Rule, but no one really treats all others as he would have others treat him.


            Yet, no man can convince another man of his utter sinfulness, his total depravity, his just condemnation. Only God himself can do that. Milford Hall rightly observed…


“It is as difficult to convince men of their lost condition as it is to recover them from it. Only God can do both! You cannot help anyone until he is willing to be helped; but our Lord can make him willing. A man cannot truly bear the gospel of sovereign grace until he cannot bear himself!”


            That is what the Lord was doing with this Samaritan woman. The day of his power had come. Therefore he was making her willing. He makes us willing to be saved by getting us lost. He makes us willing to wash in his blood by making us get a smell of ourselves. He makes us willing to be robed in his righteousness by stripping us naked before him.


            What a thought that is! — We are naked before the all-seeing eye of holy omniscience! God sees behind the masks we wear. — Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).


The Samaritans


Let me show you something else. When the original inhabitants of Samaria were exiled from their land by the Assyrian king, people from five different places, each with their own gods, were brought in from Babylon to inhabit the land (2 Kings 17:29-33). If we would be married to Christ, we must be made to see that the gods of this world are false gods and the religion of this world is wicked, abominable, and adulterous.


            This poor sinner could not be married to Christ (spiritually) until she acknowledged that her Samaritan religion was adultery (whoredom), that her former gods were her adulterous lovers (whoremongers), and that her preachers were prostitutes. You may think I am stretching the allusion just a little. — I challenge you to search the Scriptures and see if that is not exactly what the Book of God tells us about all free will, works religion. Does not the Holy Spirit call the preachers of works dogs (male prostitutes)? Does not the Lord command us to abandon the adultery of false religion, to come out of Babylon, lest we be partaker of her sins and of her judgment (Revelation 18:4; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)?


Christ’s Purpose


Look again at John 4:16, and learn this: — If the Lord Jesus ever exposes your sin to you, if he brings you down in the dusts of humiliation, it is that he might bring you up to himself. He exposes that he may pardon. He abases that he may exalt. He empties that he may fill. He strips that he may cloth. He slays that he may make alive. He destroys our refuge of lies that he might compel us to flee away to him for Refuge.


      “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.” — The Master did not simply say, “Go, call thy husband.” He said, “Go, call thy husband, and come hither.” I know that our first, immediate reaction, once we have seen ourselves corrupt and naked before God, is to run from him. Our first thought is – “How can God have anything to do with one so vile as me?” He can’t, except by Christ. Only by Christ’s blood atonement and perfect righteousness can the holy Lord God embrace such trash as we are. But, blessed be his name, in Christ he can, and he does! First, the Lord Jesus spoke a word of piercing truth to her conscience. “Go, call thy husband.” Then, he spoke this word of matchless grace to her heart. “And come hither!” Commenting on this portion of Holy Scripture, A. W. Pink wrote


“The force of what He said was this: If you really want this living water of which I have been telling you, you can obtain it only as a poor, convicted, contrite sinner. But not only did He say ‘Go,’ but He added ‘Come.” She was not only to go and call her husband, but she was to come back to Christ in her true character.”








Don Fortner



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