The Man Who Understood A Woman Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The title of the lesson this morning is “The Man Who Understood A Woman.”
I knew that I might get in trouble when I settled upon that title for my message.
I didn’t tell Sierra, because I knew she would probably giggle and say, “Oh, yeah . . . that will be the day.”
I know what the guys are thinking, “Oh yeah…if only you could understand women.”
Many on both sides of the gender divide are convinced that “The man who understood a woman” is a contradiction in terms.
John Gray who wrote a best-selling book declares: Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus.
This is the place where I need that joke.
The one about the guy who found a genie in a bottle who promised to grant him anything he wanted.
His first request was for a bridge to Hawaii.
The genie balked at that reminding him how impossible it would be and how much concrete it would take.
He was offered a second try.
This time he decided to be more serious.
Since he had been married and divorced a couple of times, he asked for the ability to understand women; what made them tick, and what they really meant when they asked for something.
The genie paused for a moment and then said, “Do you want that bridge four lanes or six.”
Just to balance things a bit I want to read you the Top Ten Reasons why Eve Was Created.
Fasten your seat belts.
The #10 reason why God created Eve—God was worried that Adam would frequently become lost in the garden because he would not ask for directions.
#9—God knew that one day Adam would require someone to locate and hand him the remote.
#8—God knew Adam would never go out and buy himself a new fig leaf when his wore out and would, therefore, need Eve to buy one for him.
#7—God knew Adam would never be able to make a doctor, dentist, or haircut appointment for himself.
The #6 reason Eve was created—God knew Adam would never remember which night to put the garbage on the curb.
#5—God knew if the world was to be populated, men would never be able to handle the pain and discomfort of childbearing.
#4—As the Keeper of the Garden, Adam would never remember where he left his tools.
#3—Apparently, Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.
#2—As the Bible says, it is not good for man to be alone!
And the #1 reason why God created Eve---when God finished the creation of Adam, He stepped back, scratched his head, and said, “I can do better than that!”
I am making light of this, of course.
But the real tension that can sometimes exist between men and women, even husbands and wives, is not a laughing matter.
“Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus” makes a cute title, but it also clouds the reality of a lot of pain and hurt and even more a hunger to understand and be understood.
Even in the church in our day, just beneath the surface, unspoken, but not unfelt runs a current of concern and confusion about whether men and women really understand one another.
I am not going to solve that problem today.
I will not even attempt to.
Our text today reminds us that the one we serve and follow understands us and our mates far better than we even understand ourselves.
Where Christ is Lord, there is hope for a better future—either on Mars or Venus or more importantly right here on earth.
Today, we are going to look in John 4 at the story of a meeting between Jesus and a woman He met at a well.
Jesus met a woman.
I have met her.
So have you!
You might have met her at a battered women’s shelter.
She came beaten and bruised by her boyfriend.
She has a couple of kids and no place to go because she won’t put up with the abuse anymore.
Her family had taken her in before, but no more, they said.
It’s her fault.
It has to be, they say.
Anyone who works in an emergency room has met her.
Every policeman in almost every community has met her more than once.
She calls the police for help one minute and attacks them the next when they threatened to haul her husband or boyfriend off to jail.
She may not have been a victim of abuse—at least any abuse you could treat in an emergency room.
Maybe she was just a tough girl from a tough home who was just looking for a good man who would love her.
She always seemed to look in the wrong places and find the exact opposite of what she wanted.
She just didn’t seem to learn or listen to well-intentioned advice.
Jesus met a woman at a well.
You could meet her in the inner city or the suburb.
You can find her in the countryside.
She might have moved there to get away.
You could meet her at church.
Brokenness, hurt, mistakes, and marriage problems are no stranger at church.
George Barna and other religious statisticians tell us that the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is as high, if not higher, than among the population in general.
Anyone who is half awake knows that marriage problems, domestic violence, and moral failure happen in the lives of people who go to church, too.
Probably, in a pew not far from you on any Sunday morning sits a woman who is torn between crying out to somebody, anybody, to help her and hoping nobody finds out what she has been going through.
Jesus met her at a well at the sixth hour, probably noon by our clock.
It was most likely the heat of the day.
Most of the women came early in the morning while it was still cool.
In fact, the morning meeting at the well was when most of the women caught up on the latest village news.
Who was engaged . . . who was expecting . . . whose youngster was in trouble with the rabbi . . . or which husband and wife were not getting along.
You have met her.
She may live down the street or across town.
You have met her in the grocery store.
She often comes early or late because she doesn’t want to run into anyone she knows.
They always ask her the most embarrassing questions or some who think they already know the answers don’t even want to talk to her.
You pass her in the aisle and she looks down or the other way so she won’t make eye contact.
Maybe she comes to the store at odd hours to lessen the chance of running into her ex-in-laws or her boyfriend's ex-wife.
She just doesn’t want to deal with that.
You get the picture!
You have met her.
Jesus met her at a well at noon.
He did the unthinkable.
He talked to her!
Respectable men didn’t do that in those days.
They often didn’t even acknowledge the presence of a woman except in the home.
They would never carry on a conversation in public.
Someone one might get the wrong idea.
You know how the women at the well talk every morning.
Most respectable men especially didn’t talk to her.
If word got around that a husband had been talking to her in public, he could expect a word or two when he went home for supper.
In a society where women had virtually no right to divorce or legal recourse against a brutal or even unfaithful husband, she had been married five times.
Now there was probably more than one side to the story.
But that probably didn’t make much difference at the gossip well.
She couldn’t keep a man or rather for some reason a man wouldn’t keep her.
She always managed to find another and each situation was no better than the last.
She probably told herself, “Never again will I allow myself to get messed up with somebody like him.”
The first time she even believed it.
And maybe the second and third time.
But after marriage number four and five, even she knew she was just kidding herself.
So this time she didn’t even bother with the formalities of a permanent commitment.
She was living with a sixth man to whom she wasn’t married.
Why would a woman do such a thing?
Why would a woman keep making the same mistake over and over again?
Two times, maybe?
Why do women you know go back home after the visit to the ER or the domestic violence shelter?
Why does she call the police, and then refuse to press charges?
Why does she go from one alcoholic to another?
And it is not just “dumb” women, it even happens to college educated women, doctors, and lawyers, and marriage counselors!
You have met her.
Maybe someone here is her!
She could have been the poster girl for Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s book Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives.
We simply don’t know enough to be sure.
Which of Dr. Laura’s “stupid things” have you seen mess up a woman’s life:
• She looks to a man to find herself. She believes that without a man she is nothing or nobody.
• She has sex too soon or uses sex hoping to win love and affection.
• She moves in with a man, not out of love, but because she hopes he’ll want her if she does.
• She has a baby hoping that this will jump start love, personal growth, or commitment.
• She allows her man to keep hurting her or her children because of an obsessive need for security or a need to be wanted. Once in the mess, she doesn’t know how to get out.
Why five husbands and now she is living with a man who has no legal obligation to her at all?
Some psychologists refer to what they call “love hunger”—a deep need that some people have, men and women, to be loved and accepted no matter what.
They will even self-destruct in an effort to find someone who truly cares about them or—in some strange way—that they can take care of.
They need to feel needed.
If not with this man—then maybe the next.
Surely, Mr. Right is out there.
I suspect that this is difficult for most men, and a lot of women, to understand.
Granted a woman in that society—and even in ours—had some special burdens that most men don’t bear.
Normally, she is weaker, no match physically for a man.
And she knows it.
A woman normally has a mothering instinct that goes way beyond just bearing children.
She will put up with almost anything herself to feed and shelter her young.
Men seldom have that same drive to the same depth.