“And he must needs go through Samaria.”—John 4:4
And what was there, blessed Jesus, that constrained thee to this necessity? Was it because there was a poor adulterous woman there, that needed thy grace, and the hour was come for her conversion? Sweet thought! let me cherish it this morning. Was there not the same needs be for the Father setting thee up, from everlasting, for the head of thy church and people? Could there have been a church without thee? And when thy church had fallen by sin, what archangel could have recovered her but thee? Why then there was a needs be that thou shouldest take the nature of thy people upon thee, and come to seek and save that which was lost. And as it is said of thee concerning this poor woman, that “he must needs go through Samaria,” so must it be equally said, Jesus must needs go to Jerusalem, to save Jerusalem sinners by his blood. Oh yes, there was a blessed necessity upon thee, thou Lamb of God, that thou shouldest do all this. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” My soul, indulge this precious thought yet further, and see if there be not a needs be in thy Jesus for numberless other occasions. Is there not a blessed necessity that Jesus should give out of his fulness to his people? Is there not a needs be, when his blessed gospel is preached, that he should be present to give virtue and efficacy to the word delivered? Might not every poor, waiting, needy sinner say, there is a blessed necessity Christ should be here? Surely he is constrained by his promise, that where two or three are met in his name, he is in the midst of them; and therefore he will come, he will bless his word, he will give out of his fulness; for he knows my need, and the need of all his people present. Nay, is not the glory of our Jesus depending upon the receiving of his poor, and making them rich by his bounty? Go one step further, my soul, this morning, as it concerns thyself. Doth not Jesus know now thy state, thy want, thy circumstances, and that thou art waiting for thy morning alms before that thou canst leave his gate? Then is there not a needs be that he, who was constrained to pass through Samaria, should come to thee? Precious, precious Jesus! I wait thy coming; I long to hear thy voice. What I need thou knowest. And as thy glory and my salvation are both blended, do for me, Lord, as shall best conduce to this one end, and all will be well. Jesus will be glorified, and my soul made happy. Amen.
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."