“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10)
Here is Jesus - talking to someone whom the Jews regarded as despised traitors to their faith – the Samaritans. Further – against the convention of that day - it’s a woman that Jesus, as a male stranger, speaks to as she draws water from Jacob’s nearby famous well. Then comes our Lord’s opening request: “Will you give me a drink?”
As they talk, Christ’s teaching leads to truths that have led millions into an entirely new view of life’s meaning.
We learn to see ‘Thirst’ as Unrest
Jesus’ offer (verse 10) of ‘living water’ provokes a reply: “Living water, eh? Can you improve on Jacob and his well here?” Our Lord had already perceived that this woman – with her five previous marriages - had no real rest of her own. Nothing satisfied.
The ‘thirsty’ can be found among the great and the good. Lord Byron - of the eighteenth century – described this in one of his poems: Drank every cup of joy, heard every trump of fame; drank early, deeply drank. Drank draughts which common millions might have drunk. Then died of thirst, because there was no more to drink.
But a second insight emerges:
We learn to see ‘Water’ as a Person
The Samaritan attempts to deflect the discussion to the differences between Samaritan and Jewish worship (verse 20) … but Jesus – in his comment that true religion can only be in spirit and in truth – comes to the point that ‘living water’ that satisfies is only found in a Person – namely Himself - living in men and women by the power of the Holy Spirit (see John 7: 37-39).
Then comes the superb moment of self-disclosure, when Jesus – replying to his companion’s hope of a coming Messiah - declares, “I who speak to you am HE.” It’s then that belief takes hold of the Samaritan…. who runs to tell others!
We learn to see ‘Drinking’ - as Believing.
Thus, the Samaritan ‘outsider’ echoes the secret prayers of so many: "Sir, give me this water that I thirst not.”
Be reminded of words from the final page in the Bible! “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."