Thursday, April 10, 2014

LIVING WATER (John Chapter 4)

They couldn’t have differed more as to their station in life.  Nicodemus was a self-righteous Pharisee, the woman at the well was an immoral woman (John 4:18).  He was a religious leader, she was a despised Samaritan (John 4:9).  He came to Jesus, Jesus went to her and said, “Give me a drink” (John 4:7).  That innocuous matter then engaged them both in a discussion of serious spiritual matters.  But it should not escape our attention that Jesus, “who came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), was not averse to conversing with a woman like the woman at the well.   The woman, being a woman and a Samaritan, was surprised that He did (John 4:9).  The disciples were likewise surprised (“They marveled that he was talking with a woman;” John 4:27).  Nicodemus and his Pharisee friends certainly would not have been seen with her (Luke 15:1-2).  But Jesus was not bound by cultural expectations or phony social distinctions.  He “came into the world to save sinners” and found in that woman one well qualified with respect to His purpose (1 Timothy 1:15).  His ministry and message was (and is) equally applicable to the religious and irreligious alike.

Jesus was well aware of her situation.  He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here,” to which she replied, “I have no husband.”  Jesus then said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.  What you have said is true” (John 4:16-18).  Jesus knew all about these matters.  Later she would testify “He told me all that I ever did” (John 4:39).  He knew about her sins, failures, and present estate.  But none of these things worked to prevent Him from reaching out to her.  The religiously proud would have readily disapproved of and discarded her as one being outside of God’s ability to save, but Jesus valued her and spoke to her of precious spiritual truths.  God is well aware of our sinful estate, but in Jesus we find One who has sought us ought nonetheless (Cf. Luke 19:10).

The conversation between Jesus and the woman and the well was all about water.  He asked for water.  She wondered why a person such as Him would ask for that from a person such as her (John 4:9).  Jesus spoke to her of the gift of God and the living water He alone could provide (John 4:10).  He offered to her living water and said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). 

None of us can live long without water.  Regular consumption of H2O is essential to a person’s physical health.  There is no kind of water which can forever quench a person’s thirst.  It is therefore necessary to drink again.  What is true in the physical realm holds true in the spiritual.  We are born with a thirst for God that cannot be fully satisfied in any man devised way (Cf. Ecclesiastes 3:11).  The pursuit of meaning and purpose in life apart from God is compared to drinking from a “broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Cf. Jeremiah 2:13).  Sin promises satisfaction, but the “fleeting pleasures of sin” leave us thirsty still (Hebrews 11:25).  The woman at the well had experienced such matters.  She had a thirst for God, but did not know how it could be satisfied.

Jesus offered living water to her, living water that would forever satisfy her deepest longings and become in her “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).  On a later date He would stand before a multitude and declare “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).  Who doesn’t thirst?  Life can leave us parched of soul, but Jesus invites us to come and satiate our soul needs in Him.  The invitation is to “whoever”--religious and irreligious, men and women, Jew, Samaritan, Gentile, rich men and poor—no matter their present estate, they can have their soul needs fully met in Him.  He is a “fountain of living water” to those who trust in Him (Cf. Jeremiah 2:13; Revelation 22:1).  She went to well to get water, she found Jesus there and in Him eternal life (Cf. John 4:39-42).

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