It was 94 degrees as I walked the familiar route. Apparently I’m a professional procrastinator when it comes to exercise. I was mad at myself for putting it off until it was hot enough in South Carolina to roast hot dogs.
My water was warm by the time I took a sip. But it tasted sweet and refreshing. I don’t normally like warm water. When you’re thirsty you’re easily quenched.
I thought of Jesus’ teaching about “living water” in John 4. I tried to imagine how it would feel to never be thirsty again.
Jesus Offers Living Water
It was around noon when Jesus and his disciples stopped in Sychar, a town in Samaria. Jesus rested by Joseph’s well while his disciples went to buy food. When a local woman came to collect water, Jesus asked her for a drink. The woman was surprised that he spoke to her since Jewish people avoided Samaritans. (Samaria, about 1,000 years earlier, had been part of Israel, but the kingdom divided and Samaria eventually became a place of extreme idol worship.) Jesus told her that if she knew who he was she’d have asked him and he would’ve given her “living water”. The woman wondered why Jesus had nothing with him to draw water. He explained that the water in the well would satisfy temporarily, but living water would offer lifelong satiety. “Please give me this water”, the woman said.
Jesus was a master communicator. I love how He used tangible everyday things to convey deep spiritual truths. A natural necessity, a well, became his pulpit to convince her of her need for eternal life.
She was quickly convinced he was no ordinary man when he accurately told her the things she’d done in private. Then she questioned him about the worship of God. Jesus disregarded the law that required a special time and place for worship, and said what matters is what’s in our hearts. We should worship God wherever we are with spiritual depth and truth. When she mentioned the anointed one to come, Jesus told her that indeed she was speaking to the Anointed One at that very moment.
The Samaritans Believed
The woman left her water pot as she hurried back to town. She shamelessly carried the “living water” with her which needed no vessel. She told everyone she met along the way about Jesus and the new life she’d found. Many Samaritans heard the message of Jesus and were transformed by it. Jesus, at his new friends’ request, stayed there for two days, and even more Samaritans believed. It all began when Jesus engaged in a conversation with a woman He wasn’t supposed to talk to.
I know something about natural spring water. As a little girl, I joined my sweet grandmother, “Mama-Two”, as she walked to a spring near her home in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As is obvious from the name, the town’s claim to fame is its natural springs. Almost daily she’d lug two glass gallon jugs down the street and fill them at the spring. The water was ice-cold and so refreshing. When she got home, she’d transfer some of the water to her green glass jug—the very same one that sits in my fridge today. Oh how I wish it held that wonderful spring water I fondly remember.
As a little girl, collecting water with Mama-Two, I believed in God but didn’t have a relationship with him. It would be quite a few years until I’d read and understand the truth of Jesus’ living water. I’m so grateful my grandmother already knew Jesus; her prayers impacted my life greatly.
A spring of living water is fresh, new and it continually satisfies, just like the life-giving water Jesus offers.
Jesus’ Gift of the Holy Spirit
When Jesus left his followers on earth to go to heaven, He didn’t leave them bereft of his nearness and help. He left the Holy Spirit to be a comforter and fount of wisdom. As our spring of living water today, He brings comfort and clarity to our lives. We’ve been gifted with God’s word, the Bible, which is unlike any other book. It is alive, active and effective in our lives. (Hebrews 4:12.) Have you ever noticed how a scripture you’ve read 100 times will enlighten you in a new way on the 101st time? It’s amazing. In contrast, other religions are dead—their stale words and impossible commands are devoid of love, power and freedom.
The crazy era we’re in as a country, I pray, has heightened our great dependence on God. We need him every hour in every season, but the darkness makes us long even more for the light. When you live close to God through his spirit and prayer and you meditate on his living word, you will know the gift of a continual drink of living water from his fresh spring.
Christ is not a reservoir, but a spring. His life is continual, active and ever passing on with an outflow as necessary as its inflow. If we do not perpetually draw the fresh supply from the living Fountain, we shall either grow stagnant or empty. It is, therefore, not so much a perpetual fullness as a perpetual filling. A.B. Simpson