Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 4:10-12 AJesus answered, and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; from where, then, hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?@
Jesus ignored her reference to the Jewish-Samaritan schism. He took no notice of it, made no statement about it. Some differences are best healed by being slighted, by avoiding all occasions of entering into dispute about them (Henry).
We do not need Ato mount our white steed@ and be Aknights in shining armor@ over every issue that surfaces. Blessed is the person who knows how to be angry only over worthwhile causes. Jesus did not want to win an argument; He wanted to win a soul.
Jesus immediately lifted the conversation to a spiritual level. He is going to introduce this lady to spiritual truth by using a metaphor. He compares the gift of God to living water, which referred to running water, as opposed to still water. Living water represented the Holy Spirit, and the life-giving energies He provides.
The Samaritan woman=s response shows she thought the Lord was speaking with crude literalism. At this point, she had only one serious problem, ignorance. Jesus had touched the heart of the issue when He said, AIf thou knewest the gift of God.@ She did not have a clue about how to find God.
The Samaritan was an open person, smart, willing to believe truth and obey God. She knew something of the Bible, was versed in the customs of her sect, and longed for Athe Prophet.@ But ignorance in essentials lay like a stone before her heart=s door. Like the Ethiopian Eunuch, she needed someone to explain the way clearly.
People by nature know they want something, but can=t pinpoint exactly what they are seeking. Believers must tell them what this longing is.
People in the USA are surrounded by religious jargon, but need the Gospel of Jesus applied directly to them. They can say of religion what the mariner said of salt water, AWater, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.@
General religion is as useless as salt water in relieving spiritual thirst. Religion is useful only when it is applied specifically to the individual.
If we took a spiritual look around us, we would see Springfield filled with people in spiritual ignorance. This is often the only thing standing between a person and abundant life. We need to tell unbelievers about Jesus.
We inwardly sigh, AIf they only knew Jesus.@ It=s time we turn this inward sigh into an outward witness. We do not need vast knowledge. The only requirement is a willingness to share a simple message.
John 4:13 AJesus answered, and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.@
Jesus now began making it clear He was not discussing the water of Jacob=s well, or any other earthly water. He was speaking of something beyond her life-experiences; water that satisfies thirst forever.
Most people try to draw their strength and supply from stuff of this world. They search for strength, happiness, and riches in externals, but worldly things do not satisfy for long. All who seek to satisfy their lusts are on an endless search. The worldling has enough stuff to sink him, but not enough to satisfy him.
Solomon had all this world=s goods and entertainments, yet lamented, Avanity of vanities, all is vanity@ (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Everything of earth eventually proves unsatisfactory. Nothing of this world can yield permanent satisfaction.
John 4:14a ABut whosoever drinketh the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.@
Nothing abides forever except what comes from the eternal One. Even His water, though, helps only when a person drinks it, takes it inside self. When we drink water, it enters us, saturates us, becomes a part of our very being. Similarly, Christ has to be inwardly appropriated.
The result of accepting Christ is, we never thirst again. Be careful in interpreting this. ANever thirst@ means those who taste this water will never be in danger of ever running totally dry. ANever thirst@ does not negate our need to always be desiring more of God.
The person who drinks living water will never lack what abundantly satisfies his soul=s desires. Believers have longings, not languishings. Their thirst is a desiring, not a despairing. They do not fear the supply will end, but fear they will not fully enjoy all its abundance.
Believers want nothing more than God, but do desire more and more of God. Believers never thirst, in the sense of never being without God, yet always thirst, in the sense of ever wanting more of God.
Conversion is merely the first step in drinking. The verb tense, Adrinketh,@ indicates this is something we are to do repeatedly. No longer having a Adeath@ thirst does not mean we=re forever fully satisfied on the first day we drank.
We need a thirst for more of God. Never squelch the Aaching void@ (Dr. Watts) within. Crave the Lord. AAs the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God@ (Psalm 42:1-2, see also Psalm 63:1-8).
AI stretch forth my hands unto Thee: my soul thirsteth after Thee, like a thirsty land@ (Psalm 143:6). ABlessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled@ (Matthew 5:6).
Moses talked often with God, but this wasn=t enough for him. He wanted to see God (Exodus 33). To receive repeatedly of the fountain of water of life freely, the requirement is that a person be Aathirst@ (Revelation 21:6). AMake me better@ must ever be the prayer of a believer. Self-satisfaction buries spiritual progress.
Earnest Christians must never be on good terms with their old self. We must always hate our original sin nature, daily seeking to crucify it. The only way fuller fellowship can be enjoyed with Christ is via desire turned toward Him. We will have abundant victory when the Holy Spirit makes us so aware of our sinfulness that we are driven to desire more of Him.
Spurgeon said, AThat man is holy who mourns the unholiness of his holiest deeds, and that man is no longer holy who conceives himself to be without sin and to have reached the highest attainable excellence.@
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags@ (Isaiah 64:6). AI know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing@ (Romans 7:18). AChrist Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief@ (II Timothy 1:15).
We say with our lips we are sinful, but our lack of sorrow and prayerful confessions reveal we think we are good. Our hearts should be breaking before God. Self-content is slaying our churches. Let=s quit flattering ourselves. We are not well. Something is dreadfully wrong, and the source of the sickness is in us.
When God begins to move against a nation or community in wrath, He often initially warns the people of God. He tends to vex them first, because many times the trouble is rooted in their backslidden condition.
AJudgment must begin at the house of God@ (I Peter 4:17). Where privilege is greatest, judgment must be sternest. When God ordered the slaughter of Jerusalem, He said, ABegin at My sanctuary@ (Ezekiel 9:6).
Before revival will come upon us, the Holy Spirit will have to shatter our self-sufficiency. Don=t let this conviction drive us to despair when it happens. Our grief over deadness will show we are alive. It will be a painful sign, but a true sign revival is approaching.
Crucifying self is always painful, but results in resurrection life. AOh God, drive us to our knees in brokenness and make us thirst for Thee. Amen.@