Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition on the exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
[Message] John chapter 4 verse 1 through verse 15,
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. (Most of the commentators feel that this is six p.m. in the day. It’s likely that that is the time although the way in which John notes time has caused the commentators a good bit of discussion, but we will take it that way, it was in the evening that would be the normal time for a woman to come and seek water from the well.) There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, how is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? (That little word thou, how is it that thou, bears a bit of emphasis in the original text, how is it that you a Jew ask drink of me who am a woman of Samaria?) for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. (Now that rendering is probably not correct, it’s possible grammatically, but in the light of the fact that we read in verse 8 that the disciples were gone away into the city to buy meat, it’s obvious that they did have some dealings with the Samaritans, and so it’s likely that the last clause of verse 9 has to do with using the same utensils that the Samaritans used. The Jews had their laws of cleanliness which forbade them from using the utensils that the Samaritans used. And so probably this word which means to use together should be rendered something like for the Jews do not use utensils with the Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, (And again, emphasis on the pronoun the second person thou, if you knew 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 whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
May the Lord bless this reading of his word. The subject as we turn to the 4th chapter of the Gospel of John is, “The Leaping Fountain of Living Waters.” The encounter of our Lord with the woman of Samaria contains his lessons on hydrology or the science of underground water and hydraulics, the science of moving water primarily. But this chapter has also been the occasion of some of the well known hymns that we have sung from time to time. Many of you are acquainted with Jesus Lover of My Soul. One of the stanzas of that great hymn by Charles Wesley goes like this, “Plenteous grace with Thee is found; grace to cover all my sin. Let the healing streams abound make and keep me pure within. Thou of life a fountain art, freely let me take of Thee. Spring thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity.” And that expression, “Spring thou up within my heart,” was undoubtedly taken by Mr. Wesley from the statements that our Lord made to the Samaritan woman.
This chapter is one of the most useful of all of the chapters of the Bible in inoculating the principles and the importance of the winning of souls. Every Christian upon his new birth is to be a soul winner. Personal work characterizes all believers ideally. Every one of us is intended to be a witness and also to be useful in the salvation of others. “Individual work for individuals,” the title of a book written some time ago expresses the personal evangelism of the Lord Jesus. Think of the converts from the many walks of life that our Lord won by his personal work, Peter, Andrew, Levi, the Son of Alphaeus or Matthew, Philip, Nicodemus, the woman at the well, Zacheus, the maniac of Gadera, the Roman centurion, the thief on the cross and others. You cannot estimate the value of a winning of a soul by counting the numbers of them. When Andrew was won, a Peter was won and when Peter was won, thousands were won. The greatest thing that you could ever do for any man is to bring him to our Lord, but you never know the results that may flow from that. One of the most famous of modern illustrations is the conversion of Dwight L. Moody. Some do not know that Dwight L. Moody was the convert of a Sunday school teacher by the name of Ezra Kimball. Mr. Kimball dealt with his Sunday school student little realizing of course that when he won Dwight L. Moody he was winning literally thousands and also influencing two continents, the continent of Europe and the continent of North America. So, as Robert Lee once said, “just as one digit is valuable in the multiplication table and one letter in the alphabet, far more valuable is the conviction of the value of just one soul in God’s sight.”
This is the personal responsibility of all of us; give personal testimony to the faith that is ours. It’s not something that the preacher does, it’s not even something that those who have the gift of evangelism do, but every Christian is a witness. There are some who have the gift of evangelism and are able to win many like Dwight L. Moody, but all of us are to be witnesses. We’re not necessarily to be soul winners, but we are all to be witnesses. Because there are many times that you will witness in which your witness will fall upon the soil that is unresponsive, but that is not your responsibility. The saving of a soul is the responsibility of God. Our responsibility is to witness.
Now it’s important too that we remember that when we witness, we seek to bring men to Jesus Christ. We don’t try to win them to our church, we don’t try to win them to our denomination, we try to win them to Christ. Thomas Chalmers was one of the great Scottish Christians, member of the Free Church of Scotland in the days when it was great. Mr. Chalmers also had a very interesting experience himself, he was a minister but for years did not understand really what it meant to be a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And finally the warm winds from the south of true doctrine played upon his soul and he became a vital soul winner and a leader in the Free Church of Scotland. He said, “What’s the Free Church compared with the Christian good of the people of Scotland?” When someone suggested an effort that might be beneficial for the Free Church but not necessarily for Scotland, he said,
“What’s the Free Church compared with the Christian good of the people of Scotland? After all, we must put things in their proper order. The good of the nation is more important then the good of a particular church. And so the particular narrow doctrines that we might hold to and think are especially fruitful and profitable, must be subordinated to the good of the nation as a whole,” Mr. Chalmers said
Now of course we believe that God blesses men through the churches and we desire to see them prosper. But we don’t desire to see them prosper for the sake of the churches themselves, but for the way in which they are useful in the carrying on of the Lord’s work. “The increase of the work of God is more to be desired then the growth of a particular clan,” so Mr. Spurgeon said. Now Mr. Spurgeon was a Baptist, maybe those boys coming in out of the rain were Baptists this morning and didn’t mind all of those little sprinkles falling on them at all because they didn’t really think that was good water. But Mr. Spurgeon was a Baptist and he said,
“The increase of the Kingdom is more to be desired than the growth of a clan. We would do a great deal to make a Paedo Baptist brother (That’s one who believes in infant sprinkling.) We would do a great deal to make a Paedo Baptist brother into a Baptist for we value our Lord’s ordinances, we would labor earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free will into a believer in salvation by grace, for we long to see all religious teaching built upon the solid rock of truth and not upon the sand of imagination. But at the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We would bring men to Christ, and not to our own peculiar views of Christianity.”
I think all of us who are Christians can appreciate that because it is most important that we bring men to Jesus Christ. Now I think it’s also important to notice in this encounter that the Lord had with the woman that this is an encounter that deals a great deal with the things that have to do with biblical doctrine. In other words, the woman of Samaria is brought to Christ through biblical doctrine, and it’s important for us to realize that we can never be a successful soul winner, a successful witness, if we do not know the truth of God. And so the Lord Jesus carefully leads the woman on into the knowledge of truth by giving her truth. The gospel is a system that is reasonable to men of faith, and it appeals to men’s understanding providing that they remember that their human reason is always subject to the enlightening ministry of the Holy Spirit. But when we come to faith in Christ we come because we have heard a certain message and because that message is one of the means by which God brings us to regeneration and faith. Hence, as Mr. Spurgeon also said,
“If we do not teach men something, we may shout believe, believe, believe, but what are they to believe? Each exhortation requires a corresponding instruction or it will mean nothing. Escape! Fromwhat? This requires for its answer the doctrine of the punishment of sin. Fly! But wither? Then must you preach Christ and his wounds. Yea, and the clear doctrine of atonement by sacrifice. Repent! Of what? Here you must answer such questions as what is sin. What’s the evil of sin? What are the consequences of sin? Be converted! But what is it to be converted? By what power are we to be converted? What from? What to? The field of instruction is wide if men are to make known the truth that saves.”
And I think we certainly learn that in this incident, in which the Lord encounters this unusual woman from Samaria and leads her carefully and tenderly into an understanding of the truth.
This narrative in John 4 has three phases. The first part of it has to do with the Lord and the woman and then the next part has to do with the Lord and the disciples and finally the third part has to do with the Lord and the Samaritans. We’re going to spend more than one time on our Lord’s encounter with the woman. We’ll concentrate on the first part of the interview today and then we will the Lord willing deal with the remainder of it later.
Now we look at the historical situation, and John in writing of this account, begins by reminding his readers that the Lord Jesus had ministered in Judea but now had come the time to leave Judea and depart again into Galilee. It’s rather interesting I think that in the 3rd verse he says, “He left Judea.” Now that verb that is used there is a word that means probably something like abandon. He abandoned Judea. And one of the reasons I think, it is possible to have another view of this, is that our Lord had already ministered in the temple, he had ministered in Jerusalem. His ministry had been largely rejected. And so when we read in verse 3, “He left Judea,” he abandoned Judea, we are to think of this as something that us judicial. In other words, right here in the beginning of the gospel we have an indication of what he has said in the beginning of the gospel, “He came unto his own and his own received him not.” Our Lord has very little to do with Judea afterwards. At the end of his ministry he comes in the last week in the events that precede his crucifixion, but it’s obvious that the die is already cast by then.
So the Lord Jesus leaves Judea and he departs to Galilee. Mention is made of the fact that this happened when the Lord knew or as the Greek text says, when Jesus knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John thought Jesus himself baptized not. Isn’t that interesting that our Lord did not baptize himself? And yet, he evidently commissioned his disciples to baptize. Why was that? Was it perhaps because he wanted to identify his ministry with John’s ministry for John baptized and baptized men if they made confession of their sins. And he pointed them, so Paul tells us later, to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Was this not at least our Lord’s consent to the purpose of John’s ministry? In fact it was an identification of his ministry with John’s. John baptized, his disciples baptized.
But at the same time, Jesus himself did not actually perform the rite. Now I can only make a suggestion here because this is not in the Bible, but knowing human nature, I could just imagine sense John himself obtained disciples who called themselves the disciples of John the Baptist, years later I can understand how a group of people who had been personally baptized by the Lord Jesus might think that there was something special in that personal baptism by him that marked them off from other Christians. Now I know there are lots of people in the United States who have become Christians and they’ve been baptized in churches in the Untied States, but when they get over to the land of Palestine, they frequently ask to be baptized in the Jordan River. What is the philosophy of that? What is the philosophy of after you’ve been baptized in water over here, to want to be baptized in the Jordan River? There’s evidently clinging to human nature some idea that it might be just a little more sanctifying to be baptized in the water in which the earliest disciples were baptized. That’s part of human nature. Many hundreds of Americans have been baptized in the Jordan River after they’ve already been baptized in Dallas water. Dallas water’s not quite as good, I don’t know why if you ever see that dirty little stream. But nevertheless it’s true. Can you not imagine, as the early church grew they would say, “Who baptized you?”
“Fine, who baptized you?”
“Well Peter baptized me.”
“Well that’s not bad. Who baptized you?”
“Jesus Baptized me.”
“That’s the best.” And then finding two or three more whom Jesus baptized and then pretty soon you have the Jesus denomination, all baptized by the Lord Jesus. Now I don’t know that that’s what is involved here, it may be that that’s the reason the Lord did not personally baptize anyone, but commissioned his disciples to baptize them. That’s not too important, but you know it interests preachers.
Now we read in the 4th verse, “And he must needs go through Samaria.” That interests me too. You didn’t have to go through Samaria to get to Galilee. You could go over the coast and go up to Galilee and you would skip Samaria. Samaria was to the north of Judea. Or you could cross the Jordan River and go up the region known as Peria in which our Lord had a ministry in his ministry and you would miss Samaria that way. So you could go up to the west and miss Samaria, you could go to the east and you would miss Samaria. Now remember, the Samaritans and the Jews did not get along very well because the Samaritans were a mixed breed of people. When the Assyrians conquered Israel, they sent many of the natives to their realms and then they brought in others from their realms and settled them in the land. And the Samaritans are these individuals who came in, intermarried and the result was the Samaritans, the Samaritans were a mixed breed. Ultimately they came to accept the religion of Israel in general, and they said they worshipped Jehovah but the Jewish people did not ever really respond to them and so there was hard feeling between them. The Samaritans regarded only the first five books of Moses as inspired and you probably have read of the Samaritan Pentateuch, it has even a slightly different textual history from the five books of Moses as found in the Masoretic text that we have translated in most of our editions of the Bible.
So Samaria was unfriendly territory for Jews. So you didn’t have to go straight through Samaria, but we do read here, “He must needs go through Samaria.” Now why must he go through Samaria? Well I suggest to you again that the reason for this is divine necessity, certainly not human necessity, divine necessity. He must go through Samaria. Now you notice when you read the gospel of John, there are many indications of the fact that John the apostle regarded divine necessity as one of the most important things that he taught. He keeps saying that it was not yet Jesus’ time, it was not yet Jesus’ time, referring to the cross. And then finally, “Jesus, knowing that his time had come,” taught the apostles in the upper room discourse.
Furthermore, we have such texts as, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” “He must needs go through Samaria.” Chapter 9 verse 4, “I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work.” In the 10th chapter and the 16th verse we read, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice.” John chapter 12 and verse 34 we read these words, “The people answered him, we have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever and how saith Thou the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So, over and over again we read of the divine necessity. “He must be lifted up.” “The Son of man must suffer.” “He must needs go through Samaria.” Now this I think is the divine necessity suggesting that this contact with this woman from the city of Samaria is important from the divine standpoint. Now when we remember of course that this woman was quite different from Nicodemus, we’ll say something about that in just a moment, we’ll appreciate something of that as well. But he must go through Samaria, the divine necessity.
Now we read, “Then cometh he to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there, Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey sat thus on the well and it was about the sixth hour.” We keep saying as we teach the Bible that the Lord Jesus is a divine person. He’s not a human person who received a divine nature. He’s not two persons a human person and a divine person. For he is one person, but he’s one person with two natures. Now since existed before he took the human nature to himself in conception and then in birth, we conclude and the Scriptures affirm that he is a divine person. But he possesses not only a divine nature, but at a point in time he received an additional nature so that he is a divine person that possesses two natures or a God-man, not a man-God, but a God-man.
Now in our effort to stress the deity of Christ, in the modern day, sometimes we have forgotten that he was truly human. In our desire to present him as one who possessed full deity, we sometimes do not give sufficient attention to the fact that he was truly human. Now we read here that he was wearied with his journey. He sat on the well, he was thirsty. So he has a true human nature apart from sin. Now human nature does not have to have sin. I know you might say, wait a minute, has there ever been anyone but our Lord? Well yes, there was one for a time, Adam. He was truly a man and before he sinned, truly a man and at that point had not sinned. Sin is not necessary for human nature, in order for human nature to be human. And ultimately shall have the sin nature eradicated. And when we live throughout eternity we will be truly human though glorified, but we will not have sin.
But our Lord is weary. Now one of the reasons for this, one of the many reasons is that he must die, therefore he must be a human. Further, he must be able to sympathize with us as our great high priest, so he must be human. I know what people say, “You mean the Lord Jesus can sympathize with us even though he was the sinless Son of God? How is that possible? He doesn’t understand the testings that I have.” Oh, yes he does. As a matter of fact, he understands them better than you do; he knows temptation better than you do. “But he doesn’t have any flesh from which his temptations arise.” That’s true. But temptations come from not only within, they come from Satan and they come from the world. What is temptation? Temptation is the temptation to turn aside from the will of God. That’s the essence of temptation. It doesn’t really make any difference so far as the nature of the testing is concerned whether it comes from within or without. It is a testing to turn aside from the will of God.
Now the Lord Jesus knew that far more than you ever will know, do you know why? Let’s just think of testing in degrees of intensity. Five degrees of intensity, many of us fall into sin. Ten degrees of intensity, we’ve passed the five degree mark, many more fall out at ten. Twenty degrees of intensity, there goes Mr. Prier [Laughter] twenty-five degrees and so on. But our Lord has passed through all of those degrees of intensity. And in fact on up to the highest intensity our Lord has overcome, so he knows every point of testing along the way. Furthermore, he knows how to overcome at five percent, ten percent, twenty percent, fifty percent, this is a poor human illustration of course, but it illustrates the fact that our Lord is a high priest who is able to succor those who are tested because he himself has undergone testing. So you can turn to him. He knows the intensity of the testing you’re going through. He doesn’t know testing that comes from the sin nature. Sin, he died for that. But the testing that makes him sympathetic, he knows and knows how to deliver.
So when we read here that he was wearied with his journey that encourages us to remember that he was a human being, the divine person who possessed a human nature. He was a man Scriptures say, and thus he’s able to have sympathy with us. A leper came to him once and said, “Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” He didn’t doubt his power, he just doubted his willingness. And we read, “The Lord Jesus put out his hand and touched the leper.” Think of that, touched the leper. Touched the untouchable, now he didn’t have to do that, he could just speak a word. Why did he touch the leper? Well he touched the untouchable in order that the leper’s question about him might be answered, not the power, but the willingness, the desire. “If you will, you’re able to make me clean. And he touched him and he was healed. So, being wearied with his journey, one of the most beautiful texts in the Bible reminding us of the fact that he saw me ruined in the fall yet loved me notwithstanding all.
Well as he’s sitting there, the woman of Samaria comes. She comes in the evening to draw water for her family and as she comes our Lord, sitting on the side of Jacob’s well, it was well incidentally which is still there, there’s a convent built around it. It’s a well about a hundred feet deep, so it was a deep well. He’s sitting on the side of it; he’s dealt with Nicodemus the Jew, the Pharisee, the man. And now the woman comes, not a woman of high morals evidently, as Nicodemus was a man with high morals, not a Jew but a Samaritan. All illustrative of the fact that we’ve been saying that he’s the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world of Jews Samaritans and Gentiles so even a Samaritan is the object of the love of God.
Well, she comes and Jesus begins the conversation with, “Give me a drink.” Now the reason he said that John says is because the disciples had gone away in the city to buy meet for their food. Well the woman replies, “How is it that you a Jew ask a drink of me which I’m a woman of Samaria?” Because the Jews do not use the same utensils that the Samaritans do. So she recognized him by his dress or his accent as being one different from her. Now they did have dealings with the Jews, these Samaritans and the Jews had dealings with them, because the disciples had gone away to but meat. But they didn’t use the same utensils.
Now our Lord responds to the woman and said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee give me to drink, you wouldst have asked of him and he would have given thee living water.” She proceeded on the wrong presupposition, he’s needy, she’s self sufficient. But she’s the one who really had need, she had the need of living water and he could supply it because he’s the fountain. Can you not imagine the emotions that went through this woman’s mind as she heard this man speak? “If you knew the gift of God,” now notice, our Lord calls this a gift. In fact, this is the only time in the gospels that we have this word, gift. You can see the freeness of the salvation that is provided, and our Lord Jesus is with the apostles, he stands in the apostolic company of preaching the free grace of God.
I don’t know why you have to say free grace, someone said to me just the other day, a friend at the seminary, “Why do you have to say free grace?” He was not saying in criticism of something I’ve said, but he said, “Why is it that we say free grace? Isn’t grace free? And if it’s free isn’t it grace?” I said, “Yes that’s right.”
Mr. Spurgeon used to say that there’s no need to say free grace, grace is free. If it’s free it’s gracious. But he said, “I use it just to make assurance doubly sure.” Free grace, well, “If you knew the gift of God.” It’s a gift, salvation is a gift. It doesn’t arise from something we do, not even from our free will decision. It’s a gift of God.
Now, that was probably a mild rebuke in what he said, because she hesitated to give him the material water where as he says, “I’m freely ready to give you the living spiritual water. You’re holding back a bit and I’m freely ready to give.” So, she said, “Sir, you don’t have anything to draw with, you don’t have any utensils. Furthermore, this well is deep, a hundred feet deep, from whence then has thou this living water?” Now remember, living water to them was running water, like a spring, like a river. Other water was like water in a cistern, in the Dead Sea. Somebody in the congregation sent me this week a quotation from Bruce Barton which he made reference to the fact that there were two seas in Palestine, the Sea of Galilee in which there’s living water, and the Dead Sea. That’s very interesting isn’t it, those two, it’s almost as if will you make up your mind which kind of water you want?
Well at any rate, she said, “You don’t have anything to draw with, the well’s deep, where are you going to get this living water?” And then she said, “Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well, he drank thereof himself, his children drank of it, his cattle drank of it, are you greater than Jacob?” And in the Greek text she expects the negative answer. Let me put it this way, what she really said was something like this, “Surely you’re not greater are you than Jacob who built the well and drank of it himself?” See, our Lord is already getting her to think about the greatness of the Son of God. When a person begins to think about the greatness of the Son of God, then he’s on the way perhaps to responding to him as the Savior of souls.
Isn’t it interesting that people often appeal to the past? She appealed to Jacob. You like people who are dead, you ever noticed that? Spurgeon was a great preacher my Baptist friends frequently say that, “Spurgeon was a great preacher.”
“Do you believe in free will?”
“Oh yes, I believe in free will.” Fortunately not all Baptist do, but nevertheless, many of my friends will say, “Spurgeon was a great preacher.” They quote Mr. Spurgeon. You say, “Do you believe what Mr. Spurgeon believed?”
“Well, no, but Mr. Spurgeon’s dead.” See, when men have died and we put them in the grave, then we garnish their sepulchers. They’ll be some of my friendly enemies who’ll say when I’m gone, “He was a good preacher.” They may not believe what I preach, but nevertheless, “He was a good preacher, he’s dead now he’s not going to bother us any longer.” [Laughter] That’s very interesting. In Scotland, they celebrate the Scottish Reformation. But do they believe the Scottish Reformation today? Well some do, the great mass don’t.
So, “Are you greater than Jacob?” Well actually he was. In fact, our Lord says, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Listen, he’s far greater than Jacob because he’s the fountain of living water. Now if you go back in the Old Testament and you study the use of the expression fountain of waters, you discover that that expression is an expression that is used of Jehovah, of Yahweh. This is our Lord reminding the woman of Samaria who does not yet understand all of this of course, reminding her of the fact that he not only is greater than Jacob but he is Jacob’s God! He’s the one with whom Jacob wrestled at Peniel. He’s the one who stood by Jacob at Bethel and gave him those great promises. He’s the one who was there, who said, the elder shall serve the younger. Here he is standing in front of the woman who’s citing Jacob.
It’s a beautiful lesson on the analogy of water and life, water and life are both indispensable. She said here in verse 15, “Sir, give me this water that I thirst not.” Water is indispensable. Over two-thirds of our body is water, so I’m told. If we should loose twenty percent of the water of our body, that would bring a horrible death to us. It’s necessary for health, it’s necessary for cooking, it’s necessary for industry, it’s necessary for medicine, it’s necessary for the cooling of the body; I need a little right now. The longest recorded life of anyone on the ocean without water is eleven days. It’s absolutely essential. Life is absolutely essential spiritually, the life that Jesus gives. Water is the gift of God, in Acts we read, “God gave us rain from Heaven.” He gives us food. It’s absolutely essential and it’s a gift of God. So is the spiritual life.
Some years ago I took down the encyclopedia and I read the whole article on water. Rather dreary reading in spots. There’s some interesting things there. I read through the entire encyclopedia article, not one word was said about the source of water in the article. That seems like a fundamental question, where does it come from? Nothing in the encyclopedia article, a great deal about its qualities, nothing about its source, it comes from God ultimately.
Water and life both satisfy. Water is limited in its quantity, limited in the sense that it’s from outside, it brings limited satisfaction, but life is perpetually reproducing by the grace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s something inside of us, it’s lastingly satisfying because of course it is ultimately the Holy Spirit. Our Lord is speaking about the Spirit when he says he will give the leaping fountain of living waters, the Holy Spirit who will bring eternal life.
I love this expression here, “Springing up into everlasting life.” In the Old Testament that is used of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon men like Gideon. So that it is in a sense, our Lord’s way of saying, “Look, I give the Holy Spirit and I with the Holy Spirit give one who brings eternal life to the one who possesses him.” That’s why Paul says later, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ is not of his.” Do you have the Holy Spirit? Do you have the life that is life indeed? Do you have this living water that is water that leaps up into eternal life? This word is almost a violent figure; it leaps up because of the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual who possesses that Holy Spirit.
I like also another thing, just as our time is really up, but let me just mention this. In verse 14 he says, “Everyone who drinks of the water that I shall give him,” and he uses a tense that suggests the continuous drinking. “Everyone who goes on drinking of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” So you can think of all the men who come to wells or who come to the spigots, and you think of them constantly drinking water. “Everyone who drinks of this water,” that is this water in the well, “he shall thirst again, but he who,” not everyone but, “he who,” in other words, he pointing out some in the all “who drink of this special water.” And actually, he uses a different tense. He uses the Aorist tense, it’s presented as and event. Everyone who goes on drinking of natural water shall thirst, everyone. But that individual who at a point in time drinks of this water that I give, he’ll never thirst. Later on he will say, “He’ll never hunger,” because he has within him the whole well. Isn’t that amazing? The whole well and it’s a gift.
Well, I love this woman’s response, even thought she doesn’t understand yet. There is something deep down within her that is responding, and so she says, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not.” Now it’s evident she doesn’t quite understand because she says, “Neither come hither to draw.” I see there’s something that’s evidently better than what I’ve got and I sure would like to have it, give me this water that I don’t have to thirst and I don’t have to come her. But how much more wonderful would it be if you yourself should say, “Sir, give me this water that I thirst not,” period. May God help you to do it. Come to Christ, believe in him, rest in him. Receive the gift of the fountain of water that leaps up to everlasting life.
[Prayer] Our heavenly Father, we praise Thee and thank Thee for these wonderful reports of encounters the Lord Jesus had when he was here upon the earth. Oh God may we who know him be witnesses of the salvation he has brought us as a gift. For those who do not know him …
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