“If only you know the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” – Jesus, John 4:10
Living water is something that all of us need to survive. A lack of it can cause symptoms of “spiritual deadness.” Jesus first mentions “Living Water” in His encounter of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4):
… Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.
To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.
A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)
The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)
Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”
The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”
He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.”
“I have no husband,” she said.
“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”
“Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”
“Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
“I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”
Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.
The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves. (v. 3b-30, MSG)
Jesus took time to build a relationship with this woman. She was a Samaritan, and in His day, men didn’t converse with women in public, much less have anything to with Samaritans…period.
Notice that throughout the story, there wasn’t condemnation for her actions; just concern. She was living a life of sin; filling her need with worldly things which had become addictions.
Rather than condemn her for those actions, Jesus chose to give her life.
Jesus shows us that offering hope to the lost is a better choice than our comfort level. Rather than point out her lifestyle, Jesus opted to show her that there is a better way; how she could achieve eternal life. He offered hope; He offered life rather than death.
Have you ever read the KJV version of the recollection? In verse 7, Jesus states, “Give Me to drink.” KJV is the only translation that reads it this way. Think about that with me a moment.
“Give Me to drink.”
What does it mean, in the light of Living Water, to give Jesus to drink?
Although Jesus was physically weary and thirsty, He wasn’t asking her for something to drink. He was telling the woman what she should do after meeting Him and hearing the good news. She was being called to share the Living Water, Jesus Christ, with others by preaching the gospel that Jesus came to share.
Jesus gave her life. He gave her living water.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 captures what happens when we plant ourselves near the stream of Living Water; root ourselves in Christ: Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green, and it will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will is cease from yielding fruit.
Like the Samaritan woman, those in this world try to meet their inner spiritual thirst through external means that do not satisfy like food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, entertainment, and many other forms of unhealthy and addictive behaviors. These earthly things do no and will not truly satisfy the need that God has given all of humankind for a Savior. They may give a temporary fix; only Jesus can fully and completely satisfy.
He already paid the price on Calvary; we have the well-spring of the Holy Spirit living within us, giving us fresh water day in and day out. The Holy Spirit is constantly cleansing us from all unrighteousness so that we are viewed as clean in the eyes of God. Isn’t that worth sharing with others? Won’t you “give Him to drink?”