When Jesus met the woman at the well in John chapter 4, the conversation they had contains several interesting phrases. One of them came to mind recently as I read and reflected on this passage.
Jesus offers the woman water, but not normal water. He said, “…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) These little phrases are full of interesting nuances.
Jesus said, “the water I will give him…” This water can come only from him. When we look for something to give us life that is not centered on, sustained through and directed toward Christ, we will remain thirsty. The thirst of life is only satisfied by living water. All our attempts to quench the thirsts of our souls with anything other than living water, will sentence us to return to the “wells” of the world over and over again.
The woman said, “Give me this water”. But she did not want the water of life. She didn’t even know there was a water of life. Her focus was on her self. Her expressed reason for wanting “this water” was to ease her own life. She said, “…so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” Thirst was natural, it was the “coming” and “drawing” that she wanted to avoid.
I know we love our Lord and we know him to be living water for us. But do we sometimes make the demand, “Give me this water”, on the basis of avoiding the work of the walk to the well and the drawing of the water? Do we sit in church like baby birds chirping, “feed me, feed me”, never realizing that there are true babies in Christ that we could feed. Do we ask Jesus for peace instead of presence? No! Don’t ask me to minister to others. Don’t ask me to read God’s word. Don’t ask me to serve someone else. I got the living water so I could avoid all those “works”.
Jesus offered living water for a purpose. He said, “Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” We will talk about this next week.