The Water Of Life

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A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.(John 4:7).

It was a normal day. “A woman from Samaria came to draw water”  But this turned out not to be a normal day after all because her life was transformed forever. Water is life they say. But it is “temporal life.” The woman met Jesus–The Water of life. She came to draw natural water— which gives temporal satisfaction–but she met with Spiritual water, The One who satisfies the thirst of the soul and gives eternal life: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”(vv.13-14).

She had heard of the Messiah and the prophecies concerning Him (John 4 v. 25). But that fateful day, she had not premeditated meeting with the Messiah. A mere coincidence it might have been for her but Christ had her in mind when He set off on His journey. We are told in verse 4 that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria”(v. 4). Jesus was a Jew, and journeying  through Samaria meant He was going against a wall of racial and gender discrimination. The response of the disciples when they came to meet Him speaking with the woman is revealing; “They marveled that he was talking with a woman”(v.27). In John 4:9, we are told explicitly that “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans”.

So what explains this hostility between Jews and Samaritans? A commentary on John 4:4 gives us a clue.

The Jews often avoided Samaria by going around it along the Jordan River. The hatred between the Jews and Samaritans went back to the days of the Exile. When the northern kingdom was exiled to ASSYRIA, King Sargon of Assyria repopulated the area with captives from other lands. The intermarriage of these foreigners and the Jews who had been left in the land complicated the ancestry of the Samaritans. The Jews hated the Samaritans and considered them to be no longer “purer” Jews.¹

This hostility was a  perceived purity issue. It was a “we” are better than “them” philosophy. To the Jews, all non Jews were non-entities. They had the oracles of God and that produced in them a self-rigtheous national identity. Describing the Jews in his book, The Reformed Faith, Loraine Boettner wrote,

They had  become  the  most intensely  nationalistic  and intolerant  people  in  the  world. Instead  of  recognizing  their position as that of God’s representatives  to  all the  people  of  the  world,  they had  taken  those  blessings to  themselves.  Even  the early  Christians  for  a  time were  inclined  to  appropriate the  mission  of  the  Messiah only  to themselves.²

Now, we see there was an alternative route — going around it [Samaria] along the Jordan River — Jesus could have used to avoid walking through Samaria, but there was a life in Samaria to be saved and He “had to pass through Samaria” to accomplish that. Encountering Jesus that day was on divine calendar. She was foreknown, predestined, chosen and called before the foundations of the earth (Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:4,11, 1Thessalonians 1:4, 1Peter 1:2).

Before you proceed, pause to note this woman was an adulterous woman who had lived with six men (v18). Her sins probably were beginning to weigh on her. She was feeling despised. And we see this clearly in the time of day she went to the well, i.e.”about the sixth hour”(v.6) or noon. That time of the day is significant because “[n]ormally, women would come to draw water in the morning or evening when it was cooler (Gen 24:11; cf 29:78); the immoral woman comes at a time when no one else would be at the well.”³ She might have already encountered people at the well during a morning or evening time who despised her because she was living in adultery. Now she feels despised and her self-worth erroded. Therefore, she will rather come to draw water at an odd time so as to avoid ridicule. She obviusly might be feeling like an outcast of society. But Christ changed her story that day. Christ indeed changes the story of sinners.

You might find yourself in a sinful situation which you deem beyond redemption. But no, no sin is beyond redemption. Christ died for sinners and if you acknowledge your sins, repent and come to Him for salvation, He will not turn you away.

See, God always makes the first move towards saving sinful humankind. In John 15:16, Jesus told His disciples and by extension us that “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…” In Romans 5:8, we are told “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. When the woman came, it was Jesus who started a conversation: “Give me a drink“. If Jesus had not started that conversation, she probably would have drawn her water and be gone. In fact, her response to Jesus was dismissive (v.9). But Jesus kept the conversation and from there preached to her of Himself: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”(v.10).

Here is a plain truth. You have not asked for the gift of God because you don’t know the gift of God. Jesus Christ is the gift of God who was sent to reconcile sinful humankind unto God through faith in Him: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). I hereby introduce this man to you, Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God who died and rose again to reconcile sinful men to Himself. Peter will say of Him that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men  by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“Give me a drink”. How is it that He, by whom all things were created and by Him all things hold together will ask of water, which He is the source?(Colossians 1:16-17). In the words “Give me a drink”, we see the Son of man identifying with our human weakness. In his humanity, He experienced human weakness. John tells us the reason He requested for a drink: He was wearied from His journey (v.6). The writer of Hebrews will tell us “..it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham [human beings]. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people…For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin”.(Hebrews 2:16-7, 4:15).

Jesus bids us “Come”. Come with your human frailty and sins in exchange for divine life. Come partake of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4). Come for the cleansing of your sins, your filth and the idol(s) you have erected in your heart(Ezekiel 36:25) “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28). “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37).

Come to Jesus.

Notes

1: Radmacher, Allen and House, Compact  Bible Commentary, (Nashville, Tennesse, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2004), pg. 742.

[2] Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Faith, (Monergism Books, ePub  and .mobi edition 2010) Pg79

[3] Notes on John 4:6 from The ESV Study Bible, Personal Size, ESV Bible, (Wheaton, Crossway, 2008) Pg 2027

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