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Living Water


John 4:3-15

When you think back on the summer that we had we were all reminded of how important water is. It was so hot and dry that several trees out at camp died; grass died and there was no grass for their cattle to graze on; yards and flowers all over town turned to dust and dry stems.

But the thing about this passage is Jesus tells us that you can have water; you can have a well full of water; but if you don’t have “living water” you are still going to die no matter how much water you may have.

In vs. 3, Jesus and His disciples left Judea to go to Galilee. This would be about a 90 mile trip (walking).

Now, look at vs. 7. The normal time for women to get water was either early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it was cooler.

We can’t say for sure why this woman came to the well at noon; it may be because of her immoral life.

But she comes to the well and sitting there is this Jewish man and he asks her “for a drink.”

Now, it is hard to know if she was a little resentful when this Jewish man asks her for a drink; but when you consider the hostilities that exist between Samaritans and Jews it is very possible.

And then, according to the Jews, in their own culture,  it was unacceptable for a Jewish man to speak to a Jewish woman, much less for a rabbi to speak to a woman; and it would be even more unacceptable for a Jewish rabbi or man to speak to a lowly Samaritan woman.

Look what she says in vs. 9: “How is it that You (emphatic), being a Jew, ask me(emphatic) for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Now, look at vs. 10:  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 

 Now she is curious. Look at vs. 11: She said to Him(sarcastically), “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?”

Now, look at Jesus answer in vs. 13:  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water (Jacob’s well) shall thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. ”  15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw.”

Now, obviously this woman doesn’t understand and she is still thinking about the physical convenience this “living water” would be to her: she wouldn’t be thirsty anymore and she wouldn’t have to come and draw water again.

But, what about the “living water?” What is Jesus talking about?

First of all, Jesus does not say that He is “the living water.”

And notice in vs. 14 that Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water”; this “living water” is available to everyone; that includes the wealthy, the prominent or those who are like this woman; those whose past or whose life has not been what they might want it to be.

And notice in vs. 14 that Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water that He gives that it will become a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

There is a lot of speculation about what it is; but the best thing to do is let the word of God tell us; even better let’s let Jesus tell us.

Here in these verses it is the time of the Feast of Booths; vs. 2. The Feast of Booths was a Jewish holiday that commemorated the 40 years during which the Israelites wondered in the wilderness, living in temporary shelters called sukkots.

During this festival Jesus goes to the temple and begins to teach and the people marvel about His teaching even though He has never been educated; vs. 14. And when Jesus explains His teaching some take exception to Him and in vs. 30 some were seeking to seize Him and others were beginning to believe in Him.

Now, vs. 37:  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'”  39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

So, when is the “living water” or Holy Spirit given? Many will say that the Holy Spirit is given when a person simply believes in Christ. But, what does the Bible say. Look at this found in Acts 2:38:

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift (it is given to you) of the Holy Spirit.

Paul is writing to Christians, people who have already been baptized and he says: In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

 And when we receive the Holy Spirit, in keeping with what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit “flowing like a river from our inmost being”, the Holy Spirit working in us not only produces the “fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;

The woman at the well had a well full of water; but no matter how much water she had she would die without the “living water.”