Title: The Living Water
(H) Highlight verse: "Jesus said to her, 'whoever drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that will give him will never thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" John 4:13, 14
(E) Explain: As Jesus was travelling at around the noon hour he was tired, hot and thirsty as he came to Jacob’s well. It is traditionally believed this well is located on the land Jacob (Israel) gave to Joseph in Genesis 48:22. Interestingly it is still a functioning well/spring to this day. Since it was noon the sun was at its peak and Jesus was weary from his travels. He encounters a woman at this well and asks her for a drink.
Water was drawn in the morning hours or the cool of the day by the women. Typically the women came in groups so they could assist one another in drawing water before it became too hot. In this passage we meet a woman who comes later in the day and alone. This tells us that she is probably a shunned woman because she comes at the point of day when she knows no one will be around and she comes by herself.
Jesus asks her for some water and the woman is certainly surprised because a Jewish male is asking her for a drink of water. He has no utensils so he would have to use her cup. According to Jews Samaritans were ceremonially unclean and a Jew who used a Samaritan’s cup would also be considered unclean as well. This is what the writer John meant when he wrote that Jews and Samaritans use nothing in common.
She apparently has no reason to even know that she is speaking to the Messiah. She was exasperated that this tired Jewish traveler was talking to her but as Jesus said had she known who she was talking to she would not only be getting him water but would be asking him for the living water. Living water – literally translated as flowing water or moving water. In the Bible water is symbolic for cleansing, refreshing and in the Holy Spirit. Jesus is speaking to this woman in spiritual terms as D.A. Carson writes, “(Living Water is) the satisfying eternal life mediated by the Spirit that only Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of the world can provide.” As Jesus talks about this water the woman thinks he is speaking of some unknown water source (or Jesus is speaking literally) so she asks Jesus how he plans on giving her this water since he has no utensils. She doesn’t understand Jesus is speaking in a spiritual sense.
He takes the opportunity to further explain what he is talking about. He says the physical water that we drink is temporary and never TRULY satisfies (much like worldly possessions). We can drink all the water we want (to the point of getting sick) but eventually we will get thirsty again. The living water, which is not a liquid but the everlasting life of God through the Holy Spirit satisfies our spiritual thirst. In our search for satisfaction and contentment in life we seek fulfillment in physical things (cars, homes, electronics, substances, food, drink etc.) and we can never truly be satisfied. Satisfaction is only attained when we have drunk of the living water of Jesus Christ. Not only will the water of life satisfy but it will spring up or gush up like an artesian well of eternal life and life here on earth through the Holy Spirit (an abundant life).
Hearing Jesus’ description of this water the woman now desires this water and asks how to get it. Jesus then makes a prophecy about her life and her immoral acts which cuts to her heart and convicts her of her immoral lifestyle. This shows that when we desire to drink the living water of Jesus we will also have to confront our sins. Sure, it is easy to come to Jesus and drink of the living water, the hard part is realizing our sins and handing them over to God.
(A) Application: This passage tells me a lot about Jesus and the life he has to offer. Here are four truths from this encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well.
- Jesus is for everyone (wealthy, poor, sick, healthy, Jew, Gentile etc). This does not mean that everyone is for Jesus. Some/many will reject the living water he has so freely given.
- When you do truly meet Jesus at the well in your life you will never be the same, sin will be dealt with and hearts will be changed. We will never be sin-free but sin will no longer be our desire.
- True satisfaction and contentment can only be found in Jesus. When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior we will be able to speak the words of the Psalmist in the 23rd Psalm… “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want…”
- When you have drunk the living water of Jesus your heart becomes his home (figuratively through the Holy Spirit) and He will be glorified in all areas of our lives… at work, home, school, church etc
(R) Respond: Thank you that the water of life is available to all who believe. Thank you that you have offered this living water to me. Thank you that you promised that not only will the water of life satisfy, but that it will never stop satisfying.
 Carson, D.A. (1991) The Gospel According to John p. 219 Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eerdman’s Publishing Co.