Living Water

Bible Reading: John 4

They couldn’t have differed more. Nicodemus was a self-righteous Pharisee. The woman at the well was an immoral woman (John 4:18). He was a religious leader; she was a despised Samaritan (John 4:9). He came to Jesus, Jesus went to her. But they held one thing in common: both needed Jesus.

“Give me a drink,” He asked (John 4:7). That innocuous request worked to initiate a discussion between them of lofty spiritual matters. It should not escape our notice that Jesus, “who came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), was not averse to conversing with a woman like her. The woman, being a woman and a Samaritan, was surprised that He did (John 4:9). The disciples were likewise surprised (“They marveled that he was talking with a woman;” John 4:27). Nicodemus and his Pharisee friends certainly would not have been seen with her (Luke 15:1-2). But Jesus was not bound by cultural expectations or phony social distinctions. He “came into the world to save sinners” and found in that woman one well qualified that way (1 Timothy 1:15). His ministry and message were equally applicable and available to persons of every station in life.

Jesus was well aware of her situation.  He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here,” to which she replied, “I have no husband.”  Jesus then said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.  What you have said is true” (John 4:16-18).  Jesus knew all about these matters.  Later she would testify “He told me all that I ever did” (John 4:39).  He knew all about her sins, past and present.  But Jesus, the Friend of Sinners, was not dissuaded in the least from reaching out to her.  The religiously proud would have readily disapproved of her as one of little value or worth, but Jesus doesn’t look at people that way (Luke 19:10).

The conversation between Jesus and the woman and the well was all about water.  He asked for water.  She wondered why a person like Him would ask for that from a person like her (John 4:9).  Jesus spoke to her of the gift of God and the living water He alone could provide (John 4:10), saying, “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” (John 4:13-14). 

None of us can live long without water.  Regular consumption of H2O is essential to a person’s physical health.  But there is no kind of earthly water which can work to forever quench a person’s thirst.  It is therefore necessary to drink again.  With soul thirst, however, there is a water which can fully satisfy.  We are all born with a thirst for God that cannot be fully satisfied in any man devised way (Ecclesiastes 3:11), as St. Augustine once said, ““Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”  The pursuit of meaning and purpose in life apart from God is compared to trying to quench one’s thirst from “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).  Sin promises satisfaction, but the “fleeting pleasures of sin” leave us thirsty still (Hebrews 11:25).  The woman at the well knew all about such things.  

Jesus offered living water to her, living water that would forever satisfy her deepest longings and become in her “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).  On a later date He would stand before a multitude and declare “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 7:37-38).  Who doesn’t thirst?  The harshness of life on this sin-cursed planet leaves us parched of soul, but Jesus invites us to come and satiate our deepest needs in Him.  The invitation is to “whoever” —religious and irreligious, men and women, Jew, Samaritan, Gentile, rich men and poor, young and old—no matter their present estate, they can have their soul needs fully met in Him.  He is a “fountain of living water” to those who trust in Him (Jeremiah 2:13; Revelation 22:1).  She went to the well to get water, she found Jesus there and in finding Him found eternal life (John 4:39-42).

“Who doesn’t thirst?  The harshness of life on this sin-cursed planet leaves us parched of soul, but Jesus invites us to come and satiate our deepest needs in Him.”


Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy.
And then I heard my Savior speaking—
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.

There are millions in this world who are seeking
For pleasures earthly goods afford.
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord. [Refrain]

So my brother if the things that this world gives you
Leave hungers that won’t pass away,
My blessed Lord will come and save you
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray—[Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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