ATP Blog #20 Living Water
Have you ever been in a conversation, thinking you know exactly what the other person is talking about, when you suddenly find out that they are talking about something completely different, because of the definition of a word? That is exactly what happened to the woman in this story.
Jacob’s Well At the beginning of the story, we find Jesus and His disciples travelling through the land of Samaria … on purpose! Not only that, but they stop at a Samaritan town for lunch. For those who don’t know, Samaritans and Jews hated each other at this time for a variety of reasons. Jesus demonstrates His humanity, being tired and hungry. He sent His followers into town to get some food, and He seated Himself at the well for a rest. Normally, at this time of day there would be no one at the well; it was noon, the heat of the day. Yet, here came a woman to draw water from the well. Jesus starts a conversation by asking for a drink of water. This greatly surprised the woman since Jews were not on talking terms with Samaritans, and men were not to talk to women (other than spouse) in that culture. Once the conversation was engaged, Jesus redirected it to His offer of living water.
Jesus’ Well What is living water? The woman had heard the term before, referring to a natural spring. In that culture, if the water was moving like in a spring, it was considered living. Should the water be stale, as in a pool or a well, it was not considered living. Therefore, the woman was confused at Jesus’ comment (v10) regarding living water which would make you never thirst again (v13). Spring water usually tastes better than well water, and definitely better than water from a cistern, but it would only quench your thirst for a time. Jesus had to explain the real definition of the living water He offered. To do so, He challenged the woman in two areas: her perception of morality, and her perception of worship.
Righteous Morality Where do you look to for your standards for living? Jesus challenged the woman regarding her lifestyle, and God’s standards for living. Please take notice that Jesus did so with grace, and without condemnation! Whether her lifestyle was one of promiscuity, or adultery, or just bad ‘luck’ with men, Jesus struck a chord regarding the sin in her life, and she knew it. Her response to Him was, ‘I perceive that you are a prophet!’ (v19) To receive the living water, she needed to acknowledge her sin, seeking to allow God to cleanse her with the living water, and teach her the right way to live.
Heartfelt Worship What is the right way to worship God, and where? The next challenge was initiated by the woman, trying to change the topic of conversation, but Jesus used it to help her see the true definition of living water. Her question was regarding which location was the ‘right’ place to worship the one true God, Jerusalem, or Mount Perizim. Jesus answered that the time had come when people who desired to worship God, could do so any place, and any time. The living water would help that person meet the true requirements of worship: in Spirit (with the right motives), and in Truth (with the right heart).
Living Water So, how would you now define this living water that Jesus offers? It is not a physical provision to meet a physical need, but rather a spiritual nourishment that meets a spiritual need. The question you must then ask is, ‘What do you thirst for?’ A person can only receive the living water if they are thirsty for it! When you recognize your need, and where the provision comes from, you can receive this free gift from God! It is a living water that nourishes the soul, enabling you to live right, and worship from the heart.
Have you received this living water?