Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reflecting on Living Water

I was captured this morning by the well-known story of Jesus meeting the woman from Samaria at Jacob's Well. Here's how the biblical passage in question begins . . .

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 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.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? “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?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life" (John 4:7-14).

Later in another post, I'll put up the rest of the passage's verses that finish the account. But when considering the whole story, it is interesting to see the different emphases given to this passage depending on who is talking about it or teaching from it. As for me, I like to look at the whole account and draw out all of what God has for us in His Word. Briefly, here are the things that most often get discussed:

1. The gulf or divide between Jews and Samaritans at the time.

2. Jesus using the need for water as a teaching moment, i.e. to point to the need for Him. Physical thirst is temporary and easily assuaged by a drink of water, but our need for Christ is eternal and can only be assuaged by faith in Him.

3. Later in subsequent verses from John 4, Jesus reveals His omniscience (as God incarnate) of the woman and her sinful lifestyle.

4. The woman ends up being an evangelist of sorts. "Come and see this man!"

Something else jumps out at me in addition to all of this (again, assuming familiarity with the whole account and not just the verses I quoted). It is interesting that the woman in question -- although she is a Samaritan and the Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans -- is still aware of a key biblical truth. "Messiah is coming." Despite her outcast status, and despite her lifestyle that reflects an attitude not too terribly bothered by the notion of sin, she still knows some truth. It rather makes you wonder what else she knew about God and sin. Regardless of what she knew about God and sin, Jesus still brought the issue front and center.

So often, we tend to think of unbelievers as living in some kind of vacuum. Unbelieving people in our culture might not be aware of every jot and tittle of Scripture, but God has given to everyone a general conscience. Also -- at least in America -- there's been enough saturation through the years of preaching, teaching, books, tracts, street-corner soapboxes and the like. We can't plead ignorance of God. The Apostle Paul certainly points that out in rather vivid form . . .

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).

In that little clip from Scripture, the phrase "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" speaks volumes.

We'll chat more about this later.

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