Article: Living Water

I love the story of Jesus encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria.

However, there are a lot of nuances that can easily be missed.

  • The woman went to the well around noon (the 6th hour) to avoid conversations with others.
  • Jesus should not be at the well because it was inappropriate for a man to talk to a woman alone.
  • Jesus was in Samaria and there was bad blood between Jews and Samaritans.

This is a “conflict rich environment.”

Jesus is at this well in Samaria (not Israel) by himself around noon when a woman from town comes to draw water, hoping no one would be there.

Rather than minding his own business, Jesus asks her for a drink of water.

The woman knew he wasn’t a Samaritan. Maybe it was his accent? Already annoyed that she is not alone, she tries to end the conversation.

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) John 4:9

She is trying to cut this conversation off before it begins.

Essentially, the woman says this, “Why are you even talking to me? Your people look down on my people. Your people wouldn’t touch anything that touched my hands because we are ‘unclean.’”

A little passive aggressive to get Jesus to leave her alone!

It doesn’t work. And now, Jesus has her full attention.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Jesus knew this woman was struggling because Jesus always knows. He intentionally makes a provocative statement to see if she will “bite.” And she does.

Jesus’ intention was to show her the love of God maybe for the first time in her life. This woman knows disappointment. This woman knows shame. Her is life was marked by numerous relational failures and the subsequent judgment from others in town.

Jesus wants to change her life moving forward. He does this by offering her “living water.”

This offer of living water sounds kind of like new age spirituality when Jesus first says it. But it is not. To understand what he is talking about, we would need to read more of the gospel of John to understand what he is talking about.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  John 7:37-39

There we have it. Jesus was offering the woman at the well the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was inviting her into a relationship with God.

It is the same Spirit offered to all who come to faith in Christ, including you. It is the Spirit who wants to gift you with all the tools you need to get through life.

Listen to this…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Those are the things the Holy Spirit wants to give to every child of God! I gladly accept these gifts! I hope you do too.

The Holy Spirit is like a chilled glass of water on a hot day… refreshing!

This weekend we will gather to celebrate the day God gave the Holy Spirit to all believers. Come and join us online or in person as we give thanks for the Holy Spirit that guides and inspires us… each and every day.

God bless,

Pr. Ben