Water. Agua. H20. It covers more than 70% of the surface of the Earth and comprises up to 60% of our bodies. Go without it for a while, and you thirst. Go without it for too long, and you die.
Today, especially in countries such as the United States, water is easy to take for granted. Open a bottle, turn a tap, run a hose – presto, you have all the water you want.
But it was not always so.
In antiquity, and really not so long ago in most places in the world, water was one of the most precious commodities of all. Silver was good, and gold was great, but, in the end, life was all about water. Without it, families and tribes became nomads in search of it. Battles were fought for it. Entire cities fell for lack of it.
It was no wonder, then, that a well-placed supply of water was crucial. And it was no wonder that community life centered on it.
This was precisely the setting when the journeys of Jesus of Nazareth brought Him to Samaria.
Samaria in the First Century A.D.
It is a fact of history that Jews and Samaritans of the First Century A.D. did not like each other. They were kinsmen, descendants of the Israelites of Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and David, but the Samaritans had intermarried with non-Israelites during the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, and most Jews no longer wanted to have anything to do with them.
Have you ever felt like that? For reasons over which you had no control, and events that occurred long before you were even born, others look down on you, ridicule you, and reject you. Some may even hate you. It is more than just unfair; it is devastating.
That is our world. And that was the world into which Jesus walked one day.
The Word of God, as told by John the Evangelist, sets the stage for us and describes what happened next:
“Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John [the Baptist], though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them – his disciples did. So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’ ‘But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,’ she said, ‘and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?’ Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.’ ‘Please, sir,’ the woman said, ‘give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again…’.” (John 4:1-15, NLT)
There are many powerful lessons in this Gospel, but there is one in particular that I would like to share with you today.
The Message of the Messiah
In the end, the Samaritan woman “left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?’ So the people came streaming from the village to see him.” (John 4:28-29, NLT)
Some things are worth running for. Others are worth fighting for. And some are worth dying for.
One of the most magnificent points we can take away from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42) is not about the woman herself or her fellow villagers. It is about the love of Jesus – the perfect, unconditional, and life-giving love of the Son of God. The exchange of words between Jesus and the woman can be confusing, even perplexing, unless placed in their proper historical context. Regardless of what was said that day, however, the actions of Jesus spoke loudest of all as He, the spotless, sinless Lamb of God, died on the cross for that Samaritan woman and every other sinner so we would be reconciled with God the Father.
“When I am lifted up from the earth,” Jesus explained, indicating how He was going to die, “I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32-33, NLT). That meant the Samaritan woman. And it meant me. And, my friend, it meant you.
Your Living Water
If you find yourself on the outside looking in on life or, even worse, run over by life, remember the Samaritan woman and remember her Savior. Jesus did everything He did during His final hours for her. And He did them for you.
Whenever you are in need of water – not earthly water to refresh you but living water to heal you – just open your heart to Jesus and ask Him to enter and stay a while. He will not refuse. He will come to you, sit down, and soothe your soul.
And He will even bring the water.
-- Dr. John Morris