John 4:7-15 MKJV A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me to drink. (8) (For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) (9) Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, How do you, being a Jew, ask a drink of me, who am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews do not associate with Samaritans. (10) Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water. (11) The woman said to Him, Sir, you have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where then do you have that living water? (12) Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his children and his cattle? (13) Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (15) The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may not thirst nor come here to draw.
The woman of Samaria strikes me as being “sassy” – strong-headed, and probably attractive, the sort that could have five husbands that wanted her to start with - and still be so fiery that they could not put up with her in the end. She does not meekly give Jesus a drink but answers Him back saying in a backhanded way “you Jews only talk to us when you want something”. Yet Jesus, this Jew who talks to her in puzzling ways, soon intrigues her.
First of all Jesus calls Himself “the gift of God”. What a term for mortal man to use – but in this case it was true! Jesus is the gift of God to the world, His gift of Himself, the fullness of deity in bodily form (Colossians 2:9) and the Son given to Israel with the government on His shoulder (Isaiah 9:6). The gift of God asks for a gift of water. Does He ever get it? There is no sign of it! The woman leaves her waterpot (verse 28) and goes into the city to tell others with no indication that she ever filled it and gave the Saviour a drink!
Jesus is the gift of God and from Him we get the gift of living water – the gift of the Holy Spirit. Mythological speaking Jesus is the true Aquarius – the one who carries the waterpot and pours out the Spirit on mankind. In John 13 Jesus pours water into a basin to wash the disciples feet, and in Luke sign of the Passover feast is to follow a man carrying a pitcher of water – the symbol of Aquarius. Now I am not advocating Greek mythology but rather saying that Jesus fulfilled a common cultural motif of His day by being the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. The gospel fulfills many aspects of culture and God seems to create in every culture “redemptive analogies” that link to the gospel as Don Richardson shows in his well-known missions book “Peace Child”.
From Greek culture Jesus moves to Hebrew culture (the Samaritans were a mixture of both with temples to both Zeus and Yahweh) and proves that He is greater than the patriarch Jacob after whom Israel was named:
John 4:12-14 MKJV Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his children and his cattle? (13) Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Thus Jesus is the fulfillment of both the Gentile religion and the Jewish religion. He is the solution to having a true and deep spirituality that is both Living water” alive and blessed, and everlasting and eternal. Man ancient stories tell of the tensions between being eternal and being fully alive and the quest not just for eternal life but eternal youth. Jesus is BOTH eternal life and living water. Jesus pours out the Spirit and inaugurates an internal, self-renewing and abundant spiritual life.
The woman says impatiently “give me this water.” taking the whole thing very literally. But we should say the same thing to Jesus “give me this water” in other words “be filled with the Holy Spirit” and with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5; 18-20)! We need to daily ask the Lord to fill us with His living water and to bless us with the Holy Spirit in wisdom, love and power.
It is easy to muddle along – or rather “puddle along” in the same small pool of spiritual experience. But we need the overflowing, the streams of living water, the grace of God and the abundant filling of the Holy Spirit. If Jesus is willing to give this living water to the disreputable and sassy Samaritan woman then He may also be willing to give it to you! You see such grace is never earned by personal piety (of which she had little) but rather is poured out on the receptive, the seeking, those who knock and ask and receive by faith! The Samaritan woman was a seeker, full of desire, desire that had taken her into many wrong places but had finally found the right Man and the right desire – living water. This would change her and her whole community,
God wants true worshippers, who are full of desire, yet an ardent desire that is rightly directed towards Him and to spiritual things.