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
I love that Miles has my interest in history, and recently, we were talking about the early explorers. He is fascinated by their journeys and discoveries. He loved the story I told him about Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer, who came to America, looking for new lands, riches, and the fountain of youth.
Ponce de Leon explored Florida, the area in which the Indians had told him that there was a spring whose waters could make the old young again if he drank of it. Obviously, he never found it, but if he had, can you only imagine how the news would have spread!
Things haven’t changed much in the 500 years since, have they? We’re still searching for that magical water, lotion, creme, or fruit that will make us young again!
I thought of the biblical story of the “Woman at the Well” and the “living water” that Jesus offered her. It sounds like a much better offer than the fountain of youth or any other miracle potion for our old age! It makes you wonder why more aren’t out searching for it! This beautiful story in John 4 is a good reminder of Christ’s love for us and the richness of life He desires to give us.
Traveling from Jerusalem to Galilee, Jesus became very tired and thirsty, so he sat by Jacob’s Well, while His disciples went to a village close by to buy food. It was about noon, the hottest part of the day, when a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well and Jesus asked her for a drink. She hesitated and asked how he could ask such a thing. She recognized that Jesus was a Jew and traditionally, they did not associate with Samaritans.
Then “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.’ ’’ Confused, she asks how she can obtain this gift. Jesus is referring to the only thing that can satisfy her or our soul’s desire, and that is the gift of His love and grace, but even more, it is His promise of eternal life.
At first, the Samaritan woman did not fully understand His meaning, but she soon recognized Him for who He was. Although they had never met, Jesus revealed that He knew she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. As they continued to talk, she voiced her faith that the Messiah was coming. Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am he.”
As the woman began to grasp the reality of her encounter with Jesus, the disciples returned. They were equally shocked to find Him speaking to a woman, but Jesus reminded them of their mission.
Leaving her water jar behind, the woman returned to town, inviting her people to “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.” Excited by what they had heard, they came and Jesus stayed with them for 2 days, teaching them about the Kingdom of God.
After He left, they told the woman, “. . . we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
In His encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke 3 Jewish customs: first, He spoke to a woman; second, she was a Samaritan – a group the Jews traditionally despised because of their cultural mixing; and third, in asking for water, he would have made himself ceremonially unclean by using her cup. Even more, this woman was being shunned and rejected by others in the area for her immorality. But Jesus knew her history and accepted her and ministered to her.
By reaching out to her and her people, Jesus showed His mission was to the entire earth, not just to the Jews. He revealed His desire and God’s plan to offer all people the gift He has to give that is available only through believing in Him and recognizing Him as our Savior – the gift of eternal life.
We often forget this gift we have been given and how Jesus has taught us to share it with others. What a good reminder to do so and also of how we should treat others, with love and compassion – even those we think are lost causes or who have moral values different from our own.
Jesus loved and accepted them. He did not condone or disregard their behavior, but He lovingly reminded them of what could be theirs – a more fulfilling life transformed by His love and grace. May we use the opportunities we have with others to share the gift of His “living water” and the promise of eternal life.
Our most gracious and loving God, we thank you for the stories from your Word that teach us more about you, but especially we thank you for your Son and His saving grace. May we share your love and the life we can have in you with others. Amen