Thought: The Living Water of God
By Rev. Leo H. McCrary II – April 25, 2021
Responsive Reading – John 4:1-15
Key Verse – John 4:10
Last week, I preached about the wells of the world and the well of God and how I rather drink from the well of God because of the spiritual strength it gives me. I ended my sermon last week by taking a brief look at Jesus sitting at Jacob’s well with a Samaritan woman. I want to take a closer look at this conversation in my sermon this week and what it means for those of genuine faith. There is a need today for the believer to consistently seek the living waters of God.
Meeting Jesus at the Well
I don’t believe this meeting at Jacob’s well to be a coincidence. In fact, I don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to the Lord – all of His moves are with a purpose. Scripture shows us that Jesus had been baptizing in Judea (the disciples were doing the physical baptizing – John 4:1-2) when they departed from Judea to go to Galilee. (There was a purpose for His going to Galilee which you can see later in this same chapter.)
Scripture tells us that Jesus “needed” to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Now here’s the thing: there were other optional routes for Jesus and the disciples to take to get to Galilee. For instance, strict Jews would take a route towards Jericho, cross the Jordan River to the east side, north through Perea, and then recrossing the Jordan into Galilee. The reason why the Jews did this was because the Jews and Samaritans did not get along – let’s say the Jew strongly disliked the Samaritans.
The reason Jesus went to Samaria
So, it was not common for Jews to go to Samaria and yet Jesus was going directly to a city of Samaria – Sychar (John 4:5). When He gets to Samaria, Jesus goes to the well of Jacob because He was weary (exhausted) from the journey. So, we see that Jesus was in physical need and desired water from Jacob’s well (John 4:6-7). When Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for some water, she somewhat scoffs at the idea of a Jew asking a Samaritan for help (John 4:9). The reason being because, again, the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.
So, Jesus, I imagine, smiled after her retort 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.” Let’s be clear, again, this week that the water Jesus is speaking of is spiritual water. This water is something that Jesus says that He can provide to the woman – therefore us.
The gift of God is His only begotten Son. Through His Son we have salvation (deliverance) from sin. Through our genuine faith in His Son, as we saw last week, we are given the Holy Spirit which transforms us spiritually and also provides us with the strength to endure. So, If we knew the gift of God, we would also ask Jesus to give us a drink of His living water. Many of us profess to be believers of Christ but are we seeking and are we asking to drink of His living water today?
What Is Living Water
I mentioned David being in the wilderness of Judah in my sermon last week and referenced Psalm 63:1, where David spoke of how his soul was thirsty for God in a dry and thirsty land. David, while in a desolate wilderness, was in search of living water for his spirit because he knew that water could help him to endure. What was David’s trouble at that time? Why was he in the wilderness in the first place?
Physical representation of God’s Oasis
At the time, David was ‘on the run’ from Saul. There were strongholds where David would hide from Saul when Saul was pursuing him. One of the strongholds mentioned to us in scripture was the stronghold at En Gedi (1 Sam. 23:29-24:2). En Gedi was, and still is, a very extraordinary place.
Out in the middle of the wilderness, En Gedi is an oasis that is nicknamed “Spring of the Wild Goat”. It was, and still is, filled with springs and waterfalls that supplies nourishment to both animals and people in the middle of a wilderness. The waters at En Gedi were considered to be representative of living water. You see, the waters at En Gedi are constantly flowing – in the middle of a desolate wilderness – and are fresh (pure).
So, En Gedi is considered to be a representation of living water. I want you to understand that there are actually two types of water according to scripture – living water and dead water. Living water is pure (fresh), constantly flows, and is good for drinking or even washing in. Whereas dead water is muddy and stagnant (stands still) – not good for anything. So, the question is: are you drinking from a well that is filled with dead water?
Purpose of Jesus’ visit revealed
With that question in mind, I believe that the purpose of Jesus’ direct trip to Samaria has been revealed to us. Let us remember that Jesus proclaimed to be the light of the world, right? And we have seen that as the light of the world, Jesus’ purpose was to reveal the truth and the way to mankind. Jesus wanted to offer living water to all people! So, He sat at Jacob’s well to give a discourse on living water.
Did this mean that Jacob’s well was providing dead water? Absolutely not! Clearly Jacob’s well had not run dry! If it had already run dry or was not good for drinking, the Samaritan woman may have said that was the case. No, Jesus was enlightening spiritually here on a subject that would have been easily understood in those days.
The people of that day would have understood very well that you don’t consume stagnant muddy water because such is undrinkable. So, if you don’t drink dead water physically, why would you drink dead water spiritually? Jesus said that those who drink the water that comes from Him will never thirst again (John 4:14)!
So, the Samaritan woman perceived Jesus to be a prophet (John 4:19) and even had desired to drink of Jesus’ living water (John 4:15) but I want us to take note of something else she says. After perceiving Jesus to be a prophet, we see her mention how their fathers (the Samaritans) worshiped on the mountains (John 4:20). Why does she mention this? Let’s dive further into this.
Now, Sychar was located between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. In the Old Testament days, Sychar was a part of the northern kingdom of Israel and went by the name of Shechem. It was at this place that Joshua assembled the people before his death and they renewed their covenant with the Lord (Josh. 24). However, during the days of the judges and the kingdom years, Shechem was a place of idolatrous worship. It was the idolatrous worship and rejection of God that led to the northern kingdom being conquered by the Assyrians. So, there was history in those mountains that the Samaritan woman was pointing to!
She then also pointed out the fact that the Jews would say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jerusalem also has a great deal of history as well. There was idolatrous worship and a rejection of the Lord that also took place in Jerusalem during the kingdom years which led to the conquering of the southern kingdom by the Babylonians. So, why was she pointing this out? Was this about who was right and who was wrong?
Believing dead water to be OK
I believe that people, when they are confronted about the wrong of their way and shown a better way, they will often fall back on a ‘well, my way works for me’ reasoning. The Samaritan woman may have considered the life that she and those around her (her fathers included) lived to have been blessed lives. Now, I’m not certain how blessed she may have considered her life to be because she had been married 5 times and was with another man at this point (John 4:17-18). I don’t know anything else about her but the suggestion here is that she may have considered that the way they worshiped and what they worshiped was working for them.
This, I believe, is a train of thought that still persists in our world today. We look around at what others have and many of us want to drink from the same fountain that they have drank from because of what they have materially. Jesus has offered to the world living water and many of us will say that our fathers (parents) drank of that water and it did nothing for them – they didn’t gain wealth, no fancy cars, clothes, etc. Little do we know how blessed they were and they will tell us that they are blessed!
Yet, again, some of us will say that we are fine with doing our own thing. (What they are currently doing ‘works’ for them). What happens when that well runs dry? Those who are drinking from fountains that will run dry will eventually have to go in search of the next well that may work for just a little bit. As is the constant hunt that we see in our world today for satisfaction in wealth and pleasures.
The Old Testament Relived
What scares me most is that many of these temporary wells are in the hands of the devil and many of us, unaware of this, flock to these waters to drink from his fountains. As I said last week, we are living in a wilderness in this world especially as true believers. What I mean by this is that the world does not embrace the waters from the Lord and because the world does not embrace the Lord, it does not embrace those that genuinely believe.
We are living in a wilderness – a modern day old testament – where the worship of idols is running rampant. Again, we are living in a wilderness – a modern day old testament – where many people are becoming more absorbed in their own ways as they continue to reject the Lord. Time after time the Lord revealed Himself to be the one true God: with Pharaoh in Egypt; with Ahab & Jezebel who worshiped Baal and Asherah; with the giving of His only begotten Son who died and was risen from the grave.
My hope is that those who turn from the fountain of God today will one day recognize that we are spiritually in a wilderness and that they are in need of the Lord’s living water to be able to endure. For the believer living in this wilderness, God should be our stronghold in the wilderness – He should be our En Gedi — our oasis! In our stronghold, we believers should diligently drink from His living waters which will keep us from spiritual exhaustion.
How do we go about drinking His living water while we are in the world? We focus and meditate on Him spiritually. Drinking His living water also can include personal prayer, staying in the word (bible study), fellowship with other genuine believers, listening to good gospel music, singing a hymn, and lastly, true worship. These things, I believe, will uplift our spirits and provide the nourishment that our souls need. The living water of God will leave you filled and you will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.