Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 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.) 10 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.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Water. Water is a source of life. Doctors say we should each be drinking 2-3 litres a day in order to be healthy. That’s a lot of water. Without water, we would die. Without clean water, many can and do die every day. Water is as essential as air. As a beating heart. Water is more essential than food. Without water, all of us would quickly die.
But no matter how much water we drink, we still get thirsty again. Drinking water is never enough. We always need more. And being thirsty for too long is a particularly unpleasant experience.
So what do we make of Jesus offering a drink that quenches thirst so deeply, so fully, that the one who drinks it will never again thirst? The Samaritan woman is intrigued. She wants some. But she doesn’t quite get it – she’s thinking on a more practical level. She just wants to avoid having to keep coming to the well. (Makes you realise how much we take our kitchen taps for granted.) She doesn’t understand that Jesus is using water as a metaphor for the eternal life he has come to offer everyone – even to a non-Jewish woman who seems to have been having sex with an awful lot of men.
Jesus is using the common experience of water and thirst to draw the Samaritan woman – and us – into a deeper understanding of what he came to offer. This woman thought people had to worship God in the right geographical location. But Jesus says the time has come for people to worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth (4:23). And Jesus has come to make it possible. He is the Messiah (4:25-26), the one who will give the Spirit, the one who makes worship of God ‘in Spirit and in truth’ possible. Even for a frequent adulterer. Even for you. Even for me.
Are you thirsty? Jesus offers water – living water – that won’t just quench your body, but will quench your soul. He offers it through his death. Through his life. Through the Spirit. Our souls will never be quenched any other way. Only Jesus satisfies. Only Jesus offers us the water – the Spirit – that will leave us never thirsty again.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Head: Are you surprised that Jesus offers living water – his Holy Spirit – to this adulterous woman? What does this say about who can be saved?
Heart: All of us seek satisfaction in something or someone other Jesus. The Samaritan woman seems to have been seeking satisfaction in sexual relationships with a stream of men. What – or who – are you seeking ultimate satisfaction in? Will it – or they – ever truly quench your thirst – the longing of your soul?
Hands: How can you seek ultimate satisfaction in Jesus, rather than in things and people who will never quench your thirst?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Jesus is amazing. He offers the greatest rejects of society eternal life. He pours his Holy Spirit into the hearts of the unholy. He offers living water to the thirsty and dying. Thank you for sending your Son to die and rise and pour out your Spirit, so that I could have the eternal thirst of my soul quenched in him. Forgive me for looking for satisfaction elsewhere. Help me to see that satisfaction outside of Jesus will never happen. Help me, by the leading of your Spirit, to quench my soul in him alone. In his name I pray, amen.
A song to listen to: Spirit of Jesus https://open.spotify.com/track/6yqqtI0EAul9bjJVxgzWdC
This Grow Daily was first posted with the Spirit of Jesus series in 2016.