Read John 4:1-42
1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7When 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.)
9The 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.)
10Jesus 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? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
15The 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."
16He 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. 18The 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. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."
27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."
32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
33Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"
34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.
42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." (NIV)
This is a wonderful story about an encounter between Jesus and a woman who is trying to live life where everything she seems to have done has gone wrong according to society. She is ostracized by the other women for she comes to the well alone, not with all the women. She is living with a man who is not her husband. And yet, is spite of all that, Jesus talks with her and is compassionate with her.
And when we add that the Samaritans and the Jews do not get along, we see this story in a greater light. Samaria is located between Galilee and Jerusalem. Travelers between the two would have to travel through the land. Some so hated the Samaritans, that they would cross the Jordan to travel on the other side just to not step foot in Samaria. They would make the journey longer because of their hatred. But Jesus choose to walk through Samaria. This is why the Samaritan woman is surprised that Jesus asks her for a drink.
But notice how Jesus’ talk with this Samaritan woman is much like the talk with Nicodemus. Both misunderstand what Jesus is talking about because both take Jesus’ words literally and not spiritually. For Nicodemus, it was new birth. For the woman, it is living water.
Now we need to understand that the term “Living Water” was not a new term Jesus just came up with. It was one already used by Jews to describe the “quenching of the thirst of the soul for God.” This is one of the images of Revelation where John writes, “He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” (Rev 21:5-6)
Jesus here says that he offers the water that will quench this thirst forever. It is a powerful statement that we must not miss. It is in Christ that we find the source of life. This was the image of Isaiah that a time was coming when he said in, “They will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” (Isaiah 49:10)
In this life, we hunger and thirst for something. We are born with a yearning that needs to be satisfied. Some will search many places, seeking to quench this thirst. And while the get some satisfaction, it does not last. It is only Christ who continues to satisfy that deep longings in us. But we must remain in him to be satisfied. Like the people from the village who came after the woman told them, we believe no for what we hear directly. I think this is the key to staying in Christ is to stay connected to him in prayer, Scripture reading and fellowship with other believers. It is through the disciplines of the Spirit that we are fed and our thirst quenched. Augustine put it best when he said, "Our hearts are restless till they find rest in Christ."
How do you stay connected to Christ? Is your soul thirsty for God?
Blessings and Peace