Today’s post is by Chris Poblete. Chris is the Executive Director of the Gospel for OC, a network committed to bringing glory and honor to God in our neighborhoods and cities. Follow him via TGoC on Twitter and on Facebook.
The Samaritan woman at the well was not the most popular woman in town. She had been married five times and was living in sin with a man who was not her husband. As far as everyone in town was concerned, she wore the proverbial scarlet letter of shame. Thus, when she needed to draw water from Jacob’s well, she made sure to do so at high noon, when everyone else would be indoors. On this particular day, she was surprised to discover a wearied man sitting alone beside the well. The man was Jesus.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Oftentimes, preachers will turn this passage into a call to evangelism. They’ll say, See? Jesus talked to the lowliest of the lows—an untouchable—and we should too! So, be like Jesus and reach out to someone in need!
Now, it’s true that we should look beyond the scarlet letter whenever we’re witnessing to sinners in need of saving; however, that’s not the point of this passage. The point is that this Samaritan woman was in desperate need of something that only Jesus could provide. And we—all of us—are sinners in the same boat. We are in desperate need of something only Jesus can provide. It’s living water! The theme of this passage is not how-to evangelism but all-satisfying Savior.
Jesus has much to offer this woman, and she doesn’t even know. On a seemingly endless quest to satisfy the longings of her soul, she chased the idols of her heart only to receive emptiness.
Jesus offers us three truths about the soul’s supreme satisfaction in God:
First, our satisfaction is in Christ alone.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
There is a lot of gospel in these verses. Jesus doesn’t answer her question he gets straight to the point: the divine satisfaction she seeks is only available through him. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” If we could only be convinced of the all-satisfying effect of God the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, then we would be spared from perpetual longings and dissatisfactions, and we would receive inexpressible joy in him. Natural waters and longings will not quench the thirstings of the soul. We need the living water of God the Holy Spirit (John 7:37) available to us in Christ alone.
Second, our satisfaction is complete in Christ.
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
No more sexual excursions for the woman of the well. No more laps around the idol circuit for us. No more hunger, thirsting, unmet longings, dissatisfactions, “if only” games. In Christ, we will never be thirsty again.
Third, our satisfaction in Christ wells up to eternal life.
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The amazing point in this passage is not that Jesus doesn’t need a bucket to draw water. It is that Jesus’ water satisfies forever. And when you drink of it, your soul becomes an eternal spring in constant motion, bubbling up into eternal life.
When Jesus tells us, “Drink of this and never thirst.” Guess what? When we drink, we’ll never thirst! We are completely satisfied, and we are permanently satisfied. How could you not drink?
Do I live as though I believed this?
While studying this passage the other day, I fell convicted. I mean, do I really live my life as though these claims are true? Do I live as though my soul’s satisfaction is in Christ alone? Or do I thirst for and sip from the cup of the world? Do I live as though my satisfaction in God is complete and eternal in Christ? Or do I act as though my satisfaction in him is for a short time and then gone? If you want to truly shock the heavens, here’s one surefire way:
Neglect the all-satisfying living water, and look for satisfaction in a broken cistern.
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Ouch. I wonder how many times I’ve shocked the heavens.
What about you? Are you thirsting today? They lay aside that broken cistern and drink of the all-satisfying living water that is promised in Jesus Christ.