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John 4:13-18, NIV
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but 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."
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."
January 18, 2011Jacob's well provided a necessary resource for sustaining earthly life. Generation after generation were born and grew old in Sychar and this well did not fail. Locals and travelers alike took for granted that it would be there for them. And it was.
Never before had it entered into anyone's mind that there could be anything insufficient about Jacob's well. Not until the day Jesus came and started a conversion about living water! Jesus associated living water with eternal benefits. People can live on Jacob's water and when they die, it can do nothing for them. But, Jesus offered living water, like an internal spring that he said would well up inside a person unto eternal life.
Wow - what is this all about! Beautiful, mystifying words, but what do they mean? I don't know if Jesus ever explained or defined anything as clearly as I would like it. Certainly not this one. Maybe his words are meant to be accepted in simple faith and loving devotion, just soaked up by my thirsty soul. Maybe this living water is something I won't understand unless and until I share it with someone else. Maybe I don't need to comprehend, nor ever will.
Jesus gave this woman a 3-fold assignment: Go; call your husband; and come back here again. There is both grace and truth in that assignment. Evidently living water is not a private matter, nor does it involve only a tiny compartment of one's life and everything else goes on as usual. Living water would completely change this woman's life. And that's where it's tempting to put the brakes on and tell Jesus plainly, "No thank you, and please just bug off!"
But she didn't react that way. In a remarkable change of behavior, she actually went out and invited the whole town . . . .
More journal entries
November 26, 2001Jesus: Everyone who drinks Jacob's water gets thirsty again. But whoever drinks my water will never again thirst. It will be an internal spring that never runs dry.
She: Sir, I'll take some of that. Then I won't have to keep coming here for water. Jesus: Go call your husband and come back. She: I have no husband. Jesus: That is true. There were 5 and the man you have now is not your husband.
She had inadvertently spoken the truth, while she was really trying to cover-up.How modern this woman of Sycar sounds. Jesus gets right to the truth of her life and it was not pleasant. The conversation is not fun anymore. Defenses are going up. We usually do not like hearing the truth if it is not complimentary. And even when the truth is complimentary, we sometimes refuse to believe it.
September 29, 1982Never thirst? Yet I need to drink this living water often. There's certainly no once and done thing about the faith. One must be faithful, daily, consistent, alert, receptive, and active--all the while making sure to restock, replenish, refresh.
If you never thirst again, you never need take another drink. Yet, you've got to keep drinking to be satisfied. That's true on both physical and spiritual levels. Like marriage--once and for all, yet if not worked at, if ignored or taken for granted, legally the fact remains in tact even though the spirit and fulfillment of the union leaves a lot to be desired.
Jesus was not necessarily saying you get but one drink in your entire life, he was saying the living water satisfies--at a deeper level beyond what physical water will do. You don't have to keep coming to the well because you have a spring within your own being.
What exactly is this living water? Jesus didn't define it in a sentence like, "Living water is . . . . . . " Is it similar to his response to Martha, "One thing is needful and Mary has chosen the better part."? Living water, never clearly defined, but descriptive of the whole message of Jesus. Again, not understood except in the drinking. Symbolic of grace and truth which keeps bringing us back to our Father.
October 1, 1982A spring within. A gift from God. Jesus is holding out a bowl filled with living water. I am very thirsty, my mouth is dry. I want to accept anything that Jesus offers me because I trust him, he loves me, and offers me only good. He beckons me to come, put my mouth to the rim of the bowl and drink. His gentle care and love make me cry. With tears on my cheeks, I move toward him, simply because he welcomes me. I put my mouth to the bowl and savor the water. As I do, he blesses me. What can I say other than thank you, Jesus, thank you so much.
October 2, 1982An inner spring. I know what it's like to backpack and count on using those springs on the map. Or to come upon one unexpectedly. I know how to get water from the spring without stirring up mud and making the water dirty for the next guy. I know the coolness of spring water compared to the lukewarm stuff in the canteen. But I've never been desperately in need of water and been saved by a spring.
Jesus: I am living water welling up inside of you and producing eternal life, a spring that cannot be turned off. It reminds me of St Paul's words, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" He concludes the answer is "Nothing!"
I don't have to drink from the living spring offered by Jesus. The water will run without anyone taking from it. A spring is alive unto itself.
Jesus, help me drink from the spring you offer, not greedily, but taking as needed for health and refreshment. Help me to share my spring. You give in abundance. There's way too much for one person alone. I wish everyone could come to my spring for a cup of cool, delicious, sky-high water.
Springs are often hard to get to and few ever find them. Some springs are not even marked on the map and are rarely frequented. Most people never have need of a spring. We have water piped right into our houses. We're so self-sufficient, we never even know we need the water Jesus would give us.
October 6, 1982 Sir, give me this water . . .The woman still didn't know that Jesus was talking about something other than well water. She was joshing him, she knew there was no water that could quench one's thirst forever. She thought it was a verbal game, and she was playing along, eager to hear his next response and probably becoming fascinated with this stranger. If you have this water, then give it to me! Where is it?
October 8, 1982"Go call your husband." Suddenly the game was over, what a shock Jesus' words must have been. Jesus used this drastic sentence to let the woman know he wasn't participating in a light-hearted conversation. He had had her interest, now he had her attention. Did she mind being reminded of her husband just now? Of her untraditional and socially unacceptable sex life? Why did Jesus bring up this issue--her most obvious "sin"?
In order to receive the living water, confession of sins must come first. It's like the words from the other gospels, "Repent, and be baptized" or "Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Have I ever really confessed my sins? My sins of loving wrongly, and not loving rightly. Circling the edges of the cesspool when instead I could have all the fresh spring water I wanted!
There's a connection between grace (God's loving kindness and mercy) and truth (that I own up to my sins and make confession). Living water requires a suitable vessel.
October 9, 1982Father, I do confess my darkness, my darkness that was a light to me. One is really blind when they can't distinguish light from darkness. Anyway, You won--maybe I felt the warmth of your love and the coldness of my sin and that's what brought me, drew me, home to you. Whatever it was I am grateful. And now may my repentance be humble and real, and may I experience the joy and confidence of knowing you have forgiven my sins. Living with you in the light is so much better than being with anyone else in the darkness. Help me to never forget that.
October 10, 1982Jesus had told her to go and get her husband. The story says she brought the whole town! She could invite her man to come to see Jesus, but he had to make his own response and decision. She was faithful to the task assigned to her. Immediate, joyful, and perfect obedience. Her desire for "life" was converted, and there was much there to convert. All re-channeled, re-directed, re-created into an asset. The old is not destroyed, but transformed into something new.
Lust for love converts into passion for the Lover of my soul. A passionate person can love God with a passion. One who is forgiven little, loves little; but one who is forgiven much, loves much. So don't be afraid to give yourself to God. Thank you, Father, for being the Father you are. Amen.
November 30, 2001What I want to focus on is the truth telling that Jesus does when he encounters people. The Old King James version used the word "Verily", and when you read that word you know the truth is coming out into the daylight. The truth according to God, life as God sees it. I was thinking as I woke up this morning what it would sound like if God did a "Verily" on me? I don't have an easy answer. I can not see my life as others see me, much less as God sees me.
I have the benefit of knowing the Bible and having God speak to me through the holy scriptures all my life. Therefore Jesus doesn't stand in front of me and literally tell me what I need to do in order to receive the living water. I'm supposed to be able to figure that out.
Clean up your life. God is holy. I need to be clean, free from practicing sin. Yes, we can practice our sins to perfection! What am I ashamed of before God? Laziness and lack of discipline have always been a problem for me. Fear. Lack of compassion; I need more sweetness instead of being so sharp and to the point. Wanting to avoid people, responsibility, talking, complete honesty, etc. Daydreaming instead of living in the present moment. Jesus, have I touched on anything you would "Verily" me on?
Thankfully, I am able to end on this positive note. I remember when Russ and I would go backpacking, songs of faith were a well of living water springing up in me as I sang my way along the C&O canal path. And I was not afraid because I believed in my heart--The Lord is my shepherd, my help and protection; I shall not want but will have everything I need.