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One day Jesus had been walking a long time. He was tired and thirsty as the sun was beating down on Him. He came to a town in Samaria where there was a well, so He stopped at the well to get a drink. (A well is a big, deep hole in the ground with water in it. Back then they didn’t have faucets with running water. Jacob had dug this particular well a long time before.)
As Jesus was sitting by the well, a woman walked up to get some water too.
“Hi,” Jesus said. “Would you mind getting Me a drink of water? I don’t have a jar to get water up out of the well, and I am very thirsty from walking.”
The Samaritan woman answered, “But, You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan. How can You ask me for a drink since Jews are not friends with Samaritans? Jews don’t even like to talk to us.”
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who I am, you would have asked Me for a drink, and I would have given you ALIVE, ALIVE, ALIVE water.”
“But, sir, You don’t even have a jar to get the water. Where would You get this ALIVE water? Do You think You’re better than Jacob, who dug this well? (And I don’t even know what ALIVE water is.)”
Jesus answered her, “When you feel thirsty, you get a drink, but later you get thirsty again, don’t you? Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty… always thirsty. Well, when someone drinks the LIVING water that I give them, they will never be thirsty again. The water I give becomes a spring of water inside of them, welling up to forever-life.”
That sounded good to the woman, even though she didn’t really know what Jesus was talking about.
The Living water Jesus was talking about was Himself. He is this Alive Living water. Jesus knew that just like our bodies get so thirsty and need a drink of water, our soul and spirit get thirsty too. And He is the Real Alive water that satisfies that thirst. But sometimes we try to gulp, gulp, gulp up other things instead of Him.
Have you ever wanted a new toy, but then if you get it, you just want another toy in a few days, and then another and another. Or maybe you want to go somewhere fun, but then when you go somewhere fun, there is always somewhere more fun you want to go next. Or when you get a piece of candy, then you want another piece of candy and another and another.
The reason for that is because if we don’t fill up with Jesus, we will always be thirsty, thirsty, thirsty trying to gulp up earth’s stuff — never satisfied. BUT when we do fill up on Jesus, He satisfies us like ALIVE water flowing from inside of us, and we aren’t thirsty anymore for the world’s stuff.
Then the woman said to Jesus, “Please give me this alive water You’re talking about, so I won’t get thirsty anymore and have to keep walking to this well to get water with my jar.”
Jesus said to the woman, “Go and get your husband, and then come back.”
“Uhhh… I don’t have a husband,” the woman told Jesus.
“Ahhh, you’re right. You have actually had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband,” Jesus said.
“How did Jesus know?” she thought. She was shocked… and she was ashamed. It was wrong for her to keep wanting more and more and more husbands. Jesus knew she’d had five husbands, but she didn’t like for people to know that, and she didn’t really want to talk about it.
The woman was uncomfortable with how Jesus had seen into her heart and known she was lying, so she tried to do what people so often do when they’re uncomfortable. She tried to change the subject. “I…I…I see You’re a prophet. Our fathers long ago worshiped on this mountain here… but Jews say we have to go to Jerusalem. Who is right? Us or them?”
Remember, this goes all the way back to King Jeroboam who tried to keep the people from God by setting up idols and telling the people there was nothing special about God’s City and God’s House. Then the Assyrians came, and the people in this region got even more mixed up, and God sent lions into the mix, but people just kept on running around on their wild goose chase for happiness. And, as the years rolled on, all that turned into the religion this woman is now talking about. And as you can see, this lady has been on the wild goose chase of happiness too.
Jesus knew that this woman had been thirsty, thirsty, thirsty for a husband who would make her feel happy and “full.” She’d had one husband, but somewhere along the way she’d grabbed after another, and another, and another, and another. Each time, she thought the next man would be the one to make her happy. But Jesus knew that only Himself and His love could satisfy her. She was made to have Jesus fill her up with His living water, wasn’t she? Just like all of us. Jesus is trying to point out to her that she needs Him. Now listen to what happens.
So there Jesus was trying to help her thirsty, thirsty heart, but she tried to change the subject to who was right about religion, about where people should worship God! (She didn’t know yet that Jesus was changing all that.)
Jesus said to her, “Ma’am, a time is coming when the answer to your question will be NEITHER mountain — not this mountain (of idolatry, excuses, and wild goose chases) or in Jerusalem (with its first covenant rules and regulations).
“You Samaritans worship what you don’t understand. We do understand what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and in fact the time is now when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. That is the kind of worshipers the Father is really looking hard for. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
The woman squirmed each time Jesus said the word truth. Jesus was getting right to her heart again, wasn’t He? She knew in her heart that she had sinned many times, and that she had tried to hide the truth when she told Jesus she had no husband. She knew she was wrong. She didn’t like this feeling. This stranger, Jesus, was making her very uncomfortable. She didn’t know what to say, so she tried to change the subject again.
She said, “Well, when the Messiah comes, He will be the one to explain everything to us, so we don’t have to understand it now.”
And just like any good friend would do, Jesus left her no place to hide any longer. He said, “I AM. It’s Me. I am He.”
The Messiah! There was no way to change that subject. Was it true? Could it be? Was this the Rescuer they had longed for? She wanted it to be true, but she still didn’t know what to say!
Just then the disciples walked up, and she just, well, left!
But guess what she forgot? Her water jar! I guess she wasn’t so thirsty for water from that well anymore, huh?
She had gotten just close enough to Jesus to taste a little bit of that Alive, Alive, Alive water… and she’d forgotten all about that jar of well water.
She left that jar of water and ran through the town telling all the people about what had just happened with Jesus, the Rescuer. Because of what she said, many people from her town ran out looking for Jesus. And when they found Him, they found out for themselves how Jesus was indeed that Alive water, and that they never needed to be thirsty, thirsty, thirsty again.
And if you come close to Jesus, you won’t be thirsty either! In fact, Jesus later said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, rivers of Living water will gush out from within them.”