Living Water

Life Notes—March 15, 2012

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.  The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’”   John 4:13-14

The story of the woman at the well is interesting and informative at many levels.  Jesus is resting by Jacob’s well when a Samaritan woman comes to draw water.  Jesus, weary from his journey, asks her to draw water for him to drink.  In that era, Jews and Samaritans did not intermingle, so it was an unusual request for a Jew to make of a Samaritan.  As she questions why Jesus would ask her to draw water for him, Jesus reveals many personal and less-than-stellar details about her life that he could not have known, except divinely.  Jesus sees deeply into the past she tries to hide and shows her the way to salvation.  He tells her about the “living water” he gives that quenches “thirst” for eternity.

Clearly, Jesus is talking about something other than the water in Jacob’s well.  He is referring to a spiritual “thirst,” not a physical one—a spiritual thirst that dehydrates our daily lives.  It is this utilization of a common, physical example—the need to quench one’s thirst—to illustrate a spiritual truth that is both confusing and enlightening.  There is the physical water they draw from the well, but there is also spiritual “water” drawn from the Spirit that is equally vital to life.  Our physical needs have their root in spiritual realities and we cannot long satisfy physical “thirsts” without also drinking of this spiritual water.  The relationship between the physical and spiritual referred to here is intriguing.

Does spiritual reality animate, or cause physical reality?  While we cannot know this with scientific certainty, I believe it does.  The woman at the well has a recurring physical reality—failed relationships with men—that she tries to hide from her human counterparts.  But she cannot hide them from Jesus, who sees with eyes that read the spirit.  While the woman at the well is ashamed to be known so intimately, Jesus does not condemn her.  Rather, he offers her a path to salvation.  Jesus sees through everything we try to hide, too, loves us as much as ever and offers us this living water.  Only this water will quench our spiritual thirst; and once satisfied, improve our physical reality and become in us a “spring of living water gushing up to eternal life.”

This Sunday is the fourth of Lent.  Tom’s sermon downtown is “The Power of One, based on John 4:1-42. Life worship begins at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.   Mitch’s sermon at the west campus is “The Power of Many,” based on John 6:1-14.  West campus worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Come to the well and drink.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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