Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.” – John 4:13, 14Recently I asked an audience a central question about this passage; what was the “living water” that Jesus mentioned? I received a myriad of answers, all of which left me wanting more. None of them fit. Maybe that’s because truth is often so simple that we miss it. We have a tendency to make things more difficult than they need to be. The most adamant of the answers I received was “eternal life!” However, I want you to notice carefully that the living water becomes a fountain inside us, a fountain that springs up and overflows from within us, leading to eternal life. The water and “eternal life” are not the same thing.
So, then, what is this living water?
Well, it has certain qualities:
1) It can only be received from God Himself.
2) Once received, it satisfies so deeply that our insatiable “thirsting,” our deep sense of need and void, is met and filled permanently.
3) It then becomes something inside of us that flows from us to others.
4) And lastly, it grows and develops into Eternity itself.
Hmmmmm. Do you know it yet? Have you guessed it?
David too found that his “soul” was “thirsty” and that nothing in this world could satisfy it (see Psalms 63:1). Later, however, he found that every desire and longing he had ever felt was fully satisfied by this same “living water” (see Psalms 145:16).
Do you know now? Compare the following verses to the qualities listed above.
1) Love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God . . . for God is love. (1 John 4:7, 8)
2) . . . And to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
3) We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
4) We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14)
The living water is love! Genuine, other-centered, selfless, self-sacrificing, self-abandoning love. It hopes all things, believes all things, and bears all things. It only stems from God Himself, who embodies and exemplifies this kind of Love. Once we taste it, it satisfies so deeply that we truly feel we were created to drink it. Next, it immediately springs up and flows outward, toward others, changing us into its very image. It is at that point, when we have been converted from self-centeredness to other-centeredness (see 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15), that we have passed from death unto life.
There is one more unmistakable proof that Jesus referenced God’s love when he spoke of the living water. This proof is evidenced in what Jesus said next to the dear woman at the well. However, we will save that discussion for next week. See if you can figure it out before then. Happy pondering!
I wish you God’s best this week.