As human beings we need water. Every second more than 650,000 gallons of water flows over Niagara Falls. Known as the universal solvent, it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Water defies gravity by traveling upwards from the ground through plant stems. The Colorado River dug out the Grand Canyon.
Water is Powerful
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, he referenced water to illustrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. One day while Jesus traveled from Judea to Galilee, he stopped at a well in Samaria. Hungry, tired, and thirsty, he asked a woman at a well if he could have a drink.
Immediately, she understood this man was different—Jews didn’t interact with Samaritans. She wondered why he would even speak to her, much less ask her for a drink.
There are so many ways Jesus could have answered. He could have spouted a string of scientific facts to establish respect for his knowledge. Did he explain what a pure substance H2o is or explain how it affects every cell in the body? Did he try to impress her with the miracle he performed by telling her I turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana.
No. Jesus didn’t squander time with idle words or first impressions. He cut straight to the main reason for his time on Earth. Simply and plainly, he said, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.” John 4:10 MSG
Hope for the Future
Jesus’ goal was to offer her hope for the future. He knew the woman understood she needed aqua to live, along with her crops and animals. Jesus talked with her in terms she could relate to, a simple, everyday necessity. He promised a gift and he used the opportunity to explain how to receive living water. Not only for the moment but for the future—”never thirst again.”
“Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. ” John 4:13 MSG Jesus knew we need both physical and spiritual water.
Versatile and Vital
Jesus wasn’t speaking to the Samaritan about her physical need for H2o, but her internal needs—he spoke to her soul. In a few words, Jesus pointed the Samaritan woman to God’s kingdom—eternal life and hope for the future. Jesus used the analogy of living water to compare the gift of the holy spirit as fresh, living water. Accepting this gift, he promised the woman something that would quench her thirst.
He demonstrated that he knew how much the woman desired love, contentment, and support by pointing out her way of life. The woman was in her sixth relationship, so there’s no doubt she was looking for a lasting, loving relationship.
The Samaritan woman didn’t know the convenience of a plumbed house nor the power of a hydroelectric dam. What she understood was the physical need for water and the endless labor of drawing it from the well to keep herself and everything around her alive. She recognized its power. Inherently, she knew aqua saved you from death.
What We Need to Exist
Jesus offered a life that would quench her craving for eternal love. Yes, please — she wanted this living substance. She scurried back to town without her jar and told the people to come see “a man who told me everything I ever did.” John 4:29 NIV
In verse thirty-nine, we see how the woman’s words influenced others. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”
“…now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42 NIV
After two days, Jesus left Samaria, but sometime later, we hear Jesus once again refer to living water at the Festival of Tabernacles. “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” John 7: 37b-39a. From this verse, we hear Jesus clarify the meaning of living water to illustrate the work of the Holy Spirit and the plan of salvation.
Let’s look at the physical aspects of water and compare them to the spiritual aspects.
- Water is necessary for humans, animals, and plants—all living things. The average needed intake for adults is between 11-15 cups every day to feed cells, flush bacteria, balance blood pressure, cushion joints, regulate body temperature, and protect our organs.
God provides us with all we need for eternal life.
- Water vapor is an invisible gas.
God gifts his invisible spirit to direct us once we believe in him.
- Water is in motion, traveling through air, ground, and our bodies.
The Lord moves through our faith in him.
He is an all knowing, all seeing, loving God.
- As the universal solvent, it lifts stuck-on foods and stains from dirty dishes and stained clothes. (Soaking baked-on kitchen messes is one of my favorite cleaning tricks.)
God cleanses us from our sins when we ask for his forgiveness.
- It soothes us when we bathe, shower, or swim. Research shows that simply putting your face underwater relaxes the sympathetic nervous system.
Relying on God’s promises can relieve our worries and anxiety.
So Simple, So Powerful
Now that we’ve compared physical with spiritual, it’s easier to understand why Jesus asked the woman at the well if she wanted living water. He’s asking us the same question.
Do we need it?
Do we need living water?
Vital for eternal life. Seems so simple, yet it’s so powerful to have Jesus’ spirit in our lives.
What other ways can you relate physical with spiritual?
Why do you think we baptize with water?
Prayer: Lord, dissolve our fears. Wipe our hearts clean. Refresh our eyes with your way to see the world. Move us in the direction you want us to move. Provide us with the essentials to live life on earth with your spirit residing within our bodies. We know we need living water.
Thank you for using something so simple as water to show us the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives and your plan for our future.