This story/reflection has been added to since the original post.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 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.”
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.”
Sam had been coming to this well for as long as she could remember. It was given to the Samaritans by their forefather, Jacob. It was a source she came to each day to meet her physical needs. It helped her fulfill the many roles and responsibilities she had as a woman.For Sam, traveling to the well was like us running errands at Target or Wal Mart – it had something for the many “departments” in life – cleaning, cooking, bathing and drinking.
It was part of their heritage and a blessing to have this well, but Sam knew Jesus was right in saying that everyone who drank from this well got thirsty again. She came back everyday for more.
Jesus told Sam that if she drank the water He offered, she’d never thirst – she’d have all she needed. Then He went on to explain the life-transforming power of the Living Water He offered. But our sweet friend Sam didn’t understand the gift Jesus offered. She didn’t yet know who she was talking to. She didn’t hear His life-giving promise. She must have only heard the first part of his sentence which equated in her mind to”this could make my life convenient.”
To Sam never thirsting meant she wouldn’t have to come back to the well she walked to each day. Her errands would be shorter – her to do list cut in half!
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (ie. Make my life easier so I don’t have to walk all this way every day.)
Can you imagine reading a promise in God’s Word and thinking that if God fulfilled it, you’d never having to run to Target or Wal Mart again? Sam knew this could revolutionize her whole schedule. Imagine all that she could get done in the time she spent walking to the well, getting enough water to fill her jar and walking back.
I am like Sam. I also fall into “this would make my life easier” perspectives when I hear God’s promises, and sometimes I miss all that God has and wants to give me on a much deeper level.
Some days in my attempts to make life easier, I’ll show God my day-timer with my list of things I need to get done and ask Him to make me really efficient. But what if instead, I asked Him to show me what He has planned for me, to reveal Himself to me in every assignment I had so I could experience more of His peace and presence that day.
Recently I asked him to make my child’s cold go away so he could get back to school and our home could get back to normal. But later I discovered that God wanted to use that “inconvenient pause” to bring me a place of dependence on Him and closeness with my child who had been pulling away. I wanted life to be easier but He wanted intimacy.
Other times I’ll mention surface issues in my prayers as I hurry into my day, hoping He’ll bless my efforts, calm my worries, and give me good sleep so life tomorrow won’t be as challenging.
Sam needed Jesus to change more than the course of her day – she needed Him to change the course of her life. She had more than a physical need. She had a deep spiritual need that only He could fill. In the next few verses, Jesus will draw Sam’s attention to the well of her heart that she’s trying to fill with water from broken cisterns (men who could not love her the way she was designed to be loved).
But before we go there with them, let’s pause here to ponder Sam’s response to Jesus. Let’s ask God to show us how we, like Sam, can miss the deeper spiritual blessings He has to offer…
- Do I sometimes miss the depth of God’s promises by seeking convenience over conviction (life-change)?
- Are most of my prayers focused on surface needs, or do I dare to go deeper to where my spiritual thirsts “well up”?
- Do I ask God to satisfy my daily spiritual thirst so I can be filled with the freedom of grace and forgiveness of eternal life Jesus offers me.)
Please know I’m not saying God isn’t concerned with our surface needs. He met a big ‘felt need’ for my family this weekend through Four House Showings and a Lost Dog. He does it all the time. I need and love how He cares about every detail in our lives. I just know I can stay on the surface if I’m not intentional, because it doesn’t take as much time. But if I only live on the surface with God, I don’t experience the spiritually rich and abundant life Jesus promised Sam and us!
© 2008, Renee Swope. All rights reserved.