She was accustomed to cistern water-water that ran off roofs and land and was captured in pits and wells. Dirty water. Stale, stinky water.
But when she encountered Jesus, he said, If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water (John 4:10 NLT). Water without a musty taste and no gritty sediment floating about. Pure water like that from a stream or natural spring. Not stagnant water retrieved from a pit. She could only imagine how it would tantalize her taste buds.
The Samaritan woman was familiar with both kinds of water but had a habit of guzzling the first: five failed marriages and at the moment an immoral relationship, shunned by local women, barely surviving. Until Jesus happened by. He offered her living water…the chance to escape the life she’d known. An opportunity to taste fresh water. Water she’d wouldn’t have to keep returning for. Water that would completely satisfy. He also had food she and his disciples weren’t aware of. Jesus’ spiritual nourishment came from doing God’s will, which presently included completing the work of salvation by his death on the cross.
There have been more than a few occasions when I’ve hungered and thirsted for stale food and dirty water only to be totally disappointed after consuming them. Relationships I thought I needed. Stuff I imagined I couldn’t live without. Substances I believed would make me feel better. Emotional expressions that seemed justified at the moment. Things that appeared promising but that always left me thirsty and coming back for more disappointment.
Looking for fulfillment in anything other than obedience to God and fulfilling his will for your life will always be insufficient to quench your thirst. Only living water satisfies.
Prayer: Gracious Father, when we’re tempted to drink and eat of what will only leave us unfulfilled, keep our attention focused on what will presently and eternally satisfy.
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