Our family lives in the desert of Scottsdale, Arizona. The landscape is dry red clay with little vegetation beyond cacti in most places. All of that changes, however, where there is flowing water. Wherever there is a creek or fresh water well, there is lush green vegetation that grows up around that life-giving water source.
The same God who made the physical world also made the spiritual world, and the visible world helps us learn about the invisible world. For this reason, Jesus often used physical needs to teach us about deeper spiritual needs.
In John 4, Jesus sits at a well in a forsaken place called Samaria. He speaks to a woman who is an outcast – even among the nation of outcasts. Samaria was a town full of the sexual perversion and the occult, and this woman was apparently rejected even by her own people.
Sitting by the well where she came to draw water, Jesus used the metaphor of water to speak to the woman of salvation, or living water, that accompanies the Holy Spirit. Our soul is like a desert, while the Holy Spirit is like a limitless spring that nourishes and hydrates our soul. The Holy Spirit is like a stream that flows through God’s children, washing away all that is unclean and bringing life and health. Not understanding the metaphorical nature of Jesus’ speech, the woman asked Him for this ever-flowing water that would allow her to never return to the well to draw its water again.
Then, in a clever attempt to expose her sin and need for God’s forgiveness, Jesus requested that she first go home to get her husband before He would give her living water. She replied with a half-truth: that she had no husband. Jesus then named her sin, telling her that He knew that she had been married five times and was now living in sin with a man who was not her husband.
The woman then recognized Jesus as a prophet. This is not surprising since the Samaritans were not waiting for a Messiah, but instead for the promised prophet who would be like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:14–22). And, in referring to Jesus as “sir,” we see her respect for Him increase. The scene is slowly building and her life will soon change.
How is your soul? How can you invite the Holy Spirit to flow in your soul and bring His life (e.g., prayer, Bible reading, worship, killing a bad habit, etc.)?
By Mark Driscoll