Have you ever wondered why certain stories are included in the Bible? I mean, we don’t have a moment by moment account of the life of Jesus. John 21:25 even tells us that we don’t have a record of everything that Jesus did. So why were certain things and certain stories put in and others left out? I think that the reason for this, is that God took exactly what was necessary to teach us what we would need to live in this world. God’s plan was to get us to a saving knowledge of Him and to build righteousness in our lives so that we could be effective witnesses for Him.
With that in mind, I want you to consider what John records in the fourth chapter of the gospel of John. Jesus is on His way to the region in Israel called Galilee from the region called Judea and on His way He passes through Samaria, another of Israel’s regions. On His journey He sits down by a well and His disciples leave Him to go and find food.
While Jesus is sitting there, a Samaritan woman comes up to get water from the well and Jesus begins a conversation with her. There are a lot of things that we could learn from this passage, but I want you to notice what Jesus said in verse 14.
John 4:14 (ESV) “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus has been talking to the woman about not only the water in the well He is sitting by, but also about “living water”. I think Jesus is using living water as a metaphor for the life that comes into a person when they are saved and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit as they grow in knowledge and relationship with God.
Here’s my question. Why does Jesus speak about this water, “welling up into eternal life,” and why is this story included in the scriptures?
I think I know the answer.
We humans have a tendency to take in things that don’t produce eternal life, but rather, they produce death. In fact, the use of this water metaphor wasn’t original to the time of Jesus. Jeremiah also spoke of this same tendency for God’s people to take in the wrong things.
Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV) “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
A cistern was a carved hole in the rock that people used to store water.
What’s the message here? Jesus wants to pour living water into us that results in eternal life. The world wants to pour filthy water into us that ultimately leads, in the spiritual world, to the same thing that drinking contaminated water in the natural world leads to: death.
God thought it significant enough for us to have this message, that he orchestrated that woman being at the well, Jesus saying what he said, and then having it recorded, so that we could store it in our hearts thousands of years later. It must be a pretty important message!
Let’s be careful what kind of water we put into our lives.