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Monday, November 1, 2010

Ask for the Living Water Journeying Through John -John 3:22-4:45

Ask for the Living Water John 3:22-4:45

Journeying Through John

John tells us that his gospel was written so that “…you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) So the book of John is written so that we might believe and that our faith in Jesus might be made stronger.

The book of John describes many of the people who met Jesus and were changed by Him. John the Baptist was one of these people. John the Baptist’s mission in life was to point people to Jesus. He is quoted as saying: “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life: and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:35-36)

John the Baptist went through the countryside with his disciples teaching and baptizing, with large crowds following him. Jesus also went about the same countryside teaching and healing. At one point John the Baptists’ disciples came to him complaining that many of the people were leaving his ministry and flocking to Jesus. (John 3:26) Perhaps his disciples were jealous that Jesus’ ministry had taken away from theirs.

John the Baptist quickly reminds his disciples that Jesus is the Christ and their job is to send people to Him. “Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled, ” he says. John the Baptist was a humble man and he tells them: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29b-30)

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” How many of us could say this along with John the Baptist? How many of us want Jesus to be more important in our lives and our own reputations and our personal agendas less important? Scripture tells us that no one is greater in the kingdom than John the Baptist. (Matthew 11:11) I believe that one of the reasons he is given this honor is because he wanted Jesus to take over and receive all the glory while he would fall back. He was humble and we also need to learn to be humble.

John continues on in chapter four describing the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well and becomes a believer. It happened as Jesus and his disciples were traveling through Samaria. The group comes to the town of Sycar and Jesus sits down by the ancient well outside the city. The well had been dug many centuries ago by Jacob and was called “Jacob’s well”.

A Samaritan woman comes to the well to draw water and Jesus asks her to give Him a drink. The woman is surprised that Jesus is speaking to her and asks Jesus why He is asking her for a drink. In that culture it was improper for a man to speak to a woman in public. According to the purification laws, Jesus would be profaning Himself just by taking water from the woman. And also at that time the Jews didn’t have anything to do with Samaritans.

But of course Jesus is Lord and He breaks all of the norms. Jesus answers her: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

The Samaritan woman thinks that Jesus is talking about the water in the well and asks if Jesus is greater than their ancestor Jacob who dug the well. And Jesus answers her: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14)

The Samaritan woman is now very interested but still confused. She doesn’t know what Jesus means by this “living water”. So Jesus tells her that she has had five husbands and that the man she is living with at the present time isn’t her husband. The woman is amazed that Jesus knows so much about her life and she recognizes that Jesus is a prophet, a man of God.

They continue talking and finally the Samaritan woman mentions that someday the Messiah will come. At that point Jesus says to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4:26)

The Jews and the Samaritans were looking for a Messiah. A Savior had been promised throughout Old Testament Scriptures and the faithful were waiting. So when Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He was the Messiah, the first thing she wanted to do was to share Him with her relatives and neighbors. Overcome with excitement, the woman left her water pots at the well and rushed back to share this amazing news with her whole town. She ran from door to door breathlessly telling everyone she saw that she thought she had found the Christ! Her enthusiasm succeeded in influencing her townspeople. A large number of them ran out to the well to find Jesus and checkout for themselves if He really was the Messiah.

And they were not disappointed. John tells us that many of the Samaritans believed in Jesus and urged Him to stay with them and teach them more. Jesus agreed and stayed two more days and “many more believed because of His own word.” (John 4:41) These Samaritan said, “…we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42b)

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He was the Christ and that He would give her the living water so that she would never thirst again. Scripture says that Jesus baptizes us with His Holy Spirit, which is the living water. The Holy Spirit gives us the victory over sin. He gives us His righteousness. The Holy Spirit blesses us and teaches us and leads us in the way we should go. We never thirst again because when we have Jesus we have everything we need or want. We’ve got it all. He is the living water!

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the water that He gives her “will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14) The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, faith, hope, goodness, longsuffering, gentleness and meekness. (Galatians 5:22-23) Love, joy and peace will bubble up in your soul when you believe in Jesus. There will be a river of life flowing out of you!

The living water brings salvation and salvation belongs to Jesus alone. The Spirit flows into us and re-creates us into His image. We become the children of God. The water springs up eternally in us from the well that never runs dry. Jesus said: “Whoever believes in Me, rivers of living water will flow from him.” (John 7:38)

Jesus was welcomed and received by the Samaritans who were considered impure and undeserving by the religious Jews. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus and received His gift of the living water. But most of the religious Jews from Jesus’ home town and His country, the ones that should have recognized their Messiah, rejected Him and never knew what they were missing. Jesus said: “A prophet has no honor in his own country.” (John 4:44b) Why did this happen? What lessons can we learn from this? How can we not make this same mistake?

It is easier to hear our Lords’ call when we keep a humble spirit and when we don’t think of ourselves as better than others. Pride comes before a fall. Rebellion and disobedience can also keep us from recognizing our Lord and thirsting for His living water. Jesus will come to each one of us desiring to impart His gift of living water. But we need to believe and be open to Him. May our souls thirst for His living water. May our lives overflow with the rivers of life.

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