The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” John 4:15-20
He had offered her living water—water that if she drank it in her heart by faith would become a well of water springing up to eternal life and joy and satisfaction. This water is for her soul, not her body. It’s her soul that’s thirsty. And she doesn’t know it. So Jesus is going to show her.
No woman goes through sexual relationships with six men without either starting desperately thirsty or ending desperately thirsty. What happened with these six relationships? Five marriages! Five! There is in this woman, it seems, a cavernous void of longing, thirsting. Either she can’t find in a man what she craves—and so moves from the one to the other, desperately believing men are the water she is thirsty for—or they can’t find what they are craving in her and one after the other drops her. Or both. In either case, she is left with a deep, deep emptiness and sinfulness that is so painful and so rebellious that she seals it up. And there is no entrance to her heart at all. It is locked in darkness. That is what Jesus knows. And so he moves into that inner darkness.
Learning About Jesus—And Ourselves
Here we are learning about Jesus, and we are learning about ourselves. He is compassionate and aggressive and surgical and relentless in his love. He knows all your past and all your present. Nothing is hidden from him. One person in the universe knows you completely—the most important person. He is indeed a prophet, and more than a prophet, as we will see more clearly next week.
And you are meeting yourself in this woman. One of the evidences that we have not drunk the water of life, or that we are quenching its spring, is that we are unstable like this woman, and always moving from one thing to the next seeking to fill the void that Jesus promises to fill.
Movement in Life: Faith or Frustration?
You may move through sexual partners, like she did, or through friends, or jobs, or churches, or hobbies, or hairstyles, or wardrobes, or cars, or locations. Never able to settle with a kind of deeply contented identity in Christ, satisfied daily with the ever-springing water of his fellowship.
I don’t mean that the Christian life is static. But there is a difference between the confident movement of faith and the craving movement of frustration. On the one hand, there is restless movement from one thing to the next because we have no solid, satisfied identity in Christ. And on the other hand, we have Christ as our Fountain of life and we move with purposefulness and creativity in the life and power that this living water gives. There is a difference between the jumping from one thing to the next out of frustration and the moving purposefully out of faith.
Jesus is teaching us about ourselves as well as about his glorious sufficiency as water, prophet, savior, and Messiah.