In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). We are now covering the Words of Jesus regarding the Holy Spirit. The next of these is His purpose is ‘to bring us into rivers of living water’.
Currently, I am staying in Central Portugal for the Summer. Here at this time, the days are sunny and hot without fail. As it is over an hour away from the coast, over the years the rivers have been the source of refreshment. Being not far from the mountains, the water that flows appears pure and clear. In a place called Agroal, located in the middle section of the Nabão River, is a spring leading to a pool that provides the purest of all waters. It offers a continuous flow of ice-cold water directly from the mountains which then overflows into the rivers. For centuries people have flocked here to this pool renowned for its healing properties. The water having been filtered through the mountainous rocks being rich in minerals.
The water that Jesus gives shall be a spring
When Jesus said, whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life, John 4:14. It very much reminds me of this spring. Yet however healing and refreshing this water may be, it is nothing compared to the spring of water welling up inside us from the water that Jesus gives us to drink. Agroal may refresh the body for a short time, but the Words of Jesus refresh the soul, the mind and the spirit into eternity.
Many things happened by wells or springs throughout the Bible. Hagar when fleeing in the wilderness from the harshness of her mistress Sarai, stopped by a spring of water. An angel met her and told her to return and submit to Sarai and as a result she would be blessed. The well was renamed ‘Well to the One who Lives and Sees me’, (Gen 16). It was at this same well years later that Rachel was chosen to be the bride for Isaac, Abraham’s son, whose seedline was that of Christ. She proved her virtuous and caring nature by offering to draw water for the servant and his camels. It was into a well that Joseph was cast which propelled Him through much tribulation to finally enter into his destiny as the one who delivered God’s chosen from the famine. It was at a well that Moses fleeing Pharoah’s wrath found his new family and settled in Midian.
Give me a drink
It seems that at sources of water, significant happenings occurred. Maybe it was because a well was the only source of water and people would stop for a while and be refreshed. In so doing they would rest from their labours or journey and allow themselves to pray or seek God. Most likely there is something more spiritually significant regarding a source of water. But Jesus wanted us to understand that He gives us living water. Just as He spoke of to the woman at the well in Samaria.
A woman of Samaria came along to draw water (John 4:7), and Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’. He went onto say ‘If you had only known and had recognised God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.
Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognised God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water. He then revealed the secrets of her heart and she left her water jar and went away to the town to tell the people what had happened. I believe that it is significant that she left her jar. No longer was she thirsty for physical water. She had come into contact with living water.
Jesus Christ is the gift of God
Henry says – She saw him to be a Jew, a poor weary traveller, but He would have her know something more concerning Him. That Jesus Christ is the gift of God, the richest token of God’s love to us, and the richest treasure of all good for us. He is a gift, not a debt which we could demand from God, not a loan, which he will demand from us again, but a free gift, (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son). It is an unspeakable privilege to have this gift of God proposed and offered to us, to have an opportunity of embracing it, “He who is the gift of God is now set before you.” Though Christ is set before us, and charges to us in and by his gospel, yet there are multitudes that know him not. They know not who it is that speaks to them in the gospel, that saith, Give me to drink, they do not perceive that it is the Lord that calls them.
He assures her what He would have done for her if she had asked Him: “He would have given you living water.” By this living water is meant the Spirit, who is not like the water in the bottom of the well, but like living or running water, which was much more valuable. The Spirit of grace is as living water, (John 7:38. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’). Under this similitude the blessings of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament, (Isa. 12:3 with joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation). The graces of the Spirit, and His comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul that knows its own nature and necessity. Jesus Christ can and will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.
The fountain of life
She replies scornfully, “Where is this living water? The springs of that living water which Christ has for those that come to him are secret and undiscovered. The fountain of life is hid with Christ. Christ has enough for us, though we cannot see where it comes from.
The water of Jacob’s well, where they were situated, yielded but a transient satisfaction and supply, “Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again”. It is no better than other water, it will quench the present thirst, but the thirst will return, and in a few hours a man will have as much need, and as much desire, of water as ever he has had.” This intimates the imperfections of all our comforts in this world, they are not long lasting. Whatever waters of comfort we drink of, we shall thirst again. Yesterday’s meat and drink will not do to-day’s work.
Yet Jesus says that the living waters He would give should yield a lasting satisfaction and bliss. Christ’s gifts appear most valuable when they come to be compared with the things of this world, for there will appear no comparison between them. He shall never thirst again, he shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul’s desires. We may be longing, but not languishing. A desiring thirst we may have for more and more of God, but not a despairing thirst.
The fountain of supply
But we shall never thirst, because this water that Christ gives shall be in him a well of water. He can never reach extremity when in himself is a fountain of supply and satisfaction. It shall be ever ready, for it shall be in him. The principle of grace planted in him is the spring of his comfort. A good man is satisfied within himself, for Christ dwells in his heart. The anointing abides in him. He needs not sneak to the world for comfort, the work and the witness of the Spirit in the heart furnish him with a firm foundation of hope and an overflowing fountain of joy.
It shall be never failing, for it shall be in him a well of water. He that has at hand only a bucket of water will not thirst as long as this lasts, but it will soon be exhausted. But believers have in them a well of water, overflowing, ever flowing. The principles and affections which Christ performs in the souls of those that are brought under the power of it are this well of water. It is springing up, ever in motion, which bespeaks the actings of grace strong and vigorous. If good truths stagnate in our souls, like standing water, then may come the end of our receiving them. If there be a good treasure in the heart, we must then bring forth good things.
It is springing up unto everlasting life – a sanctified soul has its eye upon heaven and will take up with nothing short of this. Spiritual life springs up towards its own perfection in eternal life. It will continue springing up till it comes to perfection.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Our God truly knows Only the Lord Our God truly knows Our highest highs And our lowest lows Only the Lord Our God truly knows Our sweetest dreams; and our bitterest woes He shares our highest hopes Our darkest fears He’s with us in our laughter He wipes away our tears. His love goes on forever Simply saying, ‘I care’ As more of our lives with Him we share. We may be subjected To the most torturous pain But the love of the cross will never wane. There may rain upon us Successive hammer blows But one thing remains His love, which just grows. We may think at times We stand alone in our cares But He is with us in all our prayers. Whatever we do wherever we go There’s nothing about us He doesn’t know. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, may I be filled with Your living waters. Where I have gone dry, please refresh me. Where I need to repent, please remind me. May I be in the flow of living water for those around me. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.