Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23 NHEB
Life flows from the heart. It is a deep well. Another proverb calls the intentions of the heart "deep waters". That is the metaphor I want you to have in mind when you read about Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well in John 4.
In this story Jesus goes to Samaria, a town despised by the Jews. It was racial and territorial. Tired, Jesus sits by a well under the noontime sun as he is approached by a woman from that town. He asks her for a drink, and she tells him it isn't proper for a Jewish man to ask a Samaritan woman for a drink. Here is Jesus' response:
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Let's start with this. This is a message for anyone who has ears to hear.
- If you knew The Gift
- If you Who was offering it
- You'd ask.
For the last 2,000 years this has been the relationship between the Gospel and the World. If they knew what it was, if they knew Who was offering it, they'd receive it. As the church, we need to be clear about what it is, and we need to show the world the heart of the One who offers it. Let's continue:
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
I love how the woman said "The well is deep". Of course she thought the living water would come from that ancient well but it won't. Similarly in the earlier verse we've established that the well is our heart, and it is deep. But what the summation of scripture will also tell you is that it was poisoned. A deep poisoned well– intended to provide drink to you, but instead it kills you slowly.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
The living water comes from Jesus. What is the living water? Well I will ask you this– what can remove the poison from the well? What poisoned it in the first place? Why is it a dead well? Jesus in two more chapters talks about the idea of never thirsting again:
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst... Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
But this time he is talking about his blood. And we know what the blood means. On the night before he went to the cross, during his last meal, Jesus lifted the glass of wine:
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28
Friend, I want to tell you that the water is the wine, the wine is his blood. It's all about forgiveness.
Sin and guilt are what poisoned the well. Whether you think you've poured in a gallon of cyanide or just a glass of it, that well is completely poisoned. You still have a heart, but it doesn't beat the way God intended it to, not until it knows it is forgiven.
When we know in our innermost that we are forgiven to the uttermost, that's when new life begins.
Drinking Jesus' living water is entering into a new covenant of forgiveness which is made possible by his death.
Forgiveness is the gift. The gospel is about forgiveness. The bible says we cross from death to life when we receive it. A drop of Jesus' blood turns our well into fresh water. It bubbles up into eternal life. The most important message you will ever hear this side of heaven is that you're forgiven. And heaven is knowing Who forgave you.
We will not thirst again. We will not hunger again. Because we know that no amount of sin can overcome the love of God. That's what being Christian is supposed to mean. That's what being "born again" means. It's knowing deep down inside, in the deepest part of your well, that you have a fellowship with God that cannot be broken because it was not established by your performance. It was established by the shedding of the blood of Jesus. He paid the price for your forgiveness. It can never be overturned.
Just two chapters previous to this story Jesus conducts his first miracle– turning water into wine. I believe that is a prophetic picture of this very same thing. He can transform your well. His blood changes the very wellspring of our lives. Knowing we are forgiven changes everything and affects everything that flows from our heart.
Believer, your life will be impacted by the gospel to the extent that you understand how forgiven you are. Forgiveness is where it begins. It is not a "basic" truth, it is a foundational truth. It is a 24/7 truth. If you want to receive the promise of "never being thirsty again" you will have to learn to return to this well again and again. You need to wake up in the morning and rehearse how forgiven you are. Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of me" as he talked about communion. Don't forget– you are forgiven.
Too many believers don't understand how central forgiveness is to our lives. Too many believers take for granted or do not understand just how forgiven they are. Not you.
Drink. You've been invited to drink. If you knew the One who's doing the inviting, you'd drink.
Father I thank you for sending your Son. Jesus I thank you for this living water. I pray for the person reading this that they would realize the price paid for their forgiveness. When you said "it is finished", it really was. The blood and water was provided. It flowed from your side. I pray that the person reading this receives your forgiveness by believing in your sacrifice. I pray they would know your heart– the heart that offers them this drink. In your name I pray.