May 29th 2009

Living Water

“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.”
John 4:14 (KJV)

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she knew who he was she would have asked and he would have given her living water, and that whoever drank of that water would never thirst again.  The Tynedale New Testament Commentary on John by Tasker* says that when she hears living water, she assumes this is running water, as opposed to still water.

Running water is much healthier than still water.  Oxygenation is used in processing sewage and purifying water.  Years ago homesteads in the U.S. would be sited one mile apart on a stream to allow for the purification of the water.  Running water is more likely to be cold and cold water harbours fewer bacteria.

In Bible times water was precious, especially in the dry season.  “During six months of the year, when there is no rain, water becomes scarce in many parts of Palestine, especially during the latter part of that season when one after another cistern has dried up, and permanent wells and ever-flowing sources must be depended upon for water.  In such times the water carrier will go to a well, or reservoir, and then peddle his supply of water to those who need it.  He may go down the streets of the city, or he may go into the marketplace.  He will call out: ‘Ho, ye thirsty ones, come ye and drink.’  There have been times when a philanthropic person has paid the water carrier for all his supply of water and thus let him offer it free of charge to those who need it.  Then he will call forth; ‘Ho, ye thirsty ones, come and drink today for nothing, for nothing!'” (From Manners And Customs Of Bible Lands, by Fred H. Wight**)  Jesus used this custom in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

Pentecost commemorates that time John spoke of when the Holy Spirit was given.  There is a saying, “The Spirit was not given for our enjoyment, but for our employment.”  As Christians we cannot just sit back and enjoy having the Holy Spirit–it should flow like living, or running water, out of us to cleanse and refresh those around us.

Father in Heaven, help us to be conduits of your Holy Spirit, rather than bottles that keep or quench the cleansing and refreshing that should come as a result of that flowing, living water you promised so long ago to those that thirst and drink, to those that believe on you.

Study by Nancy Silcox 

* Tasker, R. V. G., ‘Tynedale New Testament Commentary on JOHN’, p. 76, 1997, Inter Varsity Press, Leicester U.K.

**Wight, Fred H, ‘Manners And Customs Of Bible Lands’, p. 285, 1953, The Moody Bible Institute, Chicago U.S.A.

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