By Joe Caruso Stories
For much of my life, I’ve lived close to the water. There’s something about water that gives us a sense of peace. Perhaps it’s the continuous crashing of the waves against the shore or the stillness of the water on a calm day. Or maybe it comes from knowing that water is essential to our survival. Whatever the reason, water will always be something we need and enjoy being close to.
There’s a story, found in John 4, that on the surface is about water. As we look closer, however, we find that it’s about so much more. It’s a conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman while at Jacob’s well.
Jesus begins the conversation by asking the woman a question, “Will you give me a drink?”
The woman, surprised that Jesus was talking to her due to cultural reasons replies, “How can you ask me for a drink?”
To this, Jesus said, “If you knew who was asking you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
The Samaritan woman, clearly confused asked Jesus where he could get this living water. Jesus responded to her question in John 4:13-14.
We all have a strong natural desire for survival. It’s at the heart of almost everything we do. It’s part of the reason we work, eat, drink, live in homes and build relationships.
As hard as we try to take care of ourselves physically, the security we get is only temporary. We are continually having to go back to the well and refill ourselves to satisfy our needs. And even then, our ability to sustain ourselves will only be temporary.
I believe that is the point Jesus was making in his conversation with the Samaritan woman. Jesus was offering the woman a permanent solution to her deeper need. He was showing her that there is more to life than the continual day-to-day efforts of existing. Jesus was offering the woman an eternal way of living that can only be found in a relationship with him.
The difficulty is that we do have to concern ourselves with the daily efforts of living. We’re physical beings, who have to concern ourselves with these realities. As important as they are, however, Jesus is telling us that we shouldn’t be consumed with these temporary challenges because there’s more to this life than our physical needs. Jesus wants to be the source that permanently fills our deepest needs.
There’s a similar passage in Matthew 6 where Jesus is encouraging us to be more like the birds of the air or the flowers of the field, who rely on God as the source for their needs. Here too, He is reminding us to look up and seek Him as the eternal source of our needs.
The practical message here is that we shouldn’t be so focused on short-term challenges that we lose sight of long-term fulfillment. The routine things we do today should lead to a better tomorrow. If we find ourselves in a continuous cycle of maintaining our everyday existence, we need to ask ourselves if there’s something more meaningful we can set our sights on.
Do you feel thirsty and unfulfilled? I think we all do at times. Like the woman at the well, we can have our thirst eternally quenched. We need to recognize that Jesus is the only source who can quench our thirst. We need to ask Him to fill us with His living water.