H O U S E o f W I S D 0 M
P. O. B o x 2 5 43
C l e b u r n e, T e x a s 7 6 0 3 3
Email: woody@dtgministries.org; Website: http://www.dtgministries.org
20 July 2014

John 4, Part I - Living Water

 

John 4:1-9: 1. When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2. (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3. He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. (cp Luke 13:31-33) 4. And he must needs go through Samaria. 5. Then comes he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, ask of a drink from me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

Shortly after King Solomon died Israel split. About 200 years later the 10 northern tribes were taken over by Assyria. The city of Samaria had been the capital of Israel, as Jerusalem was capital of Judea. Assyria always mingled their people with those of the countries they captured, and transported their citizens to other parts of Assyria. Also merged were religious practices of the Assyrians with the local religious customs. Within a short time, the Assyrians in Samaria were worshipping Yahweh as well as their own gods; and within a couple centuries, they worshiped Yahweh exclusively. Thus was formed the only major schism in the Yahweh religion: the schism between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Samaritans, who were Assyrian and therefore non-Hebrew, adopted almost all of the Hebrew Torah and cultic practices; unlike the Jews, however, they believed that they could sacrifice to God outside of the temple in Jerusalem, which was initially set up by Rehoboam, the first king of Israel, in order to prevent Jews from going to Jerusalem to worship. The Jews frowned on the Samaritans, denying that a non-Hebrew had any right to be included among the chosen people, and were angered that the Samaritans would dare to sacrifice to Yahweh outside of Jerusalem. The Samaritan schism played a major role in the teaching of Jesus during his ministry (cf Luke 10:29-34; 17:13-16). Notice too, that the Samaritan woman referred to Jacob as their ancestor who had given them the well (verse 12); she mentioned the tradition concerning the place where God was to be worshipped (verse 20); and she was expecting the Messiah to come, called the Christ (verse 25). I find it interesting that a similar schism exists between churches today because of a difference in beliefs and cultic practices (i.e. how they see Christ; type of baptism; day of worship, the way communion is conducted, etc.) Yet, all claim to worship the same God, and all are expecting Jesus to return.

John 4:10-11: 10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where then have you that living water?
In chapter three we had a Jew taking the words of Jesus in the most literal sense; and now a Samaritan is doing the same thing. It is a perfect example of religious groups today, who understand Bible concepts in the most literal sense, and which result in differences of beliefs and practices. Only the spirit of God can give the spiritual understanding that will unify the body of Christ. (Mark 4:33-34, 10: parable is the letter, understanding it is the spiritual)

Living water: Jeremiah, writing to Judah, the southern tribes, mentions living water: Jeremiah 2:11-13: 11. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. 13. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me a fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no (living) water. Yahweh is a fountain of living waters, or a source of spiritual things.. Deuteronomy 32:1-2: 1. Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2. My doctrine (instruction) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: God’s words are likened to water.

Water also pertains to humanity: Proverbs 18:4: The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook. Water is a symbol for words which express thoughts. Living water expresses God’s thoughts, which are holy and will cleanse the heart. Waters from the earth and sea represent man’s thoughts, which are unclean. Just as literal water sustains physical life, so spiritual water sustains spiritual life. Water is a very important symbol used often in the Bible to instruct. For example, from Jeremiah it can be seen that when a person will not receive “living water” it is because they worship a false god.

John 4:12-14: 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 drinks of this water shall thirst again: 14. But whosoever drinks 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 (gushing) up into everlasting life. Drinking living water, or the truth Jesus gives, brings “everlasting (eternal) life.” This type of life is a quality of life available right now, to those “hearing” the voice of Jesus (John 5:24-25). When a friend shared the parable of the sower (Mark 4), and I accepted the principle of interpretation, the Bible became to me a gushing spring of living water. My spiritual eyes were opened, and I began to see my spiritual nakedness.

John 4:15-19: 15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18. For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not thy husband: in that you said truly. 19. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. I believe this woman was sincere in her beliefs; she listened to Jesus, but took His words in literal sense. She was not open to hear a stranger who is a Jew. This same principle applies today. The story reminds me of how hard it is to get others, even close friends and family, who are firm in their religious beliefs, to study something that is adversely different from traditional beliefs. Yet the teachings of Jesus were totally non-traditional and radical compared to the church in his day. Would not truth today be just as radical? Jesus was so non-traditional that they tortured and killed him. Consider how it will be in our day when truth is shared that disagrees with the majority.

John 4:20-26: 20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah comes, who is called Christ: when he comes, he will tell us all things. 26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. How many religious organizations say that you have to believe like them and worship in their place to be saved? Two major things seemed to convince the woman to accept that this Jew speaking with her was the Messiah: 1) Jesus told the woman something personal that no ordinary stranger would know; 2) Now was the time that true worshippers would not worship in a particular place, but worship the Father in spirit.

The words salvation is of the Jews never seemed to fit others things Jesus told the woman. “Living water” is a spiritual concept and I took “salvation of the Jews” as being literal. Then I remembered, Jesus only taught in parables, and the hidden things are contained in parables and allegories (Gal 4:22-24). Romans 2:28-29: 28. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. To be a Jew inwardly is to be a spiritual Jew (cp Romans 9:6-8) - salvation is of the spiritual Jew who worship the Father in spirit and truth. This idea applies to every generation, whether you are a literal Jew or a Gentile. To worship the Father in spirit is to be a spiritual Jew (from the word Judea).

John 4:27, 31-38: 27. And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seek you? or, Why talk you with her?.... 31. In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34. Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36. And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. 37. And herein is that saying true, One sows, and another reaps. 38. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.

Notice, the disciples too, were carrying the Jew’s opinions of Samaritans. Jewish feasts began in the first month of harvest and ended in the seventh month. Apparently, they were a month into the plowing and planting seed, as yet it was four months to harvest. Jesus used the actual to illustrate that the spiritual harvest was at any time, and in a spiritual harvest a person gathers fruit unto life eternal. Be ready, for the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night (1Thessilonians 5:2). Looking outward, the last generation church is not the sower of the seed, but reapers of that sown by the Apostolic church and others along with their writings left for our generation. As Jesus said, ...the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels (i.e. messengers, Matthew 13:39). You and I are the messengers responsible to reap the harvest.

The woman is proof of the impact that a testimony can have on others: John 4:28-30, 39-42: 28. The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29. Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30. Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. ...39. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41. And many more believed because of his own word; 42. And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. Listen to the messenger, study to see if it is so, and learn to listen for yourselves. Hebrews 13:2: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Do not think of these angels as supernatural, celestial beings, but fellow humans as messengers of God. Had Abraham not listened and received the message, the three men who appeared to him would have remained in his thinking, as only human and not messengers from God. Amen.