The Gospel of John has more symbolism than the other Gospels combined. John forcefully uses bread, light, and water – all elements necessary for human life – to teach us that Christ alone is at the core of our being. Without food, water, and light, then we are without Christ.
In several consecutive chapters of John, the use of water is powerful. The following paragraphs can be used a devotional meditations during Advent or, as illustrated, during Lent. They can be used to bookend a week of meditations with the first and last used as sermon material and the middle ones as material to be read during the week.
John 4: 10-15
Third Sunday of Lent
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
- About 1700 years before Jesus met the woman at the well, Jacob the Patriarch dug this well for his family, his servants, and his animals. Jacob needed the water to live but he had no idea that hundreds of years later that the Messiah would sit at that well. He was thinking of his current needs.
- Jesus’ conversation with the woman was about her current needs for water. She was too embarrassed to be seen with the other women of the town when they gathered water in the early morning. Instead, she came in the heat of mid-day and that’s when she met Jesus. She offered him some of the water she was getting, but then he talked about her future needs.
- Jacob wasn’t thinking about his long-term needs and neither was the woman at the well. But God was when Jacob dug that well and so was Jesus when he talked with the woman. Jesus used the very still waters of a well to talk with her about flowing water that will meet her continuous needs.
- Are you concentrating on your needs for today or your long-term needs? Can you look back and see how God has taken care of your needs in prior years and decades? If God will provide something as basic to human life as water and something essential to our humanity as His love, what do we have to worry about?
Water is essential to our lives. Living water is essential to our souls.