Feb 12, 2009

Christ's conversation with the woman of Samaria

A set of thoughts on our lord's interaction with the samaritan woman. By Farrel Lee Mortimer


Everyone must desire to know what our Savior thought fit to say to a poor ignorant woman, whom he met beside a well. He was always watching for opportunities of doing good to the souls and bodies of men. Though He was weary, and doubtless hungry and thirsty also, he was intent upon his Father's business; while we are continually making excuses for not speaking to people about their souls! 

Observe how he begins the conversation—he asks the woman to give him some water to drink. She returns an uncivil, unfeeling reply—"How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from a woman of Samaria?" It was true that the Samaritans and Jews did live at enmity with each other; but this was very wicked, and our Savior would not follow such wicked customs. However, he did not enter into a dispute on this subject, but passed on to one more important. In talking to people upon religion, we should keep the chief object in view, and not be induced to dispute on less important points. 

How soft an answer did our Savior return to the uncourteous woman! He saw her ignorance, and pitied her—he saw she was ruining her own soul by her refusal to have any dealings with him. How majestic and how touching is his reply! (v. 10.) "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says unto you, 'Give me to drink,' you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water." 

The woman did not understand this answer; she did not know what the stranger meant by the "gift of God." She did not know that He himself was the gift of God, the Father, to a lost world; neither did she know what he meant by "living water;" she thought he meant running water; she did not know that he spoke of the Holy Spirit. She began, indeed, to suspect that he was some great person, though he appeared a poor man; but she could not believe that he was greater than Jacob who had dug the well in old time. Neither could she imagine that any water could be better than the water of that well, and that water she was sure the stranger could not give to her, as he could not procure it for himself. But though she could allow the blessed Lord to remain parched with thirst, He was willing to supply her with the water of everlasting life. 

He continued the conversation by pointing out a defect in the water of Jacob's well. "Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again." There is the same defect in all earthly pleasures and comforts; they seem to satisfy us for a little time, but soon the tormenting thirst returns. Have we not often experienced the truth of this? We have partaken of some pleasure, and have felt satisfied; but O how short was our satisfaction? We soon become restless and uneasy again. Thus we continue to thirst until we are made partakers of the Holy Spirit; then we feel satisfied. Then we find within ourselves a source of happiness. What is this source of never-failing delight? It is the sense of pardoned sin, of God's love in Christ, the hope of heaven, and of meeting our Redeemer there. Have you not heard of people racked with pain, who yet enjoyed a peace that passes all understanding? Perhaps you have seen such people, and have wondered at their case. Behold the mystery explained; they drank, indeed, of no stream of earthly comforts, but there was in them a well of water springing up that never could be exhausted, and therefore they thirsted not after the muddy waters of this world. 

The Samaritan woman did not understand the Savior's meaning, yet she made the right request, for she said, "Give me of this water." O that we might all make this prayer, understanding for what it is we ask! God would certainly grant it. What! did God give his own Son to die for us, and shall He think anything too great to give us? Who could have thought of such a gift? much less who could have dared to ask for it! that the Judge should give his only Son to die for the criminal! But as God has done this, and slain his beloved Son for us, is it not extreme ingratitude in us not to come to Him for the gifts the Savior purchased with his blood! Jesus laid down his life to procure for us the Holy Spirit, the living water; and shall we neglect to ask for this precious gift? God forbid! Let each of us cry earnestly—constantly to God, "Give me this living water, O you who have so loved the world as to give your only-begotten Son!" 

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