Recently I went out of town for the weekend. I needed a little get away to recharge. While on our trip I went hiking. This area had not seen the same rain as Houston because many of the plants were a little wilted. It was incredibly hot even though it had just entered fall. I was sweaty when I took a break to have a picnic in the shade. I sat mostly in silence as I eat my little meal and gulped down my water to rehydrate.
I was thirsty. Very thirsty and I even had a little bit of a headache from the dehydration.
When Jesus spoke he often referred to himself as the giver of living water. Jesus is the water that will make you never thirst again. Jesus is the water that promises a new life with him. Jesus is the water that gives you eternity.
Sounds pretty good. For some reason I get this image of a feeding tube going into my stomach with water coming from Jesus. It’s like a constant flow of water hydration. I think this is my doctor brain turning into overdrive. So if Jesus is not referring to a feeding tube what is he talking about? What does it look like to receive this living water from Jesus but live for another 50 years on this earth where I go on hikes that I feel very very real thirst?
This life, life on this earth, life in this broken world is often like my hike. Hard, exhausting and it dehydrates us. This is just reality. So what is Jesus talking about?
To me Jesus is saying that if you accept me, accept the grace I am giving you, abide in me then I have a promise for you. No matter how grueling the hike. No matter how banged up you get from the jagged rocks. No matter if you die from physical dehydration I promise you that your destination is with me. What does that destination look like? I do not know exactly but I know this. I will not feel pain, I will not suffer, I will not be thirsty and I will not lack anything good.
We are all on a hike. Whether we want to be or not. Life in this world is a hike. Some of our hikes are more grueling and difficult. It’s not a matter of us being on the hike. It’s a matter of whether you are feeding yourself with the water from Jesus in addition to having a picnic. If you only have a picnic without taking the water from Jesus you will eventually die, for all of us eventually die. I do not know exactly what that looks like to die without the water from Jesus but it is not a life of no thirst, no pain and no suffering.
“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 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.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:7-26