“But whosoever drinketh 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 up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 (KJV)
The Old Testament gives a physical shadow of those spiritual truths revealed in the New Testament. One physical example of our Lord Jesus Christ was given as the great Rock of Mount Horeb in the Wilderness of Rephedim: “Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” Num 20:1-12 (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Our Lord was represented by that Rock which sprang forth Life-Giving waters. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
Moses was a man well-beloved by the Lord, yet Moses presumed much above what the Lord commanded of him. His presumption, and that of Aaron, kept both men from entering into the Promised Land. What was that presumption? First of all, like many modern evangelists with their false presumptions, Moses did not acknowledge the power of God in bringing forth the water from the Rock, but rather implied it was by his own power: “. . . . he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” We must acknowledge God in all His works. Secondly, Moses was commanded to SPEAK to the Rock, but, instead, he struck the Rock twice in apparent derisive anger. He seems to have doubted the miracle before it happened. Neither had God counseled Moses to speak in anger to the people, yet Moses referred to them as “rebels”. That, they were, but God would have his ministers to minister in love. For these trespasses on the glory of God, Moses and Aaron were forbidden entry to the Promised Land. But the people were saved by the abundance of water in spite of their under-shepherds and their own rebelliousness. God oftentimes shows mercy in spite of our breaches of faith.
There are two additional examples of fountains of water provided by the Lord that I wish to focus briefly upon. They involve the young servant girl, Hagar. When Hagar had conceived (illegitimately) a child by Abraham, an animosity arose between her and Sarah (even though it had been Sarah’s misguided idea about how to provide a child promised by the Lord). Hagar escaped into the Wilderness. “And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:7-9) Hagar called the name of the place “The Lord That Seest Me.” “Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi.” (Genesis 16:14)
After Ishmael had been born, God intervened with Sarah in her old age of 90 years and she conceived Isaac (the gift of conception is always from the Lord). The two lads were not compatible – just as those born of God today are incompatible with the children of the world. At the counsel of both Sarah and God, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness with minimum provender of water and food. “And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.” (Genesis 21:15-20)
There is a beautiful truth ensconced in the above text. First of all, God did not respond to the voice of Hagar’s weeping, but rather to the voice of the lad. How tenderly our Father looks upon any child! Secondly, Hagar was desperate for water, but her faith was too weak, and her eyes too blinded by tears, to see the well of water that was just before her. “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” There are times when misery and doubt blind us to the abundance of blessing that the Lord has prepared just before us. “Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” (Psalms 23:5)
There are many other fountains and wells in Scripture of which we could make mention, but I wish to mention only one other – “The Well that Jacob had Dug” outside the gates of Shechem (or Sychar in NT). This is the Well which Jacob had dug outside the gates of that city whose source was an underground river. It is the same well at which the Lord had a predetermined appointment with a woman of less than commendable character. It was a rendezvous conceived for our benefit and teaching from before the foundation of the world.
Please observe how this story is introduced: “He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And HE MUST NEEDS GO THROUGH SAMARIA” (John 4:3-4) By all means, the Lord would take the more tiring journey through Samaria rather than proceeding directly to Galilee since He had an appointment which He would not miss. We all know the story, and I will try and relate it as briefly as possible.
The woman came at the noonday hour perhaps to avoid seeing the town gossips who always came in the cool of the evening to draw water. She came seeking water – but not that water which would satisfy eternally. It was worldly water she sought which could satisfy the body, but not the soul. She may have been a bit surprised to see a Jewish man sitting by the well, but she was accustomed to strange men, so she began to drew her water anyway. Jesus always approached the sinner with the greatest of courtesy though He knew all about her sins before He saw her. “Give me to drink,” the Lord says. The woman is surprised that a Jew would ask that of her since Samaritans were considered unclean. (and she WAS)
The water that the woman had in mind lay at the bottom of a hole in the earth. It was inorganic and unliving. It was the water of the world. But Jesus tells her: “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10) LIVING WATER is quite a different kind of water. Its source is not in the world, but in Heaven. It does not satisfy for a few hours, but forever! “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh 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 up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14) If our souls consume this water, we will become a conduit for that water to others – as the woman, indeed, did become.
We must understand that Jesus knows every secret of this woman’s heart. He knew her while she was yet in her mother’s womb. He has watched her in mournful and depressing moments of hurt and rejection. He loves her already. Such first love is necessary for us to have the ability to echo that love. “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.”(John 4:16) There comes a moment in our communion with the Lord that we must be made aware of our dreadful sins. The time has arrived for this woman. “The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” (John 4:17-18) No matter how smoldering the dark venue of our sins, they are not hidden from the eyes of the Lord.
The woman immediately recognizes something very unusual and holy about the prophet who speaks to her of matters of which no one else knows, especially a stranger. But Jesus is not stranger to any. After further dialogue, the woman is convinced of His Personage. She runs into the village and proclaims to all that she has met the Messiah. They BELIEVE the woman and go to see for themselves. There is a great irony in this. They all knew of the disreputable character of the woman, yet now they believed a fantastic story that she shares. Why? It is because the woman spoke out of the authority of a convicted heart just as all Christians should do.
The people went to see Jesus firsthand. What was the result? “. . . . many more believed because of his own word; 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 Saviour of the world.” (John 4:41-42) Herein we see the need to study to show ourselves approved of God. Regardless of the number of ministers we hear preach, there comes a time when our thirst for this Living Water compels us to search out Christ for ourselves through the diligent study of His Word.
One last point! Jesus made a very interesting comment to the woman regarding worship. “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24) That very hour has arrived. We may become very proficient in our knowledge of God’s Word and yet dead as doornails. I hear many boast of reading through the Bible dozens of times, but something must have been missing in the translation based on their unconverted lives. Many seeking filthy lucre preach the prosperity gospel every Sunday with a profusion of Bible texts taken out of context for the purpose of deceiving. Truth needs the companion of the Spirit as a catalyst to Holy living. Some churches boast of much Spirit. In fact, they do not refer to themselves as a Christian church, but rather a Holy Spirit Church. They have much of the wrong spirit in their midst, but no truth. When Truth is wed to the guiding goads of the Holy Spirit, then Godly worship becomes a reality.