Springs of Living Water
“… Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13, 14–NIV).
We’ve had some water troubles. With all the rain in early spring, we began to notice a foul odor in a downstairs room of our home. Upon investigating further, we discovered mold in the crawl space just under that particular room–the result of low-lying water that had been building up with all the precipitation. Furthermore, our lower pasture was a soppy mess–our Scottish Highlanders up to their knees in stinky muck and… well, you can only guess. (They ARE cows, after all!)
My husband pondered for days how to solve this situation effectively and efficiently–brainstorming with a friend who’s a plumber, as well as searching solutions high and low on the internet.
One of the reasons for this drainage problem in our particular pasture, yard, and under the house is both a blessing and a curse. Springs running underground on our property are a natural source of water for our animals but can, if not properly routed and able to drain, wreak havoc.
So for the last week, a local man named Messer and a workin’ buddy of his have been running a backhoe and laying plastic piping in ditches dug in our good western North Carolina soil. Thus, Selah Farm currently looks to be run over with giant moles–so much earth having been moved in an effort to create a drainage system that will finally take water where it should be and away from where it shouldn’t.
After several days of digging, last night we had a torrential rain storm. Bill put on his coat and hat, and–venturing out into the darkness–checked to see if all this work had paid off. And although he found one more potential problem, he was over the moon to discover our drainage system doing its job.
And again this morning, Bill was out early to check on things–returning to the house a few minutes later to announce proudly, “Dry! Everything’s dry.”
To some, this may perhaps seem like a small thing. It’s only water, after all; but truth is, if not offered a proper channel through which to flow, it can cause a whole lot of damage–flooding, mold, and even injury to our livestock.
As I ponder John 4 and the story of “The Samaritan Woman at the Well,” I’m struck by a biblical parallel.
After asking her for a drink, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman whom he met at the well just outside the village of Sychar, “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” (John 4:10).
Jesus knew this woman before he’d ever met her. He knew her life-style. Knew her heart.
He knew that she was filling a void in her soul with something that wasn’t his best. In short, she was looking for love in all the wrong places–having been married five times and, at the time of this encounter, was living with a man who wasn’t her husband (v. 18).
In her quandary, she’d allowed others (men in particular, it seems) to pour into her life something that wasn’t channeled properly; thus, the result didn’t lead to satisfaction but rather, wreaked havoc–bringing further discontentment, loneliness and isolation.
Is it mere coincidence that this story takes place, of all places, at a well? As John’s gospel account tells us, she visited it at noontime–in the heat of the day (v. 6), likely to avoid other women who probably pointed their fingers and spoke of her in snide whispers.
She knew what they would say. Their ridicule wasn’t unfamiliar. So she took her vessels to draw water when the sun was directly overhead–its heat more bearable than the burn of humiliation upon hearing their cruel comments.
Truth is, sleeping around wasn’t likely her issue, though that’s what one so often assumes. Instead, she was probably barren–which was equal to a curse for women in biblical times, not to mention a justifiable reason to be handed a certificate of divorce over an over again. If she’d been unfaithful to a husband, he would likely have stoned her–which was also justified in ancient culture. The fact that she’d been married and divorced five times is proof enough to lead one to draw this different conclusion.
Not infidelity but infertility.
So our Samaritan friend is thirsty for that which will satisfy–water from a well… love from a lover. After all, her dream for a child is dead, and no man would ever want her again as wife.
Then enters Jesus–the Living Water… the Lover of her soul. The One who is the Word with God, who said, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desire” (Ps. 37:4).
Because he knew just what her heart longed for, what we each long for–what we desire most. He knows even better than we know ourselves, and he alone can satisfy.
As He flows through our being, this Living Water becomes in us a spring welling up to eternal life–channeled to flow in all the proper places, to reach his precious people at just the appropriate time. Even the Samaritan woman’s story–her testimony of meeting Jesus–led many to believe (v. 39).
So I look at my property, all dug up for now, and I smile–knowing that God is, once again, on display…
His extraordinary character depicted in the ordinary of life…
His magnificence even in the muddy mundane…
Yes–even in life on a sometimes smelly farm…
Alive in me.
How will you allow Jesus–the Living Water, the Lover of your soul–to fill you to overflowing today? What might need to be dug up, rerouted, or discarded that he might flow more freely through you? Remember: There’s a world in need of the Life Source you carry. Can you hear him? Like he said to the woman at the well, Jesus says to us–“Just ask Me.”
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