Don’t you love the Holy Spirit? As long as I’ve been a follower of Jesus I’ve found myself drawn to books, teachings, articles etc… on Him and His work in our lives. There’s a lot of great teaching out there and frankly, some that’s a bit wacky. Undoubtedly, the best teachings on the Holy Spirit came from Jesus Himself.
I’m sure many of us are familiar with the story in John 4 commonly called “The Woman at the Well.” Here is an example of how Jesus can pack volumes of truth into just a few sentences. Isn’t He amazing?
To refresh our memories, this passage finds Jesus and His disciples traveling from Judea to Galilee. It’s high noon and they decide to make a rest stop in Samaria. The disciples are on a food run and Jesus is sitting by Jacob’s well, exhausted and thirsty from the journey. Apparently, Jesus didn’t pack a bucket and rope that morning so He was at the mercy of whoever the next person was that would come to draw water.
Enter the Samaritan woman. Let’s call her Samantha. Seeing that Samantha has a bucket and a rope, Jesus asks her if she would kindly draw some water for Him to drink. She balks at the idea because Jesus is from “the other side of the tracks.”
Jesus responds masterfully by turning the tables on her. He informs her that He, actually, is the one with access to thirst-quenching “water” and if she knew this, she’d be the one doing the asking. He goes on to explain the special qualities of this water, the most extraordinary being its ability to quench thirst once and for all.
Think about this for a moment. Imagine you’re at a gas station, pumping gas, when a weary, hungry looking transient approaches you and asks for some change. You tell him you can’t give him anything for one reason or another. He then responds by informing you that he’s actually a billionaire and if you asked him, he’d give you some “magic” change that would settle all your debts and, oh yeah, never run out. What would you be thinking at that moment? Exactly.
I can picture poor Samantha at this point picking up her bucket and slowly backing away from the “nice man.”
Right before losing her, Jesus shows His cards. In order to give credibility to His unbelievable claim, perhaps, He reveals Himself as a prophet. It works. Samantha loosens her kung-fu grip on her bucket and decides to stick around a bit longer.
Let’s consider Jesus’ claim. Unlike Samantha, you and I have had the privilege of reading John 7:39 where John gives us the key to understanding this passage. Simply put, the water that Jesus offers is not literal water, but the Holy Spirit.
Jesus claimed that this spiritual water, the Holy Spirit, can quench the deep, inner thirst shared by all humanity, once and for all. What a claim! So…how does that work?
On the day of Pentecost, Peter informed the bewildered multitude that when one turns from themselves to God, and is baptized for the forgiveness of sins, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). This “receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit” is the same thing Jesus referred to as drinking “of the water that I will give him” (John 4:14).
The incredible thing is that when Jesus offers us this “water,” He doesn’t just give us a sip, He gives us the Source! We have an immeasurable source of living water living inside of us that will never run dry! Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, it’s there for the drinking!
This is true on good days and bad. This holds true when we sleep through our alarm and miss our morning time with God. It’s true on days when the gloomy clouds of our emotional funk block out the sun’s rays. The spiritual thirst that once plagued us never has to be experienced again.
This is not to say we will never experience thirst again. It just means that when we do, it will not be because of a lack of “water.” What Jesus meant was that whoever drinks of the water He gives, will never have to be thirsty again.
Here’s another way to look at it. When Jesus sat next to Jacob’s well, He wasn’t thirsty because He lacked water. He was thirsty because He lacked access to water. Similarly, when we experience spiritual thirst, and yes it’s a part of the Christian life, it’s not because we lack “water” but because, for whatever reason, we are having trouble accessing it.
In a future post, we’ll look at some of the ways we can access this infinite supply of living water and how it relates to worship. But for now, would you just take a moment with me to thank God, that the Holy Spirit, the source of thirst-quenching living water and everything we need for a godly life (2 Peter 1:3) resides within us?
The same Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis 1, releasing God’s creative power into the formless void, resides in you. Not a portion, not a measure, but in fullness.
Jesus didn’t just give you a sip, He gave you the Source. Drink deep my friends.