The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water so that I will not get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
I. A CHANGE OF SPIRITUAL ATTITUDE IS HERE EXHIBITED. At first Jesus had asked water from the Samaritan woman, who seemed almost reluctant to grant so small a favour, and who laid stress upon nationality rather than upon humanity. But a short conversation wrought a marvellous change. And soon the woman came to beg for living water from him who had just before asked from her a draught from Jacob's well. How many have listened to the gospel, have turned their gaze towards Christ, with indifference, and even with a kind of ignorant condescension, who, upon knowing more of him, have exchanged indifference and contempt for reverence and faith! There are those who consider that a favour is asked from them by the ministers of religion when they are urged to accept the Lord Jesus; who seem to suppose that their adhesion would be a boon, if not to the Saviour, yet to his people. Let such persons really come into spiritual contact with Christ, and the case will be altogether changed. They will then see that they have nothing to give, and all to gain, and the Divine Benefactor of humanity will be approached with humble entreaty.
II. THE ATTRACTION EXERCISED BY THE DIVINE WATER OF LIFE IS HERE ILLUSTRATED.
1. We discern, on the part of the Samaritan woman, the desire for personal satisfaction. "That I thirst not" is a plea that personal cravings may be stilled and personal wants supplied. Let Christ's gift be understood, and the approach of it will excite the longing of the needy spirit.
2. We perceive also the desire to take to others, by a ministry of help, a Divine satisfaction. "Neither come hither to draw" is language which reminds us that the woman came to the well, not only to supply her own need, but to fetch water for her household. Could Jesus help her to minister to the wants of others in some way more satisfactory and less tedious than that to which she was accustomed? Experience shows that to realize, not only our own wants, but the wants of those connected with and dependent upon us, is increasingly to appreciate that spiritual provision which is symbolized by the living water.
III. APPLICATION TO THE TRUE SOURCE FOR THE WATER OF LIFE IS HERE EXEMPLIFIED. With all her faults, there were in this woman a clearness of thinking, a directness of language, and a candour of disposition which we cannot but admire. Once convinced that the mysterious Stranger before her had great gifts to confer, she promptly sought the promised good. The directness of her appeal, in which was no qualification, is an example to all who approach Christ. Those whom the gospel reaches, and who are convinced that the Lord Jesus is the Spring of life eternal to mankind, are reminded that they should apply without delay to the Personal and Divine Source of the highest blessing, with the assurance, which his character inspires, that they cannot ask of him in vain. - T.
Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not.I. The poor sinful heart — astray and deceived — UNSATISFIED.
II. The soul led aright and brought to itself by repentance — BEGINNING TO BE SATISFIED.
III. The soul transformed into purity and blessed life by grace — PARTIALLY SATISFIED.
IV. The soul in glory rejoicing in the beatific vision — FULLY SATISFIED.I. I AM TO TRY TO EXCITE YOUR DESIRE BY A DESCRIPTION OF THIS WATER. Spiritual things must be described by natural analogies. You must have water or you die. So must you have grace. Water is —
1. Thirst removing.
2. Life preserving.
3. Filth purging.
4. Softening. The hardest heart yields before the power of the love of God.
5. Fire quenching. The fire of lust, envy, malice, anger, and unholy desire.
6. Spring creating. Wherever the water of life falls it makes a new spring, and never gets fiat, dull, or dead.
7. Fruit producing in proportion to the quantity we drink.
8. Heaven ascending. Water rises to its level. If we have grace that began with us it will never get higher than ourselves. If grace which the priest gave, no higher than the priest. But the true grace of God comes down from heaven, and will carry us whence it came.
II. TO CHEER YOUR HEARTS WITH SOME REFLECTIONS UPON THE LIKELIHOOD OF YOUR GETTING THIS LIVING WATER. Supposing that you want it.
1. No ordinary man would deny another water. The giving of grace by the Saviour no more than the giving of water by you.
2. If you would refuse water to some, you would not refuse it to the thirsty; and Jesus never refused a thirsty sinner yet.
3. There is plenty of it, and it is free. John speaks of a river. Who fears to exhaust the Thames? The source may be private, but as soon as it gets a considerable stream it becomes a public highway and water supply.
4. It flows on purpose for the thirsty. What could Christ have made an atonement for but for sinners?
5. No one has been refused yet.
6. It is to Christ's glory to give it, and therefore be sure that He will not withhold it. The more a physician cures the greater his fame; the more Christ saves the higher His honour.
III. TO URGE YOU TO PRAY THIS PRAYER. A desire is like seed in the sack, but prayer sows it in the furrow: like water in the bottle, but prayer drinks thereof.
1. Begin, then, by honouring Christ. The woman gave Him the highest title she knew. You call Him "Lord"; for if you reject His divinity you shut yourself out from His kingdom.
2. Confess your undeservingness. "Give," not "sell." Mercy must be given.
3. Make this a personal prayer. "Give it me." Never mind your neighbours or your children just now. Look after their salvation when you are saved.
4. Offer it in the present tense. The worst of most men is that they would serve the devil all their lives and then cheat him of their souls at last. If God be God serve Him now.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. MEN DO NOT EXPECT PHYSICAL RESULTS EXCEPT BY APPROPRIATE EFFORT. Parents do not pray that God would inspire their boys with a useful trade. They apprentice them and pray God that they may attend to their business and take proper steps to learn. Skill of hand is to be developed by training and not by praying. There are those who still speak of luck, but the number decreases with intelligence and enterprise.
II. MEN DO NOT LOOK FOR INTELLECTUAL RESULTS EXCEPT BY THE APPLICATION OF MEANS TO ENDS.
1. We never pray for general knowledge, nor teach our children to do so; but to use their eyes and ears, to keep company with intelligent persons. And this is not inconsistent with the prayer that God will sustain us in the exertion of our natural faculties. So no one prays for books, or the results of professional skill without the drill which leads to them.
2. There is one apparent exception, that of genius. But genius is only what belongs to one whose organization is so fine and large that it acts by its own stimulus. If on the art side, we have an art genius. A man is a genius in the direction in which his faculties are highly organized. Such work more easily than others, but they have to work much. The eagle moves faster and easier than the ant, but both move by the same (muscular) power. And the greatest geniuses in poetry (Milton), in music (Handel), in war (Frederick and Napoleon), have been the hardest workers.
III. BUT MEN DO LOOK FOR RELIGIOUS RESULTS WITHOUT PERSONAL EFFORT.
1. There is an impression that God works irresistibly by His Spirit, and that the distinguishing qualities of Christian life fall down upon us of their own accord like dewdrops on the flowers. Now we must pray for everything that it is proper for us to have, for the highest as well as for the lowest; but there is no more reason that we should pray for morality than for corn, for meekness than for flowers.
2. Religiousness is rightmindedness towards God and man. To be religious is to act in accordance with the laws of the mind from the highest to the lowest of its endowments. I should have, of course, no hope as a minister without a belief in the all-prevalent vitalizing Spirit, and should as soon attempt to raise flowers where there was no atmosphere, and fruits without light and heat, as to regenerate men without the Holy Ghost. Nevertheless this Divine influence is not irresistible in such a sense as to relieve men from the responsibility of developing every one of the spiritual elements. God wakes up the soul and then says, "Work out what I work in" (Philippians 2:12, 13).
3. Conversion is not a completed work. Here is a lazy vagabond, depending on his relations, and he is taken to the West and put upon 150 acres of ground and told to work out his own living. The ground is not converted yet; but he goes to work and brings it under cultivation. He has been converted from a street beggar into a man of means and respectability; but his own conversion is no more complete than that of his farm. When a man is converted he has a new start and has to go forward. If a man, therefore, expects there is any labour-saving conversion he is greatly mistaken.
4. Conversion makes a man a disciple, and places him in Christ's school, where he has to learn and place himself under discipline. And the experiences of Christ's school are not to be had by prayer only. If an intemperate man wants to be temperate, a passionate man meek, a proud man humble, he must not only pray, but tame himself.
(H. W. Beecher.)Lassati sumus, et lassis non datur requies; we labour, and have no rest when we have done; we are wearied with our sins, and have no satisfaction in them; we go to bed to-night, weary of our sinful labours, and we will rise freshly to-morrow to the same sinful labours again (Lamentations 5:5; Isaiah 5:18).
(H. W. Beecher.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(J. Cumming, D. D.)
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