I love a good game of Spot the difference, don’t you?…
Have a good look at these two sets of pictures. They are both photos of the tomato plants that I’m currently trying to grow.
Now tell me…what’s the difference?
That’s the difference! Set one is a photo of my tomato plants when I got back from my holiday a few weeks back. (What a sad and sorrowful sight!)
Set two is a photo of my tomato plants the following morning, after a great big, refreshing drink of water.
It’s remarkable, isn’t it?!
I don’t think I’ve ever come across plants that are quite as thirsty as these. If you forget to water them for a single day, they literally droop and wilt and look all but dead.
But give them a good old glug of water, and half an hour later, they completely revive!
Have you ever been thirsty? Have you ever experienced that dryness in your mouth and throat, that feeling of agitation, of desperation, where all you can think about is water?
The trouble is, just like my tomato plants, one drink of water is not enough. We need to keep drinking in order to survive.
The Woman at the Well
Jesus had an interesting chat with a woman at a well once. They were talking about water. I guess when you’re standing at a well, water is a fairly obvious thing to talk about. In fact, Jesus dares to ask the woman to draw him some water.
According to the gospel of John, this rather surprises the woman:
You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews and Samaritans do not associate with one another).John 4:9
Jesus answers 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.”John 4:10
Ok, what is Jesus doing here? He’s gone from talking about H2O – literal, physical water- to something entirely spiritual.
The conversation twists and turns like this for a while, with the Samaritan woman still not really seeing, not really perceiving.
Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water that I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become to them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Through a series of further interchanges, Jesus lovingly draws this woman out. It’s as if He sees right into the depths of her heart and reveals all the emptiness within. This woman has been desperately thirsty. She’s been searching for years and years – desperately yearning – for a love that lasts – that really satisfies. Jesus sends the bucket right deep down into the depths of her soul. Why? Not to make her feel ashamed. But because He knows her lack. He really, truly sees her. He rightly discerns that she’s had five husbands. And that she’s not married to her current lover. This woman cannot seem to find what she’s looking for. She cannot seem to quench her thirst. She’s placing all her hope in human relationships, going from husband to husband, lover to lover – looking for true love and happiness, where it just can’t be found. It’s like she’s got this desperate, insatiable thirst.
Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again…
Are you thirsty today? Are you searching down an empty well?
Money. Sex. Relationships. Fame and popularity. Success. Likes on Social Media. Drugs. Booze. Possessions. Houses. Careers. Ambitions fulfilled. Children. Family. Clothes. Holidays.
All of these things can fill a void temporarily. But the trouble is, they won’t bring lasting satisfaction.
Don’t get me wrong, some of these things aren’t BAD in themselves. Some of these things are gifts from God, meant to be enjoyed. But the point is, sometimes we focus on the gift, forgetting that the most beautiful thing about a gift, is the giver.
There is nothing on earth that can fill the God-shaped void within each one of us. These things may momentarily quench something within our souls. But they will always, always leave us thirsting for more.
The good news is, God wants to give us His LIVING WATER – What’s Living Water? The type of water that fully satisfies. The type of drink that puts an end to all our searching. We will never find lasting satisfaction in the temporal, in the carnal, in the things we spend our time and money acquring, the things we try to hopelessly keep stuffing into the empty places.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.Isaiah 55:2-3
At last, the Samaritan woman finds it! She finds the living Water as she talks with Jesus at the well. She comes to understand that HE is the living water – He is the end of all our thirsting. When we meet Jesus, and fully understand who He is, and the gift of salvation that He brings, we will never thirst again. Rivers of LIVING WATER will flow from our inner most being. If you’re thirsty today, then the following invitation, from Jesus, is for you…
‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’John 7:37-39