John 4:1-42 Reflected upon by Meredith
“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.” “…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.”
Living water is such a beautiful metaphor for what humans spiritually thirst for. When this is introduced, the Samaritan woman was surprised that Jesus would speak to her and responded with a debate about the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans, but Jesus ignored this. The woman then thought Jesus was literally talking about water from the well, and wondered how he would draw water from this deep well. She also was confused about his phrase “never thirsting” assuming this meant that she would not have to return to the well each day. In these exchanges the metaphorical nature of Jesus’ language becomes very clear. In 4:33 Jesus tells his disciples “I have food to eat of which you do not know,” and they wonder aloud if anyone had brought Jesus food. Again people are fooled by being too literal. In 4:16, Jesus sends the woman away and instructs her to come back later. Going away and returning, we often are able to see things in a new and fresh light, and extract deeper meaning from the poetic language and spiritual experience.
John 4:21-24: “God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in sprit and in truth.” I love this simple, pure, and fundamental truth. Spirit is present everywhere and at all times – not limited to the mountain top or Jerusalem. Location of worship is not important, but the spirit and honesty of worship is important.
In John 4:34-35, in further metaphorical language, Jesus states, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me…” “I tell you, open you eyes and look at the fields? They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life…” Food in this sense is spiritual nourishment, which is accomplished both by giving (sowing) and receiving (reaping). This is available to the Samaritan woman just as it for all people – no matter your history or status in culture.