The Living Water of life (2)

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Yesterday we looked at how Jesus declared himself to be the source of Living Water, and at how we have been drinking endlessly from wells that do not satisfy. This idea is actually not a new one; God has already used this metaphor in the Old Testament. In addition, he condemns well-digging behaviour: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13).

Yet God extends an invitation for us to “ditch and switch”, much as we change our gas suppliers to take advantage of the best deal. And God’s deal is fantastic, as this passage, essentially a marketing spiel, demonstrates:

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 cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” (Isaiah 55: 1-3).

Sin and bad habits may provide us with immediate enjoyment, but they will undoubtedly disappoint us later, leaving us thirsting for more, working harder to find the same level of pleasure. That is like continually digging in a cistern that doesn’t hold water.

So why labour ourselves? The food and drink provided by God – his Word – is not only free, but satisfying, with eternal life as its fruit. What is holding us back from ditching and switching?

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The Living Water of life

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Is there anything in our lives that we know are wrong, but seem impossible to get rid of because they provide instant satisfaction? Perhaps you’ve tried to kick a bad habit, only to fall helplessly back into its grip after a while? You are exasperated. You begin to look for someone/thing to blame: God, your parents, genes, society… “At least I tried,” you say. “What else can I do?”

Jesus teaches us how we can kick a stubborn bad habit. Outside Sychar, he meets a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water from a well. He compares the well water to the relationships in the woman’s love life: she would thirst again no matter how many times she drank the water, just as she has never found fulfilment despite constantly changing partners.

But Jesus offers her himself as the living water of life. He says: “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 4:14). The woman realises that she had just met the Lord of her life, so she leaves her jar by the well and goes into town to tell the others whom she has met, bringing them back to meet him.

Solomon said: “Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.” (Proverbs 27:20). No matter how many times we drink from the well, our desires will never be satisfied, drawing us back to the same well. On the other hand, the living water of Christ will not only sustain all our needs in this life, but allow us to drink into eternity. When we encounter Christ, we can give up whatever well we have been drinking from – all those stubborn bad habits – and enjoy his never-ending spring of living water.

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