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5. LIVING WATER.
JOHN iv. 10.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of
God; and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drinks thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
IN condescension to our weakness, our Blessed Master has not only taught us by positive Precepts and Declarations, but he has suffered us to hear his CONVERSATIONs, and to be acquainted with his REMARKS; so that his conduct in life brings a kind of collateral evidence to the truths which he uttered.
We may gather from the statement of one particular case, how Christ would have spoken and acted in any other case of the kind.
For instance, our Lord came to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. . Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto
her, Give me to drink: for his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her-without taking notice at all of the schism that was between the Samaritans and the Jews, but coming at once to the grand point of instruction-If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
1. Let us OPEN THE WORDS of this passage: and then
2. Make a FEW GENERAL REMARKS upon them.
I. We are to EXPLAIN this
passage of Scripture.
“ You are enquiring," as if our Lord should say,
“ how it is that I have overcome the prejudices of my countrymen, and am become willing to have some dealings with one that is a Samaritan; but this is, comparatively, an insignificant affair. There is a matter of infinite importance before you: and that is, that God so loved the world, that he
gave his only-begotten Son—his principal and inestimable gift, the chief act of his mercy and grace--he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Now, if thou hadst known this gift of God; if thou hadst known who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; if, instead of mistaking me for some poor Jew, weary with his travels, that might accidentally sit upon this well, and ask you for a little water, had you known that I am the only-begotten Son of God, that I am come into the world to redeem and ransom perishing sinners, that I have life and that I give it abundantly; if thou hadst known that I am the chief gift, the chief token of God's grace;-thou wouldest have asked of me: thou wouldest have come a petitioner to me."
As if he had said, “ Such as know Christ and their own need, will consider him as the one thing needful; and that better part, which they not only choose, but which shall never be taken away from them. If they knew the gift of God, who at this time speaks, they would find that they were in the presence of one, in whom all the riches of God are treasured up, and through whom alone they are communicated to man: they would know, that I contain all that they can possibly want, that I am equal to all their necessities, and can supply all their wants out of my fulness: and they would know, also, that whosoever they may be, though they have lived in contempt of the gift, though their sins are as scarlet or as crimson, they are VOL. II,
encouraged to come as weary and heavy-laden sinners to me, and they should have rest.”
If thou knewest the gift of God, thou wouldest have asked of me. Our Lord shews us, in this expression, why the generality of men make no application for the gift of God: for, 'as the Psalmist speaks in the ninth Psalm, They, that know thy name, will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, has not forsaken them that seek thee. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Now,” our Lord seems to say,
66 if thou hadst known who is speaking; instead of, like the generality of men, cavilling about some trifling matter of dispute, about some schism between
your neighbours, you would have seen the necessity of making immediate application to one who could heal all your maladies. If blind or lame, you would not be put away without a cure: if bid to hold your peace, you would cry so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me! Help me now! Help me at this time! Thou mayest never pass this way again.' It is not enough that
you know: you must put that knowledge in practice. Thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee Living Water.”
Living Water is a Hebraism for a spring; in contradistinction to water which is put into a cistern, and which may be drawn out: it is therefore called living water, as constantly rising and
flowing. Such springs, with healing virtues, are found in this country. The spring at Bath, for instance, has been rising beyond the records of history—for hundreds and thousands of years; and still rises a living water of health.
Our Lord points out, by this figure, the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit; as you may see in the seventh chapter of this Evangelist. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood, and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. We cannot mistake his meaning; for the Evangelist adds, This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.
It is therefore as if our Lord had said to this woman,
“ If thou hadst known who it is that asked, thou wouldest have known that he is the Chief Gift of God; and that all other gifts are contained in this one. Thou wouldest have known that he gives his Spirit to them that ask him; which
may be compared to a spring of water, springing up into everlasting life: and his gifts and grace are more necessary and refreshing to the thirsty soul, than water can be to the thirsty body. Thou wouldest have come to him, and he would have given thee living water.”
II. Let us make upon the words thus opened a few general REMARKS.