I remember that day well, a day never to be forgotten. It was close to noon as I made my way to the well to fetch the day’s supply of water. I always went around that time of day. It was usually pretty hot, but that way I got the well to myself and didn’t have to put up with the stares and comments – folk thinking that they could say whatever they want and absolutely no regard for my feelings.
But on this particular day there was somebody sitting beside the well. I could see him as I approached. He looked hot, tired and thirsty. It was clear that he wasn’t one of us. I could tell that immediately. He was a Jew – and so I was stunned when he asked me for a drink of water. Everybody knows that Jews won’t drink from any cup that has been near a Gentile!
I thought that he must not have realised who I was, what was my background – and I thought that I had better mention that little problem. I couldn’t see how he might expect another Jew to be passing by, but I did not want to be accused of tricking him into using a Gentile cup.
But then – and this really did not make any sense – he said that, if I knew who he was, I would be asking him for a drink. I felt bound to point out that the only way to get water out of the well was with a bucket, and he didn’t have one. How was he going to do the impossible? Was he greater than Jacob whose well it was? I asked him how, and what he said was this: “Everyone who drinks will get thirsty again; but those who drink my living water will never be thirsty again.”
That made even less sense, and yet somehow I knew that he was telling the truth. I couldn’t understand how he could give me water that was so special that I could never be thirsty again, but I knew that I wanted that water! I wouldn’t be thirsty. I wouldn’t have to go to the well. I wouldn’t have to run the gauntlet of all the bad-mouthing. I wanted that water, that special, living water.
And, after it was all over – because we did talk some more, and then I ran off to tell this exciting news to the rest of the village, who were rather stunned to get such news from me – but, after it was all over, I wished I had given him a drink from the well. I never got round to doing that. And he looked so hot and thirsty. I don’t think he would have minded where the cup came from.
But, if I had, would he still have told me about the special, living water?
See John 4:4-15