Jesus answered, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:14-15).
The story, that is found in John 4, of Jesus’ meeting with the woman at the well is only found in john’s gospel and not in the other gospels. It gives us an insight into Jesus’ commission ‘to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the broken-hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord’ – words that are referenced in Isaiah 61:1-2. You see, in the life of this one woman, there is a poor, broken-hearted, blind and bruised person whose eyes were opened by the truth that Jesus spoke to her.
Jesus spoke to her of spiritual things. As usual, He used the natural to explain the spiritual. Water is essential to physical life, and without it we just descend into thirst. And so, there is a vital connection in this story with a source of water – it’s the well. The woman freely admitted her need to keep coming back time and time again to get water, and Jesus built on this. He connected this natural need to her spiritual need, because this also required life-sustaining water. However, the water of which Jesus spoke could not be drawn from any natural well. Instead, it was to be drawn from a spiritual well that would come from within her. Could Jesus REALLY make that happen? Yes! As He started telling her “all she had ever done” and it was this that caused her to think deeply about her circumstances and to realise how out-of-step she actually was.
The reality was that in her desire to meet her deep spiritual need, this woman kept returning to the very same well from which she had drunk previously - with no relief! She was, in fact, being tantalized by so many things that could not ultimately satisfy her!
In Greek mythology, King Tantalus offended the gods and was punished for it. He was put into a lake with water up to his chin, but whenever he tried to satisfy his thirst, the water would recede. Above his head hung some branches of delicious fruit, but whenever he reached out for the fruit, the branches would draw away from him. And so, Tantalus became the symbol of frustration, and is remembered today in our English word tantalize.
Jesus showed this woman in John 4 that outside of a personal relationship with God, the pleasures that are wrapped up in this world and, indeed, are part of the offering of this natural life, are tantalizing, unrewarding, and certainly not everlasting!
I wonder, are you being tantalized? Jesus is the only One who can refresh and satisfy you. What He asks – no, invites – is that you surrender your purpose to Him. A surrendered heart is the place where true satisfaction is found, because it’s satisfaction in Christ!
Pray with me: “Lord, may I draw water from the well of Your supply and have my eternal thirst truly quenched. May I never resort to having to come back again and again to an unsatisfying source. Amen.”