Abiding Pleasure

“The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming.…’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He’ ” (John 4:25–26).

- John 4:1-26

She came to the well at midday, not out of choice but out of necessity, for the other women would not tolerate her presence in the cool of the morning. The well was usually deserted during the hot hours, but on this day a man was sitting there. Then she noticed that the man was a Jew, and Jews hardly ever ventured so far into Samaria. But then, most surprising of all, for the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans, the man turned to her and asked for a drink. She was flabbergasted, and rather than fulfilling the request she paused to ask why this man was violating so many social customs.

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ ” Thus, the woman at the well came face to face with Jesus and He began teaching her how to find eternal satisfaction.

Just as Nathanael had doubts about Philip’s claim that Jesus was the Messiah, this woman was skeptical about Jesus’ ability to supply living water. “ ‘Where then do You get that living water?’ ” she asked. Jesus didn’t answer, but began to describe the wonderful qualities of His living water in comparison to the water in the well. The living water, He said, would satisfy forever. That got her attention, for she was a hedonist, a seeker after pleasure, spending her life in search of something to satisfy her. And so she asked Him to give her a drink.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband.’ ” She had to admit she had no husband, to which Jesus replied that she had had five husbands and now had an illicit relationship. That raised Him, in her estimation, to the status of a prophet, and she brought up the topic of worship. Jesus then spoke to her about true worship, and when He was finished she ventured to mention her theory that Jesus might be more, that He might be the Messiah the Samaritans, too, were looking for. And Jesus, in a rare self-disclosure, said, “ ‘I … am He.’ ”

We’re never told whether the woman accepted Jesus’ claim. She went back to town and asked the men whether Jesus could be the Christ. Many of the people did believe on Him. But the woman had been the first of that town to see and hear Jesus. He offered Himself to her as living water that would satisfy always. Did she drink?

Coram Deo

We spend much of our physical and mental energy in the pursuit of happiness. But it is impossible to find satisfaction outside of a relationship with God, and seeking pleasure in sinful practices only alienates Him from us. Evaluate your activities and pursuits: are they under Christ’s Lordship or are they separating you from God?

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 16:11; 36:8
Proverbs 21:17
2 Timothy 3:4
Hebrews 10:34; 11:25

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.