December 06, 2023

Living Water for Longing Souls

R.C. Sproul
Living Water for Longing Souls

Once we taste the grace of Christ, our lives will never be the same. Today, R.C. Sproul tells the story of an outcast whose encounter with Jesus brought satisfaction to her soul's deepest desires.


Jesus stood there at that place, and a woman of Samaria came to draw water. And Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” She says, “How is it that you being a Jew ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” 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.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.”

You see, the reason we don’t go to God seriously, really pursue Him, is because we don’t think He has the equipment necessary to meet our needs. I’ll go to the doctor because I see his certificate. He has his degrees, he has the skills, he has the technology to help me. Well, what in the world can God do for me? That’s what the woman is saying. I don’t know what you’re talking about, all this living water. But I do know this. You’re talking the talk, but I don’t know if you can walk the walk, Mr. Jewish itinerant rabbi whoever you are, bothering me here at noontime. You’re offering me living water, and you don’t even have a ladle. You don’t even have a bucket. You have nothing to draw water from this well, and this well is a deep well.

That’s exactly how we come to God. We say: “God, You are not adequate to feed this soul. Maybe you can answer those poor slobs over there who need religion and who are satisfied with singing a hymn or two, but my problems are far more significant than that. My soul can’t be touched. It’s too deep for You.

So this woman challenges Jesus’ ability to give her a drink. “Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” I don’t think this was an honest question. I don’t think the woman was standing there with stars in her eyes saying, “Are you greater than Jacob who built this well?” Cynicism is dripping from this question. It’s ardent sarcasm. “Are you greater than Jacob, who built us this well that stood here for two thousand years? He nurtured his whole family on it, his cowboys and cowgirls and the cows themselves. You greater than that?”

I love how Jesus answers these challenges and these questions. He could have given the simple non-Jewish response, a direct answer. He could have said, “Yes,” but that’s not how He does it, is it? He does it indirectly, but He does answer a question: “Are you greater than Jacob?” Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.” Now, what’s the unspoken, obvious assumption? “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. Who gave you this water? Jacob. It’s fine. It’s great water, but you needed this water yesterday. You came here to this well. You came here the day before and the day before that, and you’re going to have to come back tomorrow, because as vitally important as this water is, it can only meet your needs short-term, temporarily, superficially. Now, as far as a temporary assuagement of a common consistent need, Jacob has done an incredible job of providing the solution to it. It’s great stuff. But I got some water for you that you only have to drink it once. If you drink this water, you’ll never be thirsty again because this water has the power not simply to be consumed, but to expand, to well up, to percolate and become an artesian well. You don’t have to ladle it out or crank the handle of the bucket down into the well. It wells up. And it doesn’t just give you life until tomorrow noon when you have to drink again, but it wells up into eternal life.”

And this woman says, “Are you a prophet?” He says, “Where’s your husband?” “I don’t have one.” “Right, you had five, and the one you’re living with now isn’t your husband. Yeah, I’m a prophet. And I know who you are, and I know what you’ve done, but I’m still offering you this water.” This woman quit asking about ladles and talking about how deep the well is. She says, “Give me to drink.” And the whole story in the rest of its continuation is the story of a woman whose soul tastes once of the living God and whose life can never be the same. She doesn’t care that she’s been ostracized. She becomes the public proclaimer of Jesus to the Samaritans. She runs around telling everybody. This is the first person in the Bible to run out on a public mission to announce the coming of the Messiah because her life was transformed by one taste of water, and the reason is that water was the water that penetrated her soul.