John 4 – The Thing For Which Water Is a Metaphor

I like water. You know what, I’m going to lead with that: I like water. Those who don’t like water typically complain that it has no taste, and they’re right. Drinking water for the taste is like playing Tetris for the storyline. But I’m a runner, and after an hour-long run in the summer heat, there are few things I want more than a cold glass of water. Maybe a million dollars. I would probably forego the glass of water for a million dollars. But there are few things apart from that, because when I get back from a run, I am thirsty, and as great as a million dollars are, you can’t drink a million dollars. You can drink water. And today’s chapter of John is about the thing for which water is a metaphor.

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[The Gospel According to…] John 4:5-14

So Jesus gets to the city of Sychar in Samaria, and he’s straight-up exhausted, so when a woman comes up to the well there, he asks her to get him a drink. Mindful of the hostility between the Jews and Samaritans, she starts asking him questions, and when he starts talking about some “living water” that only he can give, she’s doubly baffled. Then Jesus says: “Everyone who drinks of this water [from Jacob’s well] will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (13-14). This is Jacob’s well we’re talking about here. You know, the patriarch Jacob, from Genesis? To a first-century Hebrew, it’s the most famous well imaginable. And Jesus is saying that he’s got a source of water that’s even greater than this.