Yesterday, in Psalm 62, David let us know that when his enemies are out to kill him, he wants his stronghold to be not a tangible, brick-and-stone stronghold, but the invisible, non-physical God of Israel, YHWH. Today, as we read Psalm 63, we discover that when he is on the verge of dehydration, he is thirsty not for actual thirst-quenching water, but the non-potable, undrinkable God of–you see where this is going, right?
You may know Psalm 42 as the psalm with the thirsty deer simile. It’s one of the more well-known psalms, in part because of the popular worship song “As The Deer.” Written in 1981 by Martin Nystrom, the worship song focuses on God as fulfilling one’s most fundamental desires. It’s decidedly a song of orientation. In Psalm 42, David remembers singing psalms of orientation in the house of God–but such experiences are far from him now. Psalm 42 is a psalm of dehydration.
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.