Back to Contents
172. The Source
The woman saith unto him, Sire thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; from whence then hast though that living water? John 4:11
OUR Lord's object was to bring the woman to seek salvation of him. Our desire is the immediate conversion of all now present.
The Samaritan woman accepted the Savior upon the first asking.
Many of you have been invited to Jesus many timeswill you not at last comply?
Our Lord aimed at her heart by plain teaching and home dealingwe will take the same course with our hearers.
When his interesting emblem failed to reach her, he fell to downright literalism, and unveiled her life. Anything is better than allowing a soul to perish.
I. WE WILL EXPOUND THE PRECEDING TEACHING.
The Lord had said to her, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
The figure was that of living water in contrast to the water collected in Jacob's well, which was merely the gatherings of the surrounding hillsland-water, not spring-water.
He meant to say that his grace is like water from a springing well.
Furthermore, he intimated to the woman that
1. He had it. There was no need of a bucket to draw with.
- It is of the best and most refreshing kind.
- It is living and ministers life.
- It is powerful and finds its own way.
- It is abiding and is never dried up.
- It is abounding and free to all comers.
2. He had it to give,
3. He would have given it for the asking.
4. He alone could give it. It would be found in no earthly well.
II. WE WILL ANSWER THE QUESTION OF THE TEXT.
In ignorance the woman inquired, "Whence then hast thou that living water?"
We can at this time give a fuller reply than could have been given when our Lord sat on the well.
He has now a boundless power to save, and that power arises
1. From his divine nature, allied with his perfect humanity.
2. From the purpose and appointment of God.
3. From the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
4. From his redeeming work, which operated for good even before its actual accomplishment, and which is in full operation now.
5. From the power of his intercession at the Father's right hand.
6. From his representative life in glory. Now all power is delivered into his hand (Matt. 28:18).
III. WE WILL DRAW CERTAIN INFERENCE FROM THE ANSWER.
l. Then he is still able to bless. Since he has this living water only from his unchanging self, he therefore has it now as fully as ever.
2. Then he needs nothing from us. He is himself the one sole Fountain, full and all-sufficient forever.
3. Then we need not fear exhausting his fullness.
4. Then at all times we may come to him, and we need never fear that he will deny us.
When we see a great volume of water issuing from a spring, it is natural that we should enquirewhence does it come? This is one of the mysteries of nature to most people. Job speaks of "the springs of the sea", and hints that none can find them out. But where are the springs of salvation? Whence comes the river, yea, the boundless ocean of divine grace? All fullness is in Jesus; but how came it there? He gives drink to all who come to him; whence has he this inexhaustible supply? Are not these questions worth asking? Must not the reply be instructive to ourselves, and glorifying to our Lord? Come, then, and let us borrow the language of this Samaritan woman, and talk with our Lord. C. H. S.
When I have ridden through London, I have been overwhelmed with the greatness of the supply which must daily be necessary to feed its millions, and have wondered that a famine has not at once set in. But when I have seen the markets and the storehouses, and have thought of the whole earth as eager to obtain a sale for its produce in our vast metropolis, I have rested in content. I see whence the almost illimitable supplies are drawn, and my wonder hence-
forth is, not that the millions are fed, but that they should be able to consume such immeasurable quantities of food.
Thus, when I behold man's spiritual need, I marvel that it should ever be
met; but when I behold the person and work of the Lord Jesus, my marvel ceases, and a new wonder begins. I wonder rather at the infinity of grace than at the power of sin. C. H. S.
Speaking of Cairo, the author of "Ragged Life in Egypt" says, "Perhaps no
cry is more striking, after all, than the short and simple cry of the water carrier.
'The gift of God' he says, as he goes along with his water-skin on his shoulder.
It is impossible to hear this cry without thinking of the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, 'If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water?' It is very likely that water, so invaluable, and so often scarce in hot countries, was in those days spoken of, as now, as 'the gift of God', to denote its preciousness; if so, the expression would be extremely forcible to the woman, and full of meaning. " The Biblical Treasury
How ready are men and women to go to this well and that well to drink water for the help and healing of bodily distempers, and to go many miles, and dispense with all other affairs, that they may be recovered of corporeal diseases: but how few enquire after the water of life, or leave all their secular business for the good and health of their immortal souls! Benjamin Keach
"The well is deep," the woman said to Jesus; and so it was. It took two and a half seconds from the time that the pebble was dropped, before we heard the splash in the water below Turning to the illustration before us"living water,"the meaning only dawned upon me when I visited the spot. Jacob's well, deep as it was, and cool as its waters doubtless were, was only an artificial wella cistern for the collection of rain, and the drainage of the land . . . . In seasons of drought, this well must have been uselessit was a well, or cistern, not a spring. J. W. Bardsley
The fountain of living waters is God himself (Jer. 2:13). "With thee is the fountain of life" (Ps. 36:9). It is not a mere cistern to hold; it is a pouring, running, living stream; nay, rather a fountain that springs up perpetually. We all know that a jet or fountain is produced by a head of water that presses down from a great elevation; and that, the higher the spring, the loftier and more powerful the jet, which, however, never surpasses the height of its source. Our spiritual life, "our well-spring of life", has its source in heaven: and it is heavenward that it rises, and it is content with no lower level. It came from God, and to God it will return. F. A. Malleson
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
On the same day was the Sabbath. John 5:9
CHRIST healed men on all sorts of days. But Sabbaths were high days of grace. Six special cases of cures wrought on the Sabbath are recorded.
1. The evil spirit cast out (Luke 4:31-35).
2. The withered hand restored (Luke 6:6-10).
3. The crooked woman made straight (Luke 13:10-17).
4. The man with the dropsy cured (Luke 14:1-6).
5. The impotent man made whole (John 5:1-9).
6. The blind man's eyes opened (John 9:1-14).
As God rested on the Sabbath, and hallowed it; so as God it was rest to Jesus to heal, and thus he hallowed the day.
As man he also rested his heart, exercised a holy ministry, glorified God, and hallowed the day.
I. THESE CURES MEET MANY CASES.
l. Those under Satanic influence (Luke 4:31-35). Many are in this case at this hour.
II. THESE CURES REPRESENT USUAL PROCESSES.
2. Those conscious of spiritual inability (Luke 6:6-10).
3. Those bowed down with great distress, despondency, despair, etc. (Luke 13:10-17). This poor woman had been infirm for eighteen years.
4. Those smitten with mortal disease (Luke 14:1-6). This typifies the deadly character of sin, and represents the case of those upon whom is the dread of the second death.
5. Those altogether paralyzed (John 5:1-9). This man had been impotent for thirty-eight years. Some seem specially unable to feel, or do, or be what they should be. They are weak and irresolute, and though lying at the healing-pool, others step in before them, and they derive no benefit from the means of grace.
6. Those blind from birth (John 9:1-14). Many are in this condition. They see no spiritual truth, but abide in total darkness as to all gospel truth.
l. A word addressed to the devil. "hold thy peace, and come out of him" (Luke 4:35). Satan feels the power of the Word of the Lord; but he cares for nothing else.
2. A word personal to the sufferer. "Stretch forth thy hand" (Luke 6:10). He was unable, and yet he was commanded; and he obeyed. This is the gospel method.
3. A word accepted as done. "Thou art loosed from thine infirmity" (Luke 13:12). Faith turns promise into fact, gospel-teaching into actual salvation.
4. Power without a word (Luke 14:4).
5. A word arousing and commanding. "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk" (John 5:8). Many are saved by being stirred up from long inactivity and lethargy.
6. A word associated with other means (John 9:6-7). The whole miracle is deeply instructive on this point.
In these varied forms and fashions, Jesus works on the Sabbath.
III. THESE CURES WERE BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE SYNAGOGUE.
1. There, and misbehaving (Luke 4:33).
2. There, and singled out from the crowd (Luke 6:8).
3. There, and called to Jesus. (Luke 13:12).
4. After the synagogue service. Luke 14:1).
5. Too feeble to get there (John 5:5).
6. Too poor to be there (John 9:8).
IV. THESE CURES WERE ALL UNSOUGHT.
This is one special feature about them all.
1. The possessed, man entreated Christ to leave him alone (Luke 4:34).
2. The man with the withered hand did not think of cure (Luke 6:6).
3. The infirm woman did not hope for healing (Luke 13:11).
4. The man with the dropsy did not ask for the blessing (Luke 14:2).
5. The infirm man was too paralyzed to seek Christ (John 5:5).
6. It was an unheard of thing that the eyes of a man born blind should be opened, and therefore he did not expect it (John 9:32).
This also is the Sabbath; let us look to the Lord of the Sabbath.
Will he not this day bless those who are seekers.
Will he not bless those whom we bring to him?
Will he not bless those for whom we pray?
On Sunday heaven's gate stands ope;
Blessings are plentiful and rife,
More plentiful than hope.
On his death-bed, Brainerd said: "I was born on a Sabbath-day; I have reason to hope I was new-born on a Sabbath-day; and I hope I shall die on this Sabbath-day."
Was it not meet that the Lord of the Sabbath should specially display his sovereignty upon that day? May we not now expect that, on the Lord's-day, the Lord of the day will magnify his own name, and make the day illustrious by his grace? The first day of the week was signalized by the giving of the light of nature, and it is most delightful that now it should be a chosen day for bestowing the light of grace. It is to us the Sabbath; should not the Lord give rest to wearied hearts upon that day? Men call it Sunday: we are happy when the Sun of righteousness then arises with healing in his wings. Of old the week's work was done, and then the Sabbath dawned; but now rest leads the way: we begin the week's work with the Sabbath rest, because we first find rest in Jesus, and then labor for him. Blessed is the Lord's-day when the Lord himself speaks rest in his own finished work, to those who otherwise would have labored in vain. C. H. S.
Christ came not into the world merely to cast a mantle over us, and hide all our filthy sores from God's avenging eye, with his merits, and righteousness; but he came especially to be a chirurgeon and physician of souls, to free us from the filth and corruption of them, which are more grievous and burdensome, more noisome to a true Christian, than the guilt of sin itself. Cudworth
Metaphor: Physicians come not to the sick until they are sent for; and though they come not far, yet expect to be paid for that, besides their physic. Disparity: Christ came to us, who sent not for him, which made him say, "I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not" (Isa. 65:1 ). The patients seek not first, come not first, to the Physician; but the Physician to the patients. "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10); and, besides, he dearly paid all the charge of his long journey. Benjamin Keach
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
174. Where Is He?
Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? John 7:11
JESUS went to the feast in secret, and the Jews sought him.
From differing motives they inquired for him, but they did inquire.
No man, having once heard of Jesus, can any longer remain indifferent to him: he must take some sort of interest in the Lord Jesus. From many quarters comes the question, "Where is he?" We will at this time
I. CONSIDER THE WAYS IN WHICH THE QUESTION HAS BEEN ASKED.
1. Hate, ferociously desiring to slay him, and overthrow his cause. Herod was the type of this school.
II. GIVE THE SAINTS' EXPERIMENTAL ANSWER.
1. He is at the mercy-seat when we cry in secret.
2. Infidelity, sneeringly denying his existence, taunting his followers because his cause does not make progress (2 Pet. 3:4).
3. Timorous fear, sadly doubting his presence, power, and prevalence. "Where is he that trod the sea?" (Job 23:8-9).
4. Penitence, humbly seeking him that she may confess her sin, trust her Lord, and show her gratitude to him (Job 23:3).
5. Love, heartily pining for communion with him, and for an opportunity to serve him (Song of Sol. 3:3).
6. Fear, bitterly lamenting his absence, and craving his return.
7. Desire, ardently aspiring to meet him in his second advent, and to behold his glory (Rev. 22:20).
2. He is in the Word as we search the sacred page.
3. He is in the assemblies of his people, even with two or three.
4. He is at his table, known in the breaking of bread.
5. He is in the field of service, aiding, sympathizing, guiding, and prospering. In all things glorified before the eyes of faith.
6. He is in the furnace of trial, revealing himself, sanctifying the trial, bearing us through.
7. He is near us, yea, with us, and in us.
III. RETURN THE QUESTION TO YOU.
l. Is he at the bottom of your trust?
2. Is he at the root of your joys?
3. Is he on the throne of your heart?
4. Is he near you by constant converse?
5. Is his presence manifested in your spirit, your words, your actions?
6. Is he before you, the end of your journey, the terminus towards which you are daily hastening?
IV. ASK IT OF THE ANGELS.
They with one voice reply that the Lord Jesus Christ is
1. In the bosom of the Father.
2. In the center of glory.
3. On the throne of government.
4. In the place of representation.
5. In the almoner of mercy.
6. Within reach of you, and of all needy sinners, who will now seek his face.
O come, let us go and find him!
We will hold no feast till he is among us.
Many years ago, there was a young man in Birmingham whom dissipation and excess had brought into a condition from which he endeavored to extricate himself by crime. The fear of detection, exposure, and ruin goaded him on to such a pitch of desperation, that he left his father's house resolutely bent on self-destruction. God's good providence led him through Bond Street; and, under some inexplicable impulse, he found himself sitting in the Baptist Chapel almost before he was aware. The minister, a Mr. Edmonds, was reading from the book of Job, occasionally throwing in some shrewd parenthetic remark. Coming to the following passage, the young man's attention was irresistibly arrested: "Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him" (Job 23:8-9). "Job, Job," the preacher cried entreatingly, "why don't you look upward?" These words were as nails fastened in a sure place, and the young man ever thanked God for the belief that he was unconsciously drawn by the Holy Spirit to enter that place, and that the preacher was impelled to the use of those words, to the end that his life might be redeemed from destruction, and crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercy.
"It befell me," says Henry Ward Beecher, "once to visit a friend, and to spend the night with him, in a manufacturing village in New England. I had never been in the place. I supposed that, when I arrived at the station, I should find a hack that could take me directly to the clergyman's residence. But it was an unusual train that I was on, and there were no hacks there; so I had to walk. The distance to the village was three miles; but before I reached it I had walked at least thirteen miles. I got there at a time of night when all sensible people were in bed. I knew nothing about the place, and did not know where to go. I could not see any church, or store, or hotel. I wandered about for nearly half-an-hour, and at the end of that time I knew no better where I was than I did when I began my search, I never felt so helpless as I did then. I realized what it was for a man, in his own country, and speaking his own language, to be utterly lost. I knocked at three or four houses, and received no response. I went to a house where I saw a light, and found the inmates quarreling. A minister seemed to be the last thing they knew anything about. I began to think I should be obliged to sleep out of doors. But, as I was shooting down a certain street, almost aimless, I saw a light; and on going to the house from which it proceeded, and ringing the bell, I found that it was the very house which I was seeking. I thought a great many profitable things that night Among the rest, I thought that I was, for all the world, like men that I had seen trying to go about the streets of Jerusalem at night, with nobody to tell them the way, and with no chart of the city, who would turn first to the right, and then to the left, without seeming to have any object except that of finding a place where their souls could put up and rest. It is pitiful to see a man, whose mind is troubled, whose conscience is against him, and who yearns for spiritual rest, going hither and thither, up and down, saying, 'Have ye seen my Lord and Master? Can ye tell me where he tarries, whom my soul delights in?'"
Our glorious Master is always at home, but does not always hold his receptions in the same chamber. One while he will see us in his closet, and anon in his great hall. Today he meets us in the porch, and tomorrow in the innermost room. In reading the Bible I meet him in his library, in working for him I commune with him in the garden. When full of hope I walk with him on the housetop, at another time I wait for him in the secret places of the stairs. It is well to be in the parlor where he talks in sermons, or in his drawing-room where he converses in holy fellowship; but the best room of the house is that wherein he spreads his table, and makes himself to be our bread and wine. In any case, the one desire of our heart is to find him, and live upon him. C. H. S.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon