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We too must remember the gift of God, in making us to differ from that vast multitude who are yet strangers to the blessings of redemption. And the Lord here shows how those will act, who are happy in knowing these things. Thou wouldest have asked, and he would have given thee living water. In a future discourse it is explained, what this living water is. “ This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe in him shall receive. The Spirit, which renews, and cleanses, and sanctifies the soul : which comforts and instructs it, and guides it into all truth : which enables it to discern heavenly things, and to live the life of faith in the Son of God; this is the blessing intended here; the blessing which Christ alone can give; the blessing which they who know the gift of God, will ask of him; and which all who do ask of him shall receive.
This was as yet an unknown language to the Samaritan.
11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle ?
13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again :
14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up in to everlasting life.
See here described, in vivid terms, the effect of that Spirit which Jesus sheds abroad upon the heart. First by comparison of what it is not, and does not resemble. Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. How truly does this characterise the things which are most valued in this world! Whosoever drinketh, shall thirst again. The pleasures of the world, whenever they are made the chief object, how truly unsatisfying are they, wearying when present, yet leaving the mind restless till it returns to them, and is again wearied. Riches, honours ! these too, they who have tasted, thirst again : something is still wanting, and yet remains to be acquired, often even on the brink of the grave.
It is not thus with the living water, drawn from the well of salvation.
1. It never fails. It is a living spring, perpetually flowing ; not a “broken cistern,” which may be soon exhausted.
The more grace is sought, the more is grace bestowed. If all the world would ask-for all have need to ask, and all must seek at the right source-but if all would ask and seek, not one should be refused. The invitation has no limits. It is wide as the prophet's words, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters !"
2. Next, it always satisfies. Whosoever drinketh of the water which I shall give him, shall never thirst. No craving void ensues, no restless desire is left to harass and disturb. It brings with it, and sheds over the soul, a calm, a satisfying comfort which nothing else can give, and which only those who have enjoyed it can understand.
3. And thirdly, it has an object and an end to which nothing earthly can be compared. It springeth up into everlasting life. It proceeds in a course which is to lead to that inestimable and inconceivable blessing.
And in this view, how justly may the Spirit which Jesus communicates be described as a spring of living water. Consider such a spring. It has its source in the rain and dews which God has provided to water the earth and make it fruitful. And the living water which Christ affords, proceeds from God. He so loved the world, that he sent his only son to be the way of salvation.
The spring, small commonly at its source, gains strength as it flows along. So the Spirit in the heart may at first be as a drop, to which other and fresh drops are continually added, till it becomes a clear and sparkling stream.
The spring, too, proceeding from its perennial source, and flowing onward, purifies its channel as it runs.
It carries down before it that which is impure and muddy and would impede its current, and what remains is clear and beautiful. Such likewise is the effect of the Spirit of Christ upon the soul. It meets at first with much that is of an uncongenial nature, much that would sully and corrupt it. But this it gradually clears away. The “ lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and whatsoever is not of the Father but of the world”—these it carries off, and suffers not to rest, and choke the stream. Nothing remains but the purer properties of the renewed heart, temperance, and patience, and godliness, and meekness, and charity. These are sure to shine beneath the flowing water, and reflect that “ Sun of righteousness," from which their beauty is derived.
As a last point of resemblance, I observe that the stream still runs. It does not stagnate. It seems to have an object, from which it will not be long diverted; it cannot be stopped or restrained. It seeks the wide river or the still wider ocean, in which it is to be received at last. Such too is the living water of the Spirit. It is in the heart a well of water springing up into everlasting life. For this it was given ; and for this it flows, and will flow on until the end come. When it first began, this was the object at which it aimed ; and this it keeps constantly in view till that object is reached. It turns aside whatever would impede its course; and it gathers strength as it continues to flow. Christ, its author, gives fresh supplies from his fulness; gives“
for grace ;” till at last he receives the soul, renewed and purified, into a sea which knows no storms. There it shall glide on through all eternity, in undisturbed peace and in unsullied purity.
Just cause were there to say, If thou knewest the gift of God—thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. We all know the gift of God.
“ Ask, and ye shall receive ; seek, and ye shall find.” This gracious promise is implied in what is said to the woman : Thou wouldest have asked, and he would have given thee. It is clearly implied, that “ whosoever is athirst, may come, and take of the water of life freely.”
DISCOURSE WITH THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA CONTINUED. JESUS DISCLOSES HIMSELF TO HER AS THE CHRIST.
John iv. 15—26.
The woman at the well of Sychar who gave occasion to the preceding lecture, still continues to understand in its literal sense, and in no other, the allusion of Jesus to living water.
Upon which he leaves the subject, and proceeds to announ ce himself to her, and through her to the inhabitants of Samaria, as the Messiah whom they were expecting
15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neilher come hither to draw.
16. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband.