Text: John 4:1-54
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
- John 4:14
I like a good set of instructions. My kids call them “destructions,” which is often more accurate.
Some people buy a new bed or a giant toy or a wooden bookshelf from Ikea and instinctively know how to put it together. I am not some people. I need instructions, preferably with diagrams and those little round, numbered stickers on all the pieces. When I use those, a pile of boards and brackets and screws magically transforms into parts for a bookshelf. But without the glow from that How-To light, the shelf-building part of my brain remains dark and helpless.
In the third chapter of John, we heard Jesus explain the Gospel as new life—life in the Spirit and not the flesh. He took everything the religious leaders thought they knew and flipped it over, just like He’d flipped over their tables in the temple the chapter before.
If there existed a set of instructions to living a righteous life, Jesus effectively tore them up and said, “No. I am the only Way.”
Now, in Chapter 4, we see Him act out this Gospel He’d just preached with words, this way to new and everlasting life.
Jesus sits by a well in Samaria in the heat of the day, and a woman comes to draw water. She comes now because it’s when the townspeople are least likely to see her. Her life has been less than righteous, with marriage after marriage and ongoing adultery, and the last thing she needs is for someone to remind her of what she already knows. Her life is empty, just like the bucket she carries.
But Jesus tells her she’s got it all wrong. This isn’t the water you need, He says. You need the water that will never leave you thirsty again. And just like that, her life is changed. Everything she thought she knew about herself—everything she thought she could never change—is suddenly colored with bright hues of hope.
The official comes to Jesus pleading for life for his dying boy. Please come and heal him, he begs. Jesus shakes His head. Do you really have to see it happen in order to believe? But the man does not catch the nuance—all he knows is that his son is dying and Jesus can keep him alive. Jesus says to him, “Go; your son will live” (John 4:50, ESV). And he does. As Matthew Henry marvels in his commentary, “Here is nothing said, nothing done, nothing ordered to be done, and yet the cure performed.” Jesus had only to will it so.
A woman given a free ticket to a life of hope and healing.
A boy brought from near-death to thriving life, without anyone lifting a finger.
Friends, the new life Jesus gives us today is no less rule-breaking, jaw-dropping or miraculous. The Savior looks beyond our labels, circumstances and shame, and holds out forgiveness, healing and hope by the bucketful.
Jesus takes our self-made rules for righteous living and tears them up, declaring, I am the Way! Follow me. Trust ME.
Do we trust the One who fills our cup when He says we needn’t be thirsty again?
Do we believe our soul has been wholly healed though it lives in a flawed, broken body?
Do we accept the life-giving law of Christ, or do we cling to our old life of lists and rules?
Switch the Light of the Gospel on, sweet sisters. Let it redefine everything, in the best way. The Word of the Lord is true—right now, today, for you.