When I come into the kitchen in the morning before our kids are up and going, I can almost always count on finding an assortment of water bottles and glasses scattered around the room, and this is especially true in the summer months. These containers usually hold water at varying depths, now room temperature. As a part of my morning routine, I gather the cups and bottles and begin pouring their contents on plants and flowers, both inside the house and outside. I see this perfectly potable, crystal clear water, and I can’t just pour it down the drain. My drooping flowers on the front porch seem to be whispering, “I’m thirsty!” so I give them a drink. It may not be much, and I may have to refill the bottle to give them a really good soak so they can make it through the 100-degree afternoon awaiting them, but it’s a start.
As Jesus walked the earth, I wonder if he was in a constant state of passing those around him and hearing their souls whisper, “I’m thirsty!” Was it similar to how I feel when I see life-giving water sitting right there on the counter and know I have the answer to my flowers’ problems?
Jesus met a thirsty soul one afternoon at a deep, ancient well in Samaria. He saw a woman most people chose to ignore—her life was a mess, her choices questionable, her future uncertain. But Jesus just saw her need for water, and He had the Living Water she required.
The Scriptures say that the disciples went off in search of food while Jesus sat down at the well, tired from the journey. You have to assume that His friends took any buckets with them, so Jesus didn’t have a container to draw water. So He asked a woman for a drink, but as you read all the way through John 4, you never actually see Jesus receiving any water. His human body was terribly thirsty, but those physical limitations didn’t prevent Him from seeing the spiritually-withering woman before Him.
The two unlikely companions chatted awhile—Jesus, the rabbi, and this Samaritan woman who Jews like Jesus would’ve considered unclean considering that their rules and religious practices were different, and thus too impure to share a drinking vessel. Still, Jesus continued to engage her and tell her mind-blowing information, but she was wary and changed the subject when things got too personal.
After spending some time with Him, the woman saw what so many of us know—Jesus offers something we can’t get anywhere else. With His tenderness and mind-reading, Jesus showed the woman that there was a better way to live, and it wasn’t too late to start. The True God who made her and the water and the well and the mountains around them was offering life-giving sustenance that would soak down all the way to her roots if she’d let it.
17th century priest George Herbert discovered this same truth for himself when he wrote: “The whole wide world is not enough to fill the heart’s three corners, but yet it craveth still; Only the Trinity that made it can suffice the vast, triangled heart of man.”