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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 61 - John 4:10 - The Living Water God's Free Gift Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




The Living Water God's Free Gift.


     "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, end who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."-John 4:10



     The three Persons of the Godhead are here. The expression "the gift of God" shews the Father; the living water is the Holy Ghost (John 7:36), and the Son of God is the speaker.

     The love of God shines brightly in this verse,-the love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,-love to the chief of sinners, love that seeks and saves the lost. Every word here is love; love that many waters cannot quench; love that passeth knowledge. Sin abounds, but grace super abounds.

     The interest which God takes in individual souls is seen vividly here. The three thousand at Pentecost tell us something quite different from this. This is Godhead stooping down to visit and care for one solitary soul; it is the good Shepherd casting his eye on a stray sheep by the wayside, and stooping to pick it up and carry it off on his shoulders.

     The way in which God meets with the sinner is shewn us here. God deals with him alone, and face to face; God speaks to the sinner and the sinner speaks to God. There must always be this close personal dealing, this individual transaction of the soul's business for eternity, this settlement of the question between man and God; not in a crowd, but alone; not through the medium or intervention of another,-friend, or priest, or church,-but directly and alone.

     The time and place and circumstances of such a meeting are brought before us. Any day, any hour, will do. Not the set hour of morning or evening sacrifice, but any time will do. And any place will do. Not the temple merely, or the closet, but a well-side, as here, or a sycamore tree (as Zaccheus), a tax-gatherer's office (as Matthew). Yes; any time, any place, will do for Jesus. His grace is not circumscribed by temple walls, nor tied to ceremonies, nor limited to hours. Samaria, Jericho, Tyre, Jerusalem are the same to Him. The temple, the highway, the hill-side, the sea-beach, the synagogue, the house, the boat, the graveyard, are all alike to Him and to his grace.

     The meeting looks a chance one, but it is not so. In God's eternal purpose that place had been fixed upon,-that well. And Jesus comes to it as the fulfiller of the Father's will, the accomplisher of his purposes, in the minutest jot and title. He was seeking one of those whom the Father had given Him, when He traveled that forenoon, and sat down at length, wearied, by the well. It was not the woman seeking Christ, but Christ seeking the woman. She came for one thing, He gives another. She came in quest of the earthly; He gives the heavenly. She knew not Him nor cared for Him; He knew and cared for her.  In spite of sin, and unbelief, and hard heartedness, He draws near to her, lays hold of her, wins her to Himself, and then, after all his weariness, "rests In his love."

     Yes; Christ was weary, and it is thus that He rests. Do we find our rest where He found his? He was hungry and thirsty, and here He found both meat and drink. Do we satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst where He did? The doing of the Father's will, the gathering in of the lost one, was to Him rest, and meat, and drink. Is it thus that we find refreshment? Is it thus that we eat and drink?

     When Jacob dug this well, how little he thought of what was to be transacted here in after ages; who was to sit here; what eternal words were to be spoken here; and that here a soul was to be saved, and from this spot joy was to be caused in heaven. In building a sanctuary we naturally think of who may be born here; but who, in digging a well, would ever think of such a thing, or dream of inscribing on it, "this man and that man was born here."

     But we have here (1) the gift of God; (2) the bringer of it; (3) man's ignorance of these; (4) God's way of bestowing it.

     I. The gift of God. God has more gifts than one. Christ is his gift; the Holy Spirit is his gift; eternal life is his gift. Sometimes two of these gifts are conjoined; This is the true God and eternal life"; "in Him was life"; "I am the life." So that we may take the words here as having this reference, "If thou knewest God's gift of eternal life in me,-me who now ask for water,-thou wouldst have asked of me, and I would have given thee that Holy Spirit, who is the living water, and through whom the eternal life is poured into the dead soul." Yes; the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! "This is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son"!

     II. The Bringer of it. It is "He who saith to thee give me to drink." This weary, hungry, thirsty Jew is the Bringer of the glorious gift. In Him is life! All fullness of life dwells in Him. He, this Jesus, this man like ourselves, He has come down from the Father filled with this eternal life for us. Could it be brought nearer? placed more within our reach than thus it is in Him?

     III. Man's ignorance of it. The woman did not know the gift nor its Bringer. She had no sense of its value, or of her need of Him. The life that now is she knew, but not the life that is to come. The water of Jacob's well she prized, but not the water from the eternal well. Such is man everywhere! He knows not God; nor the love of God; nor the gift of God; nor the Son of God.

     IV. God's way of bestowing his gifts. "Thou wouldest have asked; and He would have given." This is all! How simple, how easy, how near, how free! Living water! This is what the Son of God has to bestow. Living water! That is the Holy Spirit (John 7:39). For blessing we must have to do with Jesus. It is in communicating with Him that we receive what we need. There must be direct application on our part; direct bestowal on his. But how close at hand is this divine life! How welcome are we to have it from the hands of the Son of God. This living water He would pour into us at once, and without upbraiding. Ask, and ye shall receive. " I will give to him that is athirst."

     There is something in the expression "if thou knewest," that makes the gracious announcement here yet more gracious. It is the same as in Luke 19., "if thou hadst known," or "would that thou hadst known." It is the Saviour yearning over the needy and the thirsty. Oh that you would come to me for living water!

     This is one out of the many memorable texts often quoted and preached upon; such as, "God so loved the world"; "Come unto me"; "It is a faithful saying"; "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Any of these might well be enough to win the human heart; how much more all of them together.