Filling the Emptiness

A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)
Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:7-14)

What are we really thirsty for? Jesus and his disciples stopped in Samaria on their way to Jerusalem. While his disciples went to get food, Jesus sat down by a well. Soon, a Samaritan woman arrived. She was focused on her need for water. There was no faucet for her to turn. Instead, she had to lower a bucket down a deep hole and then pull it back out. It was heavy. It took a lot of time. Then Jesus interrupted by asking her for a drink of water.

She was startled by his question on several levels. Jews did not normally talk to Samaritans. They never ate or drank with Samaritans. And men rarely talked to women they weren’t related to. So Jesus got her attention, with his very simple question.

Her interest grew with each word that Jesus spoke. Finally, Jesus offered her living water so that she would never thirst. The Old Testament repeatedly linked God’s promises with water and made a connections between water and the Spirit. Even the rabbis taught that the Torah—the five books of Moses—were living water.

Jesus broke down the barriers of race, religion and gender. His message of hope is available for everyone. Our longings, our sense that there is more to life than just the daily grind, can find fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus can fill up the emptiness inside us that nothing else can.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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