Christ as the Living Water

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42: 1-2).

Merry Christmas! Luke 2: 11 tells us, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” so let us proclaim as the angels did at Christ’s birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2: 14). The Advent season is over, as we are no longer expectantly awaiting the coming of Christ, for it is on this day that we celebrate God made incarnate.

Today I want to reflect on John chapter 4, particularly 4:1-45, in which Jesus appears to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus reveals himself to a Samaritan woman, though John 4:9 notes, “Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” He asks this woman for a drink from the well, and while she is bewildered by this Jewish man approaching her, it becomes clear that he is not looking at her earthly status, but at her heart. While the woman asks him if he has a bucket to draw water with, he begins telling her that he can give her living water, and if she drinks from the water he gives her, she will never be thirsty again. The woman, perhaps understanding Jesus literally rather than figuratively, proclaims that she wants this water so she will not have to travel to the well anymore. When Jesus instructs her to get her husband, she replies, “I have no husband” (John 4: 17). Jesus then says, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband” (John 4: 18). At this moment, the woman is shocked and realizes Jesus is not merely a Jewish man asking for water. At first, she believes him to be a prophet, but when she confidently proclaims her faith in the coming Messiah, who “will tell us all things,” Jesus tells her “I who speak to you am he” (John 4: 25-26). Jesus was able to look past the woman and see her heart, as well as her faith in the Messiah.

This is a fitting passage to discuss on Christmas because in this passage, Christ does not follow the expectations of the day, but reveals himself to a woman others would call “unclean.” Indeed, even Jesus’ disciples were surprised to see Christ interacting with the woman at the well. Similarly, we see that God uses Mary, a young virgin girl, to birth the Savior of the world. In both of these instances, God does not do what we expect. Rather, he exceeds our expectations with grace and love.

Jesus has come so that all may believe. He did not come just for the Jews or the Sadducees, for Galatians 3: 28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28). So, find freedom in God’s grace and mercy, find peace in the fact that nothing is hidden from Him, and find joy in the fact that all who believe Him to be the living water will gain eternal life! Hebrews 4: 13 tells us, “no creature is hidden from his sight;” the sovereign God sees our sins, but He does not leave us as He finds us. He unites us to himself through Christ, who emptied himself by becoming God incarnate, so that we may partake in his inheritance. As we approach Epiphany, the time in which the Church celebrates the Magis’ arrival to Jesus, and the revelation of the Good News to the gentiles, let us thank God for knowing the things we try to hide, such as our sin and shame. Though the woman at the well tried to hide from Christ, he ended up using her so that many who heard her testimony would believe. If the Samaritan woman from John 4 was surprised when a Jew stopped to ask her for water, imagine her surprise when she realized the man asking her for water is the living water. For He comes not to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3: 17).

As we continue in the Christmas season, I hope you do not let the joy that comes with this season fade as the presents are unwrapped and the lights are taken down. I pray you may see that Immanuel, God with us, is with us always (Isaiah 7: 14). I pray you rejoice in the fact that nothing is hidden from Him; Christ came to empty himself (Philippians 2:7) upon the cross and bear our sins, whether Jew or Gentile, for we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23). Jesus came and defeated death, lighting up even the darkest corners of the world. Rather than hiding our face from Him, let us learn to long for Jesus, who is our living water.

Here are some questions to think about:

  1. Do you prioritize your relationship with God, recognizing Christ as the bread of life and living water?

  2. In what ways can you open your heart to Christ this Christmas season, so that you learn to long for God as the author of Psalm 42 writes?

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