Last week we looked at how Jesus asked the woman at the well in Samaria for water to show her the need in her own heart. This week, we will look at her response to His offer.
One thing that stuck out to me as I was reading this story of redemption is her immediate response to His confession of being the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, she was looking for.
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.
The Holy Spirit intentionally puts a phrase right in the middle of her response to Christ: “So the woman left her waterpot…” That seems like an obscure fact to include in this story unless it is important for some reason, and why would someone leave their only source of carrying water from the well to their home? I believe the Holy Spirit is showing us something about humanity in general and this woman in particular. If we read Jeremiah 2:13, God is speaking through Jeremiah that Israel had forsaken their true God when He says,
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water. (NASB)
We can see that the Holy Spirit uses the term “living water” to show us a picture of life found in our relationship with our Father God. A cistern is a man-made reservoir, tank, or container for storing or holding water or other liquids. When we try and meet our own needs for living water by making broken cisterns in our lives out of work, relationships, success, money, or even knowledge, we are going to be continually empty inside. We NEED that living water that only God through Christ can provide.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul describes salvation through Christ in this way:
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels [i.e.waterpots], so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. (NASB)
We can see from these and from John 4:13-14 that God wants to fill us, the earthen vessels, with His water, His presence, Himself. The woman of Samaria had been trying to fill the empty places in her life with religion and relationships with men, but Jesus invited her to fill her empty waterpot with a relationship with Him. When she took Jesus up on His offer, she was consumed with the Living Water she had found. Jesus started the analogy of satisfaction found in Him symbolizing a never-ending supply of water springing up to eternal life. The Holy Spirit continues this as we see the woman leaving her waterpot. She left her old way of doing things. She left her old habits of trying to find approval in the eyes of men. She left her thirst at the well because she had found the true source of thirst-quenching, life-giving Living Water. She would never thirst again.
The results of her decision on her behavior are immediate. She didn’t look at men as users, abusers, manipulators, takers. She saw them as people needing the life of God found in Jesus. She instantly became an evangelist to the very source of her pain. She was utterly and completely healed of her dysfunctional relationships with men, in an instant, with a true relationship with a true gentleman, Jesus. Her old reputation became her testimony and banner of praise to God.
Their response is equally as telling of her transformation. They saw such a change in her, they knew something dramatic had happened to her and believed her testimony.
From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The woman at the well was transformed because she believed He was who He said He was—the Christ, the Savior of the world. She let go of the waterpot she had brought to the well to try and quench her thirst, and met the Living Water Himself. He was able to so thoroughly fill her vast emptiness, that she was forever changed. As the Living Water gushed into her soul, the years of rejection, pain, empty pursuits, futile attempts to find love and purpose were finally satisfied in the love and purpose found in relationship to Him. Her natural response was to leave her waterpot at the well. She no longer needed it.
Allow Jesus to show you where you may be digging broken cisterns or trying to fill your own waterpots. As you receive His Living Water instead, you won’t need those empty waterpots either.