“The Well is Deep”

old water well

I once went hiking near the massive rock formation of Sugarloaf Mountain, with its great, striking view, toward the low forest area of the lower footpath. After a while, it brought me close to a beautiful meadow. I could have taken a longer way around which would have led me to the main road. But it was one of those sweltering summer days. So, when I spied an opening in the weathered split-rail fence surrounding the vast open field, I took the well-worn footpath cutting through the middle of the open meadow instead.

Taking the footpath shortened my walking distance during the intense midday sun of this picture-perfect summer day. After I had hiked almost the full length of the path, it directed me down, going from side to side, to a wide, picturesque sight of numerous wildflowers growing throughout the meadow. It finally led to an old, dusty crossroad where I saw an insignificant, weathered, wooden structure nearby, originally a farmhouse. I discovered a long-standing, isolated, stone well there, sharing the same spot with an ancient oak tree, whose canopy of branches and leaves extended out far and wide providing welcome shade. Tiny, tightly-closed blooms peeked out from scattered morning glory vines nearby, while beautiful wildflowers in full bloom grew near where I stood. Then a small breeze stirred the very dry dust of the road, and the summer sun finally succeeded in penetrating the canopy that had been sheltering me from the midday heat.

I moved closer to the old well, hoping its water would quickly satisfy my thirst. Then I discovered that it was very deep. A tattered rope once held a bucket, but now swung freely back and forth around an old, rusty, cranking mechanism. And there I was, sitting under the shade from the massive oak tree at the well, with no means to draw water!

“The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?” (John 4:11)  

“The well is deep….” The well here was a lot deeper than expected. And this woman of Samaria could see that Jesus had nothing to lower into the well to get a drink of water. There are troubles and issues inside our human nature that can be very deep too. And we know we have nothing to draw them out with ourselves. But do we believe that Jesus has nothing to work with also?

He may come to us as we worry about issues in our heart that we cannot penetrate or come to understand and say to us, “Let not your heart be troubled.” But we shrug and argue, “Lord, this well is deep. I have tried and tried, and I can’t get any calm or comfort out of it. I don’t really see how You can do anything either.”

Why do we think Jesus is poor and powerless in dealing with our situation? He does not draw our help from deep wells of trouble anyway. He reaches up and brings our answer and comfort down from above.

We recall something we let Him do for us in the past, thinking: “Yes, He helped me that time, it’s true, but this time I can’t expect Him to solve this situation.” Why do we limit Him? Is He God Almighty or isn’t He? We want Him to comfort us, and to sympathize with us, but we don’t welcome Him as Almighty God in relation to our problem.

We have attributes and experiences that are Christian, but we don’t abandon ourselves to Jesus. What poor examples we are of Christianity, because we don’t draw on an Almighty Christ. We get into hard situations, and, instead of turning to Him, we say He cannot help us—that He is not able to do what we need. Then we try to go down into the deep well and get the water out ourselves. But the answer isn’t there anyway. We should know that if we look to Jesus, He can give us what we need. The Samaritan woman came for water at the well. But Jesus addressed her deepest unspoken problems and situations instead, and she left with her life totally turned around!

Yes, the well is deep and you are very thirsty. Don’t try to get the water yourself, though. Draw on the One who is the “Water of Life,” and you will never thirst again!

Advertisements

The Fountain of Youth

outdoor fountain

A variety of folktales about a possible “Fountain of Youth” have circulated across the world for thousands of years. Greek historian Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. wrote about a fountain supposedly in Ethiopia, with a very special kind of water which gave the people superior duration of life. A tale was also told about Alexander the Great crossing the Land of Darkness with his servant to find the spring with the power to restore youthfulness. Juan Ponce de León was searching for such a fountain back in 1513 when he was exploring Florida. Do any such fountains really exist?

There was another account of an eternal source of the water of life. It was during the time of Jesus’ ministry when He was taking the road from Judea to Galilee which went through Samaria, where Jacob’s well was located. As He made the long, hot journey that led Him near this well, He became tired. So He sent His disciples ahead to get food while He rested by Himself at the well during the hottest part of the day. Then a woman from Samaria came to draw water from the well. Jesus looked at her and said, “Give me to drink,” because He had no means to draw water from the well Himself. She looked at Jesus in disbelief and asked, “…How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9). There was great hatred then between the Samaritans and the Jews. It surprised her that Jesus did not show the anger His own nation had against the Samaritans.

Jesus replied, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:10). Then she said, “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?” (John 4:11-12).

The well was a very deep one indeed, not only physically, but also spiritually—deeper than anyone could have imagined. This woman did not realize that the man she was speaking directly to was Jesus. She only recognized Him as a Jew dealing with a Samaritan woman. But He was the very Savior her heart and soul had been longing for. She was trying to understand what Jesus was saying to her about living water. But she did it in her own natural way.

Jesus took this opportunity to teach the woman divine things. But what He told her figuratively, she took literally. He helped her to see her ignorance and sinfulness and need of a Savior. He showed her that the water from Jacob’s well would give very limited satisfaction. But the woman had not asked Jesus to give her living water so she could have everlasting life. She only asked Him so she would not have to come back to the well again to draw more water. Then the Lord Jesus severely reproved her current way of life, convicting her conscience.

The woman was going to drop the issue without making a decision until the Messiah comes back. Then Jesus told her, “I that speak to thee am He” (John 4:26).

She was a Samaritan, not part of Israel. Merely talking to her would have been considered a disgrace to a Jew. But this was the woman Jesus revealed Himself to more fully than He had to any of His disciples to that point.

The woman wondered what she needed to do to have eternal life. The answer was very simple: believe and receive Jesus Christ as the divine source of the eternal water of life. These waters spring up into life everlasting, through a “new birth”—the beginning of a new life. This is also referred to as being “born again,” which means beginning to live a new life of holiness for those who have lived the wrong way, or not to much purpose.

In our first biological birth, we were born in sin and were corrupt. We therefore needed to be re-created as new, sinless beings. We must be entirely different from what we were before. We can drink from Christ’s heavenly source of the “eternal water of life,” with its power of regeneration known as the new birth. It comes through this great transformation in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit, which always produces eternal life. This new birth is from Heaven, meaning believing spiritually in Jesus Christ. None of the sins in our past can keep us from being accepted by Him, if we will just humble ourselves before Him, repent of our sin, and believe in Him as the Christ—the source of the eternal water of life and the Savior of the world .

Man continues to search for the mythical “Fountain of Youth.” But even if one could be found, it cannot produce eternal life for those who drink from it.

No matter what kind of earthly waters we drink to try to extend or restore our youth or to comfort ourselves, we will still thirst again. Jesus said: “…Whosoever drinketh of…” this natural source of “… water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). Not a “fountain of youth,” but a “fountain of life” really exists. The Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well was searching in her heart for someone to save her from her sins. She found the “living water” that gave her new life. The Lord Jesus is sitting beside you right now. Why not tell Him, “…Sir, give me this water…” (John 4:15) and you will never have to thirst again—because you have found the true “fountain of life”!

Living Water Prevents a Stagnant Heart

stagnant stream

The warm, cloudless summer afternoon was just perfect for a good swim and John was quite excited as he changed into his swimming trunks. He gathered his towel, music player, a huge mug of iced tea and dashed out the back door to the pool in the backyard. As he approached the deck of the pool, John noticed how quiet the yard was today, too quiet actually. “Oh, no!” John loudly exclaimed in disappointment, “the pump isn’t running.” He hurriedly climbed up the steps onto the deck. “Ugh!” he remarked with disgust as he took the cover off of the pool, “the pump must have been off for weeks. How stagnant and awful this water has become.” His prior excitement now waned quickly as he thought of the amount of time and cleaning that the pool would need before he can even place his foot in it.

Have you ever seen a stagnant body of water? It looks rather unpleasant, in fact, the longer it remains that way the more disgusting and repulsive it becomes. There are all kinds of collected water, from ditches to large lakes that can become stagnant. Some are loaded with oil and other chemicals, while others are full of trash, debris and bacteria. Some may even have dead fish or small animals in them.

stagnant puddle

The way these bodies of water became stagnant varies, but their one common element is the lack of a source of fresh water. When they no longer have anything to keep them fresh, stagnation develops. For example, a small pond can become so stagnant that even a heavy rainstorm does little to clear it. There are instances where the stagnation becomes worse when the water begins to evaporate—leaving less space available for the debris to move around, and less room for anything to enter to help eliminate the stagnation. Although there are beneficial uses for stagnation, the focus here is on the areas of stagnation that can cause harm.

When we believe in Jesus Christ and allow Him to reign in our hearts, we become like a lake of fresh water. The more we allow Him to work by His Spirit inside of us, to purge us of all of the sinful baggage we’ve accumulated throughout our lives, the more that ‘lake of water’ becomes cleaner and clearer. But when we hinder, or even stop His purging, then the clean water no longer enters in. The result—we begin to stagnate. If we continue to resist His work in our lives, He will eventually withdraw, leaving us to ourselves, and we’ll ultimately come to the point of complete stagnation.

Any time we take our eyes off of Jesus and His complete sacrifice made for us at the cross, and put them on the cares and pleasures of this world, we are saying essentially that we don’t need His help, and that we are happy with the way we were before He entered our hearts. When we do this, we are actually rejecting the sacrifice He made for us. This allows doubt and unbelief to enter into our hearts, which will bring us back to trying to solve our problems on our own again without God, problems that we really can’t solve without Him.

Ways to keep from becoming stagnant:

  • Spend more time with Jesus in fellowship and communication through prayer. Prayer is when God changes us as we seek Him to meet our needs.
  • Read His Word (the Bible). The more we spend time reading, studying, and concentrating on His Word, the more we understand Him, and the stronger our foundation becomes.
  • Separate ourselves from the cares and pleasures of this world. As we submit more and more to Jesus, we’ll have less interest in what we once considered to be of great value and importance before we knew Him.
  • Continually yield ourselves to Him as He works more and more within us. When we resist the work that He is doing in our hearts through His Spirit, then He backs off and leaves us on our own to solve our problems.
  • Trust in and obey His Word. When He speaks to us through His written Word, His spoken Word, or His Word placed on our hearts, we need to act on what He says. If we ignore or fail to do what He is leading us to do, He will withdraw and wait until we eventually do respond and obey.

 

If we allow ourselves to become more and more ‘stagnant,’ sin is the ‘debris’ that starts to fill our formerly clean ‘lake.’ As a result, we become repulsive to God, since He is holy and can never fellowship with sin. Let’s keep the fresh, living water of Jesus Christ flowing in and through our hearts. We should not allow ourselves to become stagnant by ignoring God and His Word, thereby taking the whole problem on ourselves. Jesus said, “…whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). Let’s continually drink of the water that He gives, and keep the stagnation out of our hearts.