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John 4 (New Creation Project)

Thirsty Souls
John 4
New Creation Project

“He had to pass through Samaria.”

No. In fact, he didn’t. In truth, when Jewish people traveled north from Jerusalem to Galilee, they intentionally avoided Samaria.

But Jesus wasn’t like most people. He went where others dared not go. “He had to pass through Samaria.” Why? Because there was a woman there who needed him.

It didn’t matter to him that she was a woman and he was a man.

It didn’t matter to him that she was a Samaritan woman and he was a Jewish man.

It didn’t matter to him that she was a sinful Samaritan woman and he was a sinless Jewish man.

There was a thirsty woman in Samaria who needed living water. So “he had to pass through Samaria.”

Jesus was always crossing boundaries in order to find thirsty people. He still does. He knows that many of the things we pursue in life are, at their root, efforts to assuage a deep spiritual thirst.

We crave relationships. We crave success. We crave significance. We crave power. We crave recognition. We crave comfort. We crave pleasure. We crave – you name it, we crave it.

For the most part, these cravings only leave us craving more. They may gratify; they do not satisfy. A reporter once asked a fabulously wealthy man, “How much money is enough?” His honest response: “Just a little more.”

In our honest moments, we know this is true. If our ultimate identity is found relationships, in success, in significance, or any other of these cravings, they bring only momentary relief, and the immediate desire for “just a little more.”

This woman craved love and acceptance. She’d been rejected by seven husbands. She had resigned herself to her fate. She assumed her soul thirst would never be assuaged. Jesus, while challenging her conscience, offered to quench her thirsty soul. On a hot and thirsty day, Jesus promised her cosmic, thirst-quenching, living water.

He promises to us the same: “If anyone thirsts,” he said, “let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37f; also 6:35).

Like the woman, we are thirsty. Our soul cravings never fully satisfy. Jesus meets us at the point of our need and offers himself as the answer to our soul’s cravings.

How does he do this?

Fast-forward to another day….

Jesus took a walk to somewhere no one else wanted to go. It was not to Samaria; it was to Calvary.

Jesus drank the cup that no one wants to drink. It was not the cup of living water; it was the cup of death.

Jesus, the man who once offered a woman living water, was parched beyond belief; “I thirst," he said.

On that day, Jesus drank the cup of death so we could drink the water of life.

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price" (Revelation 22:17).

To the invitation of the Spirit and the Bride, I add my own witness: “Come on in; the water’s fine!”

“Lord Jesus, thank you for drinking our cup of death so that you could offer us the living water of life. Help me to lay down my leaky ladle filled with false soul-cravings, and instead to drink freely from your overflowing springs of life-giving, soul-satisfying water.”