Spring Fed Souls
Tucked in the back-country stood a ramshackle homestead. Because the well had run dry, crops and livestock were dying. Dreams were dying too; hope was all but gone. Tapping into another water source meant life or death—for their livelihood and their dreams. There was a spring-fed reservoir deep underground and it must be tapped, or their off-grid life was done. The drilling rig chugged and sputtered. The homesteader watched, still and silent with his hand over his mouth—waiting for a promising gurgle. Then, it happened! The rig operators grinned broadly and gave a thumbs-up! Spring water gurgled, spurted, and then spewed into the air! The rig operators back-slapped each other soundly. The homesteader rushed forward, slopping through the mud and spewing water–whooping and laughing, he stood with arms upraised in the spewing spray. Beautiful water! It was life. It was hope. Things could be different now, because of this beautiful water!
Fresh water is life-giving physically, but true living water is a life-or-death scenario for our souls. In John 4, we encounter Jesus as He rests near an ancient spring-fed well, in Bible times, these spring-fed sources were called “living water”. Jesus seized both the opportunity and the image of spring water to highlight a deeper truth for a Samaritan lady with a troubled past. His purpose was to bring healing for her soul. Although He asked her for a drink from the well, He offered her access to the Well-Spring of all life—this Well-Spring would make all the difference—it was life or death for her soul. She could choose between remaining in a life of perpetual pain and futility or seize upon the Living Water and the stunningly real possibility of a different sort of life. He offered a life infused with purpose and power—like a natural spring bubbling up from within, one infused with divine strength from the inside out. Jesus, the Well-spring and Living Water personified, would actually dwell with her soul. The constant power-source needed to fuel this spring-fed life, was available in Him.
In order to say yes to the spring-fed life, however, the Samaritan woman had to recognize that her current modus operandi was not working. Whatever she was hoping to achieve by her current life choices was a path to heartache. Her patterns left her solidly in midlife, friendless, used, and discarded by five different men, and living with number six. Whatever quest for belonging, love or security that drove her choices, was ending in futility, and a trip to the village well, alone, in the heat of midday.
Because His purpose was healing for her soul, in compassion, He touched that painful, exhausted space within her, that place feeding her fruitless quest. He did so with a simple, yet penetrating request– “Go call your husband.”
He knew that, for her, a conversation about her current relational status was a conversation about her soul. In a moment He saw it all–the string of names and faces, the hurtful words and the final fight that ended each marriage. He saw it all; yet there was no shame. He knew it all; yet there was no condemnation, only the gentle eyes of grace stared back– she was accepted, she was loved, she was seen and valued—finally. It was life; it was hope, it was the stunningly real possibility of a new sort of life. It was grace gushing forth from Him—the Well-Spring of Life, drenching her parched and weary soul with Living Water—and her soul danced for joy in its spewing spray!
For this is the reason He came. He came to make a new, living way into a life-giving relationship with God. He pointed to Himself as both the Well-Spring and Living Water personified, for so He is! Through Him, we gain access to this real life. Through Jesus, the unthinkable now becomes reality.
Just as Jesus lavished the Living Water upon our Samaritan sister, so He does for each of us. When we admit that our current path is leading nowhere, like her, we will find in that moment that He sees it all, and there is no shame. He knows it all; yet there is no condemnation—just the gentle eyes of grace. It is love! It is life! Finally, we are seen and known and there is no condemnation! Grace gushes forth from the Well-Spring of Life—as we too dance for joy in its spewing spray!