By Robert Halsey Pine
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:1-15 NRSV).
Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob brought her up short. She was first surprised when Jesus, a Jew, asked her for a drink of water. It was uncommon for Jews to interact with Samaritans. And when Jesus spoke of the living water that He could provide, the woman questioned Jesus and asked whether He was greater than their ancestor Jacob, who gave the well and drank from it.
In our everyday lives, we focus on our needs for the moment. Our basic need for food and drink each day is never satisfied. As sure as tomorrow comes, we are again in need. This is the way with most of the natural life needs that we have whether they are functional or just pleasurable.
They need regular restoration. They have a short shelf life. Seeking the Lord with faith and patience provides us with a bottomless well of “living water.” A spring-fed well that we can always draw on and through our lives will gush up in us and carry us to eternal life.
Explorers searched the world over for the mythical “fountain of youth.” In our own ways we continue that search to find the things that will keep us young. We are obsessed with how we look on the outside.
The product and service that we really need is not for sale anywhere. It is there for our asking. It knows nothing of economics or status. It is there for the young and the old alike. There is no waiting in line. It can’t get lost in the mail. It is there for those who have changed their ways and see God as their source in all things. It is there for the faithful.
St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians (4:11-14 NRSV), “For I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.