I am currently preparing to preach the first message in a series titled “Collide.” We are looking at various people throughout the New Testament that had encounters with Christ. The first encounter we are looking at is in John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well. In studying and preparing to preach this text I try to read and listen to what others have had to say on the matter. I recently listened to a message by Tim Keller, a pastor in Manhattan. Keller made an interesting note about Jesus’ dialogue with the woman. In John 4:13-15 the ESV reads, “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirst or have to come here to draw water.” Keller noted how Jesus is here speaking of a spiritual matters but the woman is simply thinking of physical water. As Keller puts it she was simply hoping for “running water.”
This thought caught my attention. How many people come in and out of our church doors on a weekly basis simply wanting “running water.” The woman at the well at this point was simply hoping Jesus was about to make her life easier. Not having to make a trip everyday to the well in the heat of the day to most likely avoid the shame she felt from her personal life (note verses 16-18) would have made life much easier for the woman. It would have been one burden lifted in her long day. I think there are a lot of people in our churches that connect with this woman. They come to a church service or church event maybe because a friend invites them or they are simply at a place in life of curiosity. Their deepest need is the living water offered only through Christ but they would be too quick to settle for getting a part of their life “fixed” or simply having their life made simpler, and they think maybe church or Jesus can help with that.
We in the Church should learn from Jesus’ example and not give “running water” to people in need of living water! How many of our churches have the life changing message of the Gospel but focus more on offering people ways to make their lives simpler, more organized, more together, or simply a better maintained life? Let us not be a people that aid others in being more comfortable in their spiritual death. Let us not be a people that would settle for giving “running water” to the many over living water to the few. Let’s give living water to the many!