John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42:
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give 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 may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water. “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.” Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Thirst is a wonderful metaphor for many things. We “thirst” for love. We “thirst” for winning. We “thirst” for more. Athletes know this metaphor all too well – especially on hot Summer two-a-day work-outs, breaks between wind-sprints on athletic courts, or after aerobic sessions and/or spin classes at a local gym. To be “thirsty” is one thing, but to be “parched” and desperate for a drink of water is another thing altogether. We used to line-up as Kids on Summer Break between games of kick-ball, basketball, baseball, etc. at the closest hose on the side of someone’s house. You know the feeling perhaps? Being so “thirsty” that you’re willing to drink of what tasted like liquid-rubber coming out of an unsanitized hose that was lying in the hot, Summer son in the dirt of a stranger’s bark mulch and mud… That’s the kind of “thirsty” that Jesus talks about with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in the Gospels. She had drifted so far away from the Lord through her promiscuity that she was “garden-hose-thirsty” for the coming Messiah. Jesus offered her what she, like all of us, needed the most – the Water of Everlasting Life that is only found in Him. He told her that His Water (unlike other waters) would never leave her “thirsty” again. And, not only did she “drink” of what the Lord was sharing with her, but she ran as fast as she could to her village to bring others to this “New Water”. You’ve heard on a flight how in a sudden loss of cabin pressure we’re to put on our air mask before helping others? We, too, just like the Samaritan woman, should first drink from the “Garden-Hose” of Water that Christ offers us and then bring as many as we can to Its Source. And, you and those that you bring with you will never grow “thirsty” again.