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The Scriptorium

Living Water?

Suddenly, we're talking about something totally different.

The Gospel of John: John 4.1-15

Read and meditate on John 4.10.

Talk about a way with words! Jesus knew just what to say to turn this conversation from the temporal to the eternal plane.

                                                                    10To her
then Jesus answered, “If you knew for sure 
the gift of God, and Who it is Who said
to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would instead
have asked Him, and He would have given you
the living water.”

- John 4.10

1.  We note that Jesus did not answer the woman’s question about the racial issue. He knew that bigger issues were at stake than racial differences or hostilities. Was Jesus being rude by just brushing her question aside? Explain. Complete this prayer: People can be distracted by so many different issues, Lord. Help me to…

2.  What “gift of God” did Jesus have in mind? Why is He vague about that gift at this point? Why did He think the mention of a gift of God might be of interest to her? I thank You, Lord, for the gift of God, because…

3.  From the gift of God, Jesus turned the focus on Himself. What did He accomplish by doing this? I need to always remember, Lord, that You…

4.  The conversation makes a complete turn-around at the end of verse 10, where the asker and the one asked change places. But the conversation has effectively been moved to a different level, and Jesus has made Himself the focal point of God’s gift. How did water serve as both the starting-point and the vaulting-point for this conversation? Can you think of other everyday objects that Jesus used in a similar way? Give me eyes to see the connections, Lord, between the gift of God and such things as…

5.  Jesus adds the adjective living before the promise of water. Why is “living water” an apt way of thinking about the gift of God? How do you experience this living water? Bring together into one your prayers from questions 1-4.

“Jesus calls the quickening gift of the Spirit ‘living water’ because mere human nature is parched to its very roots, now rendered dry and barren of all virtue by the crimes of the devil. But now human nature runs back to its pristine beauty, and drinking in that which is life-giving, it is made beautiful with a variety of good things and, budding into a virtuous life, it sends out healthy shoots of love toward God.” Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD)

The gift of God is the living water of the Gospel, which flows to us by the aqueduct of God’s Spirit, to refresh, renew, revive, and restore us. How many different ways can you identify that this living water brings such refreshment to people?

Closing Prayer
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Psalm 46.4-7

Psalm 46.4-7 (St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
God’s everlasting, joyous grace gladdens the city where He dwells.
Safely in Him, we will not be moved; when morning dawns, His love will be proved.
Fears and distresses Jesus dispels for His beloved, chosen race.

Kingdoms arise and rage and roar, threat’ning the earth with sore distress;
Nations may fall, earth melt away, His Word is yet our hope and stay.
God is among us, ever to bless; He is our stronghold evermore.           

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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