Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well is one of the most fascinating stories in the gospels. After reading the account in The Desire of Ages and in John 4, I was contemplating the role of water and how it symbolically represents Christ, the giver of life. The term living water does sound odd to our ears, however. What exactly did Jesus mean by this expression?
I tried to remember instances where water played a significant part in the Bible. It was an important element at creation, making it possible for life to exist on our planet. Water was used to teach the children of Israel about God, through His miraculous provision of the substance and again through its role in the sanctuary services. In the New Testament we saw John baptizing with water, Jesus walking on water, and then the remarkable story of the Samaritan woman, abandoning her own water pot to run and tell her friends about Jesus.
What about the Flood?
All these stories point to the life-giving quality and cleansing properties of water. The only Biblical account that didn’t make sense to me was the story of the flood, when God destroyed almost every living creature on the earth by water. Where was life in this story of death and destruction by water?
Then I came upon this verse and it started to make sense. I Peter 3:20 says: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were SAVED BY WATER.” KJV
The purpose of the flood waters then, was not to destroy, but to save. What a gloriously new and welcome thought for me. God was in essence baptizing the earth with the flood. It literally washed away the sins of the whole world and saved faithful Noah and his family.
This is just as it will be accomplished in the future by an all-consuming fire at the end of the millennium. See Revelation 20:7-9. The fire destroys, yes, but it also saves God’s children from sin and allows them to experience a new heavens and a new earth. Revelation 21:1-4
At times, we may have “fire” or “flood” experiences in our personal lives too. We can take heart in knowing that if we have entrusted our lives to Him, God can use our calamities to save us or perhaps someone close to us through the event.
Won’t you today satisfy your thirst for that living water offered by Jesus at Jacob’s well. The water Jesus offers is the only kind that satisfies and the only kind that saves. He is the only Way to make sense of the chaotic and sin-filled world we live in. He is the Way, the Truth, AND the Life. John 14:6