Reading Jeremiah 29 this morning tuned me into noticing promises from God. What a stirring chapter. God has the prophet write a letter to those who are in Babylon . . . those who have been taken into captivity after seeing Jerusalem razed, the temple destroyed . . . those who have lived through Judah being laid waste. And in this letter, the Lord tells the people that after 70 years ( . . . get that? . . . 70 years . . . that’s a lifetime!!!) . . . that He would visit them, fulfill His promise, and bring them back to Jerusalem. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11). No quick fix here . . . 70 years in exile . . . in a foreign land . . . a stranger . . . swimming upstream . . . yet a lifetime during which they would learn to seek the Lord . . . a lifetime, He promised, during which He would be found (Jer. 29:12-14). And that set me up for Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4 . . . and my encounter with another promise of God.
If you know the story, you know she was in her own form of exile . . . her own captivity. Not only was she was part of a despised ethnic minority, she had also been abandoned by love and had settled for sin. Having had 5 husbands . . . and now living with a sixth man who was not her husband . . . how lonely must she have been. Hadn’t found her groove . . . wasn’t exactly living “the dream” . . . same old, same old, . . . take the abuse at home and then head out for her daily trip to draw water. But this day was to be different . . . she was to encounter the Living Word of God . . . and, she was to encounter a living promise of God!
. . . whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14 ESV)
Read it again . . . and tell me why that isn’t a promise for all of us. Whoever . . . that’s what Jesus says . . . no restrictions . . . no class distinction . . . not about gender . . . not about race . . . not about socio-economic standing . . . not about how good we are . . . not about how churched we are . . . whoever . . . even me . . . a sinner-saved-by-grace who’s been trying to walk the talk for a few years now . . . Jesus is speaking to me.
And the promise is pretty simple . . . drink of the water I give and you will never thirst . . . receive the spiritual infusion I offer and a spring-fed well will gush within you . . . and you’ll know everlasting life . . . even now. Jesus offered this woman something that would take away emptiness . . . something that would satisfy the longing to be secure in a solid relationship . . . something that would take the drudgery of the day and turn it into something of eternal worth . . . something that would allow her to see her “here and now” in light of a “there and then.”
And Jesus wasn’t offering a one shot power boost . . . this wasn’t about a can of energy drink that might get you revved up for awhile only to eventually crash. Jesus offered day-in-and-day-out life infusing water. Not some momentary spiritual high, but a consistent, reliable renewing of the soul.
Living water not coming from a “great time of worship” . . . nor from a “really cool speaker” . . . nor from a “real fun” gathering . . . but found by simply going to Jesus and receiving the water He offers. And it’s when we’re drinking in what He’s serving up that the worship becomes so amazing . . . and the speaker seems to be speaking the very words of God . . . and the time with God’s people just can’t seem to be any more intimate and refreshing.
How many places do we go for the water hoping it will bring us to Jesus . . . rather than going to Jesus and receiving the water?
Jesus offers living water . . . a spiritual refreshment that will take away the thirst . . . that creates from within a flow of the Spirit which is not just life sustaining, but is life energizing. Yeah, we’re in a foreign land . . . waiting for the return of the King . . . waiting to go to that city He’s prepared for us . . . waiting to go home and get out of this stream that we seem to be constantly swimming against the flow of. But while we’re here . . . and doing life . . . let’s not stop going to the One who offers this living water.
By His grace . . . for His glory!