The Signs of the Times


April 22, 1897

Jesus at the Well of Sychar

The Water of Life


As the world's Redeemer, the Son of God took upon him our human nature. He humiliated himself, veiling his divinity with humanity, that he might in his life upon earth share in the experiences of the poor, the oppressed, and suffering of the human race. He was subject to the frailties of humanity, and as he journeyed from Judea to Galilee, he was weary with labor and travel. Hungry and thirsty, he tarried to rest at Jacob's well, near the city of Sychar, while his disciples went to buy food in the city. He who had subjected himself to humanity was the Majesty of heaven, the Creator of every good and perfect gift. In giving himself to redeem our world, Christ gave himself a living sacrifice. He emptied himself of his high prerogatives, left his mansions of glory, his throne and high command, and became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. ST April 22, 1897, par. 1

As Jesus sat by the well side, the cool, refreshing water, so near and yet so inaccessible to him, only increased his thirst. He had neither rope nor bucket with which to draw, and he waited until some one should come to the well. He might have performed a miracle, and thus have obtained a draught from the well, had he wished; but this was not God's plan. Nothing must be allowed to separate him from the lot of humanity, which he had voluntarily assumed. ST April 22, 1897, par. 2

“There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water; Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.” The woman answered, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” Christ was near to the woman of Samaria, and she knew him not. She was thirsting for the truth, yet knew not that He, the Truth, was beside her, and was able to enlighten her. And today there are thirsting souls sitting close by the living fountain. But they are looking far away from the well that contains the refreshing water, and, though told that the water is close by, they will not believe. ST April 22, 1897, par. 3

Jesus answered the woman, saying, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?” Yes, Jesus could have answered, The one who is speaking to you is the only begotten Son of God; I am greater than your father Jacob, for before Abraham was, I am. But he made answer, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 4

The woman was so astonished at his words that she rested her pitcher on the well, and, forgetting the thirst of the stranger and his request to give him to drink, forgetting her errand to the well, she was lost in her earnest desire to hear every word. “Sir,” she said, “give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 5

Jesus now abruptly changed the subject of conversation, and bade the woman call her husband. She frankly replied, “I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband; for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband; in that saidst thou truly.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 6

As the past of her life was spread out before her, the listener trembled. Conviction of sin was awakened. She said, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” And then, in order to change the conversation to some other subject, she endeavored to lead Christ into a controversy upon their religious differences. “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain,” she said, “and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things.” But what was her astonishment when Jesus said, “I that speak unto thee am he.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 7

The conviction of the Spirit of God had come to the heart of the Samaritan woman. She believed that the words of Christ were the truth. No teaching that she had hitherto heard had aroused her moral nature, and awakened her to a sense of her higher need. ST April 22, 1897, par. 8

Christ reads beneath the surface, and he revealed to the woman of Samaria her soul thirst, which the water from the well of Sychar could never satisfy. He himself lost all sense of hunger, and thirst, and weariness. His thirst was satisfied in seeing her drink of the water of life. He was rejoicing in spirit that his words had aroused her slumbering conscience, and quickened her spiritual perceptions. ST April 22, 1897, par. 9

Christ understands the needs of the world, and through him alone can the Father supply them. He is thirsting to give the needy souls the water of life freely. Christ is thirsting for the recognition of those for whom he left the courts of heaven, his honor, his glory, his royal throne, his high command. He is thirsting for the love, the cooperation that must be given him as their personal Saviour. He would have them come unto him, taking hold of his grace by faith, partaking of him, the Living Water. ST April 22, 1897, par. 10

The natural thirst of the woman of Samaria had led her to a thirst of soul for the water of life. Altho she had made no request of him to satisfy her spiritual wants, Christ offered her an abundant supply for her soul's great need. And through the words spoken to her, the water of life was to flow forth to many thirsting souls. ST April 22, 1897, par. 11

Forgetting the errand that had brought her to the well, the woman left her water pot, and went into the city, saying to all whom she met, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” ST April 22, 1897, par. 12

As yet Christ had not taken the refreshing draught that he desired, nor tasted the food that his disciples had brought. They saw that their Master was intently absorbed in meditation, his face beaming with divine light, and they scarcely dared to interrupt his communion with heaven. But they knew that he had been a long time without food, and, placing some before him, they prayed him to refresh himself. Turning lovingly to them, he said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 13

The disciples, thinking that he was speaking of temporal food, inquired among themselves, “Hath any man brought him aught to eat?” But Jesus explained: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor; other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 14

Christ looked forward to the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost should descend upon his disciples. He would teach them that they were not to look upon this as the result of their own labor. They were not to lose sight of the fact that patriarchs, prophets, and holy men had been sowing the seeds of truth. God's ancient chosen people had been enriched with precious truth, which was to them as the river of God. Christ had been their invisible leader through all their travels in the wilderness. Gracious illustrations of his love were given them in the covenant signed by God in the rainbow of promise, which was ever to be an assurance that seed-time and harvest time should remain, and that the world should never again be destroyed by a flood. Christ was just as truly the water of life to Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and all who received his instruction then, as he is at the present time to those who ask of him the refreshing draught. God has given his Word to his chosen ones, and made known his way. Through his Son he has been supplying them with the dews and showers of his grace. But his blessings are often overlooked, and men take the glory to themselves. ST April 22, 1897, par. 15

The rain is not seen until it begins to fall, and it often comes wholly unexpectedly. So the Lord's precious gift of grace is often nearer than we think. If we will only have faith, and wait patiently for a little while, his help will come, and will surprise us as he surprised the woman of Samaria. He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth. ST April 22, 1897, par. 16

When the Lord gave his message to the Laodiceans, who thought themselves rich and increased in goods, and in need of nothing, he did not conceal from them their true condition. He said: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” This was the message of truth that Christ opened before them. They needed everything. But he did not present to them their great necessity without also providing a remedy. He opens before them a fountain of supply for every need: “I counsel thee to buy of me,” he says, “gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” It is necessary for us to know our soul's need in order to receive the heavenly treasure provided for us in Christ. ST April 22, 1897, par. 17

In Eden the Lord gave the promise that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. And the work which Christ carried forward at Jacob's well, in proffering the water of life to the woman of Samaria, is a fulfilment of that promise. And he will continue this work until every soul shall have been tested and tried. ST April 22, 1897, par. 18

The woman, in apparently withholding from Christ the water he asked of her, represents many who are withholding from him the recognition, the sympathy and love, that he is hungering and thirsting for in response to his great love for us. Christ has not withheld his grace and love from any member of the human family. For each he has an inexhaustible supply. And yet how little acknowledgment he receives, how little thanksgiving, how little fruit, in good works. He is hungering for the sympathy and love of those whom he has purchased with his own blood. He is watching and waiting for that love which we can not withhold from him with any safety. ST April 22, 1897, par. 19

The world's Redeemer knows the necessities of every soul. When we are oppressed and languid, he knows it, and he it is that supplies the spiritual refreshment. Ask ye of him; watch unto prayer, and it will come. Jesus is the bread of life, to be eaten every day; he is the water of life to the parched and fainting soul, and all may partake of his grace. ST April 22, 1897, par. 20

Earth's cisterns will often be emptied, its pools become dry; but in Christ there is a living spring from which we may continually draw. However much we draw and give to others, an abundance will remain. There is no danger of exhausting the supply; for Christ is the inexhaustible well-spring of truth. He has been the fountain of living water ever since the fall of Adam. He says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” And “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” ST April 22, 1897, par. 21

Mrs. E. G. White