Jesus talks with the Samaritan woman John 4
People generally tend to divide themselves into two categories in their approach to and attitudes towards life. Some say they are optimists, others declare themselves as pessimists.The optimists in order to illustrate the superiority of their position give the analogy of the glass. They say somewhat proudly: “we, optimists see the glass half full while the pessimist’s point of view is to see it half empty”.
I would tend to credit the optimist with being closer to reality because if we agree that the container is not as important as the water, at least the optimist can drink out of his full half while the pessimist is going to have a hard time drinking out of his empty half of the glass which is filled with air! Really, both parties end up with only half a glass, whether empty or full.
I suggest a third position, that of a truly thirsty person. The man or woman who is really thirsty doesn’t have the time to philosophize about the full or half capacity of the container. They know that what is going to quench their thirst is not really the glass or the sense of superiority experienced when comparing attitudes, but the substance contained in it in response to the intensity and urgency of their need.
Give them what they need so desperately and they will find a way to drink, whether it be right out of the faucet, out of their cupped hands, out of a bottle, on their knees lapping at the cool refreshing stream or in whatever way possible.
If we turn to John chapter 4 telling the story of the Samaritan woman, we can see a woman perplexed when told by Jesus that He can give her living water. Her reaction is to say: “How can you give me water when you don’t have a container?” This reaction is typical of the natural mind’s logic. Jesus here in order to illustrate a spiritual point departs from a physical need common to all and understandable by all. With the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, He points out to the woman that while she might be satisfied until the next time she is thirsty, she will have to come back to the well and draw some more water. Until now, she was concentrating on the outward things, the container without which Jesus couldn’t draw water, the increased difficulty caused by the depth of the well, her own unbelief as she probably thought: “what kind of a man is this that pretend to do things that are physically impossible”.
Isn’t that the position that we sometimes take even when we know and have tasted of the living water of the Spirit? Jesus first had to show the woman two things that she needed in order to have eternal life:
• First, the gift of God, new life in the Spirit and,
• Second, the giver of life, both present in the person of Jesus the Son of God, the creator and source of all life.
What is the response of the woman even before Jesus tells her about herself things that he couldn’t have known as an ordinary human being? Her response was that of a thirsty woman. Notice that at this point, she is not talking or concerned about the container anymore. Rather she cries out: “give me the water”. She has taken her eyes off the physical, natural realm with its limitations, impossibilities and turned them to the one whose gifts are beyond and far better than his creation, she has acknowledged, accepted her need and welcomed the means to fill it.
She herself has become the earthly container ready to be filled; she is about to go through the door that separates the natural life from the spiritual life.
The Lord Jesus himself is the divine, holy, pure, perfect container out of which flows the eternal, inexhaustible, spiritual, life giving, overflowing stream of living water who satisfies those who are thirsty and humbly express their need to be filled.
The world might have what seems like very clever ways and pretentiously wise views of looking at life and things, but God’s perspective is always better, wiser and goes beyond even the best perspective of man such as the optimist’s half full glass.
The optimist sees his cup half full, the pessimist sees it half empty, but our Lord wants His children to see themselves as neither, but as yielded vessels thirsty for the living water of the Spirit so that He might fill them up to overflowing with abundant life to share with and bless others with showing them the way to find the fountain of living waters.