Image is Nothing…Thirst is Everything…Obey Your Thirst

The basic outline below of John 4:7-30 comes from a sermon given by Dr. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City entitled: The Living Water.

John 4:7-30 – When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”  30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

The Passion Narrative: John 19:28-29… Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.

  • The Creed of our Culture: 

Two Statements — “Image is nothing. Thirst is everything. Obey your thirst.”

“I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction, ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.” – Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones

  • We all are thirsty people.

Examples of this thirst. There is a painful absence of the spring of the living water welling up in our lives.  The fundamental reason why is that we have obeyed our thirst rather than embracing God’s gift.

What’s wrong with obeying your thirst?  What’s right about embracing His gift?

The Problem with Obeying Your Thirst:  It leads you down the enslaving path to idolatry.

Biblical example:  The Samaritan Woman


C.S. Lewis:  “All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of heaven—tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear…If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world…Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”  (The Problem of Pain, p. 134; Mere Christianity, p.120)

He continues, “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

God’s Surprising Cure:  Jesus, the thirsty Messiah, is the only one who can quench your thirst. 

Jesus’ initial thirst (John 4:7-30)

Why does Jesus have this encounter with this Samaritan woman in the first place?

Point:  She never would have found the living water unless Jesus was thirsty. 

Jesus’ ultimate thirst (John 18:28-29)

Physical dehydration from the unrelenting abuse of man.

Spiritual dehydration from the undiluted wrath of God.

Nahum 1:6 —  Who can stand before his indignation?  Who can endure the heat of his anger?  His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him.

Psalm 22:14-15 —  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.  My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.

Psalm 69:21 —  They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

Jesus died of thirst so that you could have living water.  He died in torment so that you could have the cool water of the favor of God. He was laid in the dust of death so that your thirst could be satisfied.  Jesus is the only God who will satisfy you when you find Him.  All other gods and idols will enslave you.

 How?  Getting your thirst satisfied (John 4:15-18).  

In the midst our barren desert of spiritual thirst, we hear the words of Jesus to a thirsty ragamuffin in John 4:10 — “If you knew the gift of God, you would ask him for a drink of living water and your thirst would be satisfied.”

Our quest to satisfy our thirst will be realized only as we know and understand the gift.  Obeying our thirst only creates in us more thirst.  Our thirst is quenched only as we continually and daily embrace God’s gift –  the thirsty messiah.

How does it happen for this Samaritan woman?  Three stages.

He gets her attention by getting her alone (John 4:7-9).

He builds her curiosity with his bold claims and captivating riddles (John 4:10-15).

He gets personal and exposes her need and shows her the broken cistern where she is presently drinking to satisfy her spiritual thirst (John 4:16-19).

 How can it happen for you?  Have you confessed to the Lord the ways that you have tried to quench your own thirst?   From what wells are you drinking that only make you thirstier?  Unless you see where you are drinking now, you will never find the living water.

Jeremiah 2:13 —   “My people have committed two sins:  They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Do you see how this is convicting and not condemning?  Where do you already have your hopes?  Jesus’ admonition:  Go and get it…It cannot give you what I can give you.

What changes take place in your life when you understand and embrace God’s thirsty Messiah? These three simple points of application come from Tim Keller.

He alone becomes the compelling vision of your life. She gets her priorities straight. She leaves her water pots and tells her friends and family to “come and see a Man.”

Repentance is liberating and not crushing. “He told me everything I ever did.”

You boldly share him with others. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39).

Horatio Bonar wrote:  I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give, The living water; thirsty one, stoop down and drink and live. I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream; My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.”

In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Silver Chair… Jill encounters Aslan, the Christ figure.  She is dying of thirst.  He bids her to come and drink from His stream.  Her question has resounded in the hearts of all who have considered the claims of Christ through the centuries:

“Will you promise not to do anything to me, if I do come?” Aslan said:  “I make no promise,” “Do you eat girls?” she said. “I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. Then Jill said:  “I daren’t come and drink,” Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.  “Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer.  “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.” “There’s no other stream,” said the Lion.

“Image is nothing. Thirst is everything.”   Let your thirst lead you to embrace Jesus, the thirsty messiah.  He alone gives absolute refreshment and complete satisfaction.

One thought on “Image is Nothing…Thirst is Everything…Obey Your Thirst

  1. Pingback: Religious people and painful absence of spring of living water – Relating to God

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