Jesus was a poet in a prosaic world and as a poet he used figures of speech that puzzled his hearers. Remember Nicodemus: “How can anyone be born after having grown old?” When Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at the well about giving her living water she can’t get beyond the literal meaning of the words. She knows how important water is for life. We all know how important water is for life. No living organism can exist without it. But Jesus is thinking about a different sort of life, eternal life, and a different source of vitality, the Holy Spirit. Being a disciple of Jesus means learning to live this different kind of life and learning to tap into a different source of vitality. Life in the envisaged kingdom of God is eternal life. People say that, when they die, they go to be with God, but when Jesus says that he could give the Samaritan woman living water he was saying that she didn’t have to wait until she died or until the end of the world came to get it, she could have this source of vitality springing up within her there and then. That then is the message that comes through to us also: through Christ we too enter into life on an eternal dimension even while we continue to live in this world limited by time and place. All life participates in the life of God, but it is not always lived with God. Life lived in right relationship with God is eternal life. Later, in John chapter 3, we see the poet being misunderstood again when he says to his disciples that he has food to eat that they know nothing about. What sustains him, in his spirit, is doing the will of God who sent him and seeing it through to its end. People don’t have to wait for the harvest time of the Second Coming or the final establishment of the Kingdom of God. Even now people can enter that essential relationship through faith in Jesus the Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit live that life which is eternal.
- What is the difference between believing in God and living with God?
- What obstacles are encountered in any attempt to live life in companionship with God?
- How significant is it that Jesus’ words about eternal life were spoken to a woman of ill repute who belonged to a people regarded as heretics?
- Doing God’s work was what sustained Jesus. What keeps you going?