John 4:10
Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
Characteristics of Living WaterT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.John 4:10
Christ and the Woman of SamariaR. M. McCheyne.John 4:10
Christ, a Priceless BlessingJ. Spencer.John 4:10
Christ's Testimony Concerning His MissionW. Braden.John 4:10
If Thou Knewest!J.R. Thomson John 4:10
Ignorance and InstructionW. Griffith.John 4:10
Living WaterLange.John 4:10
Living WaterJ. Benson.John 4:10
Salvation is a Free GiftJohn 4:10
Salvation Must be Accepted as a Free GiftJohn 4:10
Saving KnowledgeC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:10
The Gift and the GiverAlexander MaclarenJohn 4:10
The Gift of GodJ. J. Black, LL. B.John 4:10
The Gift of GodRagged Life in EgyptJohn 4:10
The Gift of God and Living WaterJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:10
The Gift of Living WaterMarcus Dods, D. D.John 4:10
The Gift of the SpiritJohn 4:10
The Living WaterMark Guy Pearse.John 4:10
The Preaching of ChristT. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:10
The Two FountainsA. J. Morris.John 4:10
Wayside OpportunitiesE. H. Chapin, D. D.John 4:10
Chance in the Divine EconomyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:1-42
Characteristics of Christ Displayed in This ConversationBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ Abolishing PrejudicesLange.John 4:1-42
Christ and the SamaritansH. Burton, M. A.John 4:1-42
Christ and the WomanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaCaleb Morris.John 4:1-42
Christ At Jacob's WellCarl Keogh, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ Driven AwayJeremiah Dyke.John 4:1-42
Christ in His Human Weakness and Divine ExaltationLange.John 4:1-42
Christ's Gentleness with the FallenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ's RequestBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Commendable EnthusiasmDr. Guthrie.John 4:1-42
Connection Between the Conversations with the Woman of Samaria and with NicodemusBp. Westcott.John 4:1-42
He Left JudaeaW. H. Dixon., Canon Westcott.John 4:1-42
In the Path of ChristJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Influence After DeathH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Its HistoryBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Well a TypeL. R. Bosanquet.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Welt an Emblem of the SanctuaryR. H. Lovell.John 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the Well of SycharJames G. Vose.John 4:1-42
Jesus Found At the WellJohn 4:1-42
Jesus Sitting on the WellC. H. SpurgeonJohn 4:1-42
No Sympathy Without SufferingBoswell.John 4:1-42
Our Attitude Towards SamariaW. Hawkins.John 4:1-42
Providence Shown in ConversionsJ. Flavel.John 4:1-42
Sat Thus on the WellF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
Soul-Winning TactBible Society ReportJohn 4:1-42
Subsidiary PointsH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:1-42
Suffering Begets SympathyJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Tact and Kindness Will Win SoulsJohn 4:1-42
The Appropriateness of the Place for the PurposeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The ConferenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Drawer of WaterJ. R. Macduff; D. D.John 4:1-42
The First Visit to SamariaG. D. Boardman, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Interior of the WellLieut. S. Anderson, R. E.John 4:1-42
The Jewish Treatment of WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
The Journey to SamariaA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The LocalityF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:1-42
The Lost One Met and SavedJ. Gill.John 4:1-42
The Model TeacherC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Needs BeJ. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Occasion of the JourneyW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Ordinances NecessaryDean Goulburn.John 4:1-42
The Parcel of Ground that Jacob Gave to His Son JosephA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Pedagogy or Rudimentary Teaching of JesusC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Real Significance of the Woman's Coming to ChristJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Realness of the SceneDean Stanley.John 4:1-42
The Retreat of JesusJohn 4:1-42
The Revolution Christ Effected in the Treatment of WomenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Rite of BaptismT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Self-Abnegation of ChristC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Sixth HourBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
The Thirsting SaviourA. Warrack, M. A.John 4:1-42
The Three BaptismsF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Weary PilgrimJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:1-42
Topography of Jacob's Well and NeighbourhoodC. Geikie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Unquenchable EnthusiasmD. L. Moody.John 4:1-42
Utilizing Disagreeable NecessitiesA. F. Muir, M. A.John 4:1-42
Value of a Well in the EastH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Weariness and WorkW. Poole Balfern.John 4:1-42
Why Christ Did not Personally BaptizeJohn 4:1-42
Why Religious Ordinances are Sometimes UnprofitableD. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Fountain of Living WaterD. Young John 4:6-15
Askest and SaithAbp. Trench.John 4:9-10
Christ Cares not for Classes or Races, But ForKnox Little.John 4:9-10
Dealings and Gift of GodF. D. Maurice.John 4:9-10
History of the SamaritansLord Carnarvon's, Druses of the Lebanon.John 4:9-10
Samaritan ChurlishnessCanon Tristram.John 4:9-10
The Evils of National RivalryJohn Ruskin.John 4:9-10
The Evils of Sectarian BigotryBp. Ryle.John 4:9-10
The Forbearance of ChristJohn McNeill.John 4:9-10
The Hatred of the Jews for the SamaritansCanon Tristram.John 4:9-10
The Hostility of the Samaritans Towards the JewsJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:9-10
The Jews and SamaritansJ. Trapp.John 4:9-10
The Significance of Giving DrinkH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 4:9-10

How easily and how skilfully in these words did Jesus turn the conversation with the Samaritan woman from the water of the well to those blessings which that water symbolized! What more fitted to provoke curiosity and further inquiry? What more fitted to suggest refection upon spiritual wants, and spiritual satisfaction, than thin reply of our Lord to the woman's strange and almost unfriendly remark upon his application? As a matter of fact, the language of Jesus did serve to raise and to sustain a conversation to which we owe some of the most precious and the most sublime utterances which fell from our Saviour's lips. What was said to this woman was really spoken by him for the benefit of all who fail to gain from him the blessings which are at his command and disposal, and are within their reach.


1. The unenlightened and unspiritual do not recognize in Christ the Gift of God. They do not look beneath the surface, and consequently do not recognize the true glory, the Divine power, which are the rent attributes of the Son of man.

2. They do not discern in the tones of the Saviour's voice the Divine authority with which he ever speaks. In every word of his may be perceived, by the spiritually cultured, "grace and truth," the utterance of superhuman wisdom and superhuman love. But to multitudes his speech has, alas! no Divine significance.

II. WHAT MEN CONSEQUENTLY FAIL TO ASK. Had the woman of Samaria known more of Jesus, she would have asked of him, and thus have received the "living water." And it is reasonable to believe that ignorance, more or less culpable, is the reason why many remain unblest when blessing is within their reach. They do not ask, either

(1) because they do not feel the need of the "living water," which alone can bring life, satisfaction, and refreshment to the soul; or

(2) because they do not think of the Lord Jesus as of the One Being who alone can supply the wants experienced.

III. WHAT MEN, THEREFORE, FAIL TO ENJOY. It is observable that Jesus gave the woman to understand that asking would have secured the supply of her deepest needs. As the conversation proceeded, the Saviour unfolded the nature of the blessings he came to bring, and which men withhold from themselves only by restraining faith and prayer. These blessings are within the reach of all whose hearts are athirst for the water of life, and are obtainable upon the simple condition of compliance with the terms appointed by Divine wisdom. Free as the streams which flow from mountain springs are the blessings of the gospel of God. Yet to multitudes these blessings are inaccessible, simply from their want of knowledge, their want of spiritual appreciation, and their want of believing prayer. - T.

If thou knewest the gift of God
I. THE SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPORTANCE OF WAYSIDE OPPORTUNITIES. Speaking after the ordinary manner this transaction was accidental; apparently unpremeditated on the part of Christ, unexpected on the part of the woman.

1. We go into transactions which involve our highest good or greatest loss as unexpectedly. The woman was looking for the Messiah, but she little expected to find Him a tired traveller. You expect to find God in Church: do you ever expect to find Him in common events?

2. The character of a man, his real strength or weakness, appears not in his seizure of great events but of ordinary ones — not in martyrdom, but in endurance.

3. Opportunities for serving Christ are offered when truth has to be done or spoken, in doing and speaking it not boastfully or independently or impudently, but simply and in love.

4. You meet Christ by the wayside in every duty, great or small, which calls you from the wrong to the right.

5. Opportunities for religious instruction and worship are not confined to. one day, place, or act, but every day, everywhere, and by everything that brings us in contact with God. And as the highest religious truth in nature lies close by the way if we will only pluck it, so in the Bible the great truths lie on the surface.


1. He made them the occasion of a great and effective religious work.

2. The freedom and spontaneousness of Christ's teaching fill us with wonder. It is perfectly independent of times and places, but makes all times and places consecrated and effective.

3. Why? Because religion in Him was a real matter. It is unreality that makes it unnatural, constrained, vague.

4. The man who is truly religious never forces His religion on any one. It goes wherever he goes. If the conversation takes a religious turn, what he says comes as spontaneously as it did from Christ.

5. This is the power of effective preaching. Some preaching is simply the setting forth of abstract doctrines. The real preaching passes the life up into the doctrines, being based on the realities of life.


1. That of ministration to the necessities of Christ. We cannot do this as she did; but Christ's doctrine is, that what is done to the least of His brethren is done to Him. With every needy, weak claimant by the wayside Christ comes.

2. That of reception. The gift of God was her opportunity. Our evil is that we do not know our wants, and therefore do not know our opportunities.

(E. H. Chapin, D. D.)


1. The contrasts in the life of Jesus are very striking.(1) Even in physical things. He sleeps from weariness, but awakes to hush the storm; He is hungry, but dooms the fig-tree to perpetual barrenness.(2) More so in spiritual things, as when, "crucified through weakness," He promised life to the malefactor.

2. The living water was not mere happiness, but the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life. There is in man a thirst for God which only the Spirit can quench, a thirst of need or a thirst of desire.

3. Jesus would not have had living water to bestow had He not been in a condition to require the refreshment He asked. It was because He assumed a humanity, tempted in all points like as we are, that He could give the water of life.

II. THERE IS A CONTRAST HERE BETWEEN THE NARROWNESS OF RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE AND THE GENEROSITY OF CHRISTIAN GRACE. To tell a thirsty man that he belongs to another religion! The gift of man is hindered by what should have arrested and inspired it, "the gift of God." Knows no obstacle but our unfitness.

1. The desire to bless was strong, constant, and spontaneous in Jesus.

2. As we possess Christ's Spirit we shall do likewise. Do we want occasions for doing good? It is the occasions rather that want us; and the heart filled with Divine love will use occasions as they present themselves, just as water flows through the channels made for it.

3. In proportion to our likeness to Him will be our generosity. Living water cannot be restrained. Mere beliefs, feelings, customs, may be stagnant ponds, hut the power of the Divine Spirit is like running water: its movement keeps it fresh. Love must act to live. Grace gains by giving.

III. HERE IS A CONTRAST BETWEEN THE WOMAN'S RELATION TO CHRIST AND HER OWN CONCEPTION OF IT. She did not know Him or the boon He bore. A man may know and not do, but he cannot do unless he know. And knowledge of the principles of religion would secure its possession. If men knew Christ's unspeakable gift they could not fail to seek it. The woman's ignorance made her look on Christ as one to be ministered to. Had she known Him she would have been the supplicant. Our ignorance of Him is continually misrepresenting His requirements.

1. He requests our obedience, and we consider whether or not we shall comply, as if in doing we were to oblige Him. A full knowledge will make us realize our indebtedness to Him, and to see in His mighty help the only possibility of doing His will and to crave it.

2. The thought applies to the efficiency of works of faith and love. We think that is due to the intrinsic excellence of our deeds. But He employs us and renders His work effectual.

3. The same is applicable to rewards, which we expect on the ground of worthness; but all our goodness is from Him, and knowledge of Christ would make eternal glory a thing to be sought, not deserved.

IV. A CONTRAST BETWEEN EAGERNESS FOR THE LOWER GOOD AND INDIFFERENCE TO THE HIGHER. When the woman mistook Christ as meaning literal running water she said, "Give me the water." Yet we are not told that when she learnt the sense of Jesus, she asked to be supplied with His spiritual gift. So men labour for the perishing and neglect the eternal.

(A. J. Morris.)


1. There is nothing that is not a gift of God. "Every good and perfect gift is from above." But what are all earthly gifts combined compared to the gift of God's only-begotten Son?

2. The greatest gift sanctifies all minor ones: as the sun beautifies the tamest landscape. Christ is like the numeral which, put before the unmeaning cyphers, invests them with value.

3. While feelingly alive to God's goodness in His other gifts we can heartily join in the estimate of the apostle, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." With this, "Having nothing we possess all things."

II. LIVING WATER — the purchased blessing of Christ's salvation, beginning with pardon here, and culminating in glory. Observe, it is —

1. Living water. The tiniest stream has more true glory than the stagnant lake: the smallest flower than the inanimate trunk of the giant tree. So with all dead things wherein the soul has no part, and which are earthy, the mere accident of fleeting existence. They are streams, but not living streams — they evaporate as they flow; but the blessings of salvation are as deathless as the God who gave them.

2. The fountain head of this water is living. The gift of God is not dry doctrine, but a living Being.


1. The key of faith. Had the woman apprehended Christ's meaning, what a barrier there would have appeared between her and mercy — how often must she climb Gerizim to load its altars with sacrifices! Christ says, "If thou knewest the gift of God." Faith brings the soul into immediate contact with the Saviour without the intervention of preparations and penances.

2. The key of prayer. "Thou wouldst have asked." How many blessings are lost for the want of this I How often is the Divine saying verified, "I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain!"

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

The life of the Lord, living water, in distinction from the stale water of this world's life.






It is said that "there is no passion so strong in human nature as an educated religious hatred," and history by many an example proves the assertion true. When fathers not only hand down to their children an heritage of antagonism against any party or sect, but, from a sense of duty to God, conscientiously teach them that the party or the sect is their natural foe with whom no terms can ever be made and no intercourse be held, it is not difficult to see what result will ensue. Bitterness, contempt, strife must be inevitable fruits of such an education. At any moment the passionate hostility will flame forth, and all humane and generous feeling will wither in the burning heat. How often you may find generation after generation inheriting and perpetuating the hatreds and conflicts of their ancestors! The memory of some wrong inflicted long ages ago, or of some fierce controversy which ought to have been dead, buried, and forgotten, is cherished with religious zeal, and manifests itself whenever an opportunity occurs. "Peace on earth and goodwill among men" are made almost impossible, because we all more or less inherit our ancestors' prejudices. We start in life with an animus against certain people or forms of thought, and the hardest of all tasks is to free ourselves from the narrowing effects of our education. Illustrations of educated religious hatred are not wanting in the various churches of Christendom at the present day, and they are sometimes as fierce as the enmity was between the Jew and the Samaritan. This, as you know, rose to such a pitch that they refused all intercourse with each other. The education of the Jew made him a very determined hater, and every patriotic impulse and the whole fervour of his religious feeling quickened and intensified the hatred and contempt with which he looked upon a mongrel race who practised idolatry — the greatest crime known to a Jew — under the pretence of a rival worship of Jehovah. It was because of this strong national abhorrence that the woman of Samaria, when asked by this weary stranger for a draught of water, exclaimed, "How is it that Thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." It was a natural surprise on her part to find one of the proud race turned into a suppliant. No doubt she regarded Him as an enemy, and felt something of the antagonism of her race and education excited by His request. But I do not think that she meant to be particularly cruel, or to allow animosity to. destroy her humanity. She had no intention to refuse what He asked. She seems to have been a shrewd, yet genial, easy-dispositioned sort of creature; but, human-like — perhaps woman-like — she could not refrain from this little bit of tantalisation and apparent triumph before giving the stranger what He, in His weariness, so much required. However, this bitter utterance of hers gives our Lord the opportunity which He desired to teach her some great spiritual truths. He makes no mention of the enmity of the two peoples; He will not enter upon that old controversy which she had started; He will not stir, by the slightest word of His, any anger in the soul He seeks to save. Yet in a way He accepts the challenge, and responds to her words, though in a different maturer from that which she had expected. She had seemingly set herself in antagonism against Him — "Thou" asketh "me!" — and Christ answers by putting His power of supply over against her need, "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." You will mark here an important difference. Christ mentions nothing about Samaritan or Jew. He does not say, "If thou, being a Samaritan, hadst asked of Me, a Jew, I would have given thee living water."

I. THE CHARACTER IN WHICH JESUS CHRIST PRESENTS HIMSELF TO THE WORLD. He declares that He is the gift of God. He claims to be a person of the highest importance. He does not disguise Himself, but boldly announces the majesty of His nature and the glory of His work. The woman saw in Him as yet only a wearied, travel-stained man of another race, and as such she treated Him. Her eye could not penetrate beneath the outward form to the Divine nature enshrined within it. He begins by awakening her curiosity concerning Himself. "You regard Me," He seems to say, "only as a Jew; but if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink, your speech and conduct would be entirely changed; for I have resources in Me of which you know nothing." "Living water." As we think of it, however, what could be more delightfully expressive than such a figure? Perhaps we in these cold lands, where water is often in superabundance, cannot appreciate the deep and attractive beauty of the phrase; but to an Eastern mind the idea conveyed by it is of the most fascinating character. Water is inexpressibly precious in a land where it is often scarce, where a well is a family fortune. Had she never known that the water was a gift of God? Had not thirst on a hot day, or the failure of the spring, taught her that? Was water a thing to traffic in? Did she never think of the gift of water as something very free and universal? Christ stands as God's response to the thirst of human souls. Friends, there is no real need of your natures, however deep, that Christ cannot and does not meet. There is one who wants to know truth. He is ever asking questions that trouble and burden him. Is there a God? Is He mindful of men? Is He a Father? Is there a life hereafter, or are we extinguished at death? Brother, Christ meets that thirst of yours with living water, for he that hath seen Christ hath seen the Father, and He has brought life and immortality to light. There is another who has aspirations after nobleness, yet is sadly, bitterly conscious of sin. He would rise, but he is dragged down. Christ came to enter into your condition, to fight with your temptations, to sacrifice Himself for the removal of your sins, to stand by you in the terrific encounter, to sanctify your nature, to make it strong and brave and pure.

II. THE EFFECT WHICH A RECOGNITION OF CHRIST WOULD PRODUCE IN HUMAN HEARTS. There are three things here which are like links in a chain, a golden chain — three steps which naturally follow one after the other. First, "If thou knewest;" second, "Thou wouldest have asked;" third, "He would have given." Let us see how these processes and results are related to one another.

1. The first is — knowledge. Mark how tenderly and gently our Lord charges His solitary hearer with ignorance. There is an exquisite tone of compassion in the words, "if thou knewest." It recognizes at once that there is no wilful opposition to Him as the Christ, or to His great mission, for she had hitherto had no chance of knowing anything whatever about Him. Her religious responsibility had not yet begun, Reproach! condemnation! Christ has nothing of all this for the ignorant; it is their misfortune, not their fault. We have received the knowledge; Christ has been revealed to us. He stands before us in the glory of His character as the gift of God. To know Christ, that is the first thing; to know Him in all the glory of His Divine commission, in all the plentitude of His life-giving power, in all the reviving, refreshing, inspiring sweetness of His love, this is what is necessary, necessary to awaken trust and love; for does not Christ Himself declare, "If thou knewest the gift of God, thou wouldest have asked, He would have given"? Here we have the second step or link.

2. It is confidence. Knowledge produces trust. "They that know Thy name will put their truest in Thee." Jesus Christ's confidence in the effect of the revelation of Himself is most decisive. Most firmly do I believe that this is everywhere true. It is He who has created the desire, the appetite for these things, by making them known to us. It is as with children — so long as they are ignorant of the various good things which others enjoy, so long, of course, they have no wish for them; but bring them within the range of their knowledge, show them how beautiful and desirable and attainable they are, and immediately the craving to possess them arises. Their conceptions are enlarged by every new object presented to their view, and, as a rule, the desire to obtain it follows. It is so in all that pertains to our civilized life — it is knowledge that awakens appetite and longing to possess. All this, however, is general, and the particular illustration is, perhaps, that which we most require. Therefore I say that as soon as you and I see Christ as He really is, as soon as we know Him in the full purpose of His mission, we must seek the gift He has to bestow. When I see that He has come to teach me about God, I want to know about God; when I see that He has come to redeem me from sin, I realize how much I need redemption from sin; when I hear Him offering heart-rest amid the strifes of the world, and eternal rest hereafter, I know that is just the supreme and unspeakable blessing which will satisfy me. I never felt all that till Christ was revealed to me, and so in my ignorance I did not cry, "Give me to drink."

3. The third link in the chain, the supreme result, is this — the asking is always followed by the giving. The asking must precede giving; but let this condition be fulfilled, and the result will ensue. So Christ teaches this ignorant woman the great secret of Divine giving. It is the response to prayer.

(W. Braden.)

These words open UP to you three of the features of the Lord Jesus.

1. It shows you His care of individual souls.

2. Christ loves to save the worst.

3. Christ bears with stupidity. This woman was very stupid in Divine things; the words of Christ seemed to make no impression. Let us attend closely to these words, and let us consider —

I. THAT CHRIST IS THE GIFT OF GOD. "If thou knewest the gift of God," etc. This is one of the sweetest names Christ bears — "the gift of God." "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift"; "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son"; "The gift of God is eternal life." Whose gift is He? The gift of God. Some seem to think that no good thing can come from God. When they hear that God has kindled eternal fire for the wicked, they say, can any good thing come from Him? But, ah! there is this and this good thing. Observe what the gift is — "The gift of God." He did not give a creature. He did not give angel or seraph. He gave His Son. Why did He give this gift? "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," etc: Ah! here is the guilt of unbelief, that you do not take up what God has laid down.

II. CHRIST IS NEAR TO SINNERS. "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it was that said unto thee, give Me to drink," etc.

1. He is nigh thee on account of His two natures (John 1:18).

2. Christ has promised to be near in His ordinances — "I will come near and bless you." In secret prayer He records His name. In the broken bread and in the poured out wine He records His name. There are some of you who are awakened by the Spirit; now it is to such that Christ is near. Christ is as near to you as He was to the woman of Samaria. If Christ is so near, you ought to improve Him. You know that the farmers know how to improve the seasons. You know, brethren, that merchants do not let seasons pass.

III. IT IS IGNORANCE THAT KEEPS SINNERS FROM APPLYING TO CHRIST. "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink," etc. It was ignorance that made the Jews crucify Christ. It was ignorance that made Paul persecute the Church. It was ignorance that made the woman answer Christ so rashly at the well. You are sailing over the sea of life, and you do not know that there are pearls below you. There is a thought comes over me, and it is this — that some of you will know when it is too late.

IV. WHAT IT IS THAT CHRIST IS WILLING TO GIVE SINNERS, even the chief, "If thou knewest the gift of God," etc. The living water here spoken of is the Holy Spirit. Christ offered her here the very thing that she needed. It was an impure heart; now, Christ here says, I will give thee water to make thy heart clean. Again, this woman's heart was full of sin. She had a constant craving for sin. But Christ says, I will here give thee water that will make thee thirst no more. Again, this woman's heart was con- stantly boiling up with sin. Christ says to her, I wilt here give thee a well of water springing up — not a pond that may dry up — but a well of living water springing up into everlasting life. Again, this woman's heart would have ended in the second death. Christ says, I will here give thee water — a well of water that will spring up to everlasting life.

(R. M. McCheyne.)

The turning points in our career have commonly nothing in them to distinguish them from common events, nothing to show that they are turning points. We do not know the faces that lie hidden all around us. We pass all our life along side of that which would make all eternity different to us, and yet, for lack of know. ledge, for lack of consideration, for lack often of one hour's serious, heart-searching thought, the thin veil continues to hide from us our true and lasting blessedness. Like the crew that were perishing from thirst, though surrounded by the fresh waters of the River Amazon that penetrated far into the salt ocean; so are we surrounded on all hands by God — the living, loving God — and upheld by Him, and living in Him, yet do not know Him, and refrain from dipping our buckets and drawing out of His life-giving fulness. How often, looking on those who, like this Samaritan woman, have gone wrong and know no recovery, who go through their daily duties sad and heavy at heart and weary of sin — how often do these words rise to our lips, "If only thou knewest!" How often does one long to be able to shed a sudden and universal light into the minds of men, that they may see things as they really are, that would reveal to them the goodness, the power, the all-conquering love of God! Two particulars our Lord mentions as being defective in this woman's knowledge.

I. SHE DID NOT KNOW THE GIFT OF GOD. Her expectations were limited by her earthly condition and her physical wants. She had no belief that she had to do with the eternal loving God, and that God desired to communicate to her what was in Himself — deep and lasting blessedness. Through all ages, and for all men, there remains this gift of God, sought and found by those who know Him; different from, and superior to, the best human gifts, inheritances, and acquisitions; not to be drawn out of the deepest, most cherished wells of man's sinking; steadily arrogating to itself an infinite superiority to all that men have regarded and busily sunk their pitchers in — the gift which each man must ask for himself, and having for himself, knows to be the gift of God to him, the recognition by God of his personal wants, and the assurance to him of God's everlasting regard. This gift of God, which carries to each soul the sense of God's love, is his deliverance from all evil, his reunion with God Himself.

II. SHE DID NOT KNOW WHO IT WAS that said to her, "Give Me to drink." And until we know Christ, we cannot know God. Often, like this woman, we are in Christ's presence without knowing it, and listen, like her, to His appeals without understanding the majesty of His person and the greatness of our opportunity. It is always the same request that He urges, "Give Me to drink." Is it cruelty to refuse a cup of cold water to a thirsty child, and no cruelty to refuse to quench the thirst of Him who hung upon the cross for us? Ought you to feel no shame that the Lord is still in want of what you can give? Has Christ not sufficiently shown the reality of His thirst for your friendship and faith?

(Marcus Dods, D. D.)





V.CONTINUITY. "He, every one that thirsteth, come." Now.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)


1. The truth. The Old Testament gives this thought more than once. So Christ was taking an old illustration and applying it to His gospel. "The old, old story" is the story still. We commonly call this gift revelation. Men could not discover or shape it. Consider —(1) Its realness as contrasted with the shadows and dreams of idolatry and philosophy. The truth of God is a fact. Test it, O doubter!(2) Its finality. Athens, with its thousands of gods, confesses there is an unknown God. In the gospel man gets his soul's desire and is at rest. He has nothing to do but to keep drinking.(3) Its dogmatic character. We wish to reason out and understand, but God's dogmas are all axioms.

2. Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 10:4). Nor does this oppose the first interpretation, for Christ is "the Truth," and pre-eminently "the gift of God."(1) Other good gifts only satisfy certain parts of our nature; this fully satisfies.(2) Others satisfy only for a time; this for ever.

3. The present opportunity. Every invitation and opportunity is a gift of God. This woman embraced it. How many neglect it and lose it!


1. To be a gift it must be free. And so it is free and unmerited. The sinner has no resources. You cannot offer to God as purchase money what is His own.

2. That it is a gift appears in the eternity of its plan. God's generosity is shown in His eternal purpose.

3. The fulness of the word appears when we consider how it is pressed on our acceptance. "The word is nigh thee," brought to our very door.

4. The truth of the title given to the living water appears still more clearly when we learn how thoroughly it becomes ours in accepting it.

(1)It is absolutely bestowed.

(2)It becomes part of ourselves. Our heart becomes not a cistern, but a spring (ver. 14). "Christ in you."Conclusion: The inheritance of this gift brings responsibility.

1. Springs of water are not for beauty, but for use and reproduction.

2. This reproduction is not a thing of constraint, except so far as constrained by the love of Christ.

3. Therefore with joy draw this water out of the well of salvation.

(J. J. Black, LL. B.)

Ragged Life in Egypt.
Perhaps no cry in Cairo is more striking than that of the water carrier. "The gift of God," he says, as he goes along with his water skin on his shoulder. it is very likely that water, so invaluable, and so often scarce in hot countries, was in Christ's days spoken of, as now, as "the gift of God," to denote its preciousness; if so the expression to the woman would be extremely forcible and full of meaning.

(Ragged Life in Egypt.)

The purifying, refreshing, and fertilizing qualities of water aptly symbolize the operations of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38, 39; Zechariah 14:6; Isaiah 44:3).

I. THE HOLY GHOST IS "THE GIFT OF GOD," and is so styled by way of pre-eminence. He is a gift —

1. Which virtually comprehends every other blessing.

2. Without it every other gift is unsatisfying.

3. Its attainment not only compensated for the loss of Christ, but made His departure expedient (John 16:7).

4. Without it even the unspeakable gift of the Saviour is vouchsafed in vain (1 Peter 1:2).

II. The Holy Ghost is here represented as the GIFT OF CHRIST as well. "He would have given thee."

1. From first to last the merits of Christ are the only procuring cause of our redemption.

2. As Mediator He has obtained the disposal of this gift (Colossians 1:19; Acts 2:33; Ephesians 4:7).


1. While Christ declares His readiness to bestow, He intimates the necessity of application. So does the Scripture throughout (Ezekiel 36:37). This at once consults the honour of God and the infirmity of man; leaving to God the glory of supplying our necessities, but constituting a test of our humility, faith, and obedience.

2. The efficacy as well as the necessity of prayer is pointed out. "He would have given" (Luke 11:13).

IV. ONE CAUSE WHY MEN NEGLECT THIS GIFT IS THEIR IGNORANCE RESPECTING IT. They know not its nature and value; nor their own need of it; nor the manner of obtaining it; nor Christ's power and willingness to impart it; therefore they make no inquiries about it. "If thou knewest."

1. Whence does this ignorance arise? not from want of opportunity, instruction, or capacity, but want of attention to revealed truth. Whatever excuse may be urged for the woman there is none for you.

2. This ignorance will not extenuate guilt (Isaiah 5:12, 13; Isaiah 27:11; Luke 19:44).

I. THE WOMAN'S IGNORANCE. Knowledge is acquired by few; ignorance is inherited by all.

1. She was ignorant of the Messiah with whom she was conversing. She saw the Jew, but not the Son of God; the weary man, but not the rest for weary souls; the thirsty, pilgrim, but not one who could quench the world's thirst; one who sent for provisions, not one whose meat and drink was His Father's will; a lonely person, but not one who had myriads of angels at His command.

2. She was ignorant of spiritual things. She mistook living water for running water. She asks for material and overlooks eternal things. Earth was all, and heaven nothing.

3. She was ignorant of the gift of God. She valued the well, but could only trace it to Jacob, not to God. God gives us all good gifts; some of them through our fathers, some through our own hands. All these must perish. One gift comes direct; that abides, even the Holy Spirit.


1. Progressive. The first impression was that He was a Jew; next she wanted to compare Him with Jacob; next He is a prophet; lastly the Messiah. Such was Christ's gradual unfolding of Himself to her.

2. Effective. They had their desired effect in spite of her efforts to thwart them. He touched her conscience, awakened her thirst for God, and gave Himself for its satisfaction, after continuous evasions.

3. Practical.


1. Christ was so blessed that He forgot His thirst.

2. The woman was so blessed that she forgot her pitcher. As heaven becomes clear we lose sight of earth.

(W. Griffith.)

One difficulty lay in the way of this woman's salvation — ignorance of Christ. She was not an uninstructed woman. She was acquainted with portions of Bible history. She was versed in sectarian peculiarities. She shared the hopes of the Jewish and Samaritan people. In this age there are hundreds who know something about everything save Christ. Our text speaks —


1. It informs that the gift is Christ Himself.

(1)In the eternal purpose;

(2)in promise;

(3)in history;

(4)in experience;

(5)the faith that receives Christ is a gift; and

(6)the eternal life in which it issues is a gift.

2. The definite article shows this to be God's gift beyond all others; the gift which comprehends and sanctifies all others.

(1)It is an unrivalled gift.

(2)It sweetens other gifts, and makes them effective.

(3)A most precious gift, because he who has it has, as the richest without it has not, the favour of God.

(4)If thou hast it, thou must prize it, because it is a token of thine everlasting salvation.

3. Knowledge is put with the gift.

(1)Till her eyes were opened Hagar could not see the well, nor can you see this gift of God.

(2)This knowledge is the gift of God. "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.

(3)This knowledge is personal, not second-hand, of a personal Christ.

II. IF thou knowest the gift of God, WHAT THEN?

1. It supposes that many have not this knowledge.

2. It suggests that all may know it, and that a great change will come over them.

(1)The unconverted would be much happier.

(2)The scoffer would become a sympathizer.

(3)The trifler would make the present moment his convenient season.

(4)Darling sins would be renounced for the greater sweetness of Christ.

(5)The very worst would hope, believe, and find mercy.

3. Every point in Christ's character, if known, would work good for us.

4. If we take a walk abroad, to how many could we apply the text, and its suggestions. If they knew the gift of God —(1) The working classes would spend their sabbaths differently.(2) The formal worshippers in churches and chapels would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.(3) The Christless preacher would abandon his eloquent flights, and declare the preciousness of Christ's salvation.(4) The ritualist would lay aside his robes, and confess the sinfulness of his priestly assumptions.(5) The sinner, dying without hope, would depart in joy and peace.

III. HOW DOES THE "IF" CONCERN BELIEVERS? There are tens of thousands who know now, "this gift. Is this your fault?

1. How shall they hear without a preacher?

2. Have you spoken so as to be understood?

3. If not, resolve that for the future no man shall perish for lack of knowledge through your fault.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Our Lord found many a topic of discourse in the scenes around Him. Even the humblest objects shine in His hands as I have seen a fragment of broken glass or earthenware, as it caught the sunbeam, light up, flashing like a diamond. With the stone of Jacob's well for a pulpit, and its water for a text, He preached salvation to the Samaritan woman. A little child, which He takes from its mother's side, and holds up blushing in His arms before the astonished audience, is the text for a sermon on humility. A husbandman on a neighbouring height, between Him and the sky, who strides with long and measured steps over the field he sows, supplies a text from which He discourses on the Gospel and its effects on different classes of hearers. In a woman baking; in two women who sit by some cottage door grinding at the mill; in an old, strong fortalice, perched on a rock, whence it looks across the brawling torrent to the ruined and roofless gable of a house swept away by mountain floods — Jesus found texts. From the birds that sung above His head, and the lilies that blossomed at His feet, He discoursed on the care of God — these His text, and providence His theme.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

A Christian lady was visiting a poor, sickly woman, and after conversing with her for a little she asked her if she had found salvation yet. "No," she replied, "but I am working hard for it." "Ah, you will never get it that way," the lady said. "Christ did all the working when He suffered and died for us, and made complete atonement for our sins. You must take salvation solely as a gift of free unmerited grace, else you can never have it at all." The poor woman was at first amazed beyond measure, and felt for the moment as if all hope had been taken from her; but very soon the enlightenment came, and she was enabled to rest joyously on Jesus alone.

Charles, Duke of Burgundy, being slain in battle by the Switzers at Nantz, anno 1476, had a jewel of very great value, which, being found about him, was sold by a soldier to a priest for a crown in money; the priest sold it for two crowns; afterwards it was sold for seven hundred florins, then for twelve thousand ducats, and last of all, for twenty thousand ducats, and set into the Pope's triple crown, where it is to be seen at this day. But Christ Jesus is of far more value, better than rubies, saith Solomon; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to Him. He is that pearl of great price which the merchant purchased with all that ever he had. No man can buy such gold too dear. Joseph, then a precious jewel of the world, was far more precious, had the Ishmaelitish merchants known so much, than all the balms and myrrhs that they transported; and so is Christ, as all will yield that know Him.

(J. Spencer.)

Mr. Miller spoke of dealing with a very intelligent young man, an engineer, at one of the meetings in the Temperance Institute. The sermon had been on the grace of God, and one of the illustrations that Mr. Moody used was very helpful to the young man. It was that of a teacher who offered his watch to various members of his class, who one after another declined to receive it, thinking that the teacher was only joking with them. Presently, however, a very little boy reached out his hand and took it. This anecdote threw light into the man's mind; he had no idea that salvation was so free, or that, in fact, it was open to every man to receive or refuse it.


1. Christ, in an especial manner, is the "gift" of God (John 3:16; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 9:15).(1) He is the chief fountain of salvation, both as the gift of God and living water.(2) An application to Him for this water arises from a knowledge of Him in order to which we must receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17).

2. But the Holy Spirit is rather intended because He —(1) Cleanses the soul from the guilt and pollution of sin (Ezekiel 36:25).(2) Refreshes the thirsty (ver. 14; John 7:37).(3) Is the only source of life to the dead in sins, and having quickened He makes them fruitful in righteousness (Isaiah 32:15-18; Isaiah 44:3, 4; Isaiah 51:3; Ephesians 2:9).


1. We are filthy, and need to be cleansed.

2. We are unhappy, and need to be refreshed.

3. We are dead, and need to be made alive.

4. We are barren, and need to be made fruitful.



1. It is to be had in Christ, not only as our God, but as our Brother.(1) It is procured for us by His death (John 16:7), and received on our behalf, in consequence of His resurrection and ascension (Psalm 68:18; Acts 2:33).(2) Hence He waits to bestow it on those who apply to Him (John 7:37; Revelation 21:6); and from this consideration we have great encouragement to ask Christ for it.

2. It may be had —(1) by all that are poor, and need it (Isaiah 41:17);(2) by all who thirst for it (John 7:37; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:17);(3) by all who come to Christ, "If any man thirst," said He, "let him come unto Me";(4) and by all who ask, "Thou wouldest have asked of Me."

3. Though it was purchased dear by Christ, He gave a great price that He might have a right to impart it to sinners, and that He might render them capable of receiving it, yet we may have it as a free gift, "without money and without price."


1. They know it not (John 14:17); neither its nature, value, nor necessity.

2. They know not Christ in the dignity of His person — in His great condescension and love — in the sufferings He endured that we might have this water — and as the fountain of it.

3. They do not apply, confess their need, nor ask its communication, or, if they ask, they do not ask aright, sincerely, earnestly, importunately, perseveringly, believingly, consistently.Application:

1. Ignorance, arising from an aversion to saving knowledge, and the love of sin, is no excuse (Isaiah 5:12, 13; Luke 19:44).

2. The state and danger of those who remain destitute of the sacred influence of the Spirit.

3. The duty and advantage of immediate and fervent supplication for it (Proverbs 1:22-28, 32).

(J. Benson.)

Water is the emblem of the Holy Ghost. All that is necessary to our life, and which has not died for us, is the emblem of the Holy Ghost. Breath, Light, Fire, Water: these are the figures which set Him forth. We need not dwell at any length upon the meaning of the words. Within us are great needs and deep thirsts which God only can satisfy: a thirst which grows within us by all else with which we seek to quench it. To know God; to rest in His love; to be led by His wisdom; to seek to please Him; to have His presence; to journey towards His house as our home — this is our rest, our peace, our satisfaction.

(Mark Guy Pearse.)

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