John 4:11
"Sir," the woman replied, "You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where then will You get this living water?
From Whence?J.R. Thomson John 4:11
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
Christian Character ForcefulG. Litting, LL. B.John 4:11-12
Conduits for the Water of LifeW. Perkins.John 4:11-12
Deep WellsN. L. Frothringham.John 4:11-12
Earthly and Spiritual BlessingsTrapp.John 4:11-12
Hero-WorshiVan Doren.John 4:11-12
Holy WaterC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:11-12
Human Expedients and Divine ProvisionT. Kidd.John 4:11-12
Jesus a SpringJohn 4:11-12
Life's Ever Springing WellC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:11-12
Life-StreamsR. Berser.John 4:11-12
Living WaterA. J. Parry.John 4:11-12
Living WaterDonald Fraser, D. D.John 4:11-12
Living WaterCanon Liddon.John 4:11-12
Living Water, or Vital ReligionJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:11-12
Man's Longings Satisfied by ChristJ. C. Jones, D. D.John 4:11-12
NothingVan Doren.John 4:11-12
Perinal SuppliesDonald Fraser, D. D.John 4:11-12
Religion a SpringJ. Watson, M. A.John 4:11-12
Riches UnsatisfyingH. W. Beecher.John 4:11-12
Salvation to be Received as a Free GiftD. L. Moody.John 4:11-12
Swinging Up into Everlasting LifeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:11-12
The Activity of GraceC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:11-12
The Best Happiness WithinJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:11-12
The Blessings of the GospelEvan Lewis, B. A.John 4:11-12
The BucketAbp. Trench.John 4:11-12
The ContrastJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:11-12
The Deceptive Character of This World's GoodSir S. Baker.John 4:11-12
The Difficulty of Arriving At TruthS. Clarke, M. A.John 4:11-12
The Freeness of Salvation and the Cost of the MeansJ. C. Jones, D. D.John 4:11-12
The Inward SpringG. H. Salter.John 4:11-12
The Longing for Unknown HappinessKnox Little.John 4:11-12
The Satisfaction WithinA. J. Parry.John 4:11-12
The SourceC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:11-12
The Spring of Living WaterA. Poulton.John 4:11-12
The Springing FountainA. Maclaren, D. D.John 4:11-12
The Unsatisfying Nature of Worldly ThingsJ. Spencer.John 4:11-12
The Water of LifeW. Jay.John 4:11-12
The Woman's First RejoinderG. Hutcheson.John 4:11-12
The Worth of the Water of LifeS. Hieron.John 4:11-12
True ReligionW. Griffiths.John 4:11-12
Unsatisfactory Nature of This World's GoodJ. Fawcett, M. A., J. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:11-12
Ver. 11 May be AffirmedJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:11-12
What May be Seen in the WellJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:11-12
Worldly Things UnsatisfyingJ. Trapp.John 4:11-12
Worldly Things UnsatisfyingThomas Brooks.John 4:11-12

A remark or inquiry sometimes suggests more than was intended by the speaker. Words often unconsciously imply far more than appears upon the surface. We have an instance of this in the question put to the Lord Jesus by the Samaritan woman. She only half understood what the Divine Prophet meant when he spoke of living water. And the inquiry, "From whence then hast thou that living water?" is suggestive of considerations most interesting and most serious.

I. IT IS A FACT THAT THE WORLD OBTAINS MANY AND GREAT BLESSINGS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. The living water is the emblem of personal, social, and general benefits which have been experienced through long centuries in virtue of the advent, the ministry, and sacrifice of the Son of man.

II. IT IS UNREASONABLE TO ATTRIBUTE THESE BLESSINGS TO ORDINARY, EARTHLY, AND HUMAN SOURCES. An examination of their quality proves them to be different from any, superior to any, which other teachers, other religions, provide. Every attempt to refer the blessings of Christianity to human origin has failed; either by depreciating the value of the streams or by exaggerating the virtue of the sources.

III. THE QUESTION IS THUS FORCED UPON REFLECTING MINDS, "FROM WHENCE?" There is a general desire to know the causes of great effects. And men have a special interest in a case which so nearly concerns themselves. There is no fear lest men should resign themselves to contented ignorance upon matters of so high moment. Agnosticism is self-condemned.

IV. THE ONLY SATISFACTORY ANSWER TO THIS INQUIRY IS, "FROM ABOVE!" The Divine origin of the sacred blessings procured by Christ for man is apparent from their nature. They are fraught with spiritual life and spiritual refreshment, such as this world cannot yield. It is apparent also from the abundance and perpetuity of these blessings. They come leaping up as from an exhaustless spring. They come falling down as in an unceasing shower. All other explanations fail. The world yields nought but an echo to the heart's eager cry, "From whence?" The true answer is that which revelation affords. The source of the spiritual blessings which Christianity confers upon mankind is heavenly and Divine. This reply is completely and forever sufficient. - T.

Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the Well is deep.
I. It is the property of natural men to take up spiritual things in a carnal way, and they are not able to discern grace till they have it; for, so doth this woman understand Christ, as if He were speaking of elementary water.

II. We are naturally enemies to our own good, for she reasons against this living water, as, in her judgment, impossible to be had or given.

III. We are also naturally so addicted to our own carnal sense, that we will believe nothing revealed by Christ further than we can see a reason or outward appearance for it; for she judged it impossible He could have living water, seeing He could not draw it out of that well, nor show a better.

IV. A chief deceiving principle, making men careless of truth and grace, is their pretence of antiquity and succession unto it, and their descent from religious progenitors; for she boasted Jacob was their father, who gave the well, and therefore slighted the offer of a better, as being well enough in her own conceit.

V. None are so ready to boast of antiquity and of interest in pious progenitors as those who have least cause so to do; for they were but heathens who had come in the room of Jacob's children, who had forfeited their right; and they were far from Jacob's spirit, who would satisfy their soul with that which only supplied his bodily necessity, and served his cattle as well as him.

VI. It is a notable injury done unto Christ to plead any antiquity or succession to it, in prejudice of Him or His truth, or to cry up any above Him; for it was her fault to cry up Jacob, and her interest in him, that she might slight Him and His offer: "Art thou greater than our father Jacob?" etc.

VII. Sobriety and a simple way of living. It is a notable ornament to grace in the godly; when nature, which is con. tent with little, is not overcharged with creatures, to the dishonour of God, abuse of the creatures, and prejudice of men's better state; and when men by their carriage declare that their bodies and flesh is not their best part, which they care most for, so much doth Jacob's practice teach us.

(G. Hutcheson.)

Our Lord's object was to bring the woman to seek salvation of Him. Our desire is the immediate conversion of all now present. The Samaritan woman accepted the Saviour upon the first asking. Many of you have been invited to Jesus many times — will you not at last comply? Our Lord aimed at her heart by plain teaching and home dealing — we will take the same course with our hearers. When His interesting emblem failed to reach her, He fell to downright literalism, and unveiled her life. Anything is better than allowing a soul to perish.

I. WE WILL EXPOUND THE PRECEDING TEACHING. The figure was that of living water in contrast to the water collected in Jacob's well, which was merely the gatherings of the surrounding hills — land-water, not spring-water.

1. Christ meant that His grace is like water from a springing well.

(1)Of the best and most refreshing kind.

(2)Living, and ministers life.

(3)Powerful, and finds its own way.

(4)Abiding, and is never dried up.

(5)Abounding, and free to all comers.

2. Furthermore, He intimated to the woman that —

(1)He had it. There was no need of a bucket to draw with.

(2)He had it to give.

(3)He would have given it for the asking.

(4)He alone could give it. It would be found in no earthly well.

II. WE WILL ANSWER THE QUESTION OF THE TEXT. In ignorance the woman,-inquired, "Whence then hast Thou that living water?" We can at this time give a fuller reply than could have been given when our Lord sat on the well. He has now a boundless power to save, and that power arises —

1. From His Divine nature, allied with His perfect humanity.

2. From the purpose and appointment of God.

3. From the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

4. From His redeeming work, which operated for good even before its actual accomplishment, and which is in full operation now.

5. From the power of His intercession at the Father's right hand.

6. From His representative life in glory. Now all power is delivered into His hand (Matthew 28:18).


1. Then He is still able to bless. Since He has this living water only from His unchanging self, He therefore has it now as fully as ever.

2. Then He needs nothing from us. He is Himself the one sole Fountain, full and all-sufficient for ever.

3. Then we need not fear exhausting His fulness.

4. Then at all times we may come to Him, and we need never fear that He will deny us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. With regard to THE INSUFFICIENCY OF REASON APART FROM REVELATION IN FATHOMING THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD. The name of Jehovah is "secret" or "wonderful," and so are all the problems which concern the human spirit and its relationship to God. The world, for 4,000 years deifying reason, strove to work out the solution. But "the world by wisdom knew not God" or man. But when reason fails, revelation, like rope and pitcher, fulcrum and lever, comes to our aid. In the Bible we have something to draw with, deep though the well may be.

II. WITH REGARD TO THE MYSTERY OF GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL DEALINGS. Many a sorrowing one has wailed out, "Thy judgments are a great deep," and there is nothing to gauge them in this imperfect world. But the hour will come when you shall have the needed appliance "In Thy light we shall see light."

III. With regard to THE UNVEILING OF THE FUTURE. With all the pain of its mystery is it not a mercy that the well is deep, and that we have nothing to draw with? But our greatest comfort is that it is not too deep for Him, and He is drawing up what will work together for good to those who love Him.

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





(Van Doren.)

Art Thou greater than our father Jacob?
p: —




(Van Doren.)

The ἀντλημα, here "bucket" of most of our early versions, must not be confounded with the ὑδρια, or "water-pot" (ver. 28). It is the situla, generally made of skin, with three cross sticks tied round the mouth to keep it open. It is let down by a rope of goat's hair, and may be seen lying on the curb-stones of almost every well in the land. We may suppose the woman to have held this in her hand while she talked with the Lord, and reminded Him that He had nothing of the kind.

(Abp. Trench.)

This well of the water of life is very deep, and we have nothing to draw with; therefore we must have our pipes and conduits to convey the same unto us; which are the Word of God preached, and the administration of the sacraments (John 5:25; John 6:63).

(W. Perkins.)

1. The well was so deep that it had already lasted a thousand and a half years. It was so deep that after as many more centuries have passed away it still exists. The neighbouring Sychar is no longer;but this spring rises as at the beginning as if to —(1) Show the perpetuity of Nature's simplest and purest gifts.(2) To teach how much longer lived is a single word of benevolent utility than conquests and empires.(3) How much more deserving to live is the good deed that hides itself, as it were, underground, and connects itself with an eternal source, than all the monuments of pride that are piled up to perish.

2. More enduring than that ancient fountain, and ever fresh as its drops, and deep as the wants of man, Christ's gospel gushed up among the fainting nations. And profound as it was, that was no reason why all should not come empty-handed; no need of anything to draw with but a sincere and earnest wish to be supplied. What had the world done to deserve it? What had it brought to secure it? It had done evil and brought nothing but its emptiness and insufficiency. This train of reflection may be carried further.

I. THE NATURE THAT WE SHARE IS DEEP. It would seem, if we were acquainted with anything it would be with this. We are perpetually observing it and acting it. And yet it is scarcely less beyond our perfect penetration than its Maker Himself. Whence we? What? Whither? Some navigator once struck the bottom of the Atlantic midway between its opposite shores; but who shall sound the soul of man? — so mean, so noble; so weak and mighty; so good and evil. What shall we draw with? With fellow-feeling and good-will. Enter with a generous sympathy into the joy and sorrow of others, and you shall know "what spirit you are of."

II. HUMAN LIFE IS DEEP. Its successive ages as they move along from infancy to decrepitude, its common concerns, sudden changes, inscrutable appointments, various fortunes, unavoidable accidents, bewilder us. What shall we draw with? We must bring a spirit of submission, a religious spirit. We may hang for ever over the abysses of our being, and only grow giddy. We shall survey it best when we look above it to that Almighty One by whom its whole mystic relations arc combined — "Our life is hidden in God." Through Him it must receive its interpretations.

III. RELIGIOUS TRUTH IS DEEP. Some have said that it is impossible to understand in the least so immeasurable a subject. I do not say how much we can absolutely know of God. But there is a capacity in us to be fully satisfied. Faith removes the worst difficulties by taking away every disposition of mistrust and resistance out of the heart.

(N. L. Frothringham.)


1. It has been an ancient complaint among philosophers that truth hath lain in so deep a pit that they have never been able to discover the bottom of it. The like complaint we meet with in Scripture (Job 28.; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Ecclesiastes 8:16).

2. This is true —(1) Of the knowledge of the works of God in the power of nature.(2) Of the works of God in the moral world (Psalm 72:2, 15; Jeremiah 12:1; Ecclesiastes 4:1).(3) Of practical duty itself.

3. This arises from the following facts:(1) There is necessarily in the nature of things themselves some difficulty, and in our understandings much imperfection. Some things are entirely above our capacities, and others we can only attain to by labour and study. Some things we can only know as probable at best. And those things which are most level to our understandings have at the bottom some subtle intricacies which limit the degree of our knowledge. In the clearest prospect there is a distance no eye can reach, and in the most intelligent parts of the works of God there is a depth which no finite eye can penetrate. But then these secrets are no part of that truth which it is necessary for us to know, and with care sufficient may be known of truth as is necessary to salvation.(2) Men perplex themselves by aiming at things not necessary to be known in regard to Christian practice, or at such degrees of knowledge as are not possible to be arrived at. Those persons are at a great distance who, while they have lost themselves in the labyrinth of an imaginary secret will of God, have neglected to obey His positive commands. Under this category come the Jewish doctors and the speculative philosophers and divines.(3) Prejudice and prepossession arising from custom of education and from men's depending on the opinion and authority of particular persons without examination.(4) The wickedness and perverseness of men, who for their own interests sometimes conceal it on purpose.


1. He must take care that he in the first place resolves to do the will of God, then he shall know of the doctrine (Psalm 25:14).

2. He must be firmly resolved never to be deluded into the persuasion of anything contrary to plain and evident reason, which is the truth of God's creation; contrary to the attributes of God, which are the truth of the Divine nature; or contrary to the eternal differences of good and evil, which are the truth and foundation of all religion in general. Had men kept to this "candle of the Lord," men even of the meanest capacities could never have believed —(1) Impossibilities such as transubstantiation, or contrary and unintelligible explications of true doctrines such as the subtle and empty speculations of the schoolmen, which are contrary to the truth of God's creation.(2) Nor that God absolutely decreed men to everlasting misery, which is contrary to the primary truth of the Divine nature.(3) Nor that cruelty and persecution should be set up for His sake, who came not to destroy but to save. Nor that any other wickedness should be made part of religion, which are contrary to the very foundation of religion.

3. He must diligently study Holy Scripture as the only authoritative guide in religion, so as to obey its plain precepts and believe its plain doctrines, and not be contentious or uncharitable about those he does not understand.

(S. Clarke, M. A.)

There is a tradition regarding one of the other sacred wells of Palestine — the Well of the Wise Men between Jerusalem and Bethlehem — that when the Eastern Magi had at one time lost the guidance of the mystic star, while stooping over this fountain they saw it once more reflected in its waters; forthwith it guided them to the place where the young child was — "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." True, at all events, is this beautiful tradition regarding God's providential dispensations. At times we lose the guiding star; it is swept from our firmament; we travel on in darkness, in our unpiloted way, led in our sorrowful musing to exclaim, "Where is now my God?" But when on our bended knees we stoop over the well — ay, often in our very darkest night of mystery and sadness — lo! the heavenly light reappears; we see the lost star of Providence mirrored in the fountain of salvation. The work and the love of Christ explain what is otherwise often inexplicable. God our Maker — God our Redeemer — giveth "songs in the night."

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

Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again
I. IN EVERY BREAST THERE IS A CRAVING AFTER HAPPINESS. "Who will show us any good?" There are many streams of human enjoyment; some lawful and having the favour of God upon them; some mean and unworthy. But even the best, apart from the infinite excellence, can give no permanent satisfaction. The finite — philosophy, rank, conquest, gold — can never satisfy that which was born for the infinite.

II. WHAT IS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THIS WORLD'S BROKEN CISTERNS? You cannot dislodge one object of earthly affection without the substitution of something better. Nature abhors a vacuum.

III. CHRIST DOES NOT CONDEMN MANY EARTHLY STREAMS OR FORBID THEM. The wants of our physical and social natures are co- ordinate with our spiritual. Jesus recognizes both, but says, "If you restrict your journeyings to the wells of human happiness you will not be satisfied. But I have a well of living waters."

IV. THE BELIEVER HAS AN INNER WELL IN HIS SOUL which makes him independent of earthly good. This source of lasting joy is ever full, and having access to it he may say, "Having nothing, yet possessing all things." Christ in us the hope of glory.

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

I. IS THE GIFT OF CHRIST. This fact is confirmed —

1. By reason. The evidences sup. plied by —


(2)the Bible, show that their origin is Divine. So does —

(3)A holy life.

2. By the Bible.

3. By the song of the redeemed in heaven. .This fact shows that —

(1)Christ's excellence is immense.

(2)Christ's compassion is great.

(3)Christ is worthy of all praise.


1. It cannot be destroyed by outward circumstances. In the cases of Job and Paul.

2. It will ever maintain its hold in man. Circumstances may take away every other gift, but not this.


1. It gives permanent satisfaction to the soul in this life — unlike the best other things.

2. It raises its possessor to perfect happiness in the future.


1. This is natural. God gives food, but we must eat: so God works in us what we have to work out.

2. This is reasonable.

V. PRODUCES THE SAME EFFECT IN EVERY HEART. Whoever he may be religion will give him satisfaction. This shows —

1. That it demands the reception of man universally.

(1)It is adapted to the world.

(2)It is what the world wants.

2. That it will one day secure universal order.

(W. Griffiths.)


1. The flow of water represents the spread of the gospel (Isaiah 35:6, 7; Isaiah 43:19, 20).

2. The influence of water on vegetation illustrates the power of religion on human life (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8).

3. The pleasant quietude of water represents the repose of soul which God affords (Psalm 23:2).

4. The quickening energy of water typifies the vivifying power of God's Spirit (Ezekiel 36:25).(1) No physical life without water, no moral life without religion.

(a)Vegetable and animal life are absolutely dependent on water.

(b)Water as an obstacle to terrestrial radiation saves our world daily from death.

(c)So in every way the life of the soul depends on Christ.(2) No physical cleanliness without water; no moral purity apart from Christ.

II. IS THEIR CONDITION OF PROFIT. "Drinketh." They are —

1. For all.

2. For all on one condition.

3. For all on the same condition — personal appropriation.

III. IN THE MEDIUM OF THEIR COMMUNICATION. "I shall give him." We are indebted to the sun for all water fit for use. The sun lifts the water of the sea in the form of vapour, and by its unequal heat in different sections of the air causes the vapour to descend in rain and dew. All our fresh water owes its origin to this. The impure compound of the sea passes through heaven's laboratory and descends fit for use. All the energies of the Spirit's life are passed beneath Christ's magic touch.

IV. IN THEIR PRACTICAL INFLUENCE. "In Him," etc. As the mountain is to water, so is a heart full of Christian sympathies to spiritual energies.

1. The water in dew and rain falls on the mountain; living things are refreshed, the land made fertile and beautiful; life made joyous.

2. The hills absorb the excess of moisture, the water percolating through the rock to inner caverns.

3. Thus when there is no rain or dew, and the heat is great, the mountain pours forth the stream it has treasured up to satisfy the wants of thirsty comers. So the child of God —

1. Receives.

2. Is blessed.

3. Gives and blesses others.

(Evan Lewis, B. A.)

You have been busy all the week with external things, let us now turn to the inner life. We make even our religion too much external — let us turn from ecclesiastical ceremonies and questions to the life of the soul. Spiritual life is —


1. It is not a principle dwelling in man naturally, to be brought out of obscurity. Man is dead in trespasses and sins.

2. It is not produced in men by their own efforts, through the imitation of good examples, early instruction or gradual reform.

3. It is the gift —

(1)Of the Father, for He hath begotten us again into a lively hope.

(2)Of the Son, through whose atoning sacrifice we receive it.

(3)Of the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us.

4. What is the practical lesson but that we must make our solemn appeal to the mercy of God for it? Justice awards death; grace alone can bring life.


1. "In Him." Unconverted men find it too much trouble to look after the inward life, but take an easier method and imitate its outward manifestation. In the churches are many Christians like the stuffed animals in a museum: there is no difference between them and the living except in the vital point. The invisible, but most real, indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes the difference between the sinner and the saint.

2. "In Him." It is a personal matter. The presence of life in fifty relatives is of no service to the fifty-first if he is dead. All religion that is not personal is void. All the virtue that adorned your ancestors will not save you. The water which Jesus gives must be in every one of us if we would be saved.

3. How fares it with thee? Suppose there were no chapels or churches or means of grace, wouldst thou still be a Christian?

III. A VIGOROUS AND ACTIVE PRINCIPLE. Not a stagnant pool, nor a stream gently gliding on, but a spring forcing itself upwards. Springs are in perpetual motion, and no known power can stop them.

1. If heaps of rubbish are piled upon them they will force a course for themselves. So grace can well up —

(1)Through a mass of ignorance — as in very uninstructed but very beautiful Christians.

(2)Through a mass of error — as in devout Roman Catholics.

2. Surrounding circumstances do not operate upon them as might be supposed. In frosty weather when the river is all ice the spring-head flows as ever. So a Christian may be placed in the worst circumstances, in an ungodly family, without the means of grace, but the inner life will not freeze.

3. This life passes through the severest ordeals and survives them — poverty, suffering, slander; over these the Christian triumphs.

4. Temptations threaten to destroy it; but let a man cast what rubbish he may into a living spring, the spring will purify itself and eject the filth, and so will the true Christian.

IV. A CONTINUAL AND EVERLASTING THING. Jesus might well have reminded the woman how many had gathered round that well and passed away, but there was the old well unchanged. So all the world may change, but the inward principle in the Christian does not decay. Some wells are drained dry by drought, or because some deeper well has taken away the supplies. But the Christian's spring never fails, because he has struck the main fountain. His life is hid with Christ in God.

V. PRE-EMINENTLY AND CONSTANTLY SATISFACTORY. He who has Christ in him, the hope of glory, is perfectly satisfied. He could not have been content with the whole world beside.

1. Learning would only have revealed his ignorance.

2. Fame would only have made him more ambitious.

3. Wealth would have bowed him down with avarice.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Suggests —

I. THE CONTINUAL FRESHNESS OF LIFE IN CHRIST'S DISCIPLES. The idea of a running brook is that of freshness, a cheerfulness that never grows dull, an unwearied energy.

1. We have not to go far before we see weary faces that tell us that life has lost its freshness and has become a dreary thing, like a stream whose course has been obstructed, when the water stagnates and cannot carry off the foul and decaying things which have accumulated.

2. This has not been because of evil intent, but because life has become so dull and wearisome that they have not cared to keep it fresh and pure.

3. Once these lives were pure and gladsome, but something has come down into them that has put a stop to it all.

4. What is the cure? Not by removing the log or boulder, but by increasing the flow so that the stream can pass over or by it, or sweep it away. So God deals not with our circumstances, but with ourselves. He augments our spiritual life that in the rush of the mighty torrent the obstruction is removed.

II. ALL THE MUSIC AND BRIGHTNESS OF THE BROOK ARISE FROM THINGS THAT WOULD PROVE OBSTACLES WERE IT WEAKER. The pebbles or boulders would alike stop the music and flow of the stream that was not large enough to pass them. So it is with us. If we have within us that spring that leapeth up into eternal life it will make music out of the very things that would otherwise have stopped our prayers. Out of the cares of life,the sudden shocks of misfortune, there shall be nothing but joyous song.

(A. Poulton.)

There are two kinds of wells, one a simple reservoir, another containing the waters of a spring. It is the latter kind which is spoken about here, as is clear not only from the meaning of the word in the Greek, but also from the description of it as "springing up." That suggests at once the activity of a fountain. A fountain is the emblem of motion, not of rest. Its motion is derived from itself, not imparted to it from without. Its silver column rises ever heavenward, though gravitation is too strong for it, and drags it back again. So Christ promises to this ignorant, sinful Samaritan woman that if she chose He would plant in her soul a gift which would thus well up, by its own inherent energy, and fill her spirit with music, and refreshment, and satisfaction.

I. First, CHRIST'S GIFT IS REPRESENTED HERE AS A FOUNTAIN WITHIN. Most men draw their supplies from without; they are rich, happy, strong, only when externals minister to them strength, happiness, riches. For the most of us, what we have is that which determines our felicity. Take the lowest type of life, for instance, the men of whom, alas! the majority, I suppose, every time is composed, who live altogether on the low plane of the world, and for the world alone, whether their worldliness take the form of sensuous appetite, or of desire to acquire wealth and outward possessions. The thirst of the body is the type of the experience of all such people. It is satisfied and slaked for a moment, and then back comes the tyrannous appetite again. And, alas! the things that you drink to satisfy the thirst of your souls are too often like a publican's adulterated beer, which has got salt in it, and chemicals, and all sorts of things to stir up, instead of slaking and quenching the thirst. And even if we rise up in a higher region and look at the experience of the men who have in some measure learned that a man's life "consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesses," nor in the abundance of the gratification that his animal nature gets, but that there must be an inward spring of satisfaction, if there is to be any satisfaction at all; if we take men who live for thought, and truth, and mental culture, and yield themselves up to the enthusiasm for some great cause, and are proud of saying, "My mind to me a kingdom is," though that is a far higher style of life than the former, yet even that higher type of man has so many of his roots in the external world that he is at the mercy of chances and changes, and he, too, has deep in his heart a thirst that nothing, no truth, no wisdom, no culture, nothing that addresses itself to one part of his nature, though it be the noblest and the loftiest, can ever satisfy and slake. If you have Christ in your heart then life is possible, peace is possible, joy is possible, under all circumstances and in all places. Every- thing which the soul can desire, it possesses. You will be like men that live in a beleaguered castle, and in the courtyard a sparkling spring, fed from some source high up in the mountains, and finding its way in there by underground channels which no besiegers can ever touch. The world may be all wintry and white with snow, but there will be a bright little fire burning on your own hearthstone. You will carry within yourselves all the essentials to blessedness. If you have "Christ in the vessel" you can smile at the storm.

II. Christ's gift is a springing fountain. The emblem, of course, suggests motion by its own inherent impulse. Water may be stagnant, or it may yield to the force of gravity and slide down a descending river-bed, or may be pumped up and lifted by external force applied to it, or it may roll as it does in the sea, drawn by the moon, driven by the winds, borne along by currents that owe their origin to outward heat or cold. But a fountain rises by an energy implanted within itself, and is the very emblem of joyous, free, self- dependent and self-regulated activity. "And so," says Christ, "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a springing fountain;" it shall not lie there stagnant, but leap like a living thing, up into the sunshine, and flash there, turned into diamonds, when the bright rays smile upon it. So here is the promise of two things; the promise of activity, and the thought of activity, which is its own law.

1. The promise of activity. Some of us are fretting ourselves to pieces, or are sick of a vague disease, and are morbid and miserable because the highest and noblest parts of our nature have never been brought into exercise. Surely this promise of Christ's should come as a true gospel to such, offering as it does, if we will trust ourselves to Him, a springing fountain of activity into our hearts that shall fill our whole being with joyous energy, and make it a delight to live and to work. It will bring to us new powers, new motives; it will set all the wheels of life going at double speed.

2. And there is not only a promise of activity here, but of activity which is its own law and impulse. There is a blessed promise in two ways. In the first place, law will be changed into delight. We shall not be driven by a commandment standing over us with whip and lash, or coming behind us with spur and goad, but that which we ought to do we shall rejoice to do; and inclination and duty will coincide in all our lives when our life is Christ's life in us. And then, in the second place, that same thought of an activity which is its own impulse and its own law suggests another aspect of the blessedness, namely, that it sets us free from the tyranny of external circumstances which absolutely shape the lives of so many of us.

III. The last point here is THAT CHRIST'S GIFT IS A FOUNTAIN, "SPRINGING UP INTO EVERLASTING LIFE." The water of a fountain rises by its own impulse, but howsoever its silver column may climb it always falls back into its marble basin. But this fountain rises higher, and at each successive jet higher, tending towards, and finally touching, its goal, which is at the same time its course. The water seeks its own level, and the fountain climbs until it reaches Him from whom it comes, and the eternal life in which He lives. We might put that thought in two ways.

1. The gift is eternal in its duration. The Christian character is identical in both worlds, and however the forms and details of pursuits may vary, the essential principle remains one. So that the life of a Christian man on earth and his life in heaven are but one stream, as it were, which may indeed, like sonic of those American rivers, run for a time through a deep, dark canon, or in an underground passage, but conies out at the further end into broader, brighter plains and summer lands; where it flows with a quieter current and with the sunshine reflected on its untroubled surface into the calm ocean, He has one gift and one life for earth and heaven — Christ and His Spirit, and the life that is consequent upon both.

2. And then the other side of this great thought is that the gift tends to, is directed towards, or aims at and reaches, everlasting life. The whole of the Christian experience on earth is a prophecy and an anticipation of heaven. Christ's gift mocks no man, it sets in motion no hopes that it does not fulfil; it stimulates to no work that it does not crown with success. If you want a life that reaches its goal, a life in which all your desires are satisfied, a life that is full of joyous energy, that of a free man emancipated from circumstances and from the tyranny of unwelcomed law, and victorious over externals, open your hearts to the gift that Christ offers you; the gift of Himself, of His death and passion, of His sacrifice and atonement, of His indwelling and sanctifying Spirit.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. HUMAN EXPEDIENTS of happiness. "Whosoever... thirst again."

1. Gross and dissipated pleasure brings disappointment and remorse.

2. In refined and intellectual pursuits "is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."

3. Business brings gain, but "they that will be rich fall into a snare," etc.

4. Leisure makes the hours hang heavily, is attended with satiety, and becomes a burden.

5. The conscience-stricken seeks a palliative in drowsy reflection or in resolutions and duties, but finds that he is compassing himself about with sparks that yield no warmth. All "broken cisterns" and "vanity and vexation of spirit."

II. DIVINE PROVISION. "Whosoever... shall never thirst," etc. This water, the saving grace of Christ, is —

1. Excellent in its nature. The property of water is to cool, cleanse, fertilize, and refresh; no element is so indispensable. The rich grace of Christ produces, maintains, increases, completes life and makes it immortal.

2. Divine in its origin. Seek it not in ordinances; they are only channels. Use them, but do not rest in them. Look to Jesus, the author and fountain of life.

3. Free in its communication. "Give." Nothing is more free than a gift. Why is the grace of Christ so free? Because —

(1)It is too precious to be bought.

(2)It is already procured by Christ.

(3)He must have all the glory.

4. Satisfying in its effects. "Shall never thirst" —

(1)Offer any other water, but he will ever thirst for this, and the more he receives the more he will crave.

(2)He shall be satisfied with the kind of food he finds, though not with the degree.

(3)These effects are not produced by hearing, but by receiving.

5. Constant in its supplies —

(1)Not only near, but in him. "A good man is satisfied from himself."

(2)A well, not a shallow draught, a scanty stream, or stagnant pool — denoting the plentiful effusion, the large abundance, the continued freshness, the glorious sufficiency of the grace of the Saviour.

6. Active in its operations. It is not given to be dormant, but to operate.

7. Eternally glorious in its results.


1. Some are ignorant and careless.

2. In some there is beginning of thirst.

3. Some have drunk. Then —

(1)Be thankful.

(2)Remember your constant need of Christ.

(3)Seek the salvation of others.

(T. Kidd.)


1. It must come to us as a gift. There is no suggestion —

(1)Of digging; it is freely handed to us.

(2)Of purchasing; it is presented without price.

(3)Of fitness. The woman was a sinner.The Divine life is not in us by nature, cannot be produced by culture, nor infused by ceremonies, nor propagated. Wisdom cannot impart it, nor power fashion it, nor money buy it, nor merit procure it; grace alone can give it.

2. It is a gift from Jesus. All its details are connected with Him: redemption, forgiveness, deliverance from the power of sin, instruction, example. He is our all in all.

3. It is a gift that must be received. When we drink water it enters into us and becomes part of us: even so must we receive Christ into our innermost self; not professing to believe in Him or admiring Him; but so trusting Him, loving Him, living in Him that He becomes one with us.


1. Grace relieves our soul thirst as soon as received. A man once startled from sinful indifference finds an "aching void" within him. He tries riches, but money cannot satisfy him; he seeks after knowledge, but study is a meanness; he dazzles his fancy with fame, charms his eye with beauty and his ear with music, but "all is vanity." But he who has received Christ has received at-one-ment with God, and God delights in him.

2. Grace continues to quench our thirst — though it strives to return it is always met by the well within.

3. This is a matchless blessing and averts a thousand ills. What should we have been without it?


1. It is "in Him." Here is a man trying to write poetry, but it is not in him, and it cannot come out of him, so he rhymes his nonsense, but a poet he never becomes; but if a man has it in him who can take it away? So with art and education. Much more with religion.

2. It is in him a well of living water, always there as an operative force as permanent as Jacob's well which was there in the patriarch's day, and is there now. True religion is like a well, because it is independent of surroundings and circumstances. In summer and winter does it flow. The pond overflows because there has been a shower of rain, but the deep well is full in the drought. So the believer is not exalted by wealth nor crushed by poverty.

3. It is a well that is springing and never ceases to flow. The great motives which set a believer working at first are as forcible in old age.

4. It springs up into everlasting life. Grace blossoms into glory.


1. Where did you get your religion? From your Father, or is it of your own manufacture?

2. What has your religion done for you? Has it quenched your thirst?

3. Does your religion abide with you or do you remove it with your Sunday hat?

4. Does your religion spring up within you by the energy of the Holy Spirit?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The incident shows —

1. The equal right of womankind to spiritual privileges.

2. The intellectual capacity of woman. The topics discussed were no less abstract than those talked over with Nicodemus.

3. Our Lord's mode of inculcating religious truth.

(1)From homely facts.

(2)Facts of which the hearers' minds were full at the time.

I. RELIGION TYPIFIED BY WATER. Water has three main uses.

1. Fertilizing. There is an inspiring power in the truths, motives, and enjoyments of religion, and tends to transform the man.

2. Purifying. Religion cleanses the character, sanctifies the life, destroys sinful habits, fosters pure thoughts, kindles holy feelings, and stimulates to holy conduct.

3. Thirst quenching. Religion meets the soul's aspiration for life by the promise of life everlasting; quenches its thirstings for happiness by giving it fellowship with God; meets its dissatisfaction with the world by opening before it heaven's joy.


1. Its activity is implied in its being a spring well, not a pool. Religion is a never-ceasing stream of influence. When it is still it stagnates and becomes foul, promotive of the worst qualities of human nature.

2. This activity is elevating and progressive in its effects. Water springs up into life in all it nourishes. In the tree it Supplies the roots with sap, which is water springing up into fruit and flower. The results of religion are growth in those moral qualities which live for ever in happiness.


1. Where it is within the man it exercises its power over his life apart from external influences and in spite of them. Men's moral characters must be moulded from within. External motives demoralize.

2. The comforts of religion, seeing they are within the man, are ever sure and uninterrupted. In ancient times when cities were liable to be besieged and all outside sources cut off, it was a matter of no small moment to have wells within the walls. This rendered the inhabitants more defiant of the enemy, seeing they were thus scarce of the necessaries of life.

(A. J. Parry.)

1. It is characteristic of John that this metaphor omitted in the other Gospels should be preserved by him.

2. This emblem of spiritual vitality was not new (Isaiah 12:3; Isaiah 41:17, 18; Jeremiah 2:13).

3. The prophetic Scriptures, however, were unknown to the woman, for the Samaritans only received the Pentateuch, and had she known them it is not likely that she would have caught their inner sense.

4. Christ is the true well of life. In Him all fulness dwells. What a claim to be made by the carpenter of Nazareth; either an unpardonable exaggeration or a witness to His Divinity.

5. The water drawn from Christ as the well is the Spirit of life He imparts.

6. The points of analogy are obvious.

(1)As the well was free to all comers, so is Christ free and accessible to all (Isaiah 55:1).

(2)As water is a necessary of life and has power to enliven the faint and refresh the weary, so the Holy Spirit is necessary to the interior life and able to restore the discouraged and revive the languid.

7. The point of contrast was that water from Jacob's well would give but temporary relief, because water imbibed is soon worked off or consumed in the waste of the system. But the living water is not spent or exhausted in the operation of the spiritual life. The Holy Ghost abides.

8. See how we have to do with the Christ without and the Christ within. As the woman had to go beyond the town to reach the well, so every one must go beyond himself and his whole social environment and come to Jesus. Then Christ enters the heart that has asked of Him and dwells there.

9. There ought to be increase of spiritual life. The inward well may be deepened and the stream have a more copious flow. Alas! how often is it choked and all but dried up with worldliness!

10. The career of Jesus is an example of life in the Spirit. How strong its current was is shown by His forgetfulness of His physical want when the opportunity came of opening spiritual things.

(Donald Fraser, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE GIFT. Spring water, i.e., Christ Himself the Life is His own gift.


1. Always fresh.(1) History is a storehouse of buried memories, some of which are galvanized into momentary life by antiquarians, but which soon die away since they belong to a past age and do not answer to our wants or correspond to our sympathies. But Christ's words spoken 1800 years ago have the same force and attraction as though they were novelties of yesterday. His actions, His life as a whole speak to the nineteenth century as to the first, provoking the same hostility, winning the same empire.(2) As He is in history, so He is in the soul. In that treasure house of the dead, amid all that is stagnant, all that belongs to the irrevocable past, all that bears the mark of change and corruption, there is for Christians one thought that is for ever fresh, one memory for ever invigorating, one tide of pure passion — Jesus.

2. A spring of water is in perpetual motion; so —(1) Christ, in history and in the soul, is ever different and yet the same. The sky presents the same outline of clouds on no two days; the sea, visit it when we may, never looks quite as it looked before. Yet they are the same. So Christ is to us what He was to our forefathers, and yet displays to each successive generation new aspects of His power and perfection: at the same time stability and progress.(2) He is the source of movement in the soul. He has set it moving, and keeps it moving — even the very intelligence that would drive Him from His throne; for His truths have moved the depths of our being, so that whether a man accepts them or not he cannot rest as though he had never heard them. Faculties dormant for years are stirred to meet Him, and He keeps them in motion by fresh aspects of His power and beauty.(3) In Christian theology. The Christian creed is said to be the stagnation of active thought. Undoubtedly it gives a fixed form to our ideas, so as to render superfluous the discussion of matters on which the light of Divine certainty has been thrown. But fixed thought is no more the antagonist of active thought than the rim of the well was hostile to the springing water.

3. Springing water fertilizes.(1) Christ is the great fertilizer of the soul of man — of(a) The intellect; for He made it capable of the productions of genius.(b) The affections. Family life in Europe is His work. His authority reflected in the Christian father, His tenderness in the Christian mother, His obedience in the Christian child.(c) The will; making it capable of new measures of sacrifice and heroism.(2) Christ is the fertilizer of nations, and without Him the civilization of Europe would be exchanged for the civilization of China or Japan.


1. Others have done great works —(1) Effecting vast changes on the surface of human life in founding empires, changing customs, laws, and languages.(2) Some have gone deeper — founding empires of ideas.

2. Christ has done more — more than the founding of a kingdom or of a philosophy; for a government may be hated while obeyed, a philosophy accepted without love. But Christ reigns and teaches in human hearts as a friend.

3. Hence Christians know the secret of man's dignity. Before Christ came the dignity of man as man was unknown. When He came He placed within the reach of emperor and slave the only ennobling gift — His presence and power within.

4. This gift is also the secret of the Christian's spiritual independence. If Christians were dependent on the things of sense, the world might crush it out. The world prescribed Christian worship, destroyed the Scriptures, but was powerless against the presence of the Divine Redeemer.

IV. ITS EFFECT. "Everlasting life." Without it man would not be happy in heaven.

(Canon Liddon.)

I. In its SOURCE.

1. It is a gift. Human nature is an arid desert, unproductive of a single drop of water.

2. It is a free gift. Water is one of the freest gifts of nature. You charge for milk, you give water. Christ gives liberally, and upbraids not. He is too rich to sell, we too poor to buy.

3. It is a free gift, which only Himself can give — not His apostles or their successors.

4. A free gift to whomsoever desires it. He has enough to quench the thirst of all mankind.

II. In its NATURE.

1. It is personal. Christian nations do not make Christian individuals, but vice versa The former one a great blessing, the latter a greater.

2. It is inward.(1) "Our life is hid with Christ in God"; that is, our objective or justification life.(2) God's life is hid with Christ in us; that is, our subjective or regenerate life.

3. It is Divine — the same in kind as in God. "All my springs are in Thee."


1. It is active. It varies in feeling; but let us not forget that it is first principle — a well of water, not necessarily hot water. You may adopt means to make it hot, but hot or cold it is water all the same.

2. It is cleansing.(1) Hercules turned a river through the filthy Augean stables; Christ turns the river of Divine grace into the sinner's heart. Springs in soft soils carry up particles of sand in order to carry them away. So grace, as it bubbles up in the heart, disturbs the sands of defilement.(2) It cleanses society, and has washed away unnameable sins, and will go on with the work of refinement till the face of the earth is made like the face of heaven.

3. It is satisfying (Psalm 36:8).


1. It is aspiring. Christianity is aspiring, but not satiating, not inconsistent with hope and effort. The believer wants nothing but God, but more of Him.

2. It will at last reach everlasting life. The life implanted in regeneration will continue for ever.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

I. ITS DONOR. Yonder poor man who asks for refresh-ment —

1. Professes to have this water.

2. Is able to supply it.

3. Was appointed to give it.

4. Has the disposition to do so.

5. Has never denied it.


1. The internal principle of religion is not to be opposed to external practice: works must evidence experience.

2. Yet Divine things must be known and felt before they can govern us. God begins with the heart.

3. The religion of some people is all external.(1) That of some depends on external occurrences, like a stream produced by a storm instead of being supplied by a spring. Sickness, poverty, etc., make some men religious for a time.(2) That of others consists in external performances. Obedience is not enjoyed as their meat, but as their medicine.(3) The religion of a third is found in their connections. They leave it to their ministers or parents to think for them.(4) The religion of a fourth is all in Christ. They ridicule the very notion of a work of grace in us.


1. Real Christians are everywhere represented as active — husband-men, reapers, warriors, racers.

2. The design of the gospel is to produce a people zealous for good works.

3. The graces of the Holy Spirit are not dormant, but active.

4. All the images of the gospel imply the same thing — leaven, fire, force of vegetation.


1. It weans us from the world.

2. It sets our affections on things above.

3. It promotes the heavenly life below.

(W. Jay.)

"We have an idea of happiness," says a great French writer, who has bequeathed, as a legacy, the stray but profound imaginings of his mind about God — "we have an idea of happiness, and yet we cannot grasp it; we are conscious of an image of the true, yet we possess only the false. There is an ignorance; yet not absolute. There is a knowledge; yet not certainty." Yes. We are always haunted by a memory or stimulated by a hope. We are always looking after something; we hardly know what it is.

(Knox Little.)

Very few men acquire wealth in such a manner as to receive pleasure from it. Just as long as there is the enthusiasm of the chase they enjoy it; but when they begin to look around, and think of settling down, they find that that part by which joy enters is dead in them. They have spent their lives in heaping up colossal piles of treasure, which stand, at the end, like the pyramids in the desert sands, holding only the dust of kings.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As a cup of pleasant wine offered to a condemned man on the way to his execution; as the feast of him who sat under a naked sword hanging perpendicularly over his head by a slender thread; as Adam's forbidden fruit, seconded by a flaming sword; as Belshazzar's dainties overlooked by a handwriting against the wall: such are all the empty delights of the world — in their matter and expectation, earthly; in their acquisition, painful; in their fruition, nauseous and cloying; in their duration, dying and perishing; in their operation, hardening, effeminating, leavening, puffing up, estranging the heart from God; in their consequences seconded with anxiety, solitude, fear, sorrow, despair, disappointment.

(J. Spencer.)

He that seeks to satisfy his lusts goes about an endless business. "Give, give!" is the horse-leech's language. The worldling hath enough to sink him but not to satisfy him.

(J. Trapp.)

I have read a story of a man whom did feign to be in prison. "Oh," saith he, "if I had but liberty, I would desire no more!" He had it; and then cried, "If I had enough for necessity, I would desire no more." He had it; and then cried, "Had I a little for variety, I would desire no more." He had it; and then cried, "Had I any office, were it the meanest, I would desire no more." He had it; and cried again, "Had I but a magistracy, though over one town only, I would desire no more." He had it; and then sighed, "Were I but a prince, I would desire no more." He had it; and then sighed, "Were I but a king, I would desire no more." He had it; and then cried, "Were I but an emperor, I would desire no more." He had it; and then exclaimed, "Were I but emperor of the whole world, I would then desire no more." He had it; and then he sat down with Alexander, and wept that there were no more worlds for him to possess. Now, did any man come to enjoy what he is said to desire, it would be but a very mean portion compared with God.

(Thomas Brooks.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THIS WATER CHRIST GIVETH. The gifts and graces of the Spirit (John 7:38, 39).

1. The gift of regeneration to become God's child.

2. The gift of faith to believe God's promises.

3. The gift of obedience to do God's will.

4. The gift of prayer to seek God's presence.

5. The gift of comfort to endure God's trials.

6. The gift of strength to hold out and continue God's servant.


1. Able (Psalm 36:9; Zechariah 13:1; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:3).

2. Willing (Matthew 11:28; John 7:37; Revelation 22:17; Isaiah 55:1).


1. By the preaching of the Word.

2. By the sacraments.

3. By prayer.

IV. THE PARTIES TO WHOM CHRIST WILL GIVE THIS WATER. Those wire thirst (Isaiah 4:1; Matthew 5:6; John 7:27; Revelation 22:18). If there be no thirsting, there shall be no refreshing.

V. THE BENEFIT OF ENJOINING THE WATER. Never thirst, because the fountain is never dry.


1. A clear sight of thine own soul's estate.

2. Purity of heart.

3. Satisfaction in Christ.

(S. Hieron.)

Many years ago, when the Egyptian troops conquered Nubia, a regiment was destroyed by thirst in crossing this desert. The men, being upon a limited supply of water, suffered from extreme thirst, and deceived by the appearance of a mirage that exactly resembled a beautiful lake, they insisted on being taken to its banks by the Arab guide. It was in vain that the guide assured them that the lake was unreal, and he refused to lose the precious time by wandering from his course. Words led to blows, and he was killed by the soldiers whose lives depended on his guidance. The whole regiment turned from the track and rushed towards the welcome waters. Thirsty and faint, over the burning sands they hurried; heavier and heavier their footsteps became, hotter and hotter their breath, as deeper they pushed into the desert, farther and farther from the lost track where the pilot lay in his blood; and still the mocking spirits of the desert, the affects of the mirage, led them on, and the lake, glistening in the sunshine, tempted them to bathe in its cool waters, close to their eyes, but never at their lips. At length the delusion vanished; the fatal lake had turned to burning sand. Raging thirst and horrible despair! the pathless desert and the murdered guide! lost! lost! all lost! Not a man ever left the desert, but they were subsequently discovered, parched and withered corpses, by the Arabs sent in search.

(Sir S. Baker.)

A striking proof we have of this is the example of Solomon, who, with every advantage, made the experiment what earth and earthly things could do to satisfy the soul of man. Whichever way he turned, and in whatever quarter he inquired, he found that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. If he thought to prove his heart with mirth, and to enjoy pleasure, this also was vanity; so that he was forced to say of laughter, "It is mad," and of mirth, "What doeth it?" If he increased his goods, and gathered silver and gold, he found what the experience of all ages has confirmed, that he who loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase — this also was vanity.

(J. Fawcett, M. A.)The most renowned of earthly conquerors seated himself by that well. He brought the monarchs of the world to be his drawers of water; each with his massive goblet going down for the draught, and laying the tribute at the victor's feet. But the tears of the proud recipient have passed into a proverb; and if we could ask him to translate these dumb tears into words, his reply would be, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again."

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

There is an Eastern legend which says that there was a fair fountain by which an angel once rested, and in a favoured hour he infused into it a mysterious power, so that if only some drops of its water were scattered in a barren plain a fountain would spring up; and thenceforth any traveller who came to the spring might, after refreshing himself, take some water from it, and carry with him on his journey the secret of unfailing springs, and might suffer no fear of thirst. And is not the water which Christ gives like that, only it is given by the Lord of angels?

(Donald Fraser, D. D.)

The Son of God gives living water — first, by giving Himself to redeem the world which was pining away in death; and secondly, by making the life which is in Him for the redeemed, to be, through the Holy Ghost (Romans 8:2), a happy, blessed life in them. In the beginning life was in Him (John 1:4); and this life-stream of the eternal Word, which forth from Paradise flowed through this world's dark valley of death, until its whole fulness was collected in the flesh of the Son of Man — this life-stream will never dry up, but will ever become deeper and broader (Ezekiel 47.); in the kingdom of grace, imparting grace for grace to all who drink thereof for their healing from sin and death, and in the paradise of the new, glorified earth, refreshing the perfected saints with rapture for ever and ever (Revelation 22:1-17).

(R. Berser.)

Dr. Adam Clarke once preached on the words, "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." At the conclusion of the discourse he announced a collection. "How can you, Doctor," asked a lady afterwards, "reconcile the freeness of the water of life with the collection at the close"? "Oh, madame," answered the learned and venerable divine, "God gives the water without money and without price; but you must pay for the water. works, for the pipes, and the pitchers which convey the water to your neighbourhood." Remember, you pay nothing to God; you are charged nothing for the water; but you cannot have convenient chapels to sit in without paying for them, nor a regular ministry to urge the water on your acceptance, without making a suitable provision for its support.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

I visited two lakes not far apart in a mountainous district of North Wales, namely, Bala and Arenig. Having noticed that one was somewhat muddy and discoloured whilst the other was beautiful and clear, quite transparent down to its bed, where the eye could distinctly see the fishes flitting to and fro, I asked my companion what might be the reason for this difference. He replied, Bala Lake, whose waters are discoloured, is replenished by streams which flow into it, and which bring with them the soft and debris they gather up in their course down the hill-side and through the alluvial earth. But the Arenig, whose water is so beautifully transparent and placid, is supplied by springs bubbling up within its own bosom; hence they bring with them no defiling elements. Herein I found a parable. The motives which are supplied by the world — its pride, its wealth, its fashion, and fame — are corrupt, and as they enter the mind they pollute it. But those supplied by religion, which is a well-spring within, are pure in themselves and purify the whole man.

(A. J. Parry.)

Here the fountain is within, the streams of happiness have their source in the heart itself, they do not flow to a man from without, but spring up in his own happy breast. A good man, it is written, shall be satisfied from himself; he is not happy because his corn and wine and oil are increased; but because God lifts up upon him the light of His countenance, and fills him with joy and peace in believing, so that he abounds in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. He despises not the earthly comforts which God gives him, nor does he turn austerely from them. Nay, he enjoys them with double relish as the gifts of a reconciled Father, and eats his meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God. The joys of friendship and social intercourse, and the charities of domestic life, he can taste too as well as others, and has them of a purer and more exalted kind. But still his best happiness is from within, a peaceful conscience, a pure heart, a firm trust in God, a freedom from anxious care and covetous desire, love of the brethren, the delight of doing good, patience in adversity, and the hope of eternal glory.

(J. Fawcett, M. A.)

If you look over the dreamy aspirations of the Ancient and Middle Ages, you will find that they resolve themselves into two — a thirst for the elixir of immortality, and a longing for the philosopher's stone. The elixir was believed to possess the power to impart immortality to man, and the stone to possess the power to convert all baser metals into pure gold. The elixir was to set me right, the stone to set my circumstances right. But I need not remind you that the alchemists could neither concoct the one nor discover the other. Notwithstanding all their efforts, man remained both mortal and indigent. But these, like all other deep longings of our nature, are met and satisfied in Christianity. Christ gives to man "the white stone with the new name" — this is .the real Philosopher's Stone, and it will set our circumstances right by and by. He also gives us the Water of Life, which is the genuine Elixir of Immortality, and will render our persons really and truly immortal.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

Water, by a well-known law of hydrostatics, never rises above its own level; and so the best of earthly joys and rills of pleasure can rise no higher than earth: they begin and terminate here. But the living water with which Christ fills the soul, springing from heaven, conducts to heaven again. Flowing from the Infinite — flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, from the city of the crystal sea — it elevates to the Infinite. It finds its level in the river of the water of life which flows in the midst of the celestial Paradise. And just as on earth, so long as our mighty lake-reservoirs are full of water and the channel unimpeded, the marble fountain in street or garden, sends up, on the gravitation principle, its crystal jets in unfailing constancy; so (with reverence we say it) never shall these fountains of peace and joy and reconciliation and hope cease in the heart of the believer until the mighty reservoirs of Deity are exhausted; in other words, until God Himself ceases to be God. Everlasting life is their source, and everlasting life is their magnificent duration. We have witnessed the memorable and interesting spot at the roots of Mount Hermon, familiarly known as "the sources of the Jordan." There, the river of Palestine is seen bubbling out of a dark cave, and thence hastens on through its long tortuous course to lose its waters in the Sea of Death. That is the picture and illustration of every stream of earthly happiness. They terminate with the grave. But this inner fountain in the hidden man of the believer's heart flows onward to the Sea of Life; and the hour which terminates the worldling's happiness only truly begins his.

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

A little girl who had been instructed in a Sunday School in the country was very fond of her Bible. There was a spring at a small distance from her cottage, from which the family supplied themselves with water. Her father had noticed that she was sometimes longer than necessary in going to the spring. One day he followed her unperceived, and observed her set down the pitcher and kneel to pray. He waited till she arose, and then, coming forward, said, "Well, my dear, was the water sweet?" "Yes, father," said she; "and if you were but to taste one drop of the water I have been tasting, you would never drink of the waters of this world any more." "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him," says Jesus, "shall never thirst."

When you were children, as you went along through the park, has your eye been attracted by a tiny jet of water springing up among the green grass? You said, "It is a spring!" And then, because you had nothing to do in those happy days, you said, "I will cover it up, and keep the spring down." You have gathered leaves and earth and stones, and built a compact house, and said, "No more water from that poor spring will ever get out of that prison." By and by the earth loosened and fell and crumbled away before the irresistible stream of gentle water.

(J. Watson, M. A.)

A great many people are looking at their feelings; a great many people are looking at themselves. Do not be looking at your feelings, but look at heaven. Suppose a man who had been in the habit of meeting in the street one whom he had known for years as a beggar, and were to see him to-night with a nice suit of clothes on, and were to accost him with, "Hullo, beggar," and he were to answer, "Don't call me a beggar; I am no beggar." "But are you not a beggar?" "No, sir, I am not a beggar." "What is the reason you are not a beggar?" "Why, I was sitting there to-day, and I put out my hand and asked a man to give me something. A gentleman came along, and put five thousand dollars right into my hand." "How do you know it is good money?" "I took it to the bank." "How did you get it?" "I put my hand out, and he just put it in my hand." "How do you know it is the right kind of a hand?" "Oh, pooh, what do I care what kind of a hand it was?"

(D. L. Moody.)

A gentleman relates that he was one morning riding along a new road, where he saw the road-makers hard at work blocking up a little spring which kept gushing out in the road they were making. They put in earth and stones, and beat them down, to choke the fountain, and then rolled the roller up and down to make the road solid. So they worked and worked away, and contrived to keep the spring under during the day. But at night, when the traveller returned, the little spring, which had been hindered, but not destroyed, was at work again, dislodging the stones, throwing out the dirt, and scooping for itself a channel. So it is often with God's children.

(G. Litting, LL. B.)

His lips water not after homely provision that hath lately tasted of delicate sustenance.


I tell you the living spring cannot be stayed in its action. If you have a cistern-full of water it will be quiet enough, but if it be a spring it is for ever seething, bubbling, gushing.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Christian has a fens perennis within him. He is satisfied from himself. The men of the world borrow all their joy from without, and, like gathered flowers, though fair and sweet for a season, it must soon wither and become offensive. Joy from within is like smelling the rose on the tree — it is more sweet and fair, and, I must add, it is immortal.

(G. H. Salter.)

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