• Stephen Hill

The well is within us - John 4 (an excerpt from my upcoming book on John's gospel)

The gift of living water, which springs up eternally from the inside, is the Father’s response to an inaccessible well and a vessel that is impossible to purchase. The gift of the Father’s love in the human heart is continual and it slakes the thirst from within. Living water, bubbling constantly from within, dispenses with the need to keep coming to the well. The New Covenant internalises the line of supply so that all the answers to human desperation come with the indwelling Spirit…

…”Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 13, 14)

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. They will be thirsty because they are drinking from a well that comes from a father who is not eternal. The source of eternal water, the water that gives life which flows from the innermost being, is the source of all. That Source is the Father of Jesus. Drinking from the well of “our father Jacob” has a definite limit, but drinking from the well issuing from our heavenly Father is limitless. In fact, all the other fathers are invited to draw from that well too.

“The water that I will give him.” This is the water that Jesus Himself drinks from. Jesus drinks from the bottomless well of the Father’s love. He gives to us out of what He receives.

“…will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus the Son, activates in us the spring of eternal life by giving of the water that is within Him. He takes the spring of clear water which eternally bubbles in His own heart and puts it into us. It is the water of life, the one life, and the only life which sustains everything. It is the God-life. From His Spirit, Jesus puts that God-life into our spirits and that life has its own innate energy. Receiving living water from Jesus connects you to the Source of the living water, His Father.

We must go inwards to find the living water. There is a movement in this passage from an external source of water to an internal source of water. This is what is happening in Church history at this time. For many centuries, Christians generally have looked to external sources to quench spiritual thirst. The revelation of the Father brings with it a revelation of the Spirit who indwells. Old Covenant revelation does not go any further than a Spirit who acts externally but the New Covenant Spirit lives and acts from inside the believer.

When we look within, we will find that the spring of life is bubbling up from the deepest place. The Holy Spirit within us is pouring out the love of God. Deep in the depths of my heart and your heart, is the Source. It is not originating in us; rather it is the love of God poured out into our spirits by the Spirit who cries “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:11). “The Spirit himself bears witness that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16).

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