3 March 1957, at
For our consideration this
morning, I am going to turn you to several passages of
Scripture. Firstly, in the gospel by John in chapter 4 at verse
10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift
of God, and who it is that said to thee, Give me to drink; thou
wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living
Verse 14: "But whosoever
drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of
water springing up into everlasting life."
Now will you turn to chapter
7, from verse 37: "In the last day, that great day of the feast,
Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come
unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath
said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this
spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should
Now to the last book of the Bible, the book of
the Revelation, chapter 21, at verse 6: "And he said unto
me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I
will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of
Chapter 22, verse 1: "He shewed me a
pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of
the throne of God and of the Lamb." Verse 17: "And the Spirit and
the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let
him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the
water of life freely."
I expect that if you were asked what all
those Scriptures are about, you would say that they are all about
water. But that would be only half the truth, and really that is
not what the Scriptures are about, although they all speak about
water. It is not any kind of water that they are speaking about.
If you look again you will find that in every case, it is called
the water of Life. It is called Living Water. Now there is all the
difference between Living Water and another kind of water.
You know very well that in this country,
as in many parts of the world, water can be quite fatal. It can be
water which has disease and impurity in it and results in death.
Therefore you are very careful about the water that you drink
because there is water that is not living water that results in
There are other parts of the world where
the water is without a living element in it. Perhaps you don't
know much about that kind of water in this country, but if you
went to a country where there is very much snow and the water is
so often frozen, you will find the people in those countries
suffering from a special kind of disease. It is a disease which
affects the throat and it is because the vital element in the
water has been killed. To avoid that particular disease, they have
to put something into the water, because it is dead water and they
have to make it alive. Now, that is what all these Scriptures are
about. They are not talking about ordinary water, but they are
recognizing the fact that there may be water, but not living
water, so they are really speaking about Living Water.
Now we all know that water is a matter
of life. We are so made that we must have water for our
constitution. We can go longer without food, than we can go
without water. So we must have water for life.
In a very real sense water means life
for people. It is that which you live upon that makes a very great
deal of difference with this people. You see, that is what the
Lord Jesus was saying to this woman of Samaria. She came day by
day to the well of Jacob to draw water. She had to do it every day
of her life because that water never really satisfied; she did not
take a drink of that water and then never thirst again. Her thirst
returned again with every day and what we know about her in that
chapter indicates that that was the kind of life that she had. She
was a woman who had tried to find satisfaction in this world. I
think it is very wonderful that the Lord Jesus came that way.
We know that the Lord Jesus was always
led by the Holy Spirit in what He did and where He went, and we
should be right in believing that that morning He had asked that
He should be led that day. I think He would have prayed to His
Father something like this: "Father, do lead Me today so that if
there is anyone in need, I shall be brought where they are, or
they will be brought to where I am." He had started the day like
that and so He came on His journey and we are told that He had to
pass through Samaria.
He was very tired and He came to a well
and, being weary from His journey, He sat on the well while His
disciples went into the city to buy food. And while He was sitting
there, a woman came toward the well. God knew all about that
woman, He knew her life, and He knew that she was all the time
seeking for satisfaction and could not find it. And in His great
mercy He led her to be in touch with His Son. The prayer of the
Lord Jesus was answered then, and He spoke to her about Living
Water and He said that this Living Water would so satisfy you that
you would never again have to draw from the well. He said, "This
water that I shall give will be a well inside of you. You have
proved that the world never satisfies. I can give you complete and
perfect satisfaction inside of your own heart."
Now, that is all very simple and I
expect most of you are saying, "Well, we know all about that, all
that is what our Christian life really means..." but I am saying this
because I have something more in mind. You see that in our reading
we passed from chapter 4 to chapter 7. Jesus had said to the woman
that he that believes on Him shall have a well of water inside.
There would be inside of him water that he could draw upon every
day, that which would be a full supply inside of Him for all his
But when you move to chapter 7, you have
another aspect of this. Jesus does not say there that whoever
believes in Him will have a well of water there. He said, "He that
believeth, out of him shall flow rivers of living water." Now do
you see how the first leads to the second? You cannot give to
others what you haven't got in yourself. If rivers of Living Water
are to flow out to others, then you must have it in yourself
So John 4 relates to our own personal experience of the Lord and
chapter 7 relates to our service for the Lord. Now I
want to say this very simple thing. These are things which the
Lord Jesus Himself said; He definitely said that whosoever
believes on Him would have a well of water inside. It would be
Living Water inside of him, he would have the Water of Life within
like a well and that is a real challenge to us. We have come to
the Lord Jesus. We have received the forgiveness of our sin, we
have received assurance that we shall not come into judgment, we
have received assurance that we shall go to heaven, but do we
really know what this means, to have a well of water within?
We have seen that Jesus was speaking
about the Holy Spirit, "This spake He of the Spirit, which they
that believe on Him should receive." So that the Lord Jesus in the
very first place is saying that you shall have the Holy Spirit
dwelling in you and the Holy Spirit in you will be like a well and
an inexhaustible source of Life. There would be Life in you. In
the first place, you will be fully satisfied in your life. You
will not want to go anywhere else for Life. You have got the
answer to all your questions.
Triumphant Over Death
Now in your own heart, you know what it
is to have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within. You know this
is a very great thing. You think of what this must have meant to
this woman of Samaria. I take it that she was not a very young
woman. Jesus told her that she had had five husbands and now she
had got someone for the sixth but he was not her husband. All that
indicates that she was not young in life, but that she had tried
again and again and again to find satisfaction and death had
robbed her of all satisfaction five times. Five times death had
come into her home and taken away her husband.
You see, death had spoiled all her hope
of satisfaction. This is a woman who had tried everything to find
satisfaction and she was a disappointed woman and was disappointed
with life. I think this must be indicating what happens at the
end. You remember that after she had received the words of the
Lord Jesus and had come to some understanding of her experience I
think, she rushed back into the city and she said, "Come! See a
man that told me all that I ever did. Is not this the Christ?" And
then we read that they all ran out to see Jesus and they listened
to Him and then they turned to the woman and they said, "Now we
believe, not because of what you have said, but we have seen Him
Now, it seems to Him to be quite evident
that all in that city knew about this woman. They all knew what a
disappointed life that was and if a woman like that could find
satisfaction, well we will all go and see where she got it. If a
person like that can find what she needs, then there must be
something in it. You see, she had a testimony because she had the
Life within. She had great influence with others, others were able
to look at her and say, "Well, you have got something and you have
got what we need. Do tell us where we can get it!" That is the
simple beginning of the Christian life.
You see, first of all, the woman
received the well of Life within and then it began to flow like
rivers out of her to others and they came into Life through her.
This is first of all our experience, and then it is our service.
They are two sides to one thing. You see, the one side of this is:
He that believeth. Jesus used those words in both cases.
"He that believes" firstly has the well
within and the same person shall have rivers of Living Water
flowing from within. These are not two Christians. This is the
same person and we have to ask ourselves this morning, "Is this
true of me? First of all, can I say that I know what you mean when
you talk about the well of water within, that I know what you mean
when you speak about Living Water welling from within?"
I know the great change from the dead
water of this world to the Living Water inside. Every Christian
ought to be able to say, "I know what you mean, and I know that
that is my experience." But every Christian ought also to know the
meaning of the second thing; it is not another Christian, it ought
to be the same Christian that has rivers of Living Water flowing
out of him so that other people are coming to find what they have
found through you. These are Living Waters that should be going
out from us to others. Wherever we go, we ought to leave Life
Jesus Christ's Work
Now I am going to go a little deeper
into this matter. I am going to take an illustration in the Old
Testament. I suppose that all of you know the story of Jericho. I
will not stop to remind you of how Jericho was destroyed, but when
that great city had been destroyed, a curse was pronounced upon it
and this is how the curse went, "Cursed be the man who buildeth
this city again." A curse was put upon that city. Now many years
afterward, the city was rebuilt and then we come to the days of
the prophets and we all know about the prophet Elisha.
One day the men from Jericho went to the
prophet Elisha and said, "The position of this city is good, but
there is something wrong with the water. We put all our work into
the ground, we laboured that the trees might bear fruit and the
trees grow. And the fruit begins to appear and then suddenly
before the fruit gets ripe, it all falls to the ground. All our
labour is in vain. We never get any ripe fruit from our trees and
it is because there is something wrong with the water. The water
is dead and it is not living."
Well, I need not tell you what Elisha
did, but what I just said illustrates what this is. You see, there
is a curse that rests upon this creation. When Adam sinned God
said, "The ground will be cursed because of you." And from that day
to this, there is a curse resting upon this whole creation.
How do we know that there is a curse
upon this creation? Well, our woman of Samaria is an illustration.
It does not matter how much you do, you never find satisfaction in
this world. You spend your life, you use all your energy, you do
everything, and then death comes and that is the end of it all.
You never come into the full reward of all your labour. There is a
curse upon everything. No one in this world ever comes to full
This world is like those trees of
Jericho; the men put all their strength into the ground, they put
all their intelligence into trying to cultivate their fruit. They
saw the fruit begin to come out and they were full of hope and
expectation. They said, "Now we are going to get something: the
reward for our labour!" and all the fruit fell to the ground. It
was good for nothing. That is this world. It does not matter what
you do in this world, it all ends in disappointment. The men who
have put all into this life have met in disappointment.
We look at that little hill outside of
Jerusalem and we see someone hanging upon a cross. We know who it
is that was crucified there and we look into our New Testament to
see why He was crucified. Why was that young life of only 33 years
cut off like that? You see, He was in the very prime of life.
There ought to have been many years of fruitful service before
Him. He had only lived for 30 years and He had been working for
God for three years and now He is cut off from the land of the
living. Why is this? All the hope and all the promise is suddenly
brought to an end by death.
How disappointed His disciples were.
They felt that all this should never have been. All their hopes
and expectations and future were bound up with Him and now He was
dead. What does all this mean?
We find it in the New Testament and this
is what we read: "He who knew no sin was made sin for us." He was
made a curse in our place. What is He doing? He is bearing the
curse that rests upon this whole creation. He is taking on Himself
all the meaning of that curse. The meaning of that curse is life
ending before it ought to end; death coming in when death ought
never to come in. He is taking the curse on Himself, the curse
that rests upon us and the curse that rests upon the whole
When His Father turned His face away
from Him and His Son cried, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
it was because He was made a curse for us. In Him and by His Cross
the curse is removed. Death is destroyed so He can give the Water
of Life. The Living Water and the Holy Spirit can now come, for
sin has been dealt with. Death has been dealt with and judgment
has been dealt with and there is Life within.
Perhaps you remember how Peter began his
letters, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto
a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
This is how we receive the well within. This is how the rivers of
Living Water can flow from within: by faith in Jesus Christ as the
One who took upon Himself the curse that was upon us.
Health and Strength
Now, there is just one or two other
things to say before I close. We have seen that this Living Water
means newness of Life. We have seen that it means fullness of
satisfaction. It means two other things. It means mighty energy
from God in our life. When we drink of this Living Water, we feel
greatly strengthened. The very energy of God comes into us and in
that strength we can go on and on. We can do what we could never
do before. The Apostle Paul put that in this way, "Strengthened
with all might by His Spirit in the inward man." The Holy Spirit
is the Spirit of Life, but He is therefore the Spirit of Power,
the very power of God in us.
And then this Living water
is health. You remember one of the last things in the Bible gives
us the picture of the rivers of the Water of Life and then it says
that on this side and on that side of the river was the Tree of
Life and leaves of the Tree are for the health of the nations.
From this Water there is coming health for the nations. We know a
little of how that is.
When this Water of Life goes
out into the nations, a change comes about. This water makes us
healthy. It cleanses us. It removes spiritual disease. It
overcomes spiritual infirmity. It makes us spiritually healthy men
Now, there is a great
chapter in the New Testament and that chapter is all about this
resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. It is a very wonderful
chapter that none of us understand. I have been reading that
chapter for I suppose about 50 years or more, I have many times
talked about it, but there is a lot in that chapter that I do not
understand. I don't think I shall ever understand it in this life
and I expect you are wondering what that chapter is. Well, it's
the fifteenth chapter of the letter to the Corinthians.
You can read it at any time
and you will see that it is very true that we can't understand it.
There are things here which we shall only understand when we get
to glory, but there is one thing that we can understand and that
is the way in which the chapter finishes. I think we ought to take
a look at it. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, "So when this corruptible
shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on
immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is
written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin;
and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Now this is how this wonderful chapter ends, "Therefore,
my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding
in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is
not in vain in the Lord." You see, that takes us back to our Old
Testament illustration. Here are these men labouring on the
ground, bringing all their energy, and trying to bring forth these
fruits and at the end they find it is all in vain. There is
nothing for it, they have laboured in vain. Why is that? Because
death was in the water.
Now 1 Corinthians 15 is the chapter of
victory over death in the Lord Jesus and "Therefore," the Apostle
said, "Brethren you can go on working as much as you like. You can
just be always abounding in the work of the Lord and your labours
will not be in vain. No death will spoil your labour because Jesus
has conquered death."
Do you remember one thing that Jesus
said to His disciples? He said, "You did not choose Me, but I
chose you and ordained you that you should go out and bear fruit,
and your fruit will remain." Your fruit will not fall to the
ground until it gets ripe. The fruit of your life will go on
forever. Surely it is a very encouraging thing that the labour we
are giving to the Lord now will not be in vain. All this is by the
Living Water within.
Now, if you have not understood what I
have been saying, these are not my words, these are the words of
the Lord Jesus. He Himself said that he that believes on Him shall
have a well inside. Do you know that in your life? And then He
said he that believes on Him out of him shall flow rivers of
Living Water. Do you know that in your life? That people shall
know there are rivers of Living Water flowing from you; that Life
comes from you wherever you go. That is the meaning of the name
"Christian" that you are called. May the Lord make that true in
every one of us.