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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: The Woman of Samaria. Part 2—John 4:1-42

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There are many superficial conversions in our days. There are those who profess to belong to the Lord, and yet their experience is by no means described by the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst," for they thirst for amusement, for admiration, for money, for power, for pleasure, for fame, and for other earthly things, just exactly as though they were not converted at all! "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (Jhn 2:15.) What does this thirst prove? Surely this-that they are not drinking of the water which the Lord Jesus gives; they may have once sipped a little, but it is not their habit to "draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isa 12:3), and, therefore, the eternal life which Jesus gives to those who follow Him has never yet become a well of water springing up within them.

Such converts are dependent upon prayer meetings and preaching services, special ministers and Christian friends, to keep the little life they have alive. And, in addition, they must needs have, in order to make their lives tolerable, a large slice of the world! It is a miserable kind of conversion; it is that of the wheat where the thorns grew up and choked it, and it became unfruitful. These are the believers who do no good in the world, and about whom it is absolutely necessary to ask the question whether they have been converted or not! There is not enough light in their lives for people to distinguish whether they are the children of light or the children of darkness!

Everyone who drinks continually of the water which Jesus gives ceases to thirst for the world's pleasures, or for anything which it has to give. God is their satisfying Portion. But the Samaritan woman had begun to thirst:

"Sir, give me this water." Instantly Jesus met her as a Prophet. Looking fully into her eyes, with His eyes, which are as a flame of fire, He said unto her:

"Go, call thy husband, and come hither."

This was the open wound; this was the sore point; this was the sinful thing which needed setting right. There is no true conversion until the Lord Jesus has laid His finger upon the sore place, the source of sin within. If we would drink of the living water, our lives must be pure and without spot before our God, and all that is wrong must come out and be judged, forgiven and set right in His sight.

"I have no husband."

"Thou hast well said, I have no husband; for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband; in that saidst thou truly."

The woman did not attempt a denial; she did not begin to excuse herself; startled by finding herself known as she really was, she bowed before Him whom she recognised as Prophet and Master:

"Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet."

It was as though she had said: "Thou hast found me out; Thou hast disclosed the deep wickedness of my heart; I know that Thou art right and I am wrong; Thou art holy and I am sinful"; and then, just like all those who are not enlightened by the Holy Ghost, she fell back on the little rag of religion which she had, and spoke of the differences between the Samaritans and the Jews:

"Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

"Woman, believe Me," was the answer of Jesus, taking her out of her depth, "the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him."

Here was the secret of the living water; it was a changed life which she needed; a new heart, and a new spirit, new motives, new aims, and new impulses. The convicted sinner was at the end of all her resources; nothing could extenuate the past; nothing could justify the present; her only hope was in the coming One:

"I know that Messias cometh, which is called the Christ; when He is come He will tell us all things" (R. V.). It was the instinct of an awakened soul. There is no hope for such outside of Jesus. But she was unprepared for the declaration:

"I that speak unto thee am He."

She was ready to receive Him; doubts found no place as a nonconducting influence between her convicted soul and her Saviour. The sinner and the Saviour had met. Old things were already passed away, all things were become new (2Co 5:17).

Jesus had conquered, and won unto Himself His first Samaritan follower and His first Samaritan evangelist.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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