Come to the Source of Life – The Spring of Living Water
Jacob’s Well provides the backdrop for the great Christological and indeed Soteriological insight in today’s gospel passage: the ego eimi / the “I am” of v. 26 and the realisation that Jesus is far greater than Jacob, because he is our Saviour and the source of life.
The well – dating back to Jacob’s time – was right in the middle of Samaritan territory on the western side of the main route north from the Dead Sea to Galilee. It was about 100 ft deep and required a long rope and bucket to extract the water. Occasionally though, miraculously, the water would “bubble-up” and overflow the sides of the well. Lots of people knew of this “so-called miracle” and so it’s of little surprise that Jesus should so readily adopt the phrase (in v 13) ‘the water I will give will “well-up”, “bubble-up” inside you’, for the important truth he wants to impart. The truth he wants us to hear is this: He will give living, flowing, effervescent, life-giving water – the kind that purifies and revives (cf Jer. 2:13. 17; Ps 36:8) which is very different from the still, flat, life-less water that we normally associate with cisterns or wells which rely on rain water to fill them.
And there, at Jacob’s well we hear Jesus offering the Samaritan woman “life-giving water” that will “well-up” and “bubble-up” inside her, satiating her thirst for ever. But it’s important to remember that the woman Jesus is speaking with represents not only the person she is – a woman with a “reputation”! – but also the whole of humanity. She is a “sinner” in more ways than one and what Jesus offers her, he is also offering to you and me: living–water which will give us new life and purification from our sins. He is offering everyone living, flowing, effervescent, life-giving water – the kind that really and truly purifies and revives (cf Jer & Ps op cit).
So, come to these waters all who are thirsty. Come. Listen now my people, and come to me. Come to me, and you will have life! says the Lord. (Is 55:1-4)
Fr Philip Sainter