Names of God – part 58: The fountain of living water

Maqowr Chay Mayim

Names of God part 58

The fountain of Living Water

220px-Damian._The_Ancient_of_DaysI have heard living water over spiritualised, especially in sermons about Jesus talking to the woman at the well in Samaria. The talk was on a spiritual topic, but Jesus was keeping it real and linking to real life issues. The woman wanted water from a well, Jesus offered water that was fresh and moving, living water. What he offers is better than stagnant well water, but water that is bubbling, cascading over pebbles, moving. He was saying that a relationship with God is like that, vivacious, moving compared to the still stagnant dullness of being religious.

The concept is older, it goes back to the prophet Jeremiah, who himself was referring back to Moses getting flowing water to come from a rock in the Sinai Desert during the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Jeremiah said:

for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:13 ESV

The people were looking for a dull, always the same experience. It does not sound like that, as this would have been pagan worship involving sex with temple prostitutes, which sounds exciting, but Jeremiah points out that rather than something that only satisfies for a short time and then leaves you thirsty for more. God can provide more than this.

The woman at the Samarian well was looking for satisfaction and meaning through sex too, having had had several husbands and now living with a man she was not married to. Jesus offered her, and offers us something more fulfilling than physical sex. Th language that Jesus used to explain this depended on the context of who he was talking to. To some it was cryptic, such as saying living water, to others the message was direct: Jesus offers life in all its fullness.

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