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divine origin and source of that, concerning which he spoke, seems not to have made so strong an impression. She answers first to the last clause of our Lord's remark, "Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep, from whence then hast thou that living water?" Being also unable to understand the meaning of Jesus in the preceding clause, in which he seemed to her to state that he was a greater one than she supposed, she added; "Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?" Our Lord did not stay to refute her probably unauthorized claim to be a descendant of Jacob, but proceeded to the more important endeavour to lead her thoughts to that gift of God, of which she yet knew so little, but of which it was his desire to apprize her. "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; 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." She evidently did not yet perceive the drift of our Lord's remark; and therefore with a mingled feeling of embarrassment, astonishment, and incredulity, she added, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw."-Jesus next proceeded to deal with her in a different manner; but we stay, for a moment,
to inquire what was the living water of which he spake.
We know that the prophets described, under this significant image, the future spiritual blessings of the Gospel; and that one passage specifies the particular blessings which were thereby intended. "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour out my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring." Our Lord afterwards used the same figure on the last and great day of the feast of tabernacles, when they drew from the pool of Siloam, and solemnly offered and poured out water; thus, by an observance apparently sanctioned only by tradition, commemorating the miraculous supply of water in the wilderness from the smitten rock. An Apostle has said, that
they drank of that spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ"." Accordingly Jesus here speaks of himself as having the power to bestow this gift of God; and in the last day of the feast of tabernacles, resuming the subject, he cried, "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." The Evangelist
a Isai. xliv. 3-5. lv. 1. Ezek. xxxvi. 26. Hosea xiv. 5. b 1 Cor. x. 1-4.
adds a comment upon this beautiful and persuasive declaration. "This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." He adds, that " many of the people, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet; others said, This is the Christ"." They knew the writings of the prophets, and hence they drew their inference. But the Samaritans probably received only the five books of Moses; and yet our Lord proceeded to shew the Samaritan woman, in a manner suited to her circumstances, both that he was "a prophet," and also that he was "the Christ." And we may here remark, that only on the day of that interview, and the two which immediately followed it, did he labour among the Samaritans. Yet they believed in him. And when the Apostles, in obedience to our Lord's order, became "witnesses to him in Samaria," and preached him among them as the Christ, they then also " gave heed with one accord to the things preached to them" by Philip the deacon. And "when the Apostles heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John," who communicated to them the gifts of that Holy Spirit, of which Jesus had so long before spoken amongst them".
John vii. 37-43.
b Acts viii. 5—17.
But to proceed with our more immediate subject. Jesus desired the woman "to call her husband," and come to him again. Her simple declaration that "she had no husband," with the suppression of the disgraceful circumstances which made her declaration true, gave occasion to Jesus, to shew her, that he was fully aware of those very circumstances, of the whole course of her past life, and of her impure and illicit connection at that time. Astonished and confounded, like Nathanael, to whom our Lord displayed a knowledge of his more commendable private history, she confessed her conviction, at length, that she had not hitherto appreciated his character.. "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." But not immediately availing herself of this opportunity to ask the full import of what that prophet had just declared to her, she proposed for his decision the controverted question, so long debated between themselves and the Jews, whether Gerizim or Jerusalem was "the place in which men ought to worship." Our Lord decided this in favour of the Jews; instructed her further in the true nature of worship, as always more important than the place where it was performed; and assured her that shortly the very ground and occasion of their debate would be removed, by the introduction of a spiritual and more extensive dispensation. "Woman, believe me, 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. God is a spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." In this intimation of the near approach of a season, respecting which it had been predicted that " in every place incense, and a pure offering should be offered unto the name of the Lord of hosts," the woman appears to have acquiesced; for Jesus therein spoke as a prophet, and she had been convinced that he could justly claim that character. But Jesus had yet to announce to her that he was more than a prophet;" that his was that title and character, which authorized him, by her own confession, to claim her ready and unreserved assent to his decision of the question. "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias is coming; when he is come, he will tell us all things.-Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
We have here a declaration, which, in one word, communicates to us a knowledge of the office and character, to which Jesus laid claim;
a Mal. i. 11.