If thou knewest the gift of God - Δωρεαν signifies a free gift. A gift is any thing that is given, for which no equivalent has been or is to be returned: a free gift is that which has been given without asking or entreaty. Such a gift of kindness was Jesus Christ to the world, John 3:16; and through him comes the gift of the Spirit, which those who believe on his name were to receive. Christ was not an object of desire to the world - no man asked for him; and God, moved thereto by his own eternal mercy, freely gave him. Through this great gift comes the Holy Spirit, and all other gifts which are necessary to the salvation of a lost world.
Living water - By this expression, which was common to the inhabitants both of the east and of the west, is always meant spring water, in opposition to dead, stagnant water contained in ponds, pools, tanks, or cisterns; and what our Lord means by it is evidently the Holy Spirit, as may be seen, John 7:38, John 7:39.
As water quenches the thirst, refreshes and invigorates the body, purifies things defiled, and renders the earth fruitful, so it is an apt emblem of the gift of the Holy Ghost, which so satisfies the souls that receive it that they thirst no more for earthly good: it purifies also from all spiritual defilement, on which account it is emphatically styled the Holy Spirit; and it makes those who receive it fruitful in every good word and work.
The gift of God - The word “gift,” here denotes “favor.” It may refer to Jesus Himself, as the gift of God to the world, given to save men from death John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15, or it may refer to the opportunity then afforded her of seeking salvation. If thou knewest how favorable an opportunity God now gives thee to gain a knowledge of himself, etc.
And who it is - If thou knewest that the Messiah was speaking.
Living water - The Jews used the expression “living water” to denote springs, fountains, or running streams, in opposition to dead and stagnant water. Jesus here means to denote by it his doctrine, or his grace and religion, in opposition to the impure and dead notions of the Jews and the Samaritans. See John 4:14. This was one of the many instances in which he took occasion from common topics of conversation to introduce religious discourse. None ever did it so happily as he did, but, by studying his example and manner, we may learn also to do it. One way to acquire the art is to have the mind full of the subject; to make religion our first and main thing; to carry it with us into all employments and into all society; to look upon everything in a religious light, and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak, Matthew 12:34.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10. TDG 301.1
This message is meant for us just as surely as for the woman of Samaria. It comes sounding down along the line from age to age, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” Rivet this in your minds. Every soul should awaken to an understanding of his spiritual need.... TDG 301.2Read in context »
He who has a genuine experience in the things of God will not be indifferent to those who are in darkness, but will inquire, What would Jesus say to these poor needy souls? He will seek to let his light shine forth. He will pray for wisdom, grace, and tact, that he may know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. In place of engaging in trifling conversation, in jesting and joking, he will as a faithful steward of the grace of God, make the most of his opportunity, and the seed sown will spring up and bear fruit unto life eternal. The treasure of truth is in his heart, and he brings forth good things. The wellspring of life is in his soul, and the living waters flow forth.... TMK 158.4Read in context »
The religion of Christ in the heart is the wellspring of life. It is the living water that Christ will give to every thirsting soul that asks Him. There are many who keep religion in practice far from the soul temple, and their faith is not in Jesus Christ.... The heavenly Guest should be invited to occupy the throne of the soul, to control every impulse of the mind, and to bring even the thoughts into subjection to Jesus Christ.... TMK 143.3Read in context »
What said Christ to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well? “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” “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.” The water that Christ referred to was the revelation of His grace in His word; His Spirit, His teaching, is as a satisfying fountain to every soul. Every other source to which they shall resort will prove unsatisfying. But the word of truth is as cool streams, represented as the waters of Lebanon, which are always satisfying. In Christ is fullness of joy forevermore. The desires and pleasures and amusements of the world are never satisfying nor healing to the soul. But Jesus says, “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life.” TM 390.1
Christ's gracious presence in His word is ever speaking to the soul, representing Him as the well of living water to refresh the thirsting soul. It is our privilege to have a living, abiding Saviour. He is the source of spiritual power implanted within us, and His influence will flow forth in words and actions, refreshing all within the sphere of our influence, begetting in them desires and aspirations for strength and purity, for holiness and peace, and for that joy which brings no sorrow with it. This is the result of an indwelling Saviour. TM 390.2Read in context »