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John 4:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Springing up into everlasting life - On this account he can never thirst: - for how can he lack water who has in himself a living, eternal spring? By this water our Lord means also his doctrine, explaining and promising the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, which proceed from Jesus Christ their fountain, dwelling in a believing heart. There is no eternal life without the Spirit; no Spirit without Christ; and no Christ to give the Spirit, without dwelling in the heart: this his whole doctrine proclaims.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The water that I shall give him - Jesus here refers, without doubt, to his own teaching, his “grace,” his “spirit,” and to the benefits which come into the soul that embraces his gospel. It is a striking image, and especially in Eastern countries, where there are vast deserts, and often a great want of water. The soul by nature is like such a desert, or like a traveler wandering through such a desert. It is thirsting for happiness, and seeking it everywhere, and finds it not. It looks in all directions and tries all objects, but in vain. Nothing meets its desires. Though a sinner seeks for joy in wealth and pleasures, yet he is not satisfied. He still thirsts for more, and seeks still for happiness in some new enjoyment. To such a weary and unsatisfied sinner the grace of Christ is “as cold waters to a thirsty soul.”

Shall never thirst - He shall be “satisfied” with this, and will not have a sense of want, a distressing feeling that it is not adapted to him. He who drinks this will not wish to seek for happiness in other objects. “Satisfied” with the grace of Christ, he will not desire the pleasures and amusements of this world. And this will be forever - in this world and the world to come. “Whosoever” drinketh of this all who partake of the gospel - shall be “forever” satisfied with its pure and rich joys.

Shall be in him - The grace of Christ shall be in his heart; or the principles of religion shall abide with him.

A well of water - There shall be a constant supply, an unfailing fountain; or religion shall live constantly with him.

Springing up - This is a beautiful image, It shall bubble or spring up like a fountain. It is not like a stagnant pool - not like a deep well, but like an ever-living fountain, that flows at all seasons of the year, in heat and cold, and in all external circumstances of weather, whether foul or fair, wet or dry. So religion always lives; and, amid all changes of external circumstances - in heat and cold, hunger and thirst, prosperity and adversity, life, persecution, contempt, or death - it still lives on, and refreshes and cheers the soul.

Into everlasting life - It is not temporary, like the supply of our natural wants; it is not changing in its nature; it is not like a natural fountain or spring of water, to play a While and then die away, as all natural springs will at the end of the world. It is eternal in its nature and supply, and will continue to live on forever. We may learn here:

1.that the Christian has a never-failing source of consolation adapted to all times and circumstances.

2.that religion has its seat in the heart, and that it should constantly live there.

3.that it sheds its blessings on a world of sin, and is manifest by a continual life of piety, like a constant flowing spring.

4.that its end is everlasting life. It will continue forever; and “whosoever drinks of this shall never thirst, but his piety shall be in his heart a pure fountain “springing up to eternal joy.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came in with sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us, submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all his journeys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he had no couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied with travelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be like the Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman for water. She was surprised because he did not show the anger of his own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sides are men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach her Divine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignorance and sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living water is meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spake figuratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water of Jacob's well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whatever waters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel, shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul. Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saith she, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christ proposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind is very ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping them from fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home the conviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her present state of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet. The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing the conscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. It should cool our contests, to think that the things we are striving about are passing away. The object of worship will continue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall be put to all differences about the place of worship. Reason teaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places of our worship; but religion gives no preference to one place above another, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jews were certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures have obtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The word of salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations through them. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before the Samaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be done away. God was about to be revealed as the Father of all believers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. The woman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till the coming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak to thee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet to this woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet he had done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Ellen G. White
Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 66

Every true Christian is a living fountain, ever receiving of the unfailing streams of grace, ever refreshed and ever refreshing those that are around him. Those who are coworkers with God manifest a missionary spirit; for they are ever receiving, that they may ever be giving to others the light and blessing of heaven. Those who open their hearts to receive largely will be able to give largely. [This paragraph from the Sabbath-School Worker, August, 1892, was omitted in TSS.] CSW 66.1

How sad it is to think of the great amount of mechanical work that is done in the Sabbath school, while there is little evidence that there is moral transformation in the souls of those who teach and who are taught! When the work of the Spirit of God is felt upon the heart, we shall see many earnestly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Then earthly things will find their proper, subordinate position, and heavenly things will be supreme in the affections of the children of God.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 72 (Sabbath School Worker, August, 1892). CSW 66.2

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 342

How few realize that Jesus, unseen, is walking by their side! How ashamed many would be to hear His voice speaking to them and to know that He heard all their foolish, common talk! And how many hearts would burn with holy joy if they only knew that the Saviour was by their side, that the holy atmosphere of His presence was surrounding them, and they were feeding on the bread of life! How pleased the Saviour would be to hear His followers talking on His precious lessons of instruction and to know that they had a relish for holy things! CT 342.1

When the truth abides in the heart, there is no place for criticism of God's servants, or for picking flaws with the message He sends. That which is in the heart will flow from the lips. It cannot be repressed. The things that God has prepared for those that love Him will be the theme of conversation. The love of Christ is in the soul as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, sending forth living streams that bring life and gladness wherever they flow.—Special Testimony to the Battle Creek Church, November 18, 1896. CT 342.2

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Ellen G. White
Education, 192

The great motive powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love; and it is to these that Bible study, rightly pursued, appeals. The outward beauty of the Bible, the beauty of imagery and expression, is but the setting, as it were, for its real treasure—the beauty of holiness. In its record of the men who walked with God, we may catch glimpses of His glory. In the One “altogether lovely” we behold Him, of whom all beauty of earth and heaven is but a dim reflection. “I, if I be lifted up,” He said, “will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32. As the student of the Bible beholds the Redeemer, there is awakened in the soul the mysterious power of faith, adoration, and love. Upon the vision of Christ the gaze is fixed, and the beholder grows into the likeness of that which he adores. The words of the apostle Paul become the language of the soul: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: ... that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Philippians 3:8-10. Ed 192.1

The springs of heavenly peace and joy unsealed in the soul by the words of Inspiration will become a mighty river of influence to bless all who come within its reach. Let the youth of today, the youth who are growing up with the Bible in their hands, become the recipients and the channels of its life-giving energy, and what streams of blessing would flow forth to the world!—influences of whose power to heal and comfort we can scarcely conceive—rivers of living water, fountains “springing up unto everlasting life.” Ed 192.2

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 289

Others are brought to Christ in a more gentle way. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” You cannot see the operating agency, but you can see its effects. When Nicodemus said unto Jesus, “How can these things be?” Jesus said to him, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” A teacher in Israel, a man among wise men, a man who supposed that he was able to comprehend the science of religion, and yet stumbling at the doctrine of conversion! He was not willing to admit truth, because he could not understand all that was connected with the operation of the power of God, and yet he accepted the facts of nature although he could not explain or even comprehend them. Like others of all ages, he was looking to forms and precise ceremonies as more essential to religion than the deep movements of the Spirit of God.—The Review and Herald, May 5, 1896. Ev 289.1

Conversion Leads On to Obedience—The conversion of the human soul is of no little consequence. It is the greatest miracle performed by divine power. Actual results are to be reached through a belief in Christ as a personal Saviour. Purified by obedience to the law of God, sanctified by a perfect observance of His holy Sabbath, trusting, believing, patiently waiting, and earnestly working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, we shall learn that it is God that worketh in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.—Manuscript 6, 1900. Ev 289.2

Sanctification Only Through Practicing the Truth—Man must not only read the Word of God, supposing that a casual knowledge of this Word will bring about in him a reformation of character. This work only the One who is the way, the truth, and the life can accomplish. Firmly may certain doctrines of truth be held. Again and again they may be reiterated, till the holders come to think that they are indeed in possession of the great blessings which these doctrines represent. But the greatest, most powerful truths may be held, and yet kept in the outer court, exerting little influence to make the daily life wholesome and fragrant. The soul is not sanctified through the truth that is not practiced.—Letter 16, 1892. Ev 290.1

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 127

Those who are teaching the most solemn message ever given to the world, should discipline the mind to comprehend its significance. The theme of redemption will bear the most concentrated study, and its depth will never be fully explored. You need not fear that you will exhaust this wonderful theme. Drink deep of the well of salvation. Go to the fountain for yourself, that you may be filled with refreshment, that Jesus may be in you a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life. Only Bible truth and Bible religion will stand the test of the judgment. We are not to pervert the word of God to suit our convenience, and worldly interests, but to honestly inquire, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” And what a price! Not “with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... but with the precious blood of Christ.” When man was lost, the Son of God said, I will redeem him, I will become his surety and substitute. He laid aside His royal robes, clothed His divinity with humanity, stepped down from the royal throne, that He might reach the very depth of human woe and temptation, lift up our fallen natures, and make it possible for us to be overcomers, the sons of God, the heirs of the eternal kingdom. Shall we then allow any consideration of earth to turn us away from the path of truth? Shall we not challenge every doctrine and theory, and put it to the test of God's word? FE 127.1

We should not allow any argument of man's to turn us away from a thorough investigation of Bible truth. The opinions and customs of men are not to be received as of divine authority. God has revealed in His word what is the whole duty of man, and we are not to be swayed from the great standard of righteousness. He sent His only-begotten Son to be our example, and bade us to hear and follow Him. We must not be influenced from the truth as it is in Jesus, because great and professedly good men urge their ideas above the plain statements of the word of God. FE 128.1

The work of Christ is to draw men from the false and spurious to the true and genuine. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” There is no danger of going into error while we follow in the footsteps of “the Light of the world.” We are to work the works of Christ. We must engage heart and soul in His service; we must search the word of life, and present it to others. We must educate the people to realize the importance of its teaching, and the danger of deviating from its plain commands. FE 128.2

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