One of my favorite stories is that of Jesus and his conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. I was listening to it on CD in the car, and (as so often happens) I had to stop it when Jesus said, “If you (only)knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
Typically, when I have read this, I have considered the potential for the woman to get the wrong idea. Here she is doing the daily drudgery of hauling water from the well to home, and who knows how far that might be! How many times did she wish someone on a white horse would come charging up and rescue her! Can't you hear her singing, "...there must be more to this provencial life!"
I can remember having those thoughts as a little girl in grade school. And then, in high school - if only I could get my driver's license. I would be able then to escape. And then, I got married and had children. I remember getting my first new car, my little red wagon (Pontiac Sunbird - 4-speed) and wanting to just drive... anywhere... to get away. Always searching for a way to escape, ... for someone to rescue me - from life!
I made a lot of mistakes in my search. So did this woman in our story. Let's give her a name. How about, Leah. Leah is focused on her monologue with an audience of one; or so she thought. A stranger interrupts her plans by having the audacity to ask her for a drink of water. And as she tries to get over the culture shock he makes that strange statement, "If you knew the gift of God..."
You know good and well he didn't mean Leah would never have to draw water again. It's a part of her life. It's actually a blessing to have water to draw. So, what is He saying? Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” It's not the thing on the surface He's talking about, but the root.