“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
When the body of Christ assembles, it does so because of “the gift of God.” The body assembles because they are recipients of the gift of God. The Church gathers to worship, give testimonies, praise and exalt the glorious God that has so richly blessed them with this gift. The Word of God admonishes us as recipients; “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalm 107:2). The Church gathers and goes forth as rescuers because of the gift of God. As recipients we have been given a ministry and a message to go forth to rescue those that are lost, alienated from the family because of sin.
Within the first forty-two verses of John 4, Jesus contrasts “the gift of God” to that of water. In this account we have one to the most beautiful pictures of God’s plan for the redemption of man! Let us take a moment to examine some aspects of “the gift of God’ as seen in this account.
(I) Providential – vs.3-4 “must needs go”
The first thing to be noticed about “the gift of God” is that it is providential in nature. The movements of Jesus was not determined by the whims of man, but was determined in the councils of heaven. The phrase “must needs go” means to bind or be in bonds, necessary as binding. One has described it as having one’s arm twisted. When Jesus tells His disciples that their journey from Judaea to Galilee was to be by way of Samaria, He emphasizes that it is one of providence; He is bound by the will of the Father, a divine appointment must be kept.. We notice the providential plan. Long before that woman was moving toward the well, Jesus was moving toward the woman! Long before man ever thought about his relationship with God, God was developing and implementing a plan to restore fellowship with man! Paul said in Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we were still rebels against God, “commendeth.” The word “commendeth” means to set together by implication to introduce favorably, to exhibit, stand near, or to constitute. There was the favorable introduction of God’s love in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and His complete and finished work on Calvary! This thought is reinforced in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” The second thing what we notice about this providential plan, is the providential participation. If you will compare verse 3 and verse 43, you will notice that Jesus leaves the land of promise, makes His way down to a place that was considered cursed or sinful, liberates the sinner and returns to the land of promise. Paul said it this way; “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2: 6-11). The plan not only originated with God, but it was carried out by and completed by God. The writer of Hebrews emphasized this great truth when he wrote, “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). God planned and participated in the deliverance of “the gift of God.”
(II) Personal – vs.6-8 “Jesus saith unto her . . . For his disciples were gone”
While “the gift of God” is universal in its appropriation, it is personal in its application! Paul writing to the church at Rome said, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). Please note the personal pronouns! To be a recipient, it must be a personal transaction; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
(III) Provision – vs.10-13 “If thou knowest the gift . . . thou wouldest have ask”
The woman quickly recognizes that what Jesus was promising could not be obtained by human effort. She said, “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?” (vs.11). That which you are speaking of and that which will satisfy my desires is beyond your physical reach, “the well is deep”, and outside your physical grasp, “thou hast nothing to draw with.” If you can’t reach it and you can’t lay hold on it; “whence then hast thou that living water?” Speaking of this gift in Ephesians 2, Paul wrote, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (verses 8-10). Speaking to this woman, Jesus said, it a gift and if “thou wouldest have asked of him . . . he would have given thee” (John 4:10). Gifts are not earned, they are simple given away.
(IV) Prospect – vs.7 & 16-18
To whom would this “gift of God” be offered to; would it be determined by their race, their gender, wealth, their moral demeanor? It would be offered to all in spite of their birth problem, “a woman of Samaria.” This woman had a polluted blood line; she was the product of a godly Jewish race inter-marrying with a heathen gentile race. God’s gift of salvation is offered to all those have the polluted blood lines of the first Adam; “For as in Adam all die” (I Corinthians 15:22). The gift of salvation would be offered to all in spite of their behavior problem; “For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband.” This woman had and was living an extremely sordid life; thus making it necessary for her to obtain water in the heat of the day. When others would offer her nothing but criticism and rude remarks, Jesus would offer her “the gift of God.” It is the deepest of our sin that God offers to us the gift of salvation. He does not ask us to get better; He seeks to make us better by giving us the gift of life!
(V) Provisions – vs.10b & 14 “living water” “shall never thirst”
That which is drawn by man is quickly depleted, but “the gift of God” is eternal! God’s gift of salvation completely satisfies the longs of man heart and can never be depleted because it ultimately becomes “a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (vs.14). Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).
(VI) Product – vs.25-29
God’s gift of salvation produced personal salvation. When Jesus told her who He was, “Messias”, the one for which they longed for; faith was enacted within her heart and with joy in her heart, she dropped her water pot and returned to town. The second product of the gift is an outgrowth of the first, a public proclamation, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” Having received Christ as Saviour, she is the recipient of God’s gift of salvation. Her proclamation leads to “many” receiving Christ as Saviour; “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him” (vs.39); which ultimately lead to “many more” being saved, “And many more believed” (vs.41).
While it is offered to all; many and many more will accept it and be saved, but sadly all will not receive “the gift of God.” This truth is emphasized in the words of Jesus Himself, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19).
Have you accepted “the gift of God?”