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I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:10 (NIV)
April 23, 1985 is a day that will live in marketing infamy. That’s the day Coca-Cola unleashed “New Coke” to the world. Coca-Cola took a risk and altered the formula for what was already the best soft drink on the planet and it failed miserably. I was at Six Flags Atlanta the day “New Coke” hit fountains and I was devastated. It was terrible and I was not the only one to think so because on July 11th of the same year, Coca-Cola released “Coca-Cola Classic” and canned the “new” stuff. Some things shouldn’t be messed with.
I grew up in the South so, of course, Coke is THE best soft drink. (I’m a Diet Coke addict.) Sam’s Choice, Great Value, and Shasta all try to pass off a cheaper version of “the real thing” and all come up short. You can’t trick me with a lesser version and you should never try to alter the formula of the standard.
Jesus brings us life - the real, “real thing.” Everything else around us either tries to alter the formula of the life Jesus gives or is like Shasta trying to offer us a cheap imitation of the standard. When we settle for what this world offers us, eventually we realize that the “feeling we’re tasting” is not the original formula and we long for the classic life that God created for us from the beginning. Some things shouldn’t be messed with.
Are you thirsty for real life? Jesus is real refreshment and when we taste the life He offers, we never want to taste what this world offers again. We’ll spend some time this week learning more about this classic life Jesus offers and we’ll want to share it with everyone.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” - John 4:10 (NIV)
Diet Coke. Arnold Palmer (the drink, not the golfer). Ale8. If you aren’t convinced that God loves to give good gifts, have a sip of any of those three and you’ll be a believer!
Years ago when I was a children’s pastor, I spent several weeks of my summer at Bluegrass Christian Camp. Something happens at camp that makes the summer temperatures 50 degrees hotter than everywhere else on earth. It was brutal. We survived the heat by packing coolers of Ale8 in the trunks of our cars and when we had a break in the day, we’d sneak away from the kids and refresh ourselves with “a late one” from Winchester! Those ice cold glass bottles were a blessed gift in the midst of Hades-like temperatures.
In John 4, Jesus does the unthinkable and has a conversation with a Samaritan woman. Israelites and Samaritans did not get along and the only time they spoke was to argue. But, in true Jesus fashion, He breaks the social code and humbles Himself by asking for her help. Brilliant. His humility opens the door for a conversation that might lead to the gift of real life and we’ll find out that she desperately needed it. Jesus is the gift that God graciously gives us because He’s a good God. He is an ice cold bottle of refreshment to a sin-parched life hardly surviving the heat of this world. God gives us many great gifts but none are greater than the gift of His Son who gives us the grace of God.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - John 4:13-14 (NIV)
My future daughter-in-law Sydney never drinks water. I mean never! She lives off Diet Coke, which is one of the many things I love about her. My son’s mission is to get her to drink a little water each day and slowly increase her intake of one of life’s essentials.
One of my favorite movies, The Waterboy, opens with Bobby Boucher and his “High quality H20.” The ever-awkward Bobby dedicated his life to distributing only the best water and even beckons Coach Klein to promise that he will “never distribute the contents of that jug [of bad water] to any human person.” The guy is fanatical about water.
Whether you’re like Sydney or Bobby, the fact is - we all need water to survive. Our verses today have us listening in on Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman about water. The woman just wants to fill her jars and get out of the public eye. Jesus wants to go deeper so He moves from talking about life-sustaining H20 to life-giving freedom. Jesus wants her to know that what He offers will emphatically change her life. Imagine never again being thirsty for anything this world has to offer and desiring only the things of God.
Jesus offers us a life that is defined by peace, contentment, hope, rest, freedom, and perfection. And it lasts from the moment we take a sip and never, ever ends. Now THAT’S high-quality H20!
Are you seeking fulfillment from things that only lead to more emptiness? As long as you seek to find life in this world, you’ll be empty again. But if you seek to find your fulfillment only in Jesus, you’ll never be empty again. Pray today that you will only drink in the “living water” of Jesus and rest in the life He gives you.Share Tweet
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” - John 4:15 (NIV)
If you’ve been with me all week in these devotions, you know that I LOVE Diet Coke. It’s excellent with Mexican food, pizza, and just hanging out. But there are times when a DC doesn’t appeal to me.
On Saturdays, I go for long runs. I run 8 to 12 miles and at the end I’m legitimately thirsty. What’s interesting is that even though I love Diet Coke, when I’m finished running, it’s not what I crave. Instead, I desire the thing my body needs the most - water. If you handed me a Diet Coke, I’d probably throw up. But hand me a bottle of water and I can’t open it fast enough. Water tastes the best to me when my thirst is legit.
Yesterday we learned that Jesus offers us a life that is filled with hope, peace and freedom and this life never ends. He offers this life in the form of “living water” to the woman at the well and she responds the same way we would - “Give it to me!”
We all desire hope, peace, and freedom from the pain of this life. When we are at the end of our rope, it’s the only thing that will satisfy us. Sure, this world offers us some sweet and shiny things that attempt to fill our longings. But nothing on this earth will truly satisfy our desires. It’s not what we crave. Only Jesus - the One we need the most - can do that and He’s just waiting for us to say, “Give it to me.”
What do you desire? Take some time to list what you truly desire in this life. Now, get your list out from Tuesday and compare the blessings of Jesus with your list of desires. Do you see how He quenches the thirst of your desires with His blessed gifts? Ask Him to fulfill your desires completely in Him. Say, “Give it to me.”Share Tweet
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.” - John 4:17-18 (NIV)
When I was in the 5th grade I did not enjoy Sunday School. So my friend and I would sneak to the nearby store and get IBC Root Beer (we loved IBC because the bottles looked like beer), return to church’s men’s room and each pick a stall. We’d lock the stalls then sit catcher-style on the toilet so our feet would be hidden. For the next hour, we’d squat quietly, drink our pretend beer and ditch Sunday School. It was incredibly uncomfortable but was the perfect hiding place.
One Sunday while squatting on the toilet I had a realization - I was painfully uncomfortable on a dirty toilet avoiding something that was better than what I had settled for. I was locked in a stinky stall while my friends were in chairs at a comfortable table having fun. That was the last time I skipped. To this day root beer reminds me that I settled for a stinky toilet to avoid church.
We do the same thing in life, don’t we? We settle for what makes us feel good temporarily while avoiding something that’s good for us. The woman at the well settled for a life of disappointment and Jesus knew it. He shed light on the dark places of her life so that she could find real life. When she realized her dilemma she had a decision to make - return to the stinky life of avoidance or submit to the only One who was good for her. We have the same dilemma and must make a choice. She made the right decision. (John 4:39) Will you?