“And He must needs go through Samaria.” —John 4:4
A great deal has been said and is being said about the earthly work of Jesus; and it is important—stupendously important—but it does not mean much to you to hear of Him walking the earth unless you know also that He came from the glory—that He is God. The things that He did are soul-moving and life-changing when you know that Jesus is God. How mighty the movements in your heart when you believe that God in a body like ours took the spit and scoffing, the murmuring of men and contradiction of sinners, and took the penalty for their sin by taking their place on the cross.
Other men have been scourged, other men have been mistreated, other men have gone to a cruel death, and other men have hung upon a cross, but God hanging in death on the cross—oh, how can it be? But this is the truth, and because He was God, spotless and sinless, and not as men, His blood availed for sinners, His death paid the wages for sins.
When that truth staggers across your intellect and makes its way down into your heart, and you believe it with all your heart, there will never be darkness or death in your heart again, but life—His life and His light.
John puts forth witnesses and evidence that the One who walked the sea also walked the pavements of Glory: that the One who washed the disciples’ feet also washes the stars and keeps the clouds filled to water the earth, and holds the tides in His hand. The moon and the stars and the sun are in His keeping. This same One who said to Lazarus, “Come forth!” said in the beginning to the sun, “Come forth!” God has walked among us: Immanuel, God with us. “Oh, happy day,” for any man that fixes his choice on Jesus, His Saviour and His God.
The Compass of Love
We have such a thing in the world as a compass, which always points to the north. The Gospel of John is the compass that points always to the fact that the Christ of Earth is God of Glory. The compass is now pointing again. The Gospel of John 4:4 says “He must needs go through Samaria,” that despised country, where every man was called a dog by the Jews, and the Samaritan was passed by on the other side. If the sun was here and the Samaritan came between the Jew and the sun, you would see the Jew step out as far as he could, so no shadow would fall on him from any dog of a Samaritan. They despised and hated them; but “Jesus must needs go through Samaria.” We were sinners, and Jesus must needs come to the earth and must needs go to the cross that He might put away our sin.
There is no multitude in Samaria, no great gang to listen to Him, no fifty thousand people begging Him to come—nobody but a lone woman sitting at a well; but “He must needs go through Samaria.” Thank God, He reaches over all the barriers, and Jesus, the Son of God, could come and talk to a poor old prostitute sitting on a well! I want to say to you, my friend, before such match love, when a holy God could come and offer the water of life to a woman like that, I stand with head bared and my shoes off my feet!
The Author of Life
He comes into her presence and sits on the well and begins to speak to her. She is shocked and surprised, and says, “How does it come that you are talking with me?” He didn’t try to explain that at all, but began to talk about the water, and told her that if she had asked water of Him He would have given her water to drink so that she would never thirst again. He said, “He that drinketh of this water shall thirst, but the one that drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” Friend this is no mere man. Who can give life?
I may pass my personality in some of its attributes to my children, and their noses, their faces, their forms, their very idiosyncrasies and manners may be like mine, but I cannot pass life to others. I may influence your life with my personality, but I could not offer life: but here sits one offering life. How can He? Because He is the author of life. He gives that life to “whosoever will.” Any man that opens up his heart receives the life that Jesus Christ has to offer.
He said to her, “I have the water, and if you will drink of it you will never thirst.” Thank God for that bubbling stream that came out of the grave on that resurrection morning, and is in Glory pouring down His life, until it is bubbling in the hearts of men today. There is life in Him; also He gives life. There is a time when theories seem pretty good, but when your soul is passing over the brink you want life—life. He came to destroy the works of the devil, to vanquish death. He arose victor over death, and can offer life. He says, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,” and “out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” The evidence of the fullness of the Holy Ghost in a man’s heart is the rivers of living water.
Rivers of Water
Somebody says, “What is the evidence that a person has received this water, or the fullness of the Holy Ghost?” My friend Collett…says that one night he was bothered a little bit because some people the day before had been trying to discuss the evidence of the Holy Ghost. They said there was only one evidence that a man had received the Holy Ghost. In the middle of the night he woke up and this Scripture kept coming to him, “Out of his innermost being shall flow rivers—rivers—of living water.” “Lord,” he said, “why rivers? Why not river? Isn’t it enough to get one river flowing out of a fellow, a river of living water? Why rivers?” All through the night he kept saying, “Rivers—rivers—rivers, why rivers, Lord, why not river?” And finally he began to see it and God began to whisper to him, “the fruits of the Spirit are these, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, kindness—all these run out, these are the rivers of His life.” These flowing out of a man are the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence within.
He said to the woman, “I will give.” He gives His holy disposition, His Holy Spirit, to those that ask Him and seek Him with their whole heart. It is Jesus only that must be exalted. It is not an “it,” a thing, not some spiritual electricity or dynamic force, it is a personality, Jesus Himself in our hearts. He is dwelling within us. Nothing else can satisfy but Him.
Do you think, my friends, that Peter or John, that leaned on His bosom when the Holy Ghost came, could ever have been satisfied if He, the Holy Spirit, was just an emotion? There wasn’t a one of them that did not realize that this Jesus that they had seen in the flesh had now taken up His abode in their hearts. They knew He had come into their lives to live.
Suppose my little tots should have to lose that blessed mother, and I would have to go out to the graveyard, telling her good-bye, and then come back with the three little girls. The night hours would come on, and I would take them and tuck them in their little beds and kiss them, and they would say, “Daddy, isn’t mother coming?” “No, dear, she will not be in tonight.” And the next night I would be doing the same thing, and some kind, motherly woman would come in and say, “Mr. Rader, maybe they would feel better if some woman tucked them in.” “All right.” “I would say, “you can help out.” They would look up and say, “Isn’t mother coming?” “No, but here I am, and this kind lady will tuck you in.” “But she is not mother!” You should substitute anyone else you wanted to in this world—but, friends, only one would do. Their little hearts would hunger for just mother, that is all. Do you suppose you could substitute anyone? No, friends, when you have lost a loved one some one comes to comfort you, but the loved one has gone, and you felt that the whole world has gone with that person, and no one but that person will satisfy.
Poor old John and Peter and James and the rest saw Jesus go up and knew they had lost Him. They saw Him go up in the clouds, and saw Heaven receive Him, and, oh, how longingly they waited for Him. And on the Day of Pentecost they realized that this person had come into their hearts to live—the same person they had heard talking, was now talking within their hearts. That is the joy—the joy of His personality. Don’t let anybody tell you it is emotion or simply an experience. When you get hungry, get alone and wait before Him. It is a person that you want, and the third person of the Trinity is Jesus Himself, enthroned within a human heart, sitting in His own temple—for these bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and when He sits down to the old organ of your soul to play, life, and joy, and peace, thank God, will roll out of these pipes of ours. It is Himself that must live in our hearts, and when He comes in it is all joy. The children could be sobbing and crying, but if the mother walks in at the door the sobs hush and there is peace. The little chickens peep and peep, but when the mother hen clucks to them, and tucks them under her wings, you hear that little nestling sound. Jesus says, “Oh, how often would I have gathered you, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but ye would not.”
Nothing satisfies but this person in His own temple. He gives peace that passes all understanding. He alone could say to the woman, “If you drink of the water that I will give you, you will never thirst.” No, thank God, you don’t thirst; He satisfies.
I went around like a roaring lion in a cage, sniffing the forest, restless, something on the inside hungry. This did not satisfy, that did not, this was wrong and that was wrong; but, oh, it has been peace since He came in to abide. We are His temples, and until He gets full possession that heart never goes to rest. He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you (to take it back), I will abide.” He sticks when the storms come—He sticks, and you don’t have to thirst.
Brother, sister, are you a thirsty Christian? Oh, how you dishonor Him. He satisfies, and satisfies when? When you will stop eating the old trash of your flesh and trying to get your way, and trying to get satisfaction out of something else but abiding in Him. Go rest beneath His shadow and tarry with Him during the secret hours of prayer, and you will come out so lit up that you will say, “He is the fairest of ten thousand to my soul, and the one altogether lovely.”
He must needs come here to talk to you today. Why go out unsatisfied when He is your satisfaction? Not circumstances, not more money, not different advantages around you, but Himself alone can satisfy. He wants to burn up everything else of the flesh life, that you might find out that He is enough, that He is sufficient.
Have you a God? Do you know Him? You are lost if you haven’t a God. Your poor little nose is bobbing around into unknown ways, your feet in unknown paths. You are trying to get amusement and trying to get happiness. Oh, if you could see this lovely One, this marvelous Christ, you would drop everything else and say, “You are all I want.” He says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added to you.” Not “you can grab it” but He adds everything you need. You will never thirst.
This is why some of you today are dissatisfied in every position you are put in, and in every circumstance. You have not found Him in His fullness. He satisfies, thank God. He wants to satisfy you. You will never be satisfied with anything less. Go alone and wait before Him until He fills your heart with Himself.
A Clean and Empty Vessel
“Oh,” said the woman at the well, “give me this water, that I may not thirst, neither come hither to draw.” Watch Him go after the sin question in her life now, before He can pour in the life water. He says to her so sweetly and quietly, “Go call your husband and come hither.” She knew she was in the presence of somebody she had better not be bluffing with, and she hung her head and said to him, “I have no husband.” He said, “That is right. You have told the truth, you had five husbands, and the one that you have now is not your husband.”
My, her poor old soul began to rock, and she said, “I am standing in the presence of God. No man can look in my heart and know this. Here I have a record that is twenty years old up and down the city streets. How did He know it?”
Do you see her? John pulls this woman at the well into the witness chair. Jesus has you there today. He knows your life. Why don’t you tell Him the truth? Why do you bluff Him? You want the water, but you won’t come across with the confession, will you? She did. She says, “You are right. Thou hast spoken correctly.” No bluff. She said, “I am going,” and I’ll tell you she went to hit the old back trail, and said to that gang of men, “Come on, the whole crowd, and see a man that told me all things that ever I did.”
The men gathered around Him and said, “We believe on you, not because of what the woman says, but we have seen you ourselves, and believe Thou art the Christ because of what we have seen in you.” Oh, whenever you make up your mind to come clean with God and confess your sin, He will put it away. He will come in and abide and give you His life and His salvation! It is because of sin unconfessed in our times that men and women are powerless: but any man can have a rip-roaring floodtide of the power of God when he comes clean with God. Hear me, brethren. Don’t you bluff for a minute. God’s Holy Spirit will fill you and overflow the day you come clean and keep back nothing. When you go all the way with Jesus Christ and have nothing of your own outside of Him, He will comfort your heart and use you to comfort other hearts.
The rivers of His life flow today.
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘Behold, I freely give
The living water. Thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink and live.’
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.