WORD STUDY – LIVING WATERS
John 4:10: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink;’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”
Genesis 26:19: “And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley and found there a well of springing water.”
In the Aramaic you can see something about living waters that you cannot see in the English. You see in the Aramaic living waters is mia chia, it sounds like a little jingle. The words are spelled the same but the first letters are different. Water is spelled with a Mem and living is spelled with a Cheth. As a rabbi once said, in the Hebrew Alphabet the Cheth comes before the Mem, hence life comes before the water. That kind of roughs up the evolutionist as they teach water came before life. But spiritually, the Cheth represents a bonding with God and the Mem is a knowledge of God. So what the rabbi was saying was that the proper order is the order of the Alphabet where the Cheth comes before the Mem and thus bonding with God (the Cheth) comes before knowledge of God (the Mem). That may sound obvious to us that we must have a relationship with God before we receive the knowledge of God, but many of our seminaries and even our Bible colleges are filled with people who seek a knowledge of God before they even bond with God or have a relationship with Him.
It is curious that this well that Jesus met the Samaritan woman was a well dug by Jacob. If we go back to this time period we find that Isaac’s, Jacob’s father’s servants, dug a well and found living waters. The Hebrew is very similar to the Aramaic for living waters. In Hebrew it is mim chaim. You have a similar play on words.
But my question is what is living waters? Translators and commentators assume it involves movement therefore you will find this translated as spring water, which is moving water, or simply flowing waters.” This is why living waters became a Hebrew and Aramaic idiom for knowledge of God. There were three sources of water in those days. There was water from a stream, which is difficult to come by and may not always be that pure. I mean animals and humans, do things in that water that, well you get the point. Then there is water in a cistern, caught by the occasional rain. This water doesn’t last too long or go very far. Then there was water from a well. Every town had its well. In fact that is one of the reasons a town existed as it provided a shared water supply. This well was called Jacob’s well, dug by the old boy himself. It still exists today and is said to be about 75’ deep and was at one time 100’ deep. Digging such a well is a very dangerous proposition because of the danger of a cave in. Many died in the attempts to dig a well. Yet, the deeper you go to find the water, the more pure the water would be. Today we know that this is because of the natural filtering system in the earth. However, there were no geologist in those days and when they saw the well was continually filling up they knew it came from somewhere and therefore was moving waters.
I remember in a psychology class we have a presentation from an advertising executive. He told how one of his clients was a company that purchased a number of gas/service stations and was looking for a good name. After much marketing research they found the most effective name would be Deep Rock Gasoline. People just naturally assumed that the deeper the gasoline came from the more pure it would be and the purer the gas the better it would be in their cars. This was ridiculous of course. Gasoline was refined from oil after it was brought to the surface and the depth at which you found the oil had nothing to do with its purity or at least the purity of the gasoline it produced and there was really no such thing as pure gas anyways. It’s purity laid in the refining process. Thus the depth of the oil had no bearing on the performance of your car. The advertising agency never promoted pure gas or any such thing, they just had the name Deep Rock and let the people’s imagination take over. They even developed a theme song where a base singer would sing the word deep in a very low voice giving the impression that this gasoline came from very deep in the ground.
In a way that is what Jesus was addressing. Living waters to the Jews meant deep knowledge of God and the only way to get deep knowledge of God was to study, study, study and go very deep into the Word of God. The Pharisees and Scribes all exalted themselves as having the deep knowledge of God, the Living Waters. Yet, knowledge is given to all who have a relationship and are bonded with God.
That myth, however, continues to this day. Almost every day I hear from some reader who says something to the effect: “Of course I don’t have those years of study and the knowledge like you do.” We look up to our scholars and teachers just as the people in Jesus day looked up to their learned men. After all the preachers have been to Bible colleges and Seminaries they and Chaim Bentorah bear all the secret knowledge of God: “Come, come we must sit under the feet of these learned men.”
Yet, what Jesus was saying is that He, the Messiah, was the giver of this Living Water, this knowledge of God comes from Jesus, not our scholars, nor Chaim Bentorah. I may have spent 45 years studying the Word of God in the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, I may have academic letters after my name, I may have spent the last 45 years spending a minimum of three to four hours a day in study of the Word of God but you know what? I also spend a lot of time on the internet listening to preachers who record their sermons and post them on the net. Many of these preachers have had fewer years to study the Word of God than I have, many do not have the academic degrees, but boy have they got a knowledge of God that comes from the Holy Spirit from He who gives Living Waters. So many times I listen to some preacher with little educational back ground give insight into the word of God that leaves me dumbfounded. I wonder why I never saw that little bit of insight in the Word of God.
Remember the Chet comes before the Mem, the bonding with God before the knowledge of God. You put the Mem before the Cheth, the knowledge of God before the bonding with God and you will appear as a fool, but if you put the bonding with God before the knowledge of God you will confound the wise.