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John 4:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Springing up into everlasting life - On this account he can never thirst: - for how can he lack water who has in himself a living, eternal spring? By this water our Lord means also his doctrine, explaining and promising the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, which proceed from Jesus Christ their fountain, dwelling in a believing heart. There is no eternal life without the Spirit; no Spirit without Christ; and no Christ to give the Spirit, without dwelling in the heart: this his whole doctrine proclaims.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The water that I shall give him - Jesus here refers, without doubt, to his own teaching, his “grace,” his “spirit,” and to the benefits which come into the soul that embraces his gospel. It is a striking image, and especially in Eastern countries, where there are vast deserts, and often a great want of water. The soul by nature is like such a desert, or like a traveler wandering through such a desert. It is thirsting for happiness, and seeking it everywhere, and finds it not. It looks in all directions and tries all objects, but in vain. Nothing meets its desires. Though a sinner seeks for joy in wealth and pleasures, yet he is not satisfied. He still thirsts for more, and seeks still for happiness in some new enjoyment. To such a weary and unsatisfied sinner the grace of Christ is “as cold waters to a thirsty soul.”

Shall never thirst - He shall be “satisfied” with this, and will not have a sense of want, a distressing feeling that it is not adapted to him. He who drinks this will not wish to seek for happiness in other objects. “Satisfied” with the grace of Christ, he will not desire the pleasures and amusements of this world. And this will be forever - in this world and the world to come. “Whosoever” drinketh of this all who partake of the gospel - shall be “forever” satisfied with its pure and rich joys.

Shall be in him - The grace of Christ shall be in his heart; or the principles of religion shall abide with him.

A well of water - There shall be a constant supply, an unfailing fountain; or religion shall live constantly with him.

Springing up - This is a beautiful image, It shall bubble or spring up like a fountain. It is not like a stagnant pool - not like a deep well, but like an ever-living fountain, that flows at all seasons of the year, in heat and cold, and in all external circumstances of weather, whether foul or fair, wet or dry. So religion always lives; and, amid all changes of external circumstances - in heat and cold, hunger and thirst, prosperity and adversity, life, persecution, contempt, or death - it still lives on, and refreshes and cheers the soul.

Into everlasting life - It is not temporary, like the supply of our natural wants; it is not changing in its nature; it is not like a natural fountain or spring of water, to play a While and then die away, as all natural springs will at the end of the world. It is eternal in its nature and supply, and will continue to live on forever. We may learn here:

1.that the Christian has a never-failing source of consolation adapted to all times and circumstances.

2.that religion has its seat in the heart, and that it should constantly live there.

3.that it sheds its blessings on a world of sin, and is manifest by a continual life of piety, like a constant flowing spring.

4.that its end is everlasting life. It will continue forever; and “whosoever drinks of this shall never thirst, but his piety shall be in his heart a pure fountain “springing up to eternal joy.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came in with sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us, submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all his journeys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he had no couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied with travelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be like the Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman for water. She was surprised because he did not show the anger of his own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sides are men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach her Divine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignorance and sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living water is meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spake figuratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water of Jacob's well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whatever waters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel, shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul. Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saith she, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christ proposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind is very ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping them from fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home the conviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her present state of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet. The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing the conscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. It should cool our contests, to think that the things we are striving about are passing away. The object of worship will continue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall be put to all differences about the place of worship. Reason teaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places of our worship; but religion gives no preference to one place above another, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jews were certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures have obtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The word of salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations through them. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before the Samaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be done away. God was about to be revealed as the Father of all believers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. The woman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till the coming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak to thee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet to this woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet he had done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 342

How few realize that Jesus, unseen, is walking by their side! How ashamed many would be to hear His voice speaking to them and to know that He heard all their foolish, common talk! And how many hearts would burn with holy joy if they only knew that the Saviour was by their side, that the holy atmosphere of His presence was surrounding them, and they were feeding on the bread of life! How pleased the Saviour would be to hear His followers talking on His precious lessons of instruction and to know that they had a relish for holy things! CT 342.1

When the truth abides in the heart, there is no place for criticism of God's servants, or for picking flaws with the message He sends. That which is in the heart will flow from the lips. It cannot be repressed. The things that God has prepared for those that love Him will be the theme of conversation. The love of Christ is in the soul as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, sending forth living streams that bring life and gladness wherever they flow.—Special Testimony to the Battle Creek Church, November 18, 1896. CT 342.2

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Ellen G. White
Education, 192

The great motive powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love; and it is to these that Bible study, rightly pursued, appeals. The outward beauty of the Bible, the beauty of imagery and expression, is but the setting, as it were, for its real treasure—the beauty of holiness. In its record of the men who walked with God, we may catch glimpses of His glory. In the One “altogether lovely” we behold Him, of whom all beauty of earth and heaven is but a dim reflection. “I, if I be lifted up,” He said, “will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32. As the student of the Bible beholds the Redeemer, there is awakened in the soul the mysterious power of faith, adoration, and love. Upon the vision of Christ the gaze is fixed, and the beholder grows into the likeness of that which he adores. The words of the apostle Paul become the language of the soul: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: ... that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Philippians 3:8-10. Ed 192.1

The springs of heavenly peace and joy unsealed in the soul by the words of Inspiration will become a mighty river of influence to bless all who come within its reach. Let the youth of today, the youth who are growing up with the Bible in their hands, become the recipients and the channels of its life-giving energy, and what streams of blessing would flow forth to the world!—influences of whose power to heal and comfort we can scarcely conceive—rivers of living water, fountains “springing up unto everlasting life.” Ed 192.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 127

Those who are teaching the most solemn message ever given to the world, should discipline the mind to comprehend its significance. The theme of redemption will bear the most concentrated study, and its depth will never be fully explored. You need not fear that you will exhaust this wonderful theme. Drink deep of the well of salvation. Go to the fountain for yourself, that you may be filled with refreshment, that Jesus may be in you a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life. Only Bible truth and Bible religion will stand the test of the judgment. We are not to pervert the word of God to suit our convenience, and worldly interests, but to honestly inquire, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” And what a price! Not “with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... but with the precious blood of Christ.” When man was lost, the Son of God said, I will redeem him, I will become his surety and substitute. He laid aside His royal robes, clothed His divinity with humanity, stepped down from the royal throne, that He might reach the very depth of human woe and temptation, lift up our fallen natures, and make it possible for us to be overcomers, the sons of God, the heirs of the eternal kingdom. Shall we then allow any consideration of earth to turn us away from the path of truth? Shall we not challenge every doctrine and theory, and put it to the test of God's word? FE 127.1

We should not allow any argument of man's to turn us away from a thorough investigation of Bible truth. The opinions and customs of men are not to be received as of divine authority. God has revealed in His word what is the whole duty of man, and we are not to be swayed from the great standard of righteousness. He sent His only-begotten Son to be our example, and bade us to hear and follow Him. We must not be influenced from the truth as it is in Jesus, because great and professedly good men urge their ideas above the plain statements of the word of God. FE 128.1

The work of Christ is to draw men from the false and spurious to the true and genuine. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” There is no danger of going into error while we follow in the footsteps of “the Light of the world.” We are to work the works of Christ. We must engage heart and soul in His service; we must search the word of life, and present it to others. We must educate the people to realize the importance of its teaching, and the danger of deviating from its plain commands. FE 128.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 412-3

The flowing of the water from the rock in the desert was celebrated by the Israelites, after their establishment in Canaan, with demonstrations of great rejoicing. In the time of Christ this celebration had become a most impressive ceremony. It took place on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, when the people from all the land were assembled at Jerusalem. On each of the seven days of the feast the priests went out with music and the choir of Levites to draw water in a golden vessel from the spring of Siloam. They were followed by multitudes of the worshipers, as many as could get near the stream drinking of it, while the jubilant strains arose, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3. Then the water drawn by the priests was borne to the temple amid the sounding of trumpets and the solemn chant, “Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:2. The water was poured out upon the altar of burnt offering, while songs of praise rang out, the multitudes joining in triumphant chorus with musical instruments and deep-toned trumpets. PP 412.1

The Saviour made use of this symbolic service to direct the minds of the people to the blessings that He had come to bring them. “In the last day, that great day of the feast,” His voice was heard in tones that rang through the temple courts, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “This,” said John, “spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.” John 7:37-39. The refreshing water, welling up in a parched and barren land, causing the desert place to blossom, and flowing out to give life to the perishing, is an emblem of the divine grace which Christ alone can bestow, and which is as the living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul. He in whom Christ is abiding has within him a never-failing fountain of grace and strength. Jesus cheers the life and brightens the path of all who truly seek Him . His love, received into the heart, will spring up in good works unto eternal life. And not only does it bless the soul in which it springs, but the living stream will flow out in words and deeds of righteousness, to refresh the thirsting around him. PP 412.2

The same figure Christ had employed in His conversation with the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14. Christ combines the two types. He is the rock, He is the living water. PP 412.3

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 232-3

The world needs evidences of sincere Christianity. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society. Cities and towns are steeped in sin and moral corruption. The world is full of sickness, suffering, and iniquity. Nigh and afar off are souls in poverty and distress, weighed down with a sense of guilt and perishing for want of a saving influence. The gospel of truth is kept ever before them, yet they perish because the example of those who should be a savor of life to them is a savor of death. Their souls drink in bitterness because the springs are poisoned, when they should be like a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. PK 232.1

Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate, infuse it, that it may be preserved. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved as masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. It is to work with the influence of Christ, to lift where Christ lifts, to impart correct principles, and to stay the progress of the world's corruption. It is to diffuse that grace which Christ alone can impart. It is to uplift, to sweeten the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love. PK 232.2

Of the hitherto polluted spring at Jericho, the Lord declared, “I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.” The polluted stream represents the soul that is separate from God. Sin not only shuts away from God, but destroys in the human soul both the desire and the capacity for knowing Him. Through sin, the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted; the faculties of the soul are degraded. There is an absence of pure religion, of heart holiness. The converting power of God has not wrought in transforming the character. The soul is weak, and for want of moral force to overcome, is polluted and debased. PK 233.1

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