Most of you have heard the saying, “Change your water, change your life.” I first encountered this phrase on the side of the building pictured above one sunny afternoon as I drove out of the neighborhood. Since then, I’ve heard it frequently from those selling or promoting water machines, as well as bottled water, water filters, and a myriad of other things. Well, this is a short story about a special kind of water, one that promises to dramatically change your life – and will.
One afternoon after reading quite the fascinating conversation between a woman at a well and Jesus, I headed out to run some errands. If you haven’t encountered this jaw dropping exchange, I’ll have it for you a little bit later. But right now, back to the story.
Errands always makes me seriously hungry. So before long, I cruised by the illustrious Panera Bread Company to rustle up some lunch. The young man coming forward to wait on me appeared to be in his early 20s with a happy face and pleasant grin. After ordering my sandwich, I paused. In reality, I was merely taking time as I mentally calculated whether I could afford to add anything else to the order beyond the sandwich. I haven’t shifted over to a cashless, debit card, way of life and unfortunately have a habit of not carrying much money. Therein lies a problem. No debit card, not much cash, that equals not much food.
As the awkward pause continued, I confided in him what I was doing. I divulged the total amount of money in my possession and he used the register to do the figuring. He quickly announced that I could afford a drink. Without pause he followed up with, “Or you could forget the drink and get a cookie.”
A cookie is certainly an enticing option, but that day I choose to opt out of the dessert realm. “No thanks,” I responded. “I’ll stick with what will quench my thirst. But really there is only one thing that will quench my thirst and that’s Living Water.”
Many people at this juncture would have missed what I was inferring. Or a more probable reaction would have been to think I was just another weird customer. But not this young man! I will never forget his response. He looked me straight in the eyes and answered, “I know…. because that kind is eternal!”
At this point in the story, it is probably a good time to go back and record the encounter of Jesus having a conversation with a woman about water. It’s the very story I had read earlier in the day before my Panera stop. The story appears in an ancient manuscript by a man named John who knew Jesus well. The encounter goes like this –
Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. This time he had to go through Samaria, and on his way he came to the town of Sychar. It was near the field that Jacob had long ago given to his son Joseph. The well that Jacob had dug was still there, and Jesus sat down beside it because he was tired from traveling. It was noon, and after Jesus’ disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well.
Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”
“You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give will become in that person a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won’t get thirsty and have to come to this well again.”
Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.”
The woman answered, “I don’t have a husband.”
“That’s right,” Jesus replied, “you’re telling the truth. You don’t have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn’t your husband.”
The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. My ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.”
Jesus said to her:
“Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.”
The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
“I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”
The disciples returned about this time and were surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking with her.
The woman left her water jar and ran back into town, where she said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” Everyone in town went out to see Jesus.John 4:3-30
Knowing the story above makes my Panera experience much clearer. Obviously the young man in Panera was aware of the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well. And it was no coincidence that I had just read the story that morning. For those who know me well, they can hear me say my often stated quote, “There are no such things as coincidences.”
So after we exchanged a few more remarks about living water and the ways it really does change your life, I began moving down the order line. But there was one more question he needed for my order. Thank goodness, after all that calculating and decision making, it was an easy one to answer. The question was, “What is your name?” I gave it and then casually asked his. As he answered, I glanced at his name tag.
If you would like to take a guess at what his response was, do so now. If not, I’ll tell you. His name was John. I was having a discussion about Living Water with John. I had begun the day reading one John describe Jesus claiming the ability to provide water that would give life and forever cease thirst. And here I was later this same day, face-to-face with a second John who had experienced that life-giving water for himself.
The best ending of this story actually includes what happened after our conversation. The results were much the same as what the woman in the story experienced after she went to town and told others about her encounter with the man at the well. The last verse reports, “Everyone in town went out to see Jesus.” My new friend John and I watched as the same scenario played out. Every customer who had heard our chat in the line purposely ordered water, one by one. Hearing about something that good only makes you want it. It’s true, “Change your water, change your life.”
“My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13 CEV
“On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, ‘If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say.’ Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone that had faith in him.” John 7:37-39a CEV
“Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27 NLT
“Those people will never be hungry again, and they will never be thirsty again. The sun will not hurt them, and no heat will burn them, because the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of water that give life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17 NCV
“Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17b NIV
In response to the film Jesus Revolution, here’s a glimpse of living water at work.💦 🌊
I imagine the woman at the well sang a similar song as “What I’m Waiting For.”
For another story where Jesus shows up unexpectedly, read “It’s Always Been You.”
A few of my Living Water Pinterest pins are below. For all the rest, click here Living Water Pinterest Board.
I can’t end this story with a shoutout for Max Lucado’s book “Come Thirsty.” It’s still one of my all-time favorites.
And if you enjoyed this story, please share it! Or if you would like to contact me, I’d love to hear from you at UncommonStories77@gmail.com.