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)
Recently Susan and I were dinner guests at the home of some friends. The hospitality was wonderful, and the meal was especially good. During the conversation Susan and I were told some funny newspaper headlines.
One such hilarious headline read, “‘Something went wrong in jet crash’ expert says.” Another reported “‘Plane too close to ground’ crash probe told'”. Well, we can laugh at silly headlines that make us laugh but there are also times when comments are misunderstood, and the results are not funny at all.
A friend of mine was in a serious car accident and—along with another passenger in the car—was taken to a small hospital near the accident site. The doctor admitted my friend and prescribed for him 1/2 of one pain pill every 6-8 hours for pain. The nurse read it as 2 pain pills every 6 hours for pain. So my friend was given 4 times the amount of pain medication the doctor prescribed. It was no wonder then that my friend spent hours staring out the window at snow, and wondering why he had never before seen how beautiful it was.
So, if we misunderstand some things, the result may be unimportant. Other things, if misunderstood, can be very dangerous even life threatening.
It is recorded several times in John’s Gospel where people misunderstood what Jesus said. Our verse for today is one clear example of when Jesus meant one thing and the listener understood it to mean something else.
Jesus was using a metaphor to illustrate the gift of eternal life. A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two unrelated things to each other and implies that they have something important in common.
In John 10:9 Jesus said He was a door or gate. Now clearly He did not mean He had hinges down one side of Him and a latch on the other side. Jesus meant that He was like a door in some respects. Doors allow people entrance into some room, or out of some room, in or out of a house or whatever.
Metaphors are very vivid illustrations of some characteristic of a thing or person. So when Jesus spoke of water He had to give away, He was referring to something needed to sustain life. He was referring to something absolutely vital to everyone, or else they would die.
As we read the entire passage (John 4:1-42) we can see that the woman was just not getting what Jesus was talking about, and so He had to change the direction of the conversation. What He was talking about was still vital, but He had to come at it from another direction if she was to understand.
Have you missed out on some vital aspect of the Bible’s message? Have you come to the Lord thinking that everything in life will go wonderfully well if you walk with the Lord?
You may have been sadly mistaken and now you are confused at the trouble you still have in life. You wonder what it is all about.
Keep on reading your Bible, the Palms, Isaiah, the Gospels and other portions that will help you really understand God’s message. Do not give up but rather press on until the answers come.
The Lord wants to talk to you and show you the path to eternal life. Keep seeking Him until you get it right!