Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you, Give me to drink…
The turning points in our career have commonly nothing in them to distinguish them from common events, nothing to show that they are turning points. We do not know the faces that lie hidden all around us. We pass all our life along side of that which would make all eternity different to us, and yet, for lack of know. ledge, for lack of consideration, for lack often of one hour's serious, heart-searching thought, the thin veil continues to hide from us our true and lasting blessedness. Like the crew that were perishing from thirst, though surrounded by the fresh waters of the River Amazon that penetrated far into the salt ocean; so are we surrounded on all hands by God — the living, loving God — and upheld by Him, and living in Him, yet do not know Him, and refrain from dipping our buckets and drawing out of His life-giving fulness. How often, looking on those who, like this Samaritan woman, have gone wrong and know no recovery, who go through their daily duties sad and heavy at heart and weary of sin — how often do these words rise to our lips, "If only thou knewest!" How often does one long to be able to shed a sudden and universal light into the minds of men, that they may see things as they really are, that would reveal to them the goodness, the power, the all-conquering love of God! Two particulars our Lord mentions as being defective in this woman's knowledge.
I. SHE DID NOT KNOW THE GIFT OF GOD. Her expectations were limited by her earthly condition and her physical wants. She had no belief that she had to do with the eternal loving God, and that God desired to communicate to her what was in Himself — deep and lasting blessedness. Through all ages, and for all men, there remains this gift of God, sought and found by those who know Him; different from, and superior to, the best human gifts, inheritances, and acquisitions; not to be drawn out of the deepest, most cherished wells of man's sinking; steadily arrogating to itself an infinite superiority to all that men have regarded and busily sunk their pitchers in — the gift which each man must ask for himself, and having for himself, knows to be the gift of God to him, the recognition by God of his personal wants, and the assurance to him of God's everlasting regard. This gift of God, which carries to each soul the sense of God's love, is his deliverance from all evil, his reunion with God Himself.
II. SHE DID NOT KNOW WHO IT WAS that said to her, "Give Me to drink." And until we know Christ, we cannot know God. Often, like this woman, we are in Christ's presence without knowing it, and listen, like her, to His appeals without understanding the majesty of His person and the greatness of our opportunity. It is always the same request that He urges, "Give Me to drink." Is it cruelty to refuse a cup of cold water to a thirsty child, and no cruelty to refuse to quench the thirst of Him who hung upon the cross for us? Ought you to feel no shame that the Lord is still in want of what you can give? Has Christ not sufficiently shown the reality of His thirst for your friendship and faith?
(Marcus Dods, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.