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Friday, April 28, 2017
Jacob’s Well – 28 April 2017, Anno Domini
18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. 19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel. (Gen 33:18-20)
Water is that which sustains life. There are two, perhaps three, kinds of water. There is physical water of pure property that sustains our physical bodies; and there is spiritual water (Water of Life) that sustains our spirits; and then there is the poisoned water of Satan that rots away life and soul.
Jacob purchased a parcel of ground outside the gates of Sychar (anciently called Sheckhem) and he dug a well thereon. Nearby the well, he also erected an altar to the Lord for the Lord is the source of Life and the Water of Life. It was many hundreds of years later that the true Water of Life came to that Well of Jacob. According to the computations of Bishop Ussher, it was more than 1,700 years later that Christ came to that same Well.
5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water (John 4:5-7)
It is characteristic of wells that those who come, come out of thirst and need. Each of us is born into the world with a thirst. Sometimes those thirsts are for the wrong things – alcohol, illicit sex, inordinate wealth, etc. But the thirst which is most essential to satisfy is that which emerges from the dry deserts and plains of a broken and contrite heart.
It was water of Jacob’s Well for which the woman came, and it was the Water of Life with which she left that Well.
Situated approximately thirty miles north of Jerusalem in the hill country of Ephraim is the ruins of the ancient walled city of Shechem of the Old Testament, Sychar in the New Testament, and today known as Nablus. It is the burial site of Joseph. Beneath the foundations of Shechem there runs an Underground River which carries its nourishing waters to the distant pasturelands, and it is this water course from which the water for Jacob’s Well is supplied. The waters of the river run totally unnoticed beneath the busy commercial streets and shops of flourishing Shechem during its active workday of barter and trade. But once the oxcarts and trampling feet of merchants and patrons have been stilled by the curtain of night, one can very plainly hear the gurgling ripples of the stream deep below the foundation of the city as it hurries along to its indefinite destination. But its waters come from deep beneath the surface, and are of the earth. Though pure and wholesome for the body, that water can offer no benefit to the soul.
But how like the still and silent draw of the deep waters of the Holy Ghost are the waters of this Underground River, and it was these waters from above of the Holy Ghost that quenched the great thirst and convicted the woman of Samaria as she spoke with the Fountainhead of those Waters of Life.
The woman came thirsting for the water of the earth that would not finally satisfy, but discovered the Water of Heaven that satisfies completely and forever. Quite often in our busy lives of social, commercial and professional activity, we are unable to hear the soft, sweet voice of God calling to us over the tumult of life. It is at those busy times that we need Him most - and are sadly unable to hear. Our ignorance often separates us from recognizing His Presence just as the men on the Road to Emmaus were ignorant of to whom they conversed until He broke the Bread and gave to them.
The wells of earth are dug by the strenuous labors of men; but the Well of the Waters of Life are purchased at the cost of the Blood of the Lamb of God.
What must we do to enter again into the sanctuary of the Almighty? Simple! Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10). Sometimes we simply need to close our minds, hearts and ears to the rush of daily life, stop what we are doing in reading or converse, and commune with the Majesty from on high. He never shouts, screams or intrudes without our invitation; because He is a perfect Gentleman (Jesus es el Senor - Jesus is a Gentleman). as our good Spanish brothers love to aver). Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God (Job 37:14).
Remember the call of God to young Samuel? He called three times in the night. Samuel heard clearly each call, but aging and restless Eli did not hear. (I Sam 3:4-15). And poor dejected Elijah, having given up all hope, God commanded to go and stand upon the mount before the Lord. Elijah witnessed a great and strong wind which rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a STILL SMALL VOICE.
God does not speak to us in the heated shouts and elevated voices of everyday life. He speaks not through the twisted and tortured notes of heavy metal (Christian?) music. Not in the peals of drum and discordant voice. He comes softly! He resorts (as he always has) not to the sin-filled and busy main street, but to the GARDEN. And as Moses did, we must remove our spiritual shoes when we stand on Holy Ground.
The Holy Spirit is forever that silent, bountiful stream of Living Water that courses ever near us, but which we often neglect to hear or heed. It is a Well whose base is fixed in Heaven – not at the bottom of a hole in the ground.
Our present generation wants ACTION! Entertainment - even in worship! But they are a sad lot who seek God in vaunted words, music and deeds of modern society which, it seems, many of our churches attempt to emulate. Worship in many of America's churches is centered on man and his word - not the Word of God or praise to Him. What does God think of such churches? He looks at the fruit of the tree itself. Have our youth abandoned the Old Paths wherein our fathers walked? Surely, they have. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt 12:39-40) Please do not simply allow these words to go in one ear and out the other. What did Christ mean? He meant that His death, burial, and resurrection are sufficient for us to know that He is our risen Lord, Redeemer, and King. We do not require signs and wonders performed at the hands of unholy men to convince us – so stop running here and yon to see so-called wonders to convince you.
If you want to hear the voice of God, be near to Him who first loved you; follow close on as a lamb whose vision is short-sighted; seek Him in the quiet sanctuary of His Garden. Seek Him in your closet of prayer, not in the boisterous 'noise' of some modern worship services. The sound of His voice is like the Underground River of Living Water of ancient Shechem. To hear Him, OUR feet must stop, OUR voices must be stilled, if we are to hear HIS. Thoughts of the market place, the bazaar, the social gatherings, must be put aside. We empty our hearts of worldly lusts and turn them to the Source of all Mercy and Grace.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is a Mighty River of Life. That River is present in the Paradise of God according to God’s Holy Word. But Christ is not only that River in its course, but the very Fountainhead thereof. 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. (Jer 17:13) His Water of Life gushes forth from the Fountainhead (which He is) and waters the Tree of Life in the Garden of God (which He also is). 1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:1-5)
If this life is all there is for you, you are destined to be the dust that leads to the Gates of Hell; but if you seek that Water of Life which our Lord Jesus offers, you shall become the watered fruits of Heaven. Dry dust bears no life, but watered fruit is the currency of Heaven.