( Spurgeon lists 8 attributes of the living water described in John 4 . The sermon has been shortened, link below for full sermon)
“Lord, give me this water; give me this water tonight!”
1. Water, first, is thirst-removing, and so is the Grace of God. The man who drinks water, thirsts not, his bodily need is removed; the man who receives the Grace of God in his heart, gets that which his nature is lacking, and his painful longings are over.
2. Secondly, water is also life-preserving. In the wilderness, where there is no water, the lips becomes chapped; the skin is dried; the tongue is like a firebrand, and the mouth is like an oven; and the weary traveler must drink or die. O for a draught of water there! A bag of diamonds could not buy a cup of water there! Priceless is the life draught. And far out on the salt, salt sea, with— “Water, water everywhere, But not a drop to drink,” the mariner, though he may seek to satisfy himself with the brine around him, feels that it will be death sooner or later to him unless he can get some pure, clear, refreshing drops of water to drink. O Soul, if you get God’s Grace, you shall never die! Do you believe this? If that Grace of God shall come flowing into your soul, you shall possess Eternal Life, an immortal principle which shall bid defiance to the grave, and make you sing in the very jaws of death, for He who drinks of this Water, shall live in Christ forever. “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” “He who believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” This Grace of God, then, is life-preserving, as well as thirst-quenching; have you found it so? For, Friend, I cannot afford to let you hear me, and yet escape a squeeze or two. If you forget this sermon, it shall not be because I did not press you to remember it.
3. Water, in the third place, is filth-purging.Man seeks no more than to get to the stream to wash when he is defiled. Many and many a time in passing through a country, the poor traveler comes to a brook so clear that he can see his face reflected in it, and he stoops down and washes his brow again and again, and takes his bath, and goes his way all bright and shining, as though he had exchanged sorrow for gladness, and received the oil of joy for mourning. Now, the guilty sinner, and such are we all by nature, however foul he may be, has but to stoop down at the river of Eternal Grace and wash, and he shall be clean. This stream can take out spots which nothing else can remove. Our sin is of such a crimson dye, naturally, that it might contaminate the Atlantic before it should be washed away, but this Water of Life can do it; it takes away the stain of blasphemy and lust; it removes the pollution of theft and murder. All manner of sin shall be forgiven unto that man who comes to the Cross and trusts in Jesus. Whoever believes in the world’s great Redeemer, shall find full and complete pardon for every offense that he has committed. This filth-removing is the Grace of God streaming from the Cross, where Jesus suffered in our place the wrath which was due to us for our transressions— “Calvary’s wonders let us trace, Justice magnified in Grace; Mark the purple streams, and say, Thus my sins were washed away.” Friend, can you do this by faith, trusting for pardon in the blood of God’s dear Son?
4. Water, again, is well known very frequently to be softening. There are some things which, when laid in water, soon lose their hardness, and become soft and pliable. This Water of the Grace of God, which it is my longing desire to commend to you, has a marvelous softening power. Adamant,millstone, yes, the nether millstone, northern iron and steel, have been melted when laid to soak in this Fountain.The hardest heart yields before the Power of the Love of God revealed in Christ Jesus. I think I hear one of you exclaim, “That is good news for me; I know that Christ can pardon me, but I cannot feel my sin as I ought; I am such a stiff-necked sinner, so hardened, so perverse, I cannot feel my need as I would wish to.” Soul, if the Grace of God shall flow upon your heart, it shall turn the stone, by a wondrous transformation, into flesh at once. There is no stubbornness which the Grace of God cannot overcome. What a blessed thing it is for the preacher that he has not to give his hearers soft hearts, nor even to find tender hearts in them to begin with; how delightful it is for him to remember that he preaches a Gospel which works wonders, wonders even greater than the rod of Moses; for when with the Gospel we smite even a rock, penitential streams gush forth, and yet more, the rocky soul is itself dissolved under a sense of sin. May the Lord give it to every one of us who have hard hearts remaining. Gladly would I bathe in it anew, that I might the more tenderly feel for you. Friend, will you never feel for yourself?
5. In the fifth place, this Water has the property, like earthly water, of being fire-quenching. There is nothing like water after all, with all your new inventions, for putting out fire. But when the Grace of God comes, how soon that fire is dampened, and even quenched forever! And there are other fires which burn in the soul—the fire of envy and of malice, the flames of anger and of unholy desire—how these will rage and glow until the Grace of God comes! I know it puzzles many a man to know how he could live without such-and-suchsins. “Oh,” he says, “I could not live without them, I have fallen into the habit of them, and I must have them.” Ah, but you shall be made a new man, such a new man that if you were to meet your old self, you would avoid the wretch or struggle with him in deadly hand-to-hand combat, out of sheer hatred to so
mean a thing. Let me tell you, you will never be on good terms with your old self as long as you live. O Sinner, the very flames of Hell are put out by this Grace of God; I mean as far as the saved soul is concerned—for the soul that is washed in this Fountain, there is no Hell in which God can punish it. How can He punish a pardoned sinner? How can he that is in Christ Jesus be cast into the flames?— “No condemnation now I dread, For Justice smote my Surety’s head.”
6. A sixth property is one that is not found in ordinary water, and that is that it is a spring-creating Water. Wherever the Water of Life falls, it makes a new spring, which begins to bubble up directly. By this I mean that if the Grace of God enters into a man’s heart, it is an Immortal Principle, and, as the Savior says, “Out of the midst of him shall flow rivers of living water.” “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” What a great difference there is between a pool and a running spring! What a blessing it is when the Living Water makes a spring within the Christian! What a curse to be one of the stagnant ponds of formality exhaling the putridity of hypocrisy. Friend, where are you? I must have my hand on you again, what are you in this matter as in the sight of God?
7. Seventh, it is fruit-producing Water.What fruit would there be upon the trees, what pasture in the meadows, what harvest in the field, if it were not for the rain? Everything would be barren without water, and even where there is fruit, if there is not, also, a fair share of water, what poor stuff it is! You cannot give Him true praise, nor true prayer, nor true service, nor anything that is acceptable, unless He first shall give you of the rain of His Grace—Grace for Grace. “By their fruits shall you know them.” Friend, what fruit have you? O that Grace may turn the barren fig tree into a good fruit-bearing tree!
8. And, lastly upon this point; it is Heaven-ascending Water. Now, the Grace of God will rise as high as its source. If you and I have grace that began with us, it will never get higher than we are. If you have grace that the priest gave you when you were christened, it will never get higher than the priest; but if you get the true Grace of God which descends from Heaven, it will take you as high as the New Jerusalem from which it came. High up in the Throne of God are the Ever-lasting Springs of Divine Mercy; at the foot of Divine Sovereignty it wells up a spring, clear as crystal, pure without a stain, and it flows down to earth, leaping down by the way of the Cross. And it will ascend as high as its Source Friend, do you know anything about this in your very soul?
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw: John 4
It cannot be to His profit to shut His door in a seeking sinner’s face. It is impossible that the bleeding Lamb should cease to be pitiful to poor bleeding hearts. I TO URGE YOU TO PRAY THE PRAYER OF THE TEXT. A desire is like seed in the bag, but prayer sows it in the furrow. A desire is like water in the bottle, but prayer drinks it. Now I commend to you the prayer of my text—“Sir, give me this Water.” Begin then, your prayer by honoring Christ. Do not call Him, “Sir,” but call Him, “Lord.” She gave Him the highest title that her respect could accord. She did not know Him in any other capacity, so she called Him, “Sir.” Now, call Jesus, “Lord,” for you will get no Mercy if you dishonor Christ. Think of Him as God’s only Son suffering for sinners. Call him, “Lord.” Can you do that? If you reject His Divinity, you shut yourself out of His Kingdom. He must be acknowledged as Lord and God as well as Savior. “Oh,” you say, “I have long ago called Him Lord, I know Him to be Divine; I rejoice in the thought of His Eternal Power and Godhead; I would honor Him with all that I have.” Well, then, you have well begun, but may Divine Grace make you go further. Now in the next place, if you would pray this prayer aright, notice it, and confess your undeservingness. It is not, “Sir, sell me this Water,” but, “Sir, give me this Water.” Confess that it is a gift. You shall never have it otherwise. Away with your merit-mongering. Away with your trusting in your prayers, and your tears, and your sense of need. Mercy must be given or else you shall never have it. “Sir, give me, give me, give me this Water. O Lord, give me Grace, or else I die; give it to me of Your free Mercy, because You have promised to save the chief of sinners; give it to me, Lord. I am done with boasting; I am done with the Pharisee’s thanking You that I am not as other men are; I come with empty hands; I come naked, poor, and miserable;give it to me; I have nothing to buy it with. Oh, give it to me without money and without price, Your salvation!” Friend, does your pride kick at this? Be wise, I pray you, and bow your neck to the yoke of Divine Grace. Take care, too, that you make it a personal prayer—“Lord, give it to me.”Never mind your neighbors just now. Care for them after you are saved. Look after their salvation when your own is secure; but just now you have first to do with yourself. Your children? Yes, pray for them. Your relatives? Yes, consider them. But, meanwhile, now it is yourself, your own proper self that is concerned. Do not think of the whole congregation. Think now personally of your own soul, and say, “Lord, give me this Water.”
What is the living water and the living bread? John 4