MOST of us can remember a time when a cold drink of water was what we wanted most of all. Maybe after an all-day hike in the mountains or at the end of a strenuous game of pickup basketball. Water, on these occasions, may seem more precious than gold. Christ Jesus, the Master, spoke of another kind of thirst -- a thirst of the soul. His life was devoted to satisfying the deep yearning each of us has to know God and to know something of our true nature as God's spiritual offspring.
There's an incident recorded in the Gospel of John in which we can clearly see Christ Jesus' ability, as the Messiah, to satisfy humanity's thirst for spiritual things. After a long journey from Judea he stopped in Samaria at Jacob's well and asked a local woman for a drink. His request startled her, as Jews and Samaritans at that time had little contact. In the course of the conversation, Jesus said to the woman, ``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.'' The Master went on to explain, ``Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.''
The Samaritan woman did discover who it was that spoke with her. She identified him as a prophet and was able to perceive that he was indeed the promised Christ. The story implies that the woman's life was changed, even transformed by this remarkable encounter.
``Living water'' and ``everlasting life.'' How was Jesus able to offer such treasures -- not just to the Samaritan woman, but to all his followers?
Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, explains that it was the divinity of Jesus which gave him the power to satisfy deep spiritual needs. He understood his own nature as the Son of God, inseparable from divine Life. Thus he could awaken others to their eternal, indestructible relationship to God. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy points out, ``Born of a woman, Jesus' advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary's earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure.''
Wasn't it the divine Spirit Jesus expressed that enabled the Samaritan woman to recognize the light of Christ and to discover something of her own Christliness? Our lives today can be similarly transformed by the power of Christ. The divine Spirit that Jesus lived is present now to purify our thoughts and lives.
But how do we actually receive this gift of living water? It's through prayer -- through our deep and conscientious communion with God -- that we recognize and accept Christ. This prayer requires humility, righteousness, and faith in good. It's a process of discerning God, who is revealing His own nature. In reverent moments, grounded in Christian living, we naturally discern the spirit of Truth.
As we grow in our love for God and in obedience to Him, we'll recognize the presence of Christ more often. The result will be spiritual satisfaction. Having tasted the living water that Spirit alone can give, we'll want nothing less.