How Can I Exchange Emptiness for Fullness? pt. 3

Devotional insights on John 4:1-26


Well, let us go back to the woman at the well. We see how Jesus provokes her to recognize that she needs this water, this well. So when He speaks about this water, she decides to throw away all of her difficulties about His being of a different race, and she says, “Well now, tell me something, would You give me this water that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw? I’m tired of coming to this well. I really want this water you’re talking about. I don’t want to thirst anymore.”

Now notice what He does. He says, “Go call your husband and come here.” I didn’t see this for years, but you know something? It’s quite interesting that the marriage relationship is to be something of a mutual flow, a mutual sharing. The husband is to drink from his wife’s well, and the wife from the husband’s well. There is something in my life that I can give to my wife, and I’m to be always giving. You see, that is the expression of my relationship to my wife. When my relationship to my wife becomes one of getting–my pleasure, my satisfaction–then my marriage relationship has practically no meaning any longer.

Now He says, “Let’s find out how this well is working here in your home.” See what He’s getting at? He knows what is going on, but He wants her to come out with it. “Go call your husband,” He says. Jesus is saying, “What I’m talking to you about is not a physical well. You’ve got to know something about a flow in the Spirit. You’ve got to know something about this relationship between people, because that’s what the well is, a relationship between you and God. Now, I’m going to get to the place where your relationship with people is most intimate. Call your husband. If this is going to touch you, it’s got to touch him. If there is something in your life, it’s going to be in his life.”

You know something that’s just uncanny? When problems get straightened out at home, the whole spiritual outlook is different. People say, “When you get your spiritual outlook straightened out, your home life will straighten out.” But the two are really so close together, so dependent on each other, that you can’t go too far along one line until the other one comes along. So Jesus said, “Go call your husband, and come here.”

She says, “I have no husband.”

He answers [paraphrased], “You said well; you have no husband. For you have had five husbands. You don’t know what it is to drink from any well. You’ve been drinking to get satisfaction. You don’t know anything about this well. You don’t know what it is to be so related with an individual that the well flows.”

She said, “I perceive You are a prophet.” In other words, You’re on an inside track. Where did You get all this information? I’ve been looking for the inside track for years.

You know you run up against somebody, and all you can think about is all your terrible problems, your burdens, your difficulties. Oh, they are just mountains before you. You come up against someone else who’s really walking with the Lord, and enjoying the Lord, and you ask, “What secret have you got? What’s all the mystery to this? Aren’t you human? Don’t you know what problems are?”

The other night I was talking to a woman. She was concerned about a terrible problem with her family, children, and so on. She said something about four children. I said, “I’ve got four children.” Oh, she could hardly take that in. How was it that I had such victory, and she was so conscious of such terrible need? So she came back at me with something like this: “You’ll see when your children get older.”

The idea always is, well, you know it’s just not possible to move out of fullness; it just is not possible to have the well inside. We become so accustomed to confessing our need that we don’t even think it is possible to have the fullness of the Lord. And we have reasoned ourselves into a position where we are saying, “When all the circumstances are right, then I can enjoy God. When all the circumstances are right, then I’ll be at the well.”

It’s not that. All the circumstances can be wrong, and you still can have the well inside. Everything outwardly can be against you–your body racked with pain, and every kind of problem, domestic, material and social staring you in the face–still you can know such an inner composure, a peace and a walk with God that you know the well is inside. You’re not looking for it; it’s there. This is what Jesus is getting at.

Then the woman said, “I perceive You are a prophet. I want to find out if You’ve got a little further inside track. This is a religious problem. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and You say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

Jesus said, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming and now is…”

Jesus uses this phrase in a number of places, and whenever He says this, He’s dealing with something that is a spiritual principle, and therefore com-pletely above the limits of time and space. That is why He says, “The hour is coming and now is.” You haven’t historically grasped it yet; but it’s an eternal principle, and you can lay hold of it now. Something greater I’m coming to realize: that every principle in the Spirit is eternally available to us. Every heavenly principle is always available to us. It has no historical roots. It’s applied to history; it’s applied to our lives, but it’s always beyond us in its foundation.

Whenever the Lord sets in motion a principle or spiritual law, You can walk in it; you can live in it, if you’ll live and walk in the Spirit, always. But the fullness of its historical meaning may be yet future. Lets take, for instance, the coming of the Lord. The coming of the King of Glory, when He’ll be crowned Lord of Lords and King of Kings, is … a prophetic reality, yet future. It hasn’t yet come to pass historically. It will come to pass, but it’s future. You can’t lay hold of that historical thing yet, but the spiritual principles that are to be manifested then, you can lay hold of right now. You can have the consciousness of His sovereignty over every situation right now. You can know that He is present right now.

Thus Jesus is saying, the truth of the matter is, God is not worshiped either in relation to history or to geography. Your fathers say that this place is the place to worship, and our fathers say that over there is. But worship is timeless, worship relates to eternity. Worship makes the eternal God utterly accessible and makes us completely accessible to God. It’s not a matter of time or place.

Some people say, “Oh, if I could just get in a meeting, I could enjoy the presence of the Lord. If I could just be in such and such a place! Oh, I understand they’re going to have a meeting over there. If I could just get to the camp meeting, I know the Lord would meet my need.” It’s always “over there.” It’s always out there, always future. Or, “If I had just been there when that happened. But, you know, I wasn’t.”

Now Jesus said, “The hour is coming and now is.” On another occasion He said, “The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear His voice, and they that hear shall live” [John 5:25].

“Oh,” you say, “the resurrection hasn’t come yet.”

Well, no, not as a historical thing. But the spiritual principle is there. Everytime God speaks, the dead come to life. And He’s saying here, “The hour is coming when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” [John 4:23,24].

God is available to us. God is Spirit. All of this is completely related to the matter of a well inside.

Part 3 of 4. This is from the book, Designed to Express His Life. Italics added. For ordering information, please contact Grace Fellowship International. Orville is the older brother of popular author and radio teacher, Chuck Swindoll. Most of Orville’s missionary work and writing is in Spanish. His web site is


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