Devotional insights on John 4:1-26
[Jesus said to her] “Woman, you’ve been waiting for such and such a thing to happen. You’ve been waiting till you can get to the mountain so you can draw water. You’ve been waiting till you can get to the well to draw water. I’m telling you something that can be related to everything that you are, and know, every limitation, every difficulty you face right now. If you will learn what worship is, if you will learn how a man is related to God. You can have the well inside.” If we can understand how a man is related to God, we won’t have to walk any more with a consciousness of our own need, or a consciousness of the Lord’s presence over there, and not here. You won’t be going to the well any more.
You know, I can share with you a testimony. I have lost consciousness of the well out there. The well is inside. It’s the most amazing thing. I don’t know where I was for so many years. I feel like I wandered in the dark for years, because I’ve come to realize that the well is inside.
So it’s not a question of, “Oh Lord, I’ve got such a need, God. You must meet me.” When I sense a need, or when I sense a frailty, or an inability for something, I just know, “Lord, You’re able for this, and You’re here. Lord, I just expose myself to You.”
You know, worry is wrong. You can’t possibly worry about something when you realize the well is in here to meet every situation. You see, if I have to face a situation–poor me! I can’t handle it. But if God is actually in me, why He’s equal to every circumstance, every contention; and He’s not going to meet it apart from me. He’s going to meet it in me.
He said, “Woman, you need to get the well inside.”
You know something happened. Spiritual entrance into that woman’s life was so tremendous that, though she was despised, though she was ashamed, something radiated in her countenance. The well inside began to show. The well began to flow, and she went back. There was something shining. The well was flowing, and the whole city turned out to see where she’d found the well.
When our lives are radiating, are expressing that fullness of God within, there’s an overflow. I admonish believers … , “Don’t share your problems with people; share the overflow. Don’t go and unburden all your difficulties. Share the overflow; share the spring. Share the well; share the rivers of living waters. That will do something. That will teach people. They’ll think you’re superhuman for a while; but they’ll find out that you’re weak, and that you have your difficulties too. But they’ll see the well is flowing, that the rivers of living waters are there.”
I am reminded of the children of Israel when the Lord brought them out of Egypt, and was bringing them toward the Promised Land. All the time they were in the wilderness. God was always distant from them. They went to the rock for water. He sent the manna down from above. The cloud of glory was up there. He provided for them supernaturally, wonderfully, but it was just a bare existence. As long as they were in Egypt, you see, everything was provided for them, but they were laboring to make their captors rich. When God brought them out across the Red Sea into the wilderness, He had to teach them a very important lesson–that without the Egyptians, without any security. He could be everything to them. God had to show them that He could spread a table in the wilderness.
Now the first thing that the Lord teaches a person, or the first thing the Lord moves to teach him, is that He can take care of him. He can take care of this situation, this contingency, this problem. He is able for it all. Even when the horizon is terribly bleak, and there is no known possibility to get out of this situation, the Lord is able for it. That’s what the Lord was teaching the children of Israel there in the wilderness. The marvelous thing is that they walked around in the most amazing air-conditioned cubicle, if you want to call it that, for forty years. The sun couldn’t reach them because the cloud of glory was above them. When the desert got cold, the fire was burning to keep them warm. They never had to have a stove. They never had to have a fan. They never carried anything with them to take care of themselves. They had no pantry. They never had a cookstove. They never had a refrigerator. They never had any of the things that we have to have to keep up-to-date. You know why? Because God was their present help! Every-Moment-Provision!
Manna came down every day, except on the sixth day; and then there was a double amount to take them over the next day. They griped; they complained, they murmured, but every morning the manna was there. And it was just enough to take them through the day. They couldn’t hoard it up for a week. If they did, on the second day it was rotten. For forty years their clothes didn’t wear out. They never had anything threadbare. They never got a hole in their shoes. For forty years! Everything was maintained moment by moment. You know the same principle is taught in the widow’s barrel of meal [1 Kings 17:14]. It never wasted, and the oil never ran out. God can provide moment by moment. But this is not yet His perfect plan. Yet this is where almost every Christian we know lives–a moment by moment provision.
Well, God is able. God is able! But they just about go frantic in the process. And they’re just barely getting by. You know the Lord never intended for Israel to live for forty years on manna. At best two years, and then He was going to lead them into the place where there was no lack of bread. In Canaan there was wheat, oats, barley, milk, and honey. God said, “The hills run with dew. There’re rivers. You’ll find brass, iron, everything.” But their hearts remained back in Egypt. You know what their problem was? God brought them out of Egypt to deliver them from their slavery unto His full purpose. But the big problem was themselves; they wanted merely to use God for their own ends, not live unto His glorious end.
You know, I’ve come to see more and more that underlying purpose of Christ’s death for us is not merely to deal with our sins, but to deal with ourselves. I used to think that was secondary. Now I’ve come to realize His death was twofold.
So here’s Israel in the wilderness, just barely getting by. Provision was made for them every day. An unfailing supply, but it was always up there; it always came down from heaven. Most of us live on this ground. We often pray, “Lord, send down a blessing.” The Lord’s always over there. Poor me, I’m way down here. I’m in this mess, and He’s over there. That’s the way you pray when you’re in the wilderness.
When they crossed over Jordan, the manna ceased, the cloud of glory wasn’t up there any more. Their clothes started wearing out. They didn’t eat manna anymore; they ate of the old corn of the land.
We’ve presented manna as though it were the epitome of the Christian life. But God told them that when they got in the land, they’d have corn, barley, oats, wheat, everything! “Why,” He said, “You need water? Don’t look for the rock, just dig a hole. You can punch a well anywhere; there’s water all over the place. You want barley? Plant a barley seed; you’ll get a crop. You need oats? Plant an oat seed; you’ll get oats.” Could they do that in the desert? No! They could have labored all day, could have brought all the seed you could mound up on the ground, and never have a crop. Why? The land was barren! The reason God provided everything from above was because the land was barren. But when the land is fruitful, it doesn’t come down from above.
The thing to do is to get into the land. That land is the abundance of Christ, right now. It’s Christ right now, not heaven. All of His abundance, all of His manifold glory, all of His grace is revealed in the land. Fullness, it’s all in the land. All you have to do is farm the land.
You know, once Israel got in the land, you never saw an Israelite pray, “Oh God, please send the manna.” He knew what he had to do was get out there and farm the land. Three times a year the Israelites gathered from all the four corners of this abundant land and brought the produce. They all came and said, “Look what the land produced. Look at the produce, the abundance. Did you ever see anything in the wilderness like this? It was never like this. Neither was Egypt. In Egypt we made our captors rich. While we were in the wilderness we just barely eked out an existence; here we’ve got everything. And it’s all because God is here in the land. God’s here, not up there.”
You tell some of these things to people, and they think you’re a heretic. But the fact is the God is right here in me and you, and you [Gal. 2:20]. Where is fullness revealed? Where is God expressed? Here, not over there. But I can’t experience God up there. That’s why God made me a spiritual being, and because God is Spirit I can experience Him here. See, you can’t experience God over there. You can only experience God subjectively right here. So while you’re reaching out, you’re not getting very far.
Most of us are saying, “If I can just get home to heaven.” God says, “If I can just get home to you.” Actually that’s what it amounts to.
We say, “Oh, if I could just get out of this mess.” The Lord is saying, “If I could just get into that mess.
We continue, “If I could just get free of this problem.” The Lord’s saying, “If I could just control you in that problem.”
Now it’s all going to come about by the Lord’s restraining and bringing us in, not by escaping, not by running. See? You move into the fullness of Christ. You get the well inside, and you just let it flow. You open up, and God works. God expressing Himself, and God is moving. Oh, it’s wonderful! If you start farming the land, it won’t bother you when the manna quits. No more manna. No more rock. “Oh, the rock is Christ.” That’s true, but the Land is a fuller expression of Christ. And the Church is to be the expression of the fullness of Christ [Eph. 1:22,23]. Praise God!
Father, we thank You for the truth, Your Word. We expose ourselves to You, Lord, that You would work out in us Your purpose. We’ve been trying to get things done ourselves, Lord, doing despite to the Spirit of grace, as it were, not coming under Your hand, or turning to You, or trusting in You. We open up to You, oh Lord, that we might be Your instruments, Your channels, Lord, the means whereby You can accomplish Your will on the earth. Here we are, Lord–open to You. We want to move into that place of expressing You, not our great lack, but Your great fullness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Part 4 of 4. This is from the book, Designed to Express His Life. Italics added. For ordering information, please contact Grace Fellowship International:firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 http://www.orvilleswindoll.com.
Check out the illustrated booklet and online video: How to Be A Child of God.