THE GIFT OF GOD AND CHRIST
The gift of God is the gift that God freely gives to man. This gift is God Himself, that is, His life. Man needs God Himself; that is, man needs God’s life. In the universe only the life of God can quench man’s thirst and satisfy man. God has given Himself, His life, as a gift to man. Man can obtain this free gift without exerting any effort or paying any price. If someone knows his need and knows the free gift of God, he will seek God in order to receive God’s life. The Samaritan woman, however, did not know her need, nor did she know the free gift of God. Hence, the Lord Jesus led her to know her own need and the gift of God so that she might seek and gain this gift.
- obtain /əbˈteɪn/ 获得，赢得
- exert /ɪɡˈzɜːrt/ 运用；施加
There must be a means for God to give Himself, His life, to man. This means is the incarnated Christ. God is embodied in Christ so that He can give Himself to man. A person who believes in Christ and receives Christ gains God and God’s life. Christ spoke with the Samaritan woman, but she did not know Him; she regarded Him merely as a Jew according to His appearance. Therefore, the Lord Jesus spent some time to lead her to know that He is the Christ sent by God so that man may gain God’s life. If she knew the gift of God and if she knew Christ, she would ask Him, and He would give her living water, that is, God’s life.
- appearance /əˈpɪrəns/ 外貌
God’s life is the living water that man needs. This living water of life is in Christ and is what God wants to give man to drink. If man believes in the Lord Jesus and calls on Him, man will drink the living water. The living water is living because it is God’s life, which has vitality; God’s life does not lack vitality. God’s life is living and powerful. Therefore, in man the living water flows ceaselessly and is full of life and vitality. This life makes man strong to live.
- vitality /vaɪˈtæləti/ 生命力；活力
- ceaselessly /ˈsiːsləsli/ 不停地
God as the living water of life can quench man’s thirst and satisfy man. Man is also refreshed, strengthened, joyful, and full of light. Those who have God as the living water no longer have a sense of emptiness; instead, they are satisfied. Their pain becomes joy, their weakness becomes strength, and their darkness becomes light. Formerly, they sought amusement and entertainment, committed sins, and did evil things in order to quench their thirst. Now that the living water has quenched their thirst, they no longer need amusement and entertainment, they no longer willingly commit sins, and they no longer do evil things. Both the entertainment that they loved and the addictions that they served fall off because they gain the satisfaction of the living water.
- refresh /rɪˈfreʃ/ 【动】使恢复精力；使凉爽
- formerly /ˈfɔːrmərli/ 从前
- willingly /ˈwɪlɪŋli/ 愿意地，乐意地
- addiction /əˈdɪkʃn/ 上瘾，沉溺
- fall off 减少；衰退
The Lord Jesus did not tell the Samaritan woman to be delivered from her sinful life. He knew that she lived a life of sin because she was thirsty; that is, she sinned because she did not have the living water of life to satisfy her. If she had the living water to quench her thirst and to satisfy her empty feeling, she would no longer need to live a life of sin; she would not need to drink “poison” in order to quench her thirst. She would no longer need to satisfy her heart with the pleasures of sin. Therefore, the Lord Jesus led her to know the gift of God and to know Himself so that she could gain Him as the living water.
- deliver…from… 释放…从…出来
The primary need of the immoral is the living water of life, just as the primary need of the moral is regeneration. Even though living water and regeneration both involve the divine life in man, different characteristics of this life are manifested to different degrees in different kinds of people. The characteristic of God’s life that is important in the experience of the moral is related to regeneration, but the characteristic of God’s life that is important in the experience of the immoral is related to living water that quenches thirst. The moral primarily need regeneration so that their life may be changed. The immoral primarily need living water so that their thirst within can be quenched.
- involve /ɪnˈvɑːlv/ 牵涉
THE WELL OF HER FOREFATHERS
AND HER WATERPOT
The Samaritan woman heard the Lord speak of living water, but she did not know that the living water was God’s life. She thought that it could be drawn from the well, because she knew the well of her forefathers and her waterpot; however, she did not know the gift of God, nor did she know Christ. The Samaritan woman highly regarded the well of her forefathers. She knew that both she and her forefathers lived by the well and drew water from the well to drink. She did not expect that any source could be higher than her well or that anyone could be greater than her forefathers. She could not perceive that the gift of God is higher than any source, nor could she perceive that Christ is greater than her forefathers. She knew her forefathers and the well that her forefathers had left for her, but she did not know the gift of God, nor did she know Christ. She treasured her forefathers and the well, but she did not treasure the gift of God or Christ.
- forefather 祖先；前辈
- perceive /pərˈsiːv/ 注意到；意识到
She highly regarded the well and her waterpot. She knew the waterpot in her hand, but she did not know Christ, who was in front of her. There was water in the well and a bucket to draw water from the well, but the water in that well could not keep her from thirsting forever. Only the gift of God and only Christ, that is, only the living water as the gift of God in Christ, can cause man not to thirst forever. She did not know that the living water that causes man not to thirst forever is the gift of God in Christ. The fountain of living water is not passed down from one’s forefathers; it is given by God. The living water is passed down in Christ. Man does not gain the living water by his own methods or effort. Man gains the living water because it is the gift of God given through Christ.
- pass down 传下来，继承
Many people are like the Samaritan woman. As soon as they hear the Lord’s gospel, they say, “We are Chinese and have Confucianism from our forefathers. Confucianism teaches us how to conduct ourselves. What doctrine is higher than Confucianism? Who is greater than Confucius? Can the doctrines of Christ be greater than Confucianism? Can Christ be greater than Confucius?”
- Confucianism /kənˈfjuːʃənɪzəm/ 孔子学说
The Chinese regard Confucius as being greater than Christ. The Greeks regard Socrates as being greater than Christ. The Muslims regard Muhammad as being greater than Christ. The Buddhists regard Sakyamuni as being greater than Christ. Every group, whether religious or ethnic, highly esteems its sages and regards them to be greater than Christ. People boast in their sages and treasure the things passed down from their forefathers. They do not know that their sages and the things passed down from their forefathers cannot quench their thirst. The teachings and doctrines passed down from their forefathers are like the well in John 4; they cannot satisfy the emptiness of human life, nor can they give man true and eternal satisfaction.
- Socrates /ˈsɑːkrəˌtiːz/ 苏格拉底
- Muslim /ˈmʊzlɪm; ˈmʌzlɪm/ 穆斯林
- Muhammad /moʊˈhɑːmɪd/ 穆罕默德
- Buddhist /ˈbuːdɪst/ 佛教徒
- Sakyamuni /ˌsɑːkjəˈmuːnɪ/ 释迦牟尼
- esteem /ɪˈstiːm/ 尊敬，尊重
- sage /seɪdʒ/ 圣人；贤人
- boast /boʊst/夸耀，自夸
The sages in whom people boast and the things passed down from their forefathers cannot quench the thirst in human life. Rather, they hinder people from knowing the gift of God and from knowing Christ, and they hinder people from obtaining the living water of life. Many Chinese cannot know the gift of God or believe in Christ, because they boast in Confucius and Confucianism. Many Muslims and Buddhists also cannot know the gift of God or believe in Christ, because they highly regard Muhammad or Sakyamuni and their doctrines. Other ethnic groups also cannot know the gift of God or believe in Christ, because they highly regard various philosophers, philosophies, and doctrines.
- philosopher /fəˈlɑːsəfər/ 哲学家
- philosophy /fəˈlɑːsəfi/ 哲学
People boast in sages and in things passed down from their forefathers, and they believe that the methods they have received are effective and that their labor is necessary. The Samaritan woman is not the only person who highly regarded her waterpot and her labor of walking a long way to the well and of drawing from the deep well. Many Chinese highly regard their cultivation and their endeavoring to do good. Many Indians highly regard their asceticism, diligence, and hard work. Buddhists regard their abstinence, and Muslims regard their pious cultivation. Man invented these methods that require human labor. Using these methods to quench the thirst of human life and to satisfy the void in human life can be compared to the Samaritan woman drawing water from a deep well: it is vain labor that is unable to quench man’s thirst or give him eternal satisfaction.
- cultivation /ˌkʌltɪˈveɪʃn/ 修养
- Indian /ˈɪndiən/ 印度人
- asceticism /əˈsetɪsɪzəm/ 苦行主义
- abstinence /ˈæbstɪnəns/ 节制；禁欲
- pious /ˈpaɪəs/ 虔诚的；敬神的
People consider methods to be effective and labor to be necessary. However, methods and labor are like sages and the things passed down from the forefathers. They cannot quench the thirst of human life, and they hinder people from knowing the gift of God, from knowing Christ, and from gaining the living water that causes man not to thirst forever. It is very difficult for cultivated people and ascetics to know the gift of God and believe in Christ. It is also difficult for those who practice abstinence and for the pious to know the gift of God and believe in Christ. Such people depend on cultivation, asceticism, abstinence, and piety; thus, they cannot know the gift of God or believe in Christ. They do not know that such activity merely enables them to walk a long way and to draw water from a deep well. Such activity is to labor in vain without solving the problem of human life. Such people cannot perceive that the living water that solves the problem of human life and causes them not to thirst forever is a free gift from God in Christ to man. This gift does not require human effort, nor can it be purchased. They do not believe that only God’s gift and Christ, not human methods or human labor, can solve the problem of human life, quench man’s thirst forever, and thereby satisfy man. Such people are like the Samaritan woman, who walked a long way with her waterpot in order to draw water from a deep well but did not know God’s free gift or God’s Christ.
- cultivated /ˈkʌltɪveɪtɪd/ 有修养的
- ascetic /əˈsetɪk/ 苦行者
- piety /ˈpaɪəti/ 虔诚
The Samaritan woman highly regarded her forefathers, her forefathers’ well, and her waterpot, but she did not realize that the water from this well could not quench her thirst. Therefore, the Lord Jesus led her to see that her thirst could not be quenched. The Samaritan woman highly regarded her forefathers’ well and her waterpot, but she neglected the gift of God. She regarded her forefathers to be greater than the Christ of God, but the Lord Jesus did not debate with her concerning who was greater. The gift of God is greater than the well and her waterpot, and Christ is greater than her forefathers, but the Lord Jesus did not correct her erroneous concept. Rather, He reminded her that the water from the well that she boasted in could not quench her thirst. She focused on theory; the Lord Jesus focused on fact. It is not a matter of what or who is greater but of what can cause man not to thirst forever. No matter how great her forefathers were and no matter how good the well was, they could not cause her not to thirst forever. This is a fact. How valuable were her forefathers and their well if they could not quench her thirst?
- neglect /nɪˈɡlekt/ 忽视，忽略
- debate /dɪˈbeɪt/ 【动】辩论
- erroneous /ɪˈroʊniəs/ 错误的
We are not considering the theory of whether Confucius is greater than Christ or of whether Confucian doctrine is better than Christian doctrine. It is a fact that Confucius and his doctrine cannot satisfy human life or cause man not to thirst forever. We are not considering the theory of whether Buddha is greater than Christ or of whether Buddhist doctrine is deeper than Christian doctrine. We are not considering the theory of whether Muhammad is greater than Christ or of whether Islamic doctrine is higher than Christian doctrine. We are considering the fact of what can quench the thirst in human life and satisfy the emptiness of human life. You may have venerated Confucius or worshipped Buddha for many years, or you may be deeply rooted in Islam. You may have studied Confucianism, Buddhism, or Islam in depth and learned much. But have these quenched the thirst deep within your spirit? Have they removed the emptiness within you or satisfied you? This is a matter of fact, not theory.
Many people study various religions but neglect the fact that they are thirsty in their spirit. They are just like the Samaritan woman. The Lord Jesus led her to the thirst in her spirit, and He is also leading you to see that you feel empty within. Whether you venerate Confucius, worship Buddha, or believe in Islam, you are still empty within. Confucius may be noble, Buddha may be deep, and Islam may be good, but how valuable are they if they cannot fill the emptiness inside of you, satisfy you, or quench your thirst?
- venerate /ˈvenəreɪt/ 敬重；崇敬