Christianity 201

July 9, 2016

“If You Knew the Gift of God”

John 4 10

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – John 4:10 NLT

At BibleGateway.com, the IVP Commentary writes:

…The [Samaritan] woman has asked Jesus a question, and he replies with another of his cryptic sayings: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water (4:10). She could not have understood in depth what Jesus was saying, as is the case with his other cryptic sayings, but she could have picked up on something in it that would point her in the right direction. The phrase gift of God was a very common expression, “a comprehensive term for everything that God bestows on man for his salvation” (Schnackenburg 1980a:426). So this term should have at least indicated to the woman that Jesus was talking about God’s revelation. The image of water is also used in both Jewish and Samaritan sources as an image of God’s revelation, the Torah, as well as of the Spirit.

On the basis of such general associations she could have understood Jesus to be saying, in effect, “If you knew the Scriptures and the salvation they reveal and if you were aware of my identity as Messiah, then you would ask me as the bearer of revelation and salvation and I would give you revelation and salvation.” The woman does in fact have some knowledge of the gift of God in that she expects the Messiah (4:25). She obviously would not understand the role of the Holy Spirit and the death and resurrection of the Son of God, but she could have understood that Jesus was speaking of the revelation of God. She could also see he was implying not just that his request for water that was strange, but that his own identity was unusual. The purpose of the conversation is to reveal something of this identity.

The woman’s reply shows that she misunderstands Jesus entirely (4:12). She does not make any of the connections that Jesus’ cryptic saying might have triggered. Rather, she thinks he is talking about physical water…

Gary Henry at Wordpoints.com looks at this verse:

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God’” (Revelation 21:3).

WHATEVER SECONDARY BLESSINGS FLOW FROM GOD, WE OUGHT TO SEEK NONE OF THESE AS DILIGENTLY AS WE SEEK GOD HIMSELF. We must be those who seek God primarily for His sake, because He is our God and we long to give ourselves to Him.

Selfishness and manipulation are nowhere more out of place than in our relationship with God. And selfishness here would be quite self-defeating, as it always is. If we’re concerned only with the other things God can give us, we’ll miss the greatest Gift of all. “God’s chief gift to those who seek him is himself” (E. B. Pusey).

When we speak of “the gift of God,” we should think of God as both the Giver and the Gift. Jesus, for example, said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). What is the living water which only God can give? Paul would later write that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). But concerning eternal life, Jesus had gone to the heart of the matter on the night of His betrayal when He prayed: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). God gives us life by giving us Himself. Other blessings may flow from a right relationship with God, but that relationship itself is God’s greatest gift to us. If we have God and His Son, we have the highest thing to which we can aspire. “He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).

Even when we try to appreciate what God should mean to us, we can hardly grasp the glory and grace of a God who would give Himself to such people as we are. But it would take a hard heart indeed not to be moved by Jesus’ simple words: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). This seems much too good to be true. Only God could make it true.

“God, of your goodness, give me yourself for you are sufficient for me. I cannot properly ask anything less, to be worthy of you. If I were to ask less, I should always be in want. In you alone do I have all” (Julian of Norwich).

Finally, this from Jeff Davidson at Rising Above Ministries:

…“He told me all that I ever did,” she exclaimed to her friends.

But there was one thing Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well that changed her life. He had looked right into her eyes and said, “if you knew the gift of God…” (John 4:10)

If you knew the gift of God.

That’s really the question for all of us you know.

If we knew the gift of God we could be set free from guilt and shame. If we knew the gift of God we could be liberated form bitterness, anger and frustration. If we knew the gift of God we would find freedom from anger, envy, disappointment and despair.

If we knew the gift of God, life would never ever be the same. If we knew the gift of God it would truly set us free.

Take a moment and remind yourself of the gift of God. And then let go of what you’re holding that keeps weighing you down.

 

 

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