I grew up around horses, and occasionally my family and I would take our horses trail riding. Most often when it comes to water, horses have no problem drinking out of a trough or pail that you provide for them. These things, however, are not things that you pack with you when out on the trail. Therefore, in order to water a horse, you lead them to a source of water. It will most likely be a stream or small pond you come across on the trail, and from my experiences, each and every horse is a little different in their response to the water. I have found that horses can be pretty temperamental with how they take to water. You have horses that fearlessly plunge into the water and seem to find it quite therapeutic and refreshing. It’s hysterical to watch these types, because for them water is an oasis of fun and they seem to thrive wherever there is water. Then you have the reluctant but willing types who don’t seem to love water, but their survival instincts tell them they are thirsty and need to drink. Finally, you have what I would call the skittish or no-way types I always got stuck on the back of for some reason, that either panic at the sight of water or absolutely refuse to touch it. These types usually throw you off at the attempt of getting near the water, or require you to dismount and literally pull them to or through the water. It’s the classic, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink” scenario.
When I read John 4:14, this is the imagery that comes to mind for me, particularly with the way this verse starts out. It says, “WHOEVER drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” I think this word “whoever” is such a key word because it indicates not all who are offered water by Jesus will take a drink. Jesus is clearly communicating that there is water available, and not just any water but a “living water” (John 4:10) is available to whoever is thirsty and wants a drink. Now we know from the context of this story that Jesus is not referring to literal water, because he says earlier in this chapter that the actual physical water the lady was drawing from the well would only quench her thirst for a short time. He then makes references to the “living water” He wants to give her so she will never be thirsty again. What is this living water? Well, Jesus tells us later in John that the “living water” is the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).
As we have been learning about in our series on the Holy Spirit and discussing in our connect groups, the Holy Spirit is not an optional drink that we need to consider drinking when life makes us thirsty. I know what it is like to thirst. We all do. We all need security, comfort, peace, hope, encouragement, conviction, wisdom, direction, and much more…and there is no other water source in life that provides like the Holy Spirit does. His water supply is endless. It will never run dry, and WHOEVER needs and receives what He has will “taste and see” that what the Holy Spirit offers is so much better than what anything else offers. But we must drink. God is leading us to the water but we must choose to drink. Let’s choose in our moments of need to be a people who are like the fearless horse plunging into the water, knowing it is an oasis. The Holy Spirit is our oasis in this difficult life. Become a “whoever,” and drink the living water.