Read this very readable passage from the Gospel of John.
Now when Jesus[a] learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” 2 —although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3 he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4 But he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[b] 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you[c] say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he,[d] the one who is speaking to you.” 27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,[e] can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving[f] wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
John four, what does it mean, what is the point of it- and we could point to an explicit reference to Jesus being the saviour of the world, but again what does it actually mean. Saviour of the world, saviour to save us from illness and death, from anger and greed- obviously not, saviour from our own selves, from our own sins, to bring us back to God- all Christian imagery to give us hope. We can look at the minutiae but let us take a step back. In the reading from exodus the Israelites cried out for water and God through Moses gave it to them. They cried out for their desires and they received them. Not that God didn't know, they would not have gone thirsty but he responded giving them something that they understood, because it linked into what they were looking for. They understood the almighty loving nature of God in a way that spoke to them because it was relevant. Let us therefore go back to the Gospel of John. Forget all the metaphors of living water, let us get back to what Jesus was saying. Jesus was saying that God had come amongst them, and was their, and he used an analogy that wasn't necessarily well though out, or planned, but rather the metaphor that was relevant. They were at a well, and he used that place and purpose to describe the loving nature of God. In another context he would have used another analogy. Sometimes we get bogged down in the detail and we forget the simple message of Jesus which he expressed in many different ways depending on his audience. This is what he always did, be relevant and comprehensible that people may understand. The story of the water melon There is a story in Sufi-ism-Once upon a time there was a man who strayed from his own country into the world known as the Land of Fools. He soon saw a number of people flying in terror from a field where they had been trying to reap wheat. “There is a monster in that field”, they told him. He looked and he saw that it was a watermelon. He offered to kill the monster fro them. When he had cut the melon from its stalk he took a slice and began to eat it. The people became even more terrified of him than they had been of the melon. They drove him away with pitchforks crying, “He will kill us next, unless we get rid of him.” It so happened that at another time another man also strayed into the Land of Fools, and the same thing started to happen to him. But, instead of offering to help them with the monster he agreed with them that it must be dangerous and by tiptoeing away from it with them he gained their confidence. He spent a long time with them in their houses until he could teach them, little by little the basic facts which would enable them not only to lose their fear of melons, but even to cultivate them themselves. Jesus was the second melon hunter who took his time to work alongside the people with whom he lived and gave them the strength to go out for themselves. What we do as a people of faith is to explain our faith in ways our listeners understand, we tell the stories of Jesus, and our story is now apart of his story, so we tell our story that as the Samaritans said to the woman, it is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard of ourselves, and we know that this truly is the saviour of the world.