I’m currently reading about a potter’s need to add water to the clay to make it more maleable. The author refers back to the story of the woman at the well where Jesus says he can give her water so that she will never thirst again. Then, the author admits she doesn’t understand the reference, that it could refer to many different things.
There are three different ideas I have which might be metaphors for the water needed for the clay and its parallel to the living water Jesus offers to the samaritan woman.
Could this water be baptism?
It is my opinion that as the water needed for the clay before the potter can work with it, it may represent baptism. As Christians, we need to be baptized as part of the salvation process. I have been taught that as well as metaphorically “cleansing us”, baptism is also the point at which we first make a covenant with our Heavenly Father not only to call ourselves Christians but also to obey his commandments and ordinances. To me, this is separate than the “everlasting water” Jesus refers to as baptism is our responsibility and the “everlasting water” is something he gives.
Could this water be the Holy Ghost?
Again, there is no reference where the Holy Ghost is called water. It is called the helper, a dove (Jesus’ baptism), and fire. The only slight reference to the Holy Spirit being water is when Jesus and, later, Paul instructs the people that they must be baptized by water and then baptized by the Holy Ghost.
As I was contemplating these questions, I was reminded of a Sunday school song and a song I sang in college. The first is called “I’ve got a river of life”:
I’ve got a river of life, flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see;
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free,
I’ve got a river of life, flowing out of me.
Spring up, O well, within my soul;
Spring up, O well, and make me whole;
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly!
The second song I remember is “Come Just as You Are”:
Come just as you are
Hear the spirit call
Come just as you are
Come and see
Come recieve come and live forever
Strength for today
Taste the living water
And never thirst again
The second song made me return to the actual scriptures: Did Jesus say “taste”? No, he said “drink”. Drink is so much more than a taste, but then a cautious individual might want to taste or sample something before he drinks it, right? This made me think then that this everlasting water Jesus offers is the first step.
Could the water Jesus refers to mean salvation?
Isaiah writes in chapter 12, verse 3, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”.
Later Isaiah writes in chapter 58, verse 11, “And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not”.
And in the actual story of the woman at the well John records in chapter 4, verse 14, where Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”.
I love learning, and research is my passion. This subject of the everlasting water really made me think, but based on my prior knowledge and the scriptures I’ve read along with this chapter indicate that Jesus is referring to his salvation which he offers freely. I’m reminded he chose us, just like a potter chooses his clay, but the very first thing that has to happen is Jesus’ offer of salvation just as the potter has to add water to the clay. The water the potter adds to his clay makes his clay maleable just as salvation enables God to work in our lives.