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10 Jesus answered and said to her, “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.”


Jesus was thirsty but now He spoke to a woman who was spiritually thirsty. She, however, did not know she was in spiritual need.

10 Jesus answered and said to her,

Jesus ignored the woman’s comment about the tension between Jews and Samaritans. He lifted the conversation to an entirely new level. He cut to the chase here in an enigmatic way to show the woman that her assumptions were in error. It was not Jesus who stood in need, but the woman. This dissolute woman stood on the brink of something more wonderful than she ever anticipated.

If you knew [and you don’t] the gift of God,

Jesus spoke here in an enigmatic way. By this He appealed to her curiosity. The “if” here is contrary to the fact. We call this “if” here a second-class condition in the Greek, indicating that the woman did not know the “gift of God” in her life. Jesus made an assumption of unreality here. If this woman knew what God was doing, she would have engaged with the eternal God, but she didn’t. She was not factual about eternal life. Jesus made an appeal to the woman’s curiosity, showing He wanted to lift her viewpoint above ordinary, common water.

The “gift of God” is the new kind of water, of spiritual life that Jesus will give to those who believe in Him. A gift is something free and generous; in this case, it is a gift from God. However, there was a sad ignorance in this woman about spiritual things at this point.

and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’

The big issue here is “who.” The gift of eternal life comes uniquely from Jesus. Jesus asked the woman for a gift; now He offered the woman a gift. Jesus was more than a Jew, which was the woman’s perception. He was the eternal Son of God, the Messiah. That is what she did not know.

you would have asked Him,

Jesus’ riddle here caused the woman to wonder what Jesus was saying. She was puzzled over what Jesus meant by “living water.” The woman initially thought Jesus referred to spring water that fed Jacob’s Well. She resolved this riddle later when she proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah.

Ask” was the only condition that Jesus gave to the woman. Desire is not sufficient; there must be an ask. There must be positive volition before a person can become a believer.

and He would have given you living water.”

“Living water” is an idiom for spring or fresh water, but Jesus used it as a metaphor for eternal life. This kind of water is an image meaning that God forgives a person for all their sins with one fell swoop. This is eternal and complete spiritual cleansing forever.

The words “living water” allow for two levels of meaning, creating an enigma or a riddle. The living water is the ever-increasing supply of God’s grace for salvation. God perennially provides grace to anyone who may ask. Jesus offers the satisfaction of possessing eternal life.


Recognition of need is the first point of authenticity in becoming a Christian.


Anyone who comes to God must do so as a spiritual pauper, as a soul who is thirsty for God and salvation. This awareness of our deficiency is foundational to becoming a Christian. It is the purpose of Christian ministry to save sinners. This is a distinctive dimension of Christianity.

Jesus offered the woman grace. Grace is something that she did not earn or deserve. She was patently immoral. This is a case of God’s amazing grace given to a wretched woman.

When people come to believe in Jesus, they receive living water. This kind of water is eternal life, spiritual life (Ps 36:9; Is 1:1, 16-18; 12:3; Je 2:10; 17:13; Re 3:17). It is what Jesus referred to as being “born again.”

It is not necessary to compromise essentials to bridge the gap of salvation when we witness. Jesus did not seek to accommodate His message by distorting truth. He said that the Samaritans worshiped in ignorance and that salvation was of the Jews.