Editor’s note: The following is extracted from The Sermon Bible, Vol. 8 (published 1892). It has been edited slightly for punctuation and style.
John chapter iv., ver. 7. “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give Me to drink.”
The story of the woman of Samaria is the history of one whom Christ found a bitter ignorant sinner, and left a large-hearted , devoted missionary. It is the experience of a soul which Christ took in hand and treated by Himself . It was just the centre of the day’s heat, when there came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus saith unto her, “Give Me to drink.” It was all so very simple, so insignificant, so casual . And yet to what vast results did Christ bring out that ordinary circumstance!
Notice that upon a thing so small, Christ built up the salvation, not of one only, but of many. It was the quick perception and holy use of an opportunity. Now here lies a great sin at the door – the neglect of opportunities of usefulness. They are laid at our feet everywhere, and if we had but taken them up, if we had only seen in common events the openings for influence, what a different thing would life have been, and what sad retrospects of wasted time and of useless existence might some of us have been spared this day.
The way Christ went to work was this. He began with what might be called a commonplace, but immediately He took it out of commonplace, and raised it to a truer tone and a higher level. That is a holy art which every follower of Christ in this world will do well to learn from his Master’s lips. It will be a true and good resolve to determine, “I will try to make conversation worthier of my own and others’ being.”
In His remark, Christ took the lower ground; He placed Himself as the one to receive. There is a beautiful lesson in the Lord of Life and Glory saying to a poor woman, “Give Me to drink.” He wanted to open an avenue to that woman’s heart, and He knew that the lower we stoop, and the more we put the other on the upper ground, the surer we are to have access to his soul. It is often a much more winning and endearing thing to receive something than it is to give something. If there is anyone you wish to attack, let that person be kind to you. Ask and accept a favour; do it with an unselfish, consecrating motive. “Give Me to drink” – and see the result.