(John 4:13-26, 39-42)
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’
The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’
The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’
Jesus said to her, ‘You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.’
The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’
The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’
Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’
‘And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.’”
The Woman of Sychar
A woman lived in Sychar, a city of Samaria, had had five husbands. In order not to be shunned by the villagers, this woman went to Jacob’s well to draw water with a water pitcher on her head at noon when everyone went off to take a nap. One day at around noon, she came to draw water as usual, but there was Jesus sitting next to the well. As she came by the well and was drawing up water, Jesus asked her, “Woman, give me a drink.” As she looked at this Man, she realized that He had an appearance of a Jew. Jewish attire consisted of a blanket-like cloth that is wrapped around the body and then thrown on top of the shoulder. Jesus had such Jewish cloth on Him. This woman questioned Jesus, “How could you, as a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, to give you water?” This woman said these words because Samaritans and Jews, although they both belonged to the nation of Israel, had a wall between them in each other’s hearts. This woman said these words because Jews considered Samaritans, who were mixed-blooded, to be very lowly, treated them with contempt and ignored them.
Then, Jesus spoke about the living water: “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” (John 4:10). And the woman said to Jesus, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” (John 4:11-12) Jesus answered and said, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). Then the woman said, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw” (John 4:15).
Here, Jesus suddenly changed the topic of conversation, saying, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman then said, “I have no husband.” And Jesus said to the woman, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman was amazed and said, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” What she meant by these words was “How did You know that I have had five husbands? You have an amazing ability to know even the past of all people. Given this, You might be a prophet.” This woman said, “You are a prophet,” because Jesus knew well about her past life.
To conclude, this woman was born again by having met Jesus at the well. This woman recognized that Jesus is the Messiah, and by believing Jesus in her heart, she got to receive the remission of sins.
How Were You and I?
Just like this woman, you and I have been living in this world with many husbands who weren’t our true husbands. Why do women seek to marry their respective husbands? It is because they think that they will be happy only if they live with their respective husbands. Then, what sort of a husband was this husband of ours? Most commonly, our first husband was money. We had thought that if we had money, everything would be taken care of. However, money could not bring us the remission of sins in our hearts and everlasting life. Also, we had thought that secular honor was our second husband. With the dream of rising up in the world and becoming famous by truly studying hard and then obtaining a doctorate degree or a government office and with the thought that I would like to have lived for once with true honor, we had thought of such honor as our spiritual husband. However, such honor not only do not come by easily, but also, that honor can neither last forever nor give us eternal life.
Thinking that pleasure is the best, there were times when we had chased after pleasures. And there were times when we had chased after secular power. However, starting with money to honor, pleasure, power, etc., all these could not bring solutions to the problems of our hearts. And so, we had tried to leave the world and embrace religion, and also, we had even tried to get caught up deep in religion thinking that it would fill the void in our hearts. But, we could not acquire it. Having tried to do something good on our own by relying on worldly religions on our own, we had been fanatic members of those with many futile desires.
We had lived with the first husband called ‘money,’ but we could not receive cleansing of sins and have peace within our souls with that money. Because the heart continued to feel unrelieved, empty, and unsatisfied, we had to part with the first husband called money. There is the second husband, honor. We had lived in marriage with a husband named ‘honor.’ Yet, this husband, so called honor, could not give us real satisfaction in our hearts. After that, we had lived with a husband called ‘pleasure.’ Also, we had lived with a husband called ‘power,’ mundane religion, and lastly ‘realization of our own ego.’ But, they were all in vain. They could not give true satisfaction.
However, the Lord said, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). We are able to meet the Truth of the spiritual living water and the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith. Also, by meeting the Lord, we get to receive the living water, which would make us never thirst. Our Lord has given us eternal satisfaction by making us receive the remission of sins. Our Lord has given you and me, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the living water that would make us never thirst. The living water cannot be found in any religious doctrines of this world. Now, even you and I have come to receive the remission of sins by meeting the Truth that would make us never again be spiritually thirsty by meeting our Lord.
Dear fellow believers, what is this fountain of water springing up into everlasting life in our hearts? Our Lord said that He would give us a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life, so what is this water? We should know about the living water by which we could acquire everlasting life.
Dear fellow believers, while we go on living in this world after having received the remission of sins by knowing and believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must often and again contemplate the fact that our Lord has blotted out all our sins. By the faith of believing the fact that our Lord has blotted out our sins once and for all by coming to this world and taking on our sins once and for all by receiving His baptism from John the Baptist, we must go on living by always ruminating the fact that we do not have any more sins in our hearts. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not only must we know that we ourselves do not have sins before God but also, we must know that we actually do not have sins in our hearts and be thankful to God. Thanks to our Lord, we can fully know and believe that “I do not have sins. I am a righteous person. By receiving the remission of sins, I do not have any sin in my heart.”
Whenever we think before our Lord about the fact that He has blotted out all the sins from our hearts through the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, we are in fact drinking the water of everlasting life that the Lord has given us. The fact that we are drinking the living water that makes us never thirst precisely means that sins in our hearts truly disappear when we believe and recognize in our hearts the Truth that our Lord has saved us by blotting out our sins once and for all by the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. And, we must know that precisely this is the faith of drinking the water of everlasting life.
People who haven’t received the remission of sins by the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts cannot say that there is no sin in their hearts: And because they haven’t received the grace of being without sins in their hearts, they do not know about the true salvation. Also, they continue to be in agony due to lifelong sins, and they don’t get to acquire the feeling that they have completely become a person who has nothing to do with sins by having received freedom from all sins. Only you and I who truly believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit get to truly experience that there are no more sins in our own hearts and enjoy true peace.
When we deliberate the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we get to realize what a great and profound grace of salvation is the fact that there aren’t any sins in our hearts because they have all been transferred over to Jesus Christ. Dear fellow believers, it isn’t something that everyone gets to feel. To the people who haven’t yet received the cleansing of sins from God by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, there are only sighs, lamentations, and grieves. Because they haven’t even touched the slightest bit of the genuine gospel, they don’t know the true meaning of the blessing of the remission of sins.
Even though we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we sometimes lament over our outward man, saying, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) There are times when we get discouraged by certain circumstances or by such surroundings and difficulties that are imminent upon us. But, we have true peace in our hearts because there is the gospel of the water and the Spirit that makes us never thirst and because we believe in this gospel. Even though we have received the remission of sins once and for all from all the sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are able to live out our faith everyday by ruminating over of the remission of sins that overflows like a river in our hearts.
Even when we are in a very difficult situation, we can have joy and peace in our hearts by reflecting on the fact that we have become the just before God—that we are without sins because all our sins have been transferred over to our Lord, Jesus Christ, through the baptism He received. We cannot but thank God out of the overflowing joy inside our hearts everyday because there is not a single sin inside us. Now, not even one of our sins exists in our hearts because all our sins were transferred over to Jesus without exception when He received the baptism. We are those who continue to drink the water of everlasting life while we go on living in this world after having received the remission of sins that our Lord has given to us.
Our Lord said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). By believing in this passage, we can confess, “Lord, I know that I have become a person without sin. I have come to receive the salvation of becoming a sinless person by having received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” It is the case that we get to drink the water of everlasting life day after day by ruminating on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You and I drink the water of everlasting life everyday by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Dear fellow believers, I am absolutely certain that you and I are without sin because our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the remission of sins and the gift of the Spirit through our faith in the gospel of the water, the blood, and the Spirit. This remission of sins given through the gospel of the water and the Spirit is a blessing that God has given us. It is God’s special present toward us.
The Time When We Were Dying of Thirst
People who haven’t received the remission of sins do not have peace at heart, and they do not have the fountain water of everlasting life that springs from deep within the soul. Because they do not have the life-giving water, their hearts always feel heavy, gasping for breath in hunger and thirst, and boiling over with anger like an erupting volcano. Their hearts are like that of the servants of Satan, the sons of hell. It is not because this world is like hell, but rather, it is because one’s sinful heart makes one to feel like hell.
However, what about the people who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Whenever we got thirsty in life, our Lord gives us the fountain of water springing up into everlasting life by the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. “You have no sins. You are righteous person without sin. You are a person who has no sin in your heart.” It means that the Lord gives rise to such refreshing feeling within our hearts.
It is really true. It is because there was the baptism that Jesus Christ had received from John the Baptist and the blood of the Cross. This gospel refreshes our hearts after having made us sinless in our hearts. Our Lord has blotted out all our sins. Hence, residing in our hearts as the Holy Spirit, He says to us, “You have no sins. You are a person without sins.” Henceforth, you and I are able to go on living with peace in our hearts.
Although we have this peace, there are times when billows and tremendous tidal waves rise up in our hearts because of many critical events. There are many occasions when our hearts fall into a turmoil. There are times when our hearts tumble and turn just like a tsunami at sea, but please be aware of the fact that there really are fresh water springs at the bottom of the sea also. For example, some Polynesians dive into the sea and drink the fresh water from the spring there. It is a mystery that they could go into the sea and drink fresh water. But their ancestors had found the huge fresh water spring at the bottom of the shallow sea. And so, the Polynesians go on living by getting to that point as they dive deep into the water and coming up after having drunk the spring water to their fill.
The gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that is inside your hearts, as well as mine, is a gospel precisely like that. For those who have received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the water of everlasting life and peace, which our Lord has given to us by the Word of Truth, moistens our hearts, makes our hearts feel refreshed, makes flowers of joy blossom in our hearts, and makes the Word of God grow in our hearts ceaselessly and endlessly as ever even in such waves. Even when we face difficulties and confusion, the gospel of the water and the Spirit precisely makes us overcome those hardships we face everyday and makes our faith grow. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gift of God given to every sinner. Whoever believes that the Lord has saved all human beings from the sins of the world by His baptism and the blood of the Cross can be made sinless and perfect once and for all. In your hearts, as well as mine, the water of everlasting life springs up constantly along with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That fountain of water springs up in our hearts, so that we would never thirst again. “You do not have any sin.” Whenever we look into our hearts, we confirm that we do not have sins in our hearts, and also, whenever the Holy Spirit says, “You do not have sins,” in God’s Word, we are actually drinking this God-given water that makes us never thirst.
People feel refreshed only at the moment when they drink the water of pleasure, but with just a little passage of time, they ask for another drink because of thirst. The water of power is like that, and the water called honor is like that, also. They feel refreshed just for a while when they acquire power or honor. Things like that seem amiable to people for a short while, and people get to enjoy great power in their hearts for a short while with them. After a short period, there is nothing. So, they should pursue something even greater to refresh their hearts. And so, they try to have much more money, honor, pleasure, and power. But such things still don’t suffice, so what happens? People start drinking water at a place called religion.
When one enters a certain worldly religion, they first make the person do toilet cleaning. And they say, “To cleanse your heart’s filth, offer prayers of repentance and perform good deeds everyday, just as one would clean this filthy thing everyday to make it sanitary. Then, the thirst of your heart will be quenched, and you will be healed from the mortal illness of sin. This is the faith that religions advocate. Thus, when people approach religion, they tend to focus on repenting their faults, cultivating virtue, and observing the Law itself. When one does good deeds and so on, in a religious life that is of this world, the person gets to feel a little bit refreshed in the heart. But, the moment when one lays down the cleaning broom and turns around, the heart would feel empty.
Even within Christianity, it is the case that people who have not been born again from sin by not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are merely leading a religious life. They go to church, sing before God from the top of their throat, “♬Holy, holy, holy! ♪Lord God Almighty! ♬Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee,” make monetary offerings, offer prayers of repentance, listen to pastor’s sermon next, and also listen a sermon that goes, “Let us live holy. For we believe in Jesus, let us live by doing kind works.” When they drink water of religion for about an hour, they speak out, “It’s really so. Amen! Amen! Let’s keep on Amen,” as they listen, but as soon as the worship service ends, the fact is that nothing is left inside their hearts.
Those who aren’t born-again drink water inside a religion, but then, they would feel empty again. They go on protecting their own selves by saying to themselves, “I will make myself happy. There is nothing to believe in. There is only I.” No one can provide oneself with real satisfaction. Sometimes, one can feel satisfaction for a short time. But almost always, one cannot bring about satisfaction, but rather, gets to feel disappointed.
Nothing in this world can make our hearts feel refreshed. However, thanks to our Lord God, you and I who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit get a refreshing feeling in our hearts. There is a refreshing feeling because we have received the remission of sins through the Lord by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Truly, our Lord always gives rise to the springing fountain of water within our hearts like a river flows in the Garden of Eden. The Lord makes the river of peace and the river of God’s blessing flow in our hearts. If we don’t enjoy peace and satisfaction from above, it is because our hearts have been much engrossed by worldly matters and because we are busy due to these matters.
But, in quiet hours, we get to feel the love of Lord whenever we ruminate what He has done for us. Also, even in heavy seas and many hardships, we give many thanks to our Lord who gives us the fountain of life-giving water springing up inside our hearts. For this, we must be thankful before God. We are thankful because of the fact that there is peace inside our hearts and that there aren’t any sins in our hearts. We are truly thankful for that. It is precisely because of the water of everlasting life. Do you understand this? Dear fellow believers, of course, it is natural for you to feel refreshed and to have a sense of stability, for you have received the remission of sins, but you must know that it is the Lord who has given us something so natural as those.
Our Lord gives the water of everlasting life to those of us who have received the remission of sins. This water lets us to ruminate over the remission sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and whenever we ruminate over this water of everlasting life we feel refreshed in our hearts. God has His Word be preached through the lips of His servants who stand on the pulpits of His Church. When the faith from God reaches you through His Word, our Lord sprinkles the water of everlasting life inside your hearts and thus, moistens them.
On the other hand, if someone who has received the remission of sins does not join together with God’s Church to listen to the Word, the spiritual fountain of water in his heart would be cut off. He should have dug deep into the ground of his heart, but he had stopped digging just as the water sprung up. So, although the fountain of water did spring up it was cut off because sand and gravel slid down over and over. Thus, he feels hunger and thirst again in his heart due to the fact that this fountain of water is no longer springing up despite his having received the remission of sins. When that happens, the person would die spiritually.
Although we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we were to offer worship before a pastor who does not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit and listen to the words of such pastor, instead of feeling refreshed in the heart, our hearts would only feel suffocated. It is better not to listen to such pastor’s sermon at all. Whenever you listen to a pastor who does not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, what the Holy Spirit inside your hearts says is “No, no. That is a lie. A fraud. Pure fraud.” The Holy Spirit inside you is saying such words to you.
Although you have received the remission of sins, there are times when you don’t feel refreshed in your hearts. Even though you may not be young saints, you cannot but feel hunger and thirst if you do not listen to God’s Word frequently. The fail-safe way to have the Spirit-filled faith is none other than to listen to God’s Word even more frequently through His servants. This Holy Spirit who is inside us gives us the fountain of water springing up into everlasting life while echoing the agreement, “Those words are right,” having listened to the words of someone who is preaching the Word of God. And that is why we must listen to the Word of God as often as we can. It means that when we listen to the God-spoken Word, the Holy Spirit works inside us for us to perceive what God is saying to us.
This Samaritan woman had not enjoyed satisfaction inside her religion. She said, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship” (John 4:20). Like this woman, Christians thought that the sect that they belong to is the best. Samaritans thought that the Samaritan sect was the best, and the Pharisees insisted that the Pharisee sect was the best. However, what does our Lord say to this woman? He said, “Neither on this mountain, nor on that mountain, the hour is coming, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”
He also said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). God is Spirit. He is the Spirit that is sacred. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit that is sacred. He has said that those who worship this Holy God must worship in spirit and truth. Dear fellow believers, it means that God the Father receives the worship and shares communion with us only when we offer worship before God by the faith of the true worshippers who have received the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit as the gift. This is the true worship before God.
We offer worship before God and give thanks by faith. We confess our faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, by saying, “Our God has saved us from our sins by the water and the blood.” By believing in God who says, “Indeed, for you, I have completely blotted out all your sins by the baptism of My Son and His blood of the Cross,” we get to offer true worship. For He loves us, God has completely blotted out our sins by the water and the blood, and has turned us into sinless persons. We must fully receive the remission of sins before God by believing in the gospel of the water and the blood of Jesus Christ, and then, we must praise, thank, and bring glory to our God. The worship that we offer to God after having received the cleansing of sins by knowing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the very spiritual worship.
We are greatly thankful that our God has given us such truly refreshing water. Dear fellow believers, I hope you realize that God has placed this refreshing water of everlasting life inside your sinless hearts. And, I hope you would believe it. And, I hope you truly thank the Lord. Where is the proof that the Lord has blotted out your sins as well as mine? It is precisely in this water.
The fact that you and I have no sin in our hearts is the final and decisive evidence for our salvation. Of course the God’s Word is the decisive proof: There has to be the Word of salvation for the receiving of the remission of sins. We not only have to know about the Word, but also, we have to have the conviction that the Holy Spirit is inside us and that our consciences are without sins. We receive true remission of sins only when we believe firmly that there is no sin in our hearts.
We have received something very precious, and it is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But there are many occasions when we don’t feel the preciousness of this genuine gospel. There are just too many times when we hardly feel it. Our inner man frequently conflicts with our outward man. There are many times when something spiritual fights with something physical due to our complicated duties. Dear fellow believers, I wish for you to share fellowship with the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of you and the Word of God that has come inside of you. Dear fellow believers, we are able to enjoy peace in our hearts thanks to the gospel of the water and the Spirit that our Lord has given us. I hope for you to remember the gospel of the water and the Spirit for sure.
Our Lord Is the Master of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
After having met Jesus, this Samaritan woman left her waterpot beside the well, went into the city, and testified that she had met the Messiah. As a result, there arose a great revival, as it is written in verse 39, “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’” She might have testified, “I have met the Savior who will deliver the nation of Israel from all sins, all hardships, and tribulations. He has come and I have met Him. He told me all that I ever did.”
Here, we must pay attention to her witness, “He told me all that I ever did.” Dear fellow believers, does Jesus know everything about you, or does he not? He knows everything. Jesus fully knows what kind of sins we commit and what kind of sins are inside our hearts. He has written down the sins that we have committed in this world in our hearts, that is, on the tablet of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:1). Therefore, we cannot possibly deceive Him. “You committed this sin and that sin when and where.” For every sin is written on the tablet of our hearts, we cannot but tell each of them truthfully.
We were people who dare to say that we could not remember our past sins, if it weren’t for the recordings on the tablets in our hearts. Our Lord fully knows even such attribute of ours. That is why He has written them down inside the heart of each and every one of us so that we would never be able to deny them. Our sins are written with a diamond pen. Thus, there can be no excuse, and one cannot say that there is no sin. If we confess our sinfulness before God, He then meets with us with His love of perfect salvation. Our Lord speaks to us, “Yes, there are sins in your heart, so you would be in earnest need of the Lord, your Savior. I have blotted out all your sins by My baptism and the blood of the Cross. I have blotted out your sins like so.” You have to become a hell-bound sinner first, and then the Lord meets you with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That is the process of how you come to receive the remission of sins by faith.
This Samaritan woman went into the city and bore witness to Jesus Christ. And, through the witness testified by this Samaritan woman, many people were able to receive salvation. It means that many people came to believe in Jesus.
There is no better strategy for gospel preaching than the testimony of salvation of a person who has received the remission of sins. There is not a better method for gospel preaching than a testimony that says how our Lord has saved me, how I was before meeting the Lord, and how I have come to be a sinless person by receiving the remission of sins. If you really want to tell a person about the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then, start a conversation with the person and tell him about how you have come to meet the Lord, instead of just telling him to come to your Church: “I had suffered from such and such torments and sins, and my heart felt empty. But, our Lord has blotted out all my sins and saved me by coming to this earth, receiving the baptism, and shedding His blood on the Cross. By receiving the baptism, Jesus had taken away all the sins of the world. And so, He has saved me from all my sins. For He has given me the water of everlasting life, my heart now feels refreshed.” We must be able to give a testimony of salvation by saying like this.
People came before Jesus by having heard the testimony of this Samaritan woman, but now, having heard and verified directly Jesus’ Word, it was the case that they were able to receive the remission of sins by believing in the Word personally spoken by Jesus. Dear fellow believers, those who have truly met the Lord must spread this gospel of the water and the Spirit by giving their testimonies of salvation to others.
Our Lord is He who has saved you yourselves. It is always fresh and good to speak about the fact that the Lord has saved you by the water and the blood at anytime. Also, we need to testify our salvation in order to save a soul by spreading the gospel. To testify our salvation is not boasting about ourselves; it is to boast the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. By doing so, you can return glory only to God. Those who have been born again of water and the Spirit must spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Just as this Samaritan woman had left her waterpot and went about to spread the gospel first, only after which she went about her routine work, we must also spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit with the utmost priority. We must spread the name of our Lord who has given us the water of everlasting life. We are able to spread it because we have already received it.
While we were living in this world, we had always felt empty prior to having met our Lord. And so, in the past, we sang frequently a song called, “Whale Hunting,” which started with the lyrics, “♬I drink beer, sing, and dance. ♪ But there is only sadness in my heart. ♬” I had thought about the meaning of its lyrics. And also, we sang a folk song that went, “♬Sitting face to face with a little bonfire♬…Life leaves only ashes behind the smoke♪.” I had reflected about my life’s meaning from the lyrics of this song. It told us that there would only be ashes at the end of a life. It was saying that there would be nothing left in life. I had thought that life is something like this small bonfire that burns for a while and leaves nothing but ashes, which would eventually disappear completely after having been blown away by wind. Having felt from the lyrics of Korean pop songs that my life was exactly like that, I had lived grieving over myself.
Thus, I had thought that I should set a goal, have a vision, and pursue something, as the lyrics go, “♬I drink beer, sing, and dance. ♪But there is only sadness in my heart. ♬Let us leave for the East Sea. ♪Let us leave for a whale hunting.” I had thought that I had to go to some place far and vast to catch a whale. I had thought that I had to do something, born into this world as a man. Just then, President Chung Hee Park was in power, and the New Village Movement with the motto, ‘Better tomorrow. Better tomorrow,’ was at its height. At that time people woke up early in the morning, and it felt as if it was a sin to wake up late. When I woke up late in the morning just because I had gone to bed late the previous night while all the neighborhood people were cleaning up the road with broomsticks in their hand singing ‘Better tomorrow,’ I felt so sorry to our neighbors. Looking outside, I could see the neighborhood adults and children all sweeping the yard and the road in my village, and I was ashamed of myself. I had felt embarrassed having become a sinner at the start of the day.
There has to be some plan in everyone’s hearts that they could go on living for, and people can find the reason to live, whatever that may be, only if there is something that people yearn to do in this world. If there were nothing to do, why would a person chase after a dream? There would only be sadness in people’s hearts even if they go on drinking beer, singing, and dancing. For there is only sadness in our hearts, what is there to do? Would there be a satisfaction in one’s heart if one were to gather wealth?
Dear fellow believer, even when I was young in age, I had fairly large sum of money. So, I did spend lots of money. When I was young and others were spending about 5 Won (It might be equivalent to 5 cents in US currency in the mid 1960’s) a day, I spent about 50 Won. At the time, 5 Won was enough money for a child to spend in a day. 2 Won would get one into Myongsung Movie Theater where I could see 2 films with one ticket. Having seen the movie, one would be able to buy and eat 6 candy balls for 2 Won, and also, there was a snack called chrysanthemum bun, a bag of which could be bought for about 1 or 2 Won. With 5 Won, one could spend the whole day. At the time, I had spent 50 Won per day, so I had plenty to spend.
Yet, in spite of it all, there was no satisfaction. Lots of money was given to me, but even though I had spent it more than enough and spent it some more, there wasn’t any satisfaction to be found. Not knowing where to spend the money, I went here and there, and even went to dance clubs where one would rub feet and shook bodies, wearing fancy shoes, bell-bottom trousers, and a perm. I grew up in Busan, the largest port city in Korea. If Myong-dong was the Mecca of fashion in Seoul, Korea, there was Nampo-dong in Busan, the second largest city in Korea. Nampo-dong Campus Pubs was really famous. In those days, only the eccentric students would gather there and dance. Yet, even through dancing, singing, and playing, there was only emptiness in my heart.
When I woke up in the morning, only sadness was pressing my heart down. There was nothing to be gained from such a life. Absolutely nothing. It would have been nice if the joy of drinking and singing that I had done the previous night had lasted until morning, but it all came to an end in its instant, far from preservation. When I had opened up my eyes in the morning, I had to come up with something new to do that day. Something new. And so, I wandered here and there with my friends to find a place of fun, and I did spend lots of money. But, there was nothing that remains as meaningful.
Thus, in the end, I had even thought about dying. “Should I commit suicide? There is no meaning for me to go on living in this world any more. I’m no benefit to others, so I think it’s best that I go, instead of living like this.” Just then, I started to think seriously, “Should I become a Buddhist monk? A Catholic priest?” Once, I had gathered up my friends and said to them, “Hey, I think all of you and I are not needed in this world, for whatever the difference. Better yet, let’s go deep into that mountain with our heads shaved. Let’s just sound wooden Buddhist gongs, and pass away having lived quietly.” However, in thinking about living inside a mountain, I had realized that I couldn’t do that because of my temper. And so, I gave up going to a mountain and living as a Buddhist monk.
I saw priests and nuns moving around quietly and offering voluntary services, and a thought came across, “Well, my life would be worthwhile if I were to live like that.” But, upon looking at my wretched self, I knew I was so unsuited. So, not even being able to talk about it, I just went on moaning inside.
There was no satisfaction in life. There was no satisfaction in studying, and there was no satisfaction in reading comic books, no matter how much. I used to be a comic book craze, and I had enjoyed reading comic books while lying on the bed. I read comic books stacked up higher than my sitting height. Because I was reading them all night long every night, my parents said to me, “Hey son, turn off the light. It’s wasting oil.” But, I read those comic books to the end by lighting up a small kerosene lamp and bringing it inside my bed, not caring about starting a fire. Did you read them a lot also? I think the youths today read even more. Back in my days, there weren’t that many comic book authors, so there weren’t that many varieties. But today, there are so many.
I didn’t meet Him perfectly just then. After having believed in Jesus for 10 years, I came to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receive the remission of sins. When I first believed in Jesus, it was very difficult for me to lead a life of faith. It cannot all be said in words.
Dear fellow believers, did you also receive the remission of sins after having been believing in Jesus for years? There may be some brothers and sisters who have met Jesus Christ wholly through the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the beginning of their life of faith. Such saints are so blessed because they have received the remission of sins by having met the Truth the very moment they came to believe in Jesus. Let it be known that you who have received the remission of sins after having believed in Jesus for a long time are also so blessed.
Aren’t there great many people whose hearts feel empty for not having received the remission of sins still? When their hearts feel so very empty, they go on a prayer retreat into a mountain. After offering a fasting prayer for 3 days or for a week, going without food and drinking only the water stored in a kettle, legs would tremble and eyes would look hollow. When about 3 days pass after having started a fasting prayer, one would see a bowl of noodle soup floating in the sky, an egg being placed on top by itself, and steam puffing out. “That surely is the sky without a doubt, but how can there be a bowl of noodle soup up there in that place?” And, the strange thing was that the bowl of noodle soup was hanging upside down. The fact is that people are not themselves. People who believe in Jesus without knowing about the gospel of the water and the Spirit must continue to go through that kind of ordeal.
“♬Weeping will not save me! ♪Tho’ my face were bathed in tears, ♬That could not allay my fears, ♬Could not wash the sins of years! ♪Weeping will not save me.” Dear fellow believers, no matter how much one offers prayers of repentance and cries and shouts, it isn’t the case that the committed sins get cleansed. It is so agonizing if the sins don’t go away. How agonizing is it to offer a fasting prayer for 40 days to blot out the sins? Doing so doesn’t make sins go away, but people do that so ardently because having sins is more painful than that. Go without food for ten days, trying to offer a fasting prayer. A face already all skin and bones would become even scrawnier. And how one wishes for a delicious food he likes then! Throughout the fasting prayer, one thinks, “As soon as the fasting prayer is over, I’m going to eat dough flake soup, ramyon, and toasted bread.” At that moment, people want to eat those things so much that they would be on the verge of going crazy.
Let’s say the fasting prayer ends at 12 o’clock tonight. Because I had to observe the time, I used to only look at the hands of the clock frantically. Although it seems as if 30 minutes have passed, when looking at the clock, I could see that only 5 minutes had passed. So, I thought, “There is still 25 minutes left. Oh, boy! How come the time is passing by so slowly?” Thus, trying to pass time, I purposefully woke up the person adjacent who was offering the fasting prayer together, and asked, “Try to wake up. Where did you live before coming here? Why are you offering a fasting prayer?” I asked this and that, and after asking questions to the fullest, I found that just 10 minutes had passed. I then was on the verge of losing sanity. The time on the day that the fasting prayer ends went by so slowly. So much so that I used to spend the next 10 minutes thinking, “What else should I eat afterwards?” Having done so, the time became 5 minutes to midnight, and because I couldn’t do anything else, I could not but only look at the clock. “1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds … yes, 1 minute has gone.” Start over. 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and finally, 1 minute 30 seconds left. And it ends. I finished safely. With no regard for having received an answer to the prayer and the remission of sins before God by the fasting prayer, I used to run off to eat the foods that I had wanted to eat for all those days, with a great meaning placed on the fact that I had finished the weeklong fasting prayer.
A great meaning was placed on the fact that I had agonizingly endured the fasting prayer period, despite the hunger. Some people, not being able to endure, went off every night to eat. Also, while drinking out from the water kettle, I noticed a scent of cooked rice coming from the water. When I looked into it, cooked rice was found inside.
The method of fasting prayer varies among denominations. Commonly, legalists drink only water for a week. After completing the fasting prayer up to the point of near death, there is only the sense of accomplishment, and nothing else left. “♪Father, I stretch my hands to Thee, ♬No other help I know; ♪If Thou withdraw Thyself from me, ♬Ah! Whither shall I go?” At that moment, tears came down because of hunger, but despite pouring out tears and reciting such a hymn, there still were sins in my heart. There was only emptiness in my heart. Thus, I felt sad, always.
However, I have come to meet the Lord. I came to hear the gospel. As you have heard, when Jesus had received the baptism, all my sins were transferred over, and through the death of Jesus on the Cross, He has vicariously received all the judgment. The world had changed from the moment I became aware of the Word that says the sins of this world have disappeared forever.
People speak of salvation roughly. Because I had looked for and thirsted for the Word of the remission of sins, I was able to know ten times more when someone just gave me only a bit of hint. And then, I researched and examined the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And the result was that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is a gospel that is so very clear.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus has given us is the fountain of water for an everlasting life, as spoken in the Words, “The water that I give will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This gospel of the water and the Spirit gave me the water of everlasting life. The moment when I was confirming this gospel, all the sins in my heart went away, and the fountain of water was springing out from my heart. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is this gospel that you and I have received.
Dear fellow believers, do you think this gospel of the water and the Spirit is nothing? Do you think it’s merely a common gospel? No, absolutely not! There were many Samaritan people living there in Sychar, but only this woman living in the city of Sychar met the Lord. And because this woman had spread the gospel, a few people were able to meet the Lord. A few people at the land of Galilee had met the Lord, and a few people at the city of Sychar did, too. Only one in a thousand, one in a ten thousand was able to receive the remission of sins. If we look into the facts, it is a very rare salvation.
Dear fellow believers, this gospel of the water and the Spirit is something very precious. We have met the Lord by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It means that we have drunk the fountain of water that springs up everlasting life by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I am eternally grateful for the fact that my soul has gained happiness and satisfaction through our Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit.