Jesus answered and said unto her
In a very serious manner, in a different way from hers:
if thou knewest the gift of God;
meaning, not the Holy Spirit with his gifts and graces, as some think, but himself; for the following clause is explanatory of it;
and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink;
and Christ is also spoken of in the Old Testament, as the gift of God, ( Isaiah 9:6 ) and he had lately spoken of himself as such, ( John 3:16 ) and he is, by way of eminency, "the gift of God"; which is comprehensive of all others, is exceeding large, and very suitable to the wants and cases of men; and is irrevocable, unchangeable, and unspeakable: for he is God's gift, as he is his own and only begotten Son; and he is given for a covenant to the people, with all the promises and blessings of it; and as an head, both of eminence and influence; and to be a Saviour of them, and a sacrifice for their sins; and as the bread of life, for them to feed and live upon; of which gift, men are naturally ignorant, as this woman was: they know not the dignity of his person; nor the nature and usefulness of his offices; nor the way of peace, righteousness, and salvation by him; nor do they see any amiableness, or loveliness in him; and whatever notional knowledge some natural men may have of him, they know him not spiritually and experimentally, or as the gift of God to them:
thou wouldst have asked of him;
a favour and benefit; for such who truly know Christ, the worth and value of him, and their need of him, will apply to him for grace, as they have encouragement to do; since all grace is treasured up in him, and he gives it freely, and upbraideth not; and souls are invited to ask it of him, and take it freely; nor is it to be had anywhere else: but knowledge of Christ, is absolutely necessary, to asking anything of him; for till he is known, he will not be applied to; but when he is made known to any, in his fulness and suitableness, they will have recourse to him, and ask grace and mercy of him; and which is freely had: the Vulgate Latin very wrongly adds, "perhaps"; reading it, "perhaps thou wouldst have asked"; whereas our Lord's meaning is, that she would certainly have asked:
and he would have given thee living water;
pardoning and justifying grace, every branch of sanctifying grace, and all the supplies of it; so called, because his grace quickens sinners dead in sin, and dead in law, and in, their own apprehensions; and causes them to live in themselves, and before God; and because it refreshes and comforts, revives and cheers, and is like rivers of water in a dry land; and because it maintains and supports spiritual life in their souls; and it ever abides, and continues, and springs up unto everlasting life: for the allusion is to spring water, that bubbles up in a fountain, and is ever running; for such water the Jews call "living water"; see ( Genesis 26:19 ) ; where in the Hebrew text it is "living water"; which we, and also the Chaldee paraphrase, render "springing water". So living waters with them, are said to be always flowing, and never cease F20.
F20 Bartenora in Misn. Negaim, c. 14. sect. 1.