I grew up in a church that regularly sang this song as a congregational hymn.
I enjoyed the song then and still love it now, although we don't sing it very often.
I really enjoy this song for many reasons.
First, it speaks of a Bible story I have known since childhood. Patient Sunday School teachers with paper-towel backed flannel board figures would tell me the story out of John 4. The outcast woman comes to the well at the hottest time of the day to avoid the other women and has a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus tells her things only the Messiah would know about her life. She runs back into the city in her excitement to tell others whom she has just met.
Secondly, it's one of the few classic hymns that specifically mentions a woman. I don't think our hymn-writers intended to ignore the female gender. Some of our hymn writers were women. Most hymns rely on the neutral pronouns like we, you or my. Other hymns use neutral terms like believer, Christian, sinner, or friend. The reference to the woman at the well definitely makes the hymn unique.
The hymn also holds special meaning to me because I love teacups!
Any hymn that's going to reference a cup gets high marks from me.
The woman at the well that is mentioned in John 4 was having her first encounter with Christ. She needed the living water of salvation that only Jesus could give. I believe she received living water that day. The first action she took as a new believer was to run into the city and share with others the good news that the Messiah was visiting their town.
After that first encounter at the well, the believer should be seeking to follow Christ, to be a "living sacrifice" as mentioned in Romans 12:1 . . . to be empty of self so that God can work His will.
Although many Christians know they should be seeking to follow God's will, they do not.
We can easily fill each day with cheap temporary imitations of peace, purpose, and security rather than seek God's eternal peace, purpose, and security. For some, it may be money (I Timothy 6:7,10). For some, it may be a coveted relationship (Matthew 6:33) . For others, it may be the quest of specific material possessions (Colossians 3:2). Perhaps, you try to fill your life's cup with good intentions, even a great ministry project (John 8:29).
The fact will still remain that only Christ can fill your cup with something that fills the void. After all, isn't that what you are seeking? Something to fill that void? Your family, while quite precious, cannot be given such an impossible responsibility. Your material possessions, finances, career, and health are all variables that can be changed in a moment. You wouldn't want to fill your cup with such insecurities.
I also believe we do not seek God's will because we are truly afraid of what He might put in our cup. We would rather fill it ourselves than give Him access.
I'd love to say that God only serves blessings. I can say the trials and chastenings he puts in my cup are fully intended for my good in some way. (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 138:8) Sometimes, He leads you through the valley before you get to the mountain (Psalm 23). Sometimes, He leads through the refining fire before you can come forth like gold (Malachi 3:2,3).
God's Word assures us that times of trial will bring us blessings
The blessing of patience learned: James 3:2,3
The blessing of future reward: Mathew 5:10-12
The blessing of faith purified: I Peter 1:6-9
Friend, the most peaceful times of my life have always been when God's filled my cup. I definitely try at times to mix in my own herbal brew now and then. When I take a sip, the bitterness overwhelms me, and I have to pour it out and give it back to Him. . . empty.
Friend, what's in your cup?
If you are not familiar with this hymn, I encourage you to listen to the following arrangement:
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