V. THE WATER
"Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again" (John 4:13). I do not know if you realize what thirst is. Once a ship was about to sink, and all the people on board ran to the small lifeboat. In this small boat, there was food, but no fresh water to quench their thirst. Although water was all around, they remained thirsty. Although water was on all sides of their small boat, they were still dying of thirst. Doctors know that thirst is more intolerable than hunger. Thirst is a desire unfulfilled, a request ungranted. Someone may say, "I have a hope, but it is not fulfilled," or "I have a wish, but it has not been realized. My mouth is thirsty."
The world has many good things. But even if it gives you the best thing, you will still be thirsty. The world has many beautiful things. But even if it gives you the most beautiful thing, you will still be thirsty. The world has many great things. But even if it gives you the greatest thing, you will still be thirsty. All that the world can give to you is temporary. If you drink it, you will still be thirsty. After drinking a cup of wine, you will want more to drink. After seeing a movie, you will want to see more movies. After attending a big feast, you will desire to eat again. After gaining a reputation, you will desire to have money. After you have money, you will desire to have a good family. After you have a good family, you will desire to have good children. After you have good children, you will desire to have a long life. Once you drink what the world gives you, you will still be thirsty. If you receive something from the world, it will only make you desire more the next time. The Lord says, "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again." What kind of water is "this water"? "This water" is whatever the world can give to men. "This water" is the worldly things which temporarily satisfy a person. However, the world simply creates a bigger capacity within you; it causes you to drink and still want more to drink.
There was a person whose father died for his faith during the Boxer Rebellion. He thought at one time that if someone would help him to graduate from elementary school and make twenty to thirty dollars, he would be satisfied. Later someone helped him graduate from elementary school, and he was making twenty to thirty dollars every month. But after a short while, he compared himself with others and desired to go to high school. Eventually, someone helped him finish high school. As soon as he finished high school, he desired to go to a university. Someone helped him study in a university. After graduation he wanted to study abroad. He thought that if he could get a Ph.D. degree, he would be satisfied and have no other desire. Again someone helped him, and he was able to study abroad. Eventually, he also received his Ph.D. degree. He came back to China and became a university professor. But he said, "Someone with a Ph.D. is not necessarily happier than an elementary school graduate." One day he was satisfied; he received the Christ that his father had died for. He now works for the Lord and is no longer thirsty.
Some may think that as long as they can gain something in school or in business, they will be satisfied. But I must tell you that even if you gain something it will only be a temporary satisfaction; it cannot quench your thirst. Those sitting here may have some desires and strong cravings to be satisfied. You may have a dream before you. But I must tell you that even if your dream comes true and your desires are fulfilled, you will not be satisfied; you will still dream and still say that there is a place within that is not yet satisfied. Friends, may we see that all things are vanity and will not quench our thirst after we drink them.
I had a friend who grew up in the same place as I did. He went through college and was the Chief of Police for one term. After he believed in the Lord, he went to testify to one of his former colleagues, a military person who had some power. When his colleague saw him with a plain cloth gown, he asked, "Are you happy?" He said, "Just look at me, and you will know that I am happy." His colleague said, "What about your wife and children?" He answered, "The Lord Jesus is the One thinking about them; He is the Lord." The colleague said, "Have you ever thought about what you will do for the rest of your life?" He said, "God is responsible for me for the rest of my life." His colleague marveled at him. Here was a person who had gone through college and had been the Chief of Police. After he had believed in the Lord, there was a peace within him which others did not have. When he departed, his old friend said to him, "I wish that I could drop all I have to get what you have." No political power can satisfy man, nor can an excellent position satisfy man. If there is any friend here who is not yet satisfied, I must tell you that everyone who drinks of the worldly water will thirst again. The worldly water can never satisfy you.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 18: Notes on Scriptural Messages (2), Chapter 15, by Watchman Nee)