Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.”John 4:13–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
There was a recent discussion using this passage. In it, someone mocked the idea of a person taking just a sip of the water Jesus gives, and that being enough to never thirst. The scorned idea centers on the assertion that salvation can be lost.
What do you think can be gleaned from this selection as to what Jesus is really saying?
I want to draw attention to one particular verb used two ways. The verb is translated to the English ‘drinks.’ But the underlying Greek reveals something substantial we might miss.
In the first instance, the Greek verb translated ‘drinks’ is present tense in a nominative mood. In essence, it is saying that every time one drinks of this water, thirst will return.
In the second instance, the verb translated as drinks is changed to aorist tense in a subjunctive mood. The aorist tense is best understood as a once-and-done action that carries forward. In other words, it is similar to the present perfect like he is born. The birth happened and the effect it caused carries forth. The birth is not undone, nor does it have to be repeated or continued.
That second instance is also in a subjunctive mood. This can convey a potentiality in the verb, which is translated correctly in the above quotation, whoever drinks.
What we can deduce logically, since no minimum quantity is given by Jesus to qualify how much is needed, a sip suffices to satisfy the thirst forever. He did say never thirst. Think of the thief on the cross.
This coincides with what Jesus continues to say. That one drink will become a well in the saved person that springs into eternal life. Eternal life doesn’t end or go away.
Hidden in typology is the Holy Spirit pictured as the Living Water. It is He Who gives life. This coincides with the Spirit’s ministry in the life of the believer… Keeping such saved because He never leaves.
You cannot buy this Water. Jesus gives it freely to anyone who wants.
You cannot earn this Water, it’s given freely.
One sip suffices forever… But keep drinking in and sharing!