Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
The gifts of God are on every hand, and all his gifts come to us through the merit of Jesus, whom he gave to the world. The apostle Paul breaks forth in an exclamation of gratitude, saying, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” And with Christ God has given us all things. The opening bud, the blooming flowers in their variety and loveliness, delightful to the senses, are the work of the Master Artist’s expressions of his love toward us. What beautiful things his hands have made, and yet many behold the lovely things of nature, and do not associate God with these blessings. They do not realize that the beautiful things about them are tokens of God’s love to fallen humanity, his efforts to attract them to himself. The Lord has taken great care that everything should be grateful and pleasant to us, and yet how much greater effort he has made to provide us with that gift whereby we may perfect a Christian character, after the pattern of Christ.
Through the flowers of the field God would call our attention to the loveliness of Christlike character. Jesus says, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” God is a lover of the beautiful. He desires that we shall consider the lovely flowers of the valley, and learn lessons of trust in him. They are to be our teachers. They grow, as God has designed they should, in purity and natural simplicity. The Lord takes care of the flowers of the field, and clothes them with loveliness, and yet he has made it evident that he looks upon man as of greater value than the flowers for which he cares. He has lavished upon us such gifts as human hand could not fashion, and yet the great mass of humanity take his gifts as a matter of course, or as if they came by chance. They offer no grateful thanks; their hearts are not awakened with love toward the gracious Giver.
Suppose that our benevolent Father should grow weary with man’s ingratitude, and for a few weeks should withhold his innumerable bounties. Suppose he should become discouraged in seeing his treasures applied to selfish ends, in hearing no response of praise and gratitude for his unmerited mercies, and should forbid the sun to shine, the dew to fall, the earth to yield her increase. What a sensation would be created! What dismay would fall upon the world! What a cry would be raised as to what we should do to supply our tables with food and our bodies with clothing! And yet, dependent as we are upon his bounties, many have taken his gifts as have the beasts of the field, and have never said, “I thank thee, kind Father, for thy daily benefits.” If his mercies should be withdrawn, it would be no more than we deserve; for it would be treating us as unworthy of such unrequited love.
God has not only supplied us with temporal benefits, but has provided for our eternal welfare; “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” Oh, if we did but know the gift of God, if we did but appreciate what this gift of God means to us, we would have been earnestly seeking for it with unwavering perseverance! We would have offered such supplication, such appeals to God, that the gift of grace would not have been withheld, and the living water would have come to satisfy our longing, thirsty souls. “If thou knewest the gift of God.” Yes, if the gift of God had been known, there would not be prayerless homes, and hearts as unimpressible as stone.
Jesus Christ, the Majesty of heaven, has been offered to the world, has been given to man as his Saviour and Redeemer. Well may the inhabitants of heaven and the unfallen worlds look with astonishment upon man’s lack of discernment, upon his ingratitude. Many have hated and spurned the gift of God, although Jesus clothed his divinity with humanity, and for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. He left the courts of heaven, and came to the world, all seared and marred and polluted with sin; he practiced self-denial and self-sacrifice, descending lower and lower in the path of humiliation, that we might be enriched and exalted. Rich in houses and lands, in worldly honor?—No, but that we might have all heaven’s imperishable treasure, an eternal weight of glory.
“If thou knewest the gift of God.” Oh, if the deceptive, bewitching power of Satan were only resisted, blinded eyes would be opened, unbelieving hearts would be made to perceive, and unsaved souls would have a knowledge of the unspeakable gift, and would press to the throne of grace with importunate prayer, entreating that they might drink of the living water. God is willing to impart to men the knowledge of his gift. Jesus is “to give the knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” “If thou knewest the gift of God.” Who is there among those who already know the gift of God, who will fail to make known its preciousness to those who know it not? If you know the gift of God, if you have an experimental knowledge of what the blessings are that Christ came to bestow upon the perishing, will your lips be silent, your heart ungrateful? Will you have no interest in others, and be indifferent as to whether or not they know the way of salvation? Will you not make known to others the precious light of truth, that they also may know, that they also may ask of him, and receive the living water?
Speaking of Jacob’s well, Jesus said unto the woman: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” How many are drinking of broken cisterns that can hold no water! Some think that if they could only have a certain salary, that would lift them above temporal want, they would be happy. But when the Lord grants them their heart’s desire, and tests them by a larger measure of favor, they are just as desirous of a larger amount, and so it is with other things. Their hunger and thirst increase in proportion as his gifts increase, and humanity is ever crying, Give me this or that favor, and I will hunger and thirst no more; but when the desire is gratified, there is still a greater need. But there is one gift that God desires to bestow that will be as living water, and he who partakes of Christ will never hunger, never thirst.
Jesus, the loving Saviour, entreats the woe-stricken inhabitants of earth to come to him. He says: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Oh, have you found this rest? Have you been to the fountain of living water to drink? The knowledge of God is the most vital to you. Have you found it? Jesus says: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” The evidence of our knowledge of God and of his Son is seen in the fact that we reveal him in life and character, that we make him known unto others.
Shall we open our hearts to Jesus Christ? Shall we enthrone him in the temple of the soul? Shall we not cast away our idols, and surrender our all to God? God has had power to make the flowers fair and fragrant, and he has power to give meekness and lowliness to the heart, to impart purity and nobility to the character, to make us complete in Jesus. We may have loveliness of disposition, a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Let us consider the precious gifts of God, think upon his tender mercies, yield our all to him, that he may give us hearts filled with gratitude, lives filled with the fragrance of deeds of love, a disposition to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, seeking to save those that are lost.
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1893