John 4:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 4:14, NIV: "but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"

John 4:14, ESV: "but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”"

John 4:14, KJV: "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."

John 4:14, NASB: "but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.'"

John 4:14, NLT: "But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.'"

John 4:14, CSB: "But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.""

What does John 4:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus' comments here present some interesting facts about the nature of salvation. In order to get literal water from a well, a person has to lower a bucket, then haul up the full container. This has to be repeated as often as required in order to get more water. The water Jesus promises will become a permanent spring within the person.

In fairly direct terms, Jesus is pointing out that salvation is neither obtained nor kept through works. In fact, Jesus is contrasting the nature of salvation with the nature of human efforts. One is temporary and requires work. The other is eternal and is obtained only as a gift. Twice, in fact, Jesus refers to this "living water" as something He will give. This is not something a person could draw for themselves, even if they wanted to.

Most of the things we pursue on earth are attempts to fill the natural human longing for God. Augustine famously said to God, "You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You." This is part of what Jesus means by earthly water being only a temporary solution. Material things can never take the place of a relationship. Our ultimate purpose as created beings is to know, serve, and worship our Creator.

Looking at the Samaritan woman's history, it seems she was looking for comfort in relationships (John 4:17–18). Sadly, that quest led her to live an immoral and unsatisfying life.