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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 12, 1901

    The Living Water


    February 7, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 267-268; UL 52; 3MR 431-433. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well; and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. ... Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, 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 woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, 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.” [John 4:6, 7, 9-14.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 1

    While the woman was extolling Jacob’s well, Christ was speaking to her of the water of everlasting life. “He who drinks of the water of Jacob’s well shall thirst again,” He said; “but he who drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” [Verses 13, 14.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 2

    Instead of disparaging Jacob’s well, Christ presented something infinitely better. “If thou knewest the gift of God,” He said, “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.” [Verse 10.] He turned the conversation to the treasure He had to bestow, the living water, which will satisfy the craving of mind and heart. He offered the woman something better than anything she possessed, even living water, the joy and hope of the gospel of His kingdom.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 3

    This is an illustration of the way in which we are to work. It is of little use for us to go to pleasure-lovers, theatre-goers, horse-racers, drunkards, gamblers, and scathingly rebuke them for their sins. This will do no good. We must offer them something better than that which they have, even the peace of Christ, which passeth all understanding. We must make it as plain as possible to them that the law of God is binding upon all human beings, and that this law is a transcript of His character, an expression of what He wants men and women to become. Tell them that Christ has said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:27.] Tell them of Christ’s love for sinners.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 4

    These poor souls are engaged in a wild chase after worldly pleasure and earthly riches. They have no knowledge of anything more desirable. But games, theatres, horse-races, will not satisfy the soul. Human beings were not created to be satisfied in this way, to spend their money for that which is not bread. Show them how infinitely superior to the fleeting joys and pleasures of the world is the imperishable glory of heaven. Seek to convince them of the freedom and hope and rest and peace there is in the gospel. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,” Christ declared. [John 4:14.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 5

    God’s people, young and old, are to lift up Jesus, crying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] He alone can satisfy the restless craving of the human heart and give repose to the mind. Wealth cannot do this. Intoxicating drink cannot do it. Worldly pleasure cannot do it. Title, rank, learning, power, all are worthless unless the name is enrolled in the Lamb’s book of life.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 6

    In the prayer which Christ offered to His Father just before His crucifixion, He said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] Only the religion that comes from God will lead to God. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” [John 3:36.] There is in his heart a well of living water, the influence of which is felt by all with whom he is associated.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 7

    To the weary and heavy laden, Christ says, “Come unto me, ... 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.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Restless, craving, exhausted heart, think of the Saviour’s words, “Whosoever drinketh of this water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” Drink from the wells of worldly pleasure, and you will thirst again. Drink of the water of life, and you will be satisfied and refreshed. It will be in you “a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.] Love and light and truth and life are found in the everlasting gospel. Come, ye who labor and are heavy laden, come to the living water. “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” [Revelation 22:17.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 8

    “Search the Scriptures.”16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 9

    This is the Word which comes to us from Christ. If it had been essential for us to search the Fathers, Christ would have told us so. But the Fathers do not all speak the same thing. Which of them shall we choose as a guide? There is no need for us to trust to uncertainty. We pass by the Fathers to learn of God out of His Word. This is life eternal, to know God. Oh, how thankful we should be that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Holy men of old wrote this Word as they were moved by the Spirit. God did not leave His Word to be preserved in the memories of men and handed down from generation to generation by oral transmission and traditional unfolding. Had He done this, the Word would gradually have been added to by men. We would have been asked to receive that which is not inspired. Let us thank God for His written Word.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 10

    The commentaries written about the Word do not all agree. Often they come into collision with one another. God does not ask us to be guided by them. It is His Word with which we have to deal. All can search this Word for themselves. And they may know that the teaching of this precious book is unchangeable. The opinions of human beings differ, but the Bible always says the same thing. The Word of God is from everlasting to everlasting.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 11

    The Bible was not given only for ministers and learned men. Every man, woman, and child should read the Scriptures for himself or herself. Do not depend on the minister to read it for you. The Bible is God’s word to you. The poor man needs it as much as the rich man, the unlearned as much as the learned. And Christ has made this Word so plain that in reading it no one need stumble. Let the humble cottager read and understand the Word given by the wisest Teacher the world has ever known; and among kings, governors, statesmen, and the world’s most highly educated men, there is none greater than He.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 12

    “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” [John 5:39.] To search means to look diligently for something which has been lost. Search yourself for the hidden treasure. Do not leave this work to the minister. You cannot afford to be ignorant of the Word of God. Study the difficult passages, comparing verse with verse, and you will find that Scripture is the key which unlocks Scripture. Those who prayerfully study the Scriptures go from their study wiser than when they opened the Bible. Some of their difficulties have been solved; for the Holy Spirit has done the work spoken of in the fourteenth chapter of John: “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [Verse 26.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 13

    Nothing worth having is obtained without earnest, persevering effort. In business life, only those men who have a will to do see successful results. Christians cannot expect to obtain a knowledge of spiritual things without earnest toil. Those who obtain the jewels of truth must dig for them as a miner digs for the precious ore hidden in the earth. Those who work indifferently and half-heartedly will never succeed. Young and old should read the Word of God; and not only should they read it, they should study it with diligent earnestness, praying, believing, and searching. Thus they will find the hidden treasure; for the Lord will quicken the understanding.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 14

    “It is expedient for you that I go away,” Christ said; “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” [John 16:7.] Christ’s ascension to heaven was the time which, in the order of heaven, it had been arranged that His representative, the Holy Spirit, should come to this world. This was the plan of the divine government. Thus the Redeemer designed to show His union with the Father and with men.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 15

    “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. ... If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [John 14:21, 23.] “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:10, 11.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 16

    Lay at the door of investigation your preconceived opinions and your hereditary and cultivated ideas. You will never reach the truth if you search the Scriptures to vindicate your own ideas. Leave these at the door, and with a contrite heart go in to hear what God has to say to you. As the humble seeker for truth sits at Christ’s feet and learns of Him, the Word gives him understanding. To those who are too wise in their own conceit to study the Word, Christ says, You must become meek and lowly in heart if you desire to become wise unto salvation.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 17

    Do not carry your creed to the Bible and read the Word in the light of your former opinions. Do not try to make everything agree with your creed. Search the Word carefully and prayerfully, with a mind free from prejudice. If as you read, conviction comes, and you see that your most cherished opinions are not in harmony with the Word, do not try to make the Word fit these opinions. Make your opinions fit the Word. Do not allow what you have believed or practiced in the past to control your understanding. Open the eyes of your mind to behold wondrous things out of the law. Find out what is written, and then plant your feet on the eternal Rock.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 18

    Our salvation depends upon our knowledge of God’s will as it is contained in His Word. Never cease asking and searching for truth. You need to know what is truth. You need to know your duty. You need to know what you shall do in order to be saved. And it is God’s will that you should know what He has said to you. But you must exercise faith. As you search God’s Word, you must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 19

    Search, search the Bible with a heart hungry for spiritual food. Dig into the Word as the miner digs into the earth to find the veins of gold. Do not give up your search till you have ascertained your relation to God and His will concerning you. Christ says to you, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” [John 14:13; 15:7; 14:14.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 20


    The Lord has given to the school in Cooranbong the labors of Brother and Sister Haskell. They have been teaching His Word, and thus great light has been received. But in this work others must co-operate with them. The Lord does not design that one man’s mind and one man’s ideas and one man’s presentation of the Word shall always control, even if the talents of others are not so valuable in the understanding of the Scriptures. He would have different minds mingle with the students. Men of a different mold should be given an opportunity to teach the Word in the school, to give to the students the impressions the Lord has given them. There is need of a union of different minds in the school, that the students may receive the strength of the varied talents.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 21

    Daniel and Revelation should be prepared to be placed in the hands of the people. These books should be small, such as can be used after a tent effort. They should contain the precious light that has been given to the students, that afterward they may refresh their minds.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 22

    The Lord has a work for Brother Haskell to do in our large meetings. He is not to take the whole burden, but is to stand in his lot and place in connection with his ministering brethren. In the Lord’s work there is a diversity of gifts. All minds are not of the same mold, neither do they present the same truths in the same way. One man’s method is not to be regarded as the method which all men shall follow. Different minds compose the body of believers. All God’s workers have not been given the same talents.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 23

    In the fourth chapter of Ephesians we are shown that one man is not to be looked upon as a complete whole. This chapter contains instruction which we need to understand. “He gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry; for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Verses 11-16.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 24

    This is the Lord’s arrangement for the work of those who have united in church capacity. He has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These are to work in fellowship with one another. The Lord has committed to them talents according to their several ability, that they may stand in their lot and place as laborers together with God.16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 25

    “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God.” [Romans 15:13-15.]16LtMs, Ms 12, 1901, par. 26

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