A thirsty woman came to the well at Sychar to draw water not only for herself but also for her household. There she found the spiritual water which became for her a spring, welling up to life eternal.

Had this woman found the water of Jacob’s well only she would have continued to go back from day to day. But on that memorable occasion she met Jesus Christ, who revealed himself to her as the Messiah, the one for whom all Jewry longed. That it was to this stranger and despised person that Christ witnessed makes the story all the more thrilling.

Countless sermons have been preached about this well-side encounter, and in them are to be found multiplied lessons for our own eternal good.

There is one lesson we need to learn in each generation—that there is a difference between the temporal and the eternal which transcends all else. The things which are seen are temporal and temporary. It is the things which are not seen which are eternal.

Never has the Church needed to recognize this difference more than today. So many things are spoken of as “Christian” which are not Christian but humanitarian. As a matter of fact, much of theological controversy hinges on this basic problem, while the effective witness of the Church stands or falls at precisely this point.

Exploding populations, emerging nations, and accelerated communications have made good men more conscious than ever of the plight and needs of men around the world. Attempts to alleviate suffering, raise standards of living, and offer something of the “good life” to all men everywhere strike a responsive chord in many hearts.

All of this is as it should be, but the task, message, and emphasis of the Church goes infinitely further than this, and we are in grave danger of losing sight ...

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