Drink of Living Water

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Dallin Oaks

I conclude with the most important thought of all. It concerns priorities in learning and doing. During his journey across Samaria, Jesus rested at Jacob's well.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and he asked her for a drink. When she marveled that a Jew would speak to a Samaritan, he told her that if she knew who he was she would ask him for living water. Seeing that he had no implement to draw water from the deep well, she asked Jesus how he could obtain any water to give her.

Before we remind ourselves of his answer, we should note how this incident is similar to our present circumstance. The Savior is in our midst, sometimes personally, frequently through his servants, and always by his Spirit.

His power is such that he could obtain anything on this earth. He need not ask for water at the well or for tithes and offerings at the Church, or for work at the welfare farm. He asks us for these temporal things, just as he sought a drink from the woman at Jacob's well, so he can bless us with something of far greater importance to us than what we give.

In answer to the Samaritan woman's question of how he could give her living water without any way to draw it from the well Jesus answered:

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 4:13—14)

As you begin a new school year, it is appropriate to think of your education as an implement that can draw water from the well. We need such an implement; we encourage great personal sacrifice and the Church expends large resources to aid students in acquiring it.

You can use the implement of education to satisfy earthly desires for yourself and those who are or will be dependent upon you. On occasion, your education can also be used to provide earthly support for the Savior and his work and his servants.

But while we are spending great efforts to acquire knowledge of earthly things—of things in the earth and under the earth, and so forth (D&C 88:79) —we must never forget what the Savior told the Samaritan woman:

"Whosoever drinketh of this water shall never thirst again." Only from Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of this world, can we obtain the living water whose partaker shall never thirst again, in whom it will be "a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Jesus taught us how to obtain that living water. The teaching he gave the Samaritan woman reminds us, even as we are involved in acquiring implements to draw water from wells of earthly skills and knowledge, that what we obtain from Jacob's well gives only temporary relief.

The water of Jacob's well—however significant in satisfying temporary earthly, desires—is insignificant in value beside what we can obtain from Jesus' words and from his atoning sacrifice. This is the most important message I urge you to remember on this day, during this year, and throughout your life.

Dallin Oaks, BYU Dev., Sept. 18, 1984