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Saturday, May 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

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Verses 11-17

The Raising of the Widows Son

Luke 7:11-17


Events crowded rapidly into the life of our blessed Lord. His days of service in behalf of the sick, the blind, the lame, the halt, the maimed, and diseased are thus summed up by one of the Apostles: "Jesus of Nazareth * * who went about doing good."

1. The sympathetic Christ. Wheresoever Christ went, the sorrows of others fell upon Him. He could not cast off the woes of the people among whom He moved if He would, and He would not have cast them off if He could.

Our Lord was properly called the Son of Man, because He entered into everything which concerned man. He could not have come as a sin-bearer in the day of His final great Atonement, when upon Calvary's Cross He hung the Just for the unjust, without feeling the sense of sin's ravages all along during His earth life, as He journeyed toward His Cross.

Every groan, every heartache, every soul anguish, which had fallen upon man, fell upon Him. To the poor. He was poor; to the stricken, He was stricken. He could weep with those who wept, as truly as He could rejoice with those who rejoiced. He sat with sinners, He ate with sinners, and He bore the sinner's sins.

There is a verse in Matthew 8:1-34 where it says: "When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the Prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."

We can plainly see in the Scriptures quoted that the Lord Jesus during the whole three years of His ministry was carrying our sicknesses, and bearing our pains. He was truly the sympathetic Christ making every sorrow and every sigh which belonged to man, His own.

2. The counteractive Christ. Our Lord was not merely sympathetic, but He met the needs of the people who claimed His sympathy and His help by actually removing their sicknesses and their pains.

He came to undo the works of the devil, and He did undo them. As He saw the funeral cortege of the widow's son wending its way toward the cemetery, the sorrow of a widowed mother was transferred to His own countenance. Immediately her grief was His. Thus He set about to meet her need. He stopped the procession, spoke the word, and gave back to the woman her son, alive again.

Our Lord Jesus looks down from Heaven today upon a world swayed by Satan, and ruled by lust. He will not be satisfied until He has dethroned Satan, and instead thereof, has established His own rule and righteousness upon the earth.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was working toward this end in His earth life, as He went about doing good steadily pressing toward His Calvary death.

God is a just God, and Christ could by no means deliver those under the power of sin and Satan, unless He, Himself, had taken their sins upon Himself. Not only, therefore, were all of Christ's blessing's bestowed upon the guilty, during His earth ministrations, based upon His substitutionary death, but every blessing which the present hour and the Millennial Age bring, will be based upon the result of His substitutionary work.


Our key verse says: "And it came to pass the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and much people."

1. The event of the preceding day, was it a "happen so"? If you will run your eyes over the first part of Luke 7:1-50 , you will find the story of the centurion's servant, and of how he was healed.

The centurion had appealed unto Christ through the elders of the Jews, that He would heal his servant, who was about to die. As Christ approached the centurion's home, the centurion sent friends saying unto Him, "Lord, trouble not Thyself: for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof." Then he asked Christ merely to send a command that his servant might be healed, and it would be done. Immediately Christ acquiesced, and lo, the servant was made whole from that very hour. Was all of this a "happen so"?

2. The event now before us, was it a "happen so"? As Jesus moved on His way, He came into the city of Nain. We stop a moment to ponder. Were the healing of the centurion's servant and the raising of the son of the widow of Nain just happen-sos? Were they no more than casual occurrences? Or, was there a directive will which made possible all of these miraculous manifestations?

For our part, we believe that everything which occurred in Christ's life was purposeful and not accidental. He, Himself, said just before He went to the Cross, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." Therefore, He had an especially assigned task. He plainly taught that He did not His own will, but His Father's will. He said, "The work which My Father hath given Me to do, shall I not do it?"

There is a majesty of pre-direction, of election, pre-destination, fore-ordination, which marked the stately steppings of the Son of God. Things did not come to pass as mere "happen sos." They came to pass just as everything in God's plan and purpose comes to pass. They came to pass because they were ordained of God.


1. A dead man in the road. As the Lord came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead youth carried out. This body of death lay directly in the pathway of our Lord.

There have been many dead men in the road. Whenever we see death, we are beholding another demonstration of God's great fiat in the Garden of Eden, "Thou shalt surely die."

There was a dead man in the road, because sin brings death. "The wages of sin is death." "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Death not physical alone, but death eternal.

As Christ came down the highway, life met death. Our Lord once said, "I am the * * Life." Christ, the Life, was about to manifest Himself. Hear His words, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."

Let us not think, therefore, that Jesus a mere wonder-worker, or mere healer or a mere teacher of beautiful ethics, or even a mere supreme man, was coming down the road. Let us think that life was coming down. God the Son, and Son of God; God in whom we live, and move, and have our being was coming down the road. Jesus, not only the creator of physical life, but the creator of the new life, was coming down the road.

2. Here is a strange contrast. Inherent righteousness approaching the results of inherited sin. The Life-giver, the holy One, approaching the dead, the sin-stricken one.

Do we comprehend now, as we behold this seemingly casual meeting, why something had to happen? Could Christ allow death and its ravages to pass by Him unchallenged? Could He, the Resurrection and the Life, allow the sway of death to go on its way unhindered, unchallenged, unrebuked? Not so.

Something must be done. A great lesson must be taught. The Divine power of Christ in establishing life where there was death, must be demonstrated. Our Lord was not slow to grasp the opportunity. Let all who follow the lesson seek to catch the vision of the power of a living, eternal Christ.


As the funeral procession left the city, we behold the largeness of its sweep. First, there was the mother, whose only son was being buried, and she was a widow. Secondly there was much people of the city with her. This was no mean man whom death had stricken; and his disease had brought no small amount of sorrow.

When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, "Weep not."

1. Christ stood near by His own empty tomb and said, "Why weepest thou?" First of all our mind goes to the women who surrounded the sepulcher of Christ, and particularly to Mary who stood without at the sepulcher weeping. Even now we can hear the query of the angels: "Woman, why weepest thou?" Then as Mary turned away she saw Jesus standing, but knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus likewise said unto her, "Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?"

Beloved, death is always full of tears because death means sorrow and separation.

We have shown above how life was meeting death. We wish now to say that joy was meeting sorrow. Our Lord Himself was all joy. He was the Man of Sorrows, only because He bore our sorrows. Inherently He was joy. Did He not say, "That My joy might remain in you"? Was He not anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows? Thus, again, we ask: "What must happen when joy meets sorrow? when singing meets sighing? when gladness meets tears?"

Is it not the province of Christ to wipe away all tears from all faces. In His presence there is no room for pain, and heartache, and grief.

2. Christ met the challenge of a mother's tears and said, "Weep not." To the distracted women who wept about His tomb, He said, "All joy," that is, "All hail." Is not this exactly why the Lord came to earth? Did He not suffer that we might sing? Have you not read how He said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because * * He hath sent Me to heal the broken hearted." Truly, God is the God of all comfort.


1. Christ's mastery over men. Our verse tells us that "He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still."

It was a very unusual happening. The bier, or coffin as we commonly call it, was being borne along by the pallbearers. The crowd from the city surged behind. However, when Jesus with all authority and power stepped forth and touched the bier, immediately the funeral procession stood still, as the people from the rear gathered round.

There was another time that Christ stepped upon a scene of commotion and distress; when, at His command the winds and the waves stood still. Peter had said: "Lord, we perish." Jesus, unabashed, and without nervous excitement, quietly arose, and, turning His face full against the storm, with uplifted hands, He commanded: "Peace be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

Thus we see here the commanding Christ, and the obeisance of the populace.

2. Christ's mastery over death. The second clause of our verse reads: "And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." Strange? Yes, it was passing strange. This command of our Lord was unlike anything known to men.

The day before, as we have suggested, Christ had merely spoken the word, and a servant sick and ready to die was made well. Now, however, by the word of His command a young man already dead, and about to be buried, was made alive.

Have we not read how the Lord Jesus says, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live"? Again, have we not read: "For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth"?

Truly, to Christ is given authority. "As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself."


We have now come into the realm of the impossible. However, to God, "All things are possible."

Luke 7:15 says: "And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak."

1. A sad comparison. When we think of a dead man, sitting up at the command of the Lord Jesus; we are grieved as we think of multitudes, millions, of the living who are impervious to His voice. How remarkable is the statement: "He that was dead sat up," in comparison with that other statement, "All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."

When we read the words, "And the dead man sat up" how sad do those other words seem: "How often would I * * and ye would not."

Of course, there is a difference in these comparisons. Jesus Christ used His authority dogmatically when He said to the dead, "Arise"; but He did not use this same authority, when He pleaded with Israel to "Arise." God has given free-will agency to men and nations. He has an effectual calling, He also has a permissive calling. One is followed by "must," the other by "may."

The dead man had no power to withstand the voice of life. He sat up, not because he had the power to sit up. He sat up because somewhere, outside of himself, there was Omnipotence and Omnipotence was speaking.

2. An acknowledging voice. The young man who was dead not only sat up but he began to speak. His words were an unmistakable testimony to the fact that he was alive again.

We hesitate just a moment to say that every one who has known the power of God in a new life, begins to speak. We have decided to write, He who is made alive will speak; "for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,"


There is a very significant expression in this last clause. Here it is: "And He delivered him to his mother."

1. A new life in the old place. Somehow to us there comes a deep significance in it all. A young man en route to dissolution, to moldering in the dust, finds everything changed. Instead of the dark tomb, he is sent back to the warmth of home and a mother's love. Instead of being buried and forgotten, he is thrust again into a throbbing world with every responsibility of life and of service.

When he faced the people on the next day, he faced them from a different angle. As he walked along the streets of Nain, parents would point him out to their children; the citizen would point him out to the stranger, saying, "That is the young man who was dead, but lives again."

Yes, he was back in the old life, but he was back there with a brand new conception of life. He was back as one who was risen again. He was back as one who had something he never had before.

Do you remember the time you were dead in trespasses and in sins, and the Lord said unto you, "Arise"? Do you remember the throbbings of that new life? From that day till this, you have had a new life in the old place, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Let us live our new life, in a new way.

2. A new opportunity with an enlarged responsibility. No one can say that the young man of Nain did not feel the calling of God to a vitalized life. Certainly, a new sense of living and a new realization of responsibility gripped him. He felt this in his attitude toward the mother, whose loving embrace welcomed him home again. He felt this in his relation to his townsmen who had walked behind his bier as they were carrying him to the grave. He could truly say, "Life is real, life is earnest, and I will buy up and redeem my time."


1. A fear came upon them all. There was something so wonderful in the event by the roadside, that it staggered the people. They had gone forth grief-stricken; they had come back awe-stricken. Something had happened, something new, something strange, something Divine.

Some could but say, that "a great Prophet is risen up among us." Others cried, "God hath visited His people."

This same result comes upon us all whenever the mighty power of the living Christ is manifested. In a revival, swept with the power of the Spirit where souls are being born again, we have seen more or less of this same spirit of fear, and sense of awe. The world rushing on in its mad way, may deny that there is a God; it may decry the fact that Christ Jesus is Saviour; but, they who sit under the power of a real old-fashioned Holy Ghost revival, where men, dead in trespasses and sins are being made alive, will bow their heads and acknowledge God.

2. A voice of praise fell upon them. Our verse says, "And they glorified God." What else could they do! They could not glorify man, for man could not raise the dead. They knew that God had spoken, that God had wrought, and they glorified Him.

Would that there was more of praise as we see God moving in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

3. They told Christ forth. Luke 7:17 concludes our study, It says: "And this rumour of Him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about."

Beloved, the days are darkening. It is high time that the Spirit of the Lord should lift up His standard, for the enemy is coming in as a flood. God grant that those of us who do believe in a living exalted Lord, may render a testimony in the demonstration of His power, until it shall be rumored throughout all the land that Jesus lives.


"How hear we every man in our language, wherein we were born?" (Acts 2:8 , marg.). In the post office of Buenos Aires they make a specialty of languages. Great numbers of immigrants reach that enterprising city every year. They all soon visit the post office, and the government has made it a point to greet them there with some one speaking their native tongue. It is said that the other day, at the same time, a German, a Chinese, a Frenchman, two Poles, a Lithuanian, and three Englishmen, none of them able to speak or understand a word of Spanish, entered that friendly post office, and all came out feeling that they had reached another homeland. Let every Christian get the spirit of that post office in his own life. No one should be a stranger to a Christian. He should speak the language of love, which is current in every land. He should feel the sympathy which is the universal interpreter. Have we not, in these considerations, come to the heart of Pentecost? In Christ, every one of that conglomerate multitude had found a friend. In Christianity each one of them, though from a far-distant land, had reached the home of his soul. From Christian Herald.

Verses 36-50

The Woman Who Was a Sinner

Luke 7:36-50


There was a great gulf between the Pharisees and the publicans. The Pharisees professed a piety, that, in their own estimation, lifted them far above the publicans. The publicans seemed to accept this challenge, and as a rule they hid themselves away as though they were the basest of men.

We remember how the Pharisee prayed within himself; parading his self-righteousness and self-superiority; while the publican stood afar off, beating upon his breast, and saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

With this in mind there are a few things we wish to suggest before the contrasts of our study proper are brought out.

1. With God there is no difference, for all have sinned. The Jew may boast himself of his spiritual superiority, and set himself over against the Gentile; but God says to the Jew; "Thou that makest thy boast of the Law, through breaking the Law dishonourest thou God?"

The Gentile may acknowledge his guilt, however, he is no more guilty than the Jew. The truth is, "There is none righteous, no, not one; * * there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way."

The truth is that before God the whole world stands guilty, and therefore condemned. Every mouth is stopped, and all boasting cf human righteousness is excluded.

2. With God death hath passed upon all men. Some men may imagine themselves good enough for life eternal; but God says that the wages of sin is death, and that death hath passed upon all men; in that all have sinned.

If the sinner wants to know what way leads to hell, we reply; "It is the way in which he is traveling." Hell is the end of every sinning son of Adam, inasmuch as every son is a sinner.

3. Salvation is offered only upon the basis of Christ's finished work. We said that all had sinned, and therefore, that all were hell-ward bound. This the Bible plainly asserts, for, "The wages of sin is death," and, "The wicked shall be cast into hell."

Had righteousness been possible through the keeping of the Law, verily, righteousness had come by the Law .

What man could not do, God did do, by sending Jesus Christ down from Heaven to become man's substitute. Christ was made sin for us, "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."


We are struck by this statement "One of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with him." We may be too quick to judge, but we feel justified by the general reputation of the Pharisees, and by the record of this particular Pharisee which follows in our study story, to say that this "would-be-host" had unholy motives in his inviting Christ to dine with him.

In this Pharisee, however, we believe that we have an inside view to many Pharisaical people of our own days.

1. Pharisees delighted in personal recognition. They sought the prominent places, the first seats at the feast. They delighted in doing things which attracted men unto themselves. They paraded their works in order that they might be seen of men. They delighted in enlarging the borders of their garments, inasmuch as these garments, supposedly, manifested the breadth of their piety. They desired to make broad their phylacteries, that they might obtain the praises of men.

The very essence of Pharisaical character, was a desire to be called "Rabbi," "Rabbi." They knew nothing of humbling themselves; but they were experts in self-exaltation. They might devour widows' houses in private; but they covered their rascality with the pretense of a long prayer.

2. Pharisees demanded of others what they never did themselves. They bound heavy burdens upon men, grievous to be borne. These they placed on men's shoulders, but they, themselves, would not move them with one of their fingers. They took the position of lords over what they called the common people. Their whole life was a living lie. They were like whited sepulchers which were beautiful without; but within were full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. Even so, they outwardly appeared righteous unto men; but within they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity.


It does not seem the natural thing for a woman, who was a sinner, to be seeking the Saviour. She, who was corrupted and undone in her sin, came to the One who knew no sin, and who did no sin.

Does it surprise you? Darkness was seeking the light; uncleanness was seeking the clean; impurity was seeking the pure; the unholy was seeking the holy. So it was.

The Holy Spirit had been dealing with this woman. She was still a sinner; but she was a sinner, whose eyes God had opened. She was a sinner; but she was a sinner whose will God had broken. She came to Jesus, because He drew her to Him with the cords of Heavenly love. She wept, because her spirit was full of contrition; she washed His feet with her tears, because she longed to have her sins washed away; she wiped His feet with the hair of her head, because she felt herself unworthy and base. She kissed His feet, and anointed them with ointment, because she loved much, and sought to exalt Him as Lord of her life.

We wonder how many, who read these words, are willing to join this woman in worshiping and loving Christ?


1. A twofold criticism. In Luke 7:39 we read that the Pharisee spake within himself, saying, "This Man, if He were a Prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him: for she is a sinner."

Simon made two criticisms. He criticized the sinner for seeking the Saviour he said with a slur; "She is a sinner." He also criticized the Saviour for seeking the sinner he said, "This Man, if He were a Prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is."

2. The inner vision of Simon's heart. Simon had no real love for Christ. His invitation to the Lord to dine with him carried with it no conviction as to Christ's Deity, no confession of Christ's omniscience. It was altogether out of place for the host to dishonor his Guest.

How often do people express an outward show of fealty to Christ when their innermost soul rejects Him as Saviour, and as Lord, and as Coming King! There are still many who, with their lips, boast great things, while their hearts are far from the Lord. These people come as the saints come. They bend the knee, and they bow the head, as the saints do; they hear God's Words, but they will not do them: with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after covetousness.


Jesus, understanding what Simon had in his heart, said; "I have somewhat to say unto thee." Christ then told Simon the story of the two debtors: the one who owed much, and the other who owed little; the one who was forgiven much, and the one who was forgiven little. Then He said to Simon, "Which of them will love Him most?" Simon admitted, "I suppose that he, to whom He forgave most."

Christ thus outlined before Simon the perfidy of his own heart: showing him how he had loved but a little. Simon had not even given his Guest any water for His feet; he had given Him no kiss; he had anointed His head with no oil.

1. The longing of Christ's heart was for love, not entertainment. The question which the Lord asked Simon was a question not of who served most, but of who loved most. Simon had done much in the way of serving. He had offered Christ the hospitality of his home. The woman, perhaps, had no home to offer. There was one thing, however, that Simon had not done. He had not lavished upon his Lord, the love of his heart.

We wonder if Christ is not saying of many of us what He said of the Church at Ephesus, "Thou hast left thy first love." The Church at Ephesus was filled with deeds; it was loyalty personified. Ephesus could not bear evil men; Ephesus had tried those who had falsely said they were apostles, and had found them liars. Ephesus had done much by the way of labor, and had even labored in the Name of the Master; yet, Ephesus had left her first love.

2. Christ observed in Simon the lack of those fine qualities which manifest the genuineness and sincerity of love. Simon was an adept at doing big things, and showy things. We can almost see him taking Christ through his mansion. We can also see Christ sitting at Simon's table a table spread with every bounty. We can imagine the servants flitting this way and that, as they waited upon the guests.

Simon, however, utterly failed in those tenderer and finer courtesies which marked affection. Do you remember the poor woman who cast in her two mites? The Lord said that she had given more than all of the rich, who, out of their abundance, had cast in much. He whom we serve is ever watchful for the deeper and keener manifestation of love.


1. The Lord knew the sinfulness of the woman who wept at His feet. Simon had said of Christ; "This Man, if He were a Prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him: for she is a sinner." Simon somehow or other felt that Christ had been contaminated by this woman who was a sinner. The Lord Jesus, however, had come into the world to seek and to save that which was lost, He had no pity for sin; but He died for the sinner. He had no fellowship with unrighteousness; but He was ready to save the unrighteous.

2. The Lord knew the sincerity of the woman who wept at His feet. Simon thought of her merely as unclean; Jesus thought of her as one desiring to be made clean. Jesus knew that the kisses upon His feet, and the tears that fell there, were kisses and tears of contrition. She who wiped His feet with the hairs of her head, was sobbing out the woes of her heart.

3. The Lord knew the yearnings of the woman who wept at His feet. She was there as a suppliant seeking mercy. She was there as a sinner seeking salvation. She was there confessing her wrong, admitting her iniquity, and longing to be forgiven. This is all seen in the fact that she fell at Jesus' feet.

We ask each of you this question: Are you, with Simon, sitting erect at the table claiming a more or less equality with the Lord, and doing but little more than passing the compliments of the day with Him? or, are you, with this woman, prostrate at His feet confessing your sins?


We have now come to that beautiful part of our study, the forgiveness of one who has sinned much.

1. Christ, in forgiving this woman, proclaimed Himself as God. Upon one occasion when Christ had forgiven the man who had been let down through the roof, the Pharisees cried out; "Who can forgive sins but God?" The Lord replied; "Whether it is easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?" Then Christ uttered those memorable words: "But that we may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, He saith to the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house."

2. Christ, in forgiving this woman, proved Himself a Saviour from sin. The people who sat at meat with Christ began to say within themselves, "Who is this that forgiveth sins also?"

Even now we can see the Lord, as, with hands extended, He cried to sobbing seeking souls; "Come unto Me, * * and I will give you rest."

3. Christ, in forgiving this woman, showed the human basis upon which salvation is obtained. Verse fifty says; "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

We now see what it was that drew the woman from her haunts of sin, into Simon's House. We see what laid her low at the Master's feet, washing His feet with her tears, and wiping them with the hairs of her head. We see what caused her to cease not, in kissing His feet; and why she anointed His feet with ointment. We see why she loved much it was her faith. She believed that Christ was a Saviour.

The Lord Jesus saw behind her every act, the motive which prompted the act. He said to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee." It was not her tears; it was not her humility; it was not her ointment; it was not her love; it was her faith .

4. Christ, in forgiving this woman, demonstrated the result of salvation. Christ said unto the woman, "Go in peace."

"There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." How then could this one, who was wicked, go in peace? She could go in peace, because she had received salvation; she had salvation, because she had faith.

The Holy Spirit has said, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace."


The story is told, that, two years after hostilities had ceased, following the Civil War, some college professors, in hunting specimens, ran across two soldiers hiding out in the mountains of the Carolinas. When they asked about the progress of the war, the professors told them that peace had been declared two years before. Peace had been declared, why then should these deserters not have peace?

Christ has made peace by His Blood, let us then have peace through faith in His finished work. It is just as foolish for the sinner to hide away from God when God has made peace through the Blood of the Cross, as it was for these two men to hide in the Blue Ridge Mountains after peace was made.

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Luke 7". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/luke-7.html.
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