LIVING WATER – THE MOST RADICAL GIFT
Text -- JOHN 4:5--26
GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR … JESUS THE CHRIST.
In Holy Land villages, each morning before the sun has much chance to bake the earth and each evening as the sun begins to set, the women come to the village well to get the family’s supply of water and to take part in their most basic daily social event.
Jesus left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. – Though the route is far shorter, Judeans traveling to Galilee only pass through Samaria in the summer when the wilderness on the alternate route is too hot to enter.
Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well. The sunrise to noon walk along dusty, stone-filled roads under a sun which by late morning had pushed the temperature to over ninety degrees had taken its toll on Jesus and so He crouched on the ground by Jacob's well.
It was about the sixth hour and there came a woman of Samaria to draw water. The very fact that this woman came to the well at high noon when the sun was at its hottest and no other village women would be there tells us something about her standing in the community. She was a shunned outcast who knew better than to come to the well when the "respectable" women came.
The Samaritan woman didn’t speak to the Judean Man. The hatred which existed between His people and hers was at least as intense as the animosity which exists today between Israelis and Palestinians. It was unthinkable for a Judean and a Samaritan to talk to each other or drink from the same leather bucket or even from the same well.
Furthermore, in the Holy Land villages to this day, there are rigid restrictions against unrelated men and women talking to each other in public. I have seen older women throw stones at male tourists asking directions from younger women at village wells.
It was Jesus Who spoke - "Give Me a drink."
The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, "How is it that You, a Judean, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria? Judeans have no dealings with Samaritans."
Jesus answered her, "If you knew The Gift of God, and Who it is that is saying to you, 'Give Me a drink', you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water."
I guess all water is living in the sense that it gives and sustains life. We cannot live without water. Water obviously also cleanses. Can't you just picture Jesus having that drink and then using a little of that water to pour over His head, face, and feet to cleanse and invigorate.
The woman's response to Jesus is what we would expect it to be-- "Sir, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep; where do You get that Living Water?”
To get water from most Holy Land wells, you had to roll away the stone used to keep small animals and some of the dust out of the well and then lower a leather bucket to the water below. In this dry land, it takes a long rope to reach the water. Jesus did not have a long rope - or even a short rope - or a leather bucket. Jesus crouched by the well - without a bucket - in a land of people who, without knowing Him, nevertheless hated Him.
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again …" The women of Sychar will come for their evening supply of water as the sun sets this evening and for the day's supply when the sun rises in the morning. And this woman plans to come again tomorrow at noon. "… but whoever drinks of the water that I will give will never thirst: the water that I give will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw water. I want some of that water so I'll never have to feel the discomfort of thirst again - so I'll never again have to walk alone to this well in the noon heat or have people stare as I carry my water jugs through the village when only an outcast would."
Well, Jesus is even more concerned about our physical needs than we are - He loves us that much - but Jesus has an even greater concern for those things which are far more essential to our lives - He loves us that much.
Jesus said to the woman, "Go call your husband and come back."
The woman answered Him, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly."
Jesus' words were blunt … but not hurtful. Rather they were the words of Someone Who truly cared and lovingly understood. Jesus' words were the living water of understanding and truth which cleanses the soul and gives all of life a fresh clean beginning.
She knew Jesus' lifestyle had been radically different from her own, but she knew it did not matter to her - or to Jesus Who was able to speak directly to her hurts and pain - to her sins and the guilt she carried for them. He was speaking to her as no one else had - or could. He spoke with a love which she had never experienced before.
The woman said to Jesus, "I know that The Messiah is coming (He Who is called Christ); when He comes, He will show us all things."
Jesus said to her, "I Who speak to you am He.” And she knew with certainty He is.
Not far from where Jesus met the Samaritan woman, there is a beautiful park with a spring and picnic area. Each summer John the Baptist preached and baptized people there in Einon Spring as he prepared the way for Jesus coming to Samaria -- even as he had prepared the way in the Jordan River for Jesus coming to Judea.
Baptism - Jesus' living water - washes away the sins which separate us from God and from each other – gives us eternal life and eternal relationship with God and fellow believers in Christ - and provides us with a new view of ourselves as beloved redeemed children of God.
"Just as I am, without one plea,
but that Thy Blood was shed for me,
and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
As we came to receive that living water of Holy Baptism which only Jesus Christ can give -- and thereafter to be regularly strengthened by His Body and His Blood as in just a few moments we commune together with Jesus.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS - OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR. AMEN.
March 17, 2019
Second Sunday In Lent
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio