One of the most encouraging things is seeing some people stay longer with us at Church at the Manor after lunch. Lunch usually begins with the initial fare of sandwiches, salads and dessert that more recently has changed to the crock pot warm up essentials of pastas, stews and soups. They are joining us for worship, for the sharing time and even interacting during open discussions. It has also been so good to see some come to faith and join in communion as well. I have listened to guys who share about their longing towards freedom from alcohol or anger more recently. Some are making progress by switching to ginger ale or alcohol free beer, but deep down I know there has to be a longing for something more. They are so open to having someone pray for them and I pray in earnest for their freedom and the tears flow. They are so raw in their honesty with me , they are broken and desperate and it is when we all get to this place, that there is a great opportunity for a lasting exchange. It brings me to a passage in John’s gospel where Jesus spoke of living water!
Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar
We pick up a story in John 4 on the ministry that Jesus was on. Make no mistake that Jesus was annoyed with religious people. The fact that they were keeping count of baptisms, making comparisons, #numbers was not something He was interested in and so, He simply left that scene.
It is interesting to note that Jesus intentionally makes a point of travelling through Samaria. The Samaritans were a despised people, a mixed race and they also mixed up religions, worship, idolatry as well. The Jewish people of that day would actually walk twice as far to avoid Samaria altogether because they didn’t wanted to be ‘contaminated’ by anyone in this area.
So, here we find Jesus in Samaria engaging a Samaritan woman. In terms of the culture of the day that was two strikes against her… a Samaritan and a woman.
Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?
…13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
Jesus makes no distinction of person, class, race or position. He is all inclusive, all willing and all ready to give life giving satisfaction to anyone who comes to Him. He is the real thirst-quencher and a real relationship with Him brings incredible meaning and understanding to life. This is a great truth highlighting the truth that yes, Jesus spoke to the masses, but He was also great one on one with people and had a profound way to connect with them. Unfortunately for her she doesn’t get it and she still things Jesus is talking about high quality H2O! She is like where can I get this ultimate Gatorade?
The third strike against this woman was that she was a victim of many failed relationships.
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
In v19 She creates a diversion with her question on worship and tries to move away from the real heart issue within herself, but she now knows that this isn’t just a simple conversation about where to find the best water. She finally gets it and relates to Jesus on a spiritual level and brings up a really good question about where is the best place to worship God.
Jesus makes it really clear that worship will no longer be about a specific place or time for that matter. It is about the attitude of the heart and He calls us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The Old Testament predicted it and the New Testament fulfilled it. Worship wasn’t going to about tablets of stone and stone buildings, it will be about a heart of flesh and living temples, our bodies being the place where His Holy Spirit dwells. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
For her, the well that she was trying to find satisfaction from was simply put, men. She was looking for real love and she was trying to get her needs met in a relationship and it had miserably failed her. She was broken and He was calling her to exchange her disappointment, her loneliness, her emptiness for love everlasting.
Jesus doesn’t condemn her by bringing up her past, but only to make her realize her need for something far greater that she had ever known.
The same question needs to be asked of us…What are the wells that we try to find satisfaction from?
How many wells full of sand and dirt have we taken a drink from? How desperate are we for living water?
The Holy Spirit is our water!
23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
It is also interesting to note that Jesus uses the masculine pronoun when making the statement to the woman. In essence he was placing her on the same level as a man, that there was no hierarchy here, all of us receive this abundant life giving stream in the same way.
Jesus is calling us to drink from the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, to discover joy, peace, love and the presence of God. It just grieves Him to see us trying to desperately seek satisfaction from cheap and empty substitutes.
Another way to look at it is this, The Holy Spirit is calling us to go deeper with Jesus… Holy Spirit is saying, Delight in my presence, delight in knowing me like the sun that beats down on your face, so my radiance will be on your face, in your heart and on your mind. Don’t dwell on lesser things; your soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Enjoy my goodness, my grace and my mercy. Let it fill your soul. What does He tell us over and over again,…Come to me to have your needs met. I will satisfy you, drench you with my loving-kindness.
Are you thirsty for more? I am.