28 April 2010

The Woman at the Well

Recently, our pastor preached a service on water. 

We've been focusing on water as a community for a while now.  The sermon was on the Samaritan woman at the well.

We examined the dichotomy in the conversation, how the woman was talking about water, and Jesus was talking about something else entirely, yet they had this whole conversation about it.  The woman was talking about water, and Jesus was talking about spiritual life, spiritual water.

Jesus was talking about the thirst that we all have, the thirst that drives all of our interactions, indeed our lives.  The woman was talking about having to go to the well every day to draw water.

The living water that Jesus was talking about is what we all crave.  We all thirst for this living water, because that is the only thing that will quench our thirst.

The thing is, we don't understand our thirst.  We think that just anything might be able to quench it, much the same way as we believe that a can of soda pop will quench our physical thirst.  It doesn't.  The soda will actually make us more thirsty, just like anything we chase after trying to give ourselves the living water of Jesus will only leave us more spiritually thirsty, more parched, and more in need of Jesus.

The woman at the well, like us, didn't realize how thirsty she was.

Jesus said to the woman, "Go, call your husband and come back."

She replied that she did not have a husband, and Jesus said, "You're right.  You don't.  You've had five, and you're not married to the guy you're with now."

There was no judgement in Jesus' statement.  He did not condemn the woman.  He merely pointed out the facts of her life to her, in a way that she could see how thirsty she was.  In effect, Jesus was saying to the woman, "You're right.  You don't have a husband.  You've gone to that well many times, and every time it's left you thirsty again, just like Jacob's well does.  That water you're drinking isn't quenching your thirst very well."

Jesus shows us how desperately thirsty we are, and then He calls us to all drink from His well.

He knows we are all thirsty for living water.

Deep down, we know it too.  But, like the woman at the well, we don't realize what we are thirsty for.  So we drink whatever we can find.

Some try to quench this thirst with money.

Some with the right career.





I do it with relationships.

I crave relationships and intimacy, and I tend to chase after them like I'm chasing cool.  I mope around when no-one calls.  I whine like a baby if I don't get the kind of attention I want from people, especially my wife and family.

I found myself identifying with the Samaritan woman.  Here she was, drawing water from a well, all the while feeling the dull ache of emptiness in her life.  Her thirst.

I am thirsty too.

We are all thirsty.

All too often, we take the easy way out, we seek alternatives to quench our thirst. 

Jeff Zimm, who writes over at groans from within, says that this idea of seeking the easy way out applies to everything.  His post specifically had to do with eating healthy, but he notes a trend in our society:

"We have drugs that will take away your hunger, we have classes, shakes, machines, you name it, we’ve made it the answer to a better/skinnier life, the whole time forgetting that if we eat less and run more, good things will happen, and instead of spending money, you may even save some."

This is what we do at the well.  We take the easy way out.  We don't want to exercise, we take a pill instead.  We don't want to eat healthy, we want to eat junk food that has been "fortified with vitamins".

We don't want to do the hard work of entering into a relationship with someone, we watch porn instead.

We insulate ourselves from our fear by accumulating junk.  If we stock our basements with food, or our bank accounts with money, we'll be okay.  The rich young man in the Book of Matthew thought this as well. (19, 16-28)

We work too hard and too long to provide for our family, when all our family needs is for us to stay home a day and hang out and actually engage with them.

This is all drinking from the wrong well, and Jesus' message to us constantly is "drink from my well".

Look at the woman at the well.  Look at the rich young man.  They, like us, were trying to drink from the wrong well, and it was leaving them still thirsty.

In what ways are you thirsty?  How are you trying to quench your thirst?


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