2nd Sunday in Lent
Sermon on John 4:5-26
Text: John 4:5-26
I remember it being one of the more difficult times of my life. Nothing seemed to be going right. I didn’t really have a job. I couldn’t pay the bills. I felt anxious and uptight all the time. I could put on a fake smile with the best of them, but I truly felt empty inside—as if something were missing. I didn’t really know what true happiness was.
It was right at the peak, or I guess you could say the valley, of this low period for me when I had a life changing experience. It seemed at first like one big coincidence to me, but now I know that it was all a part of God’s plan. Allow me to share with you some of the story, because I am sure that you will find it very interesting.
I was out walking around one day, just minding my own business as usual. I recall it being a particularly hot day. The sun was just beating down on everyone and everything—the kind of sunlight that just makes you feel like you have to sit down, take a deep breath, and rest all the time. Of course, it is important to stay hydrated at all times, so I headed for the nearest place to grab a drink of water. That’s when all the action began to take place.
As I approached the location of the water, I saw a man sitting there right next to the water. He seemed to be relaxing and catching his breath from a busy day under the hot sun. He was a man that was from a different country though, I could tell that immediately just by looking at him. Later I could tell by his accent, just like by my accent you know where I am from. It made me a little nervous to go and get some water because I knew that our countries have had a bad history of not getting along. I suppose it’s similar to the long history between France and England, or even between France and the United States these days. But I really needed water, so I approached anyway.
Sure enough, just as I had hoped he wouldn’t, the man spoke to me. I’ll never forget what he first said to me, because I couldn’t believe what he said! “I’m thirsty. Will you give me a drink?” I thought, “Excuse me? You have been sitting here all along and you want me to give you a drink? And, you are a foreigner and you expect me to serve you? What, have you been just sitting here waiting for me to come along this whole time? You’re kidding, right?” He was not joking. In fact, he had a very serious look on his face. I didn’t know what to expect next.
Apparently he just asked me for a drink to catch my attention and to strike up a conversation with me because he obviously had no intention of only quenching his thirst. Immediately he started spewing out some sort of philosophical mumbo jumbo that I found extremely confusing. I think he was trying to make some kind of extended metaphor because he was talking about how I should have asked him for some water because the water he had to offer was sweeter and more quenching than any other water that I have tasted. He told me that this water would change my life forever and that I would never be the same.
Now by this point I was extremely perplexed. Sweat was pouring down my forehead. The sun was beating down on my body. I was really, really thirsty. I just wanted to get some water and now I’m in the middle of a deep conversation with some guy from a foreign land! Still somewhat confused by what he was saying, I said, “I would like to have some of your water. Could you give me some to drink so that I don’t have to keep coming here for water?”
Then he really caught me off guard. Imagine if I paused this little story I was telling you, and then all of a sudden I started talking about all the bad things you have done in your life. What if I brought up all the times you broke God’s commands? What if I mentioned the times you acted unlike a Christian? What if I threw all of your mistakes and errors right back in your face? Well that is what he did to me. Suddenly he started talking about the sins I had been committing in my life. That was uncomfortable in the first place, but he was talking as if he knew every little bad thing I had ever done—as if he was spying on me or something!
Of course I was very embarrassed that he knew about all the terrible and disgusting sins that I had committed in my life. I felt very ashamed. So I responded to his very poignant religious comments. I shared with him that I have a few religious beliefs of my own. I told him that I, too, worship and go to church just as he does. I even shared with him that I had hope in Messiah who would come and clear everything up and fix all the problems in this world.
But then with a warm smile and a sparkle in his eyes he looked straight at me and declared, “I who speak to you am he.” “You, Jesus, are the Messiah? You are the one that we worship and praise? You are the one that we have been waiting for?” I asked him. I can hardly describe to you how I was feeling at that very moment. I was confused yet overjoyed. I felt burdened and weighed down yet relieved and care free.
Just then Jesus’ disciples returned. They interrupted our conversation and sort of ruined the moment. I guess they were never really ones for tact. But that’s ok because I was so filled with emotion and excitement that I just had to go and tell other people. I had to go and tell my fellow Samaritans. I had to go and tell my husband. Well, as Jesus pointed out, he wasn’t really as much my husband as he was my boyfriend.
I could hardly contain myself and refrain from telling others! Here was someone that knew everything I ever did. He knew all the times I failed to make it to the temple for worship. He knew all the times I forgot to read the Torah and pray before I went to sleep. And he especially knew how many men I had in my life. He knew that I was divorced several times over. He knew how I had acted with other men as if they were my husband when they really weren’t. He knew everything!
But at the same time this was the person who came to take away all of those mistakes and errors. I sort of thought at first that the Messiah would just come and make my life better—make me feel happy and at ease. But as I spoke with Jesus, I began to understand why he really came. He came to do just what he told me—offer me life-giving water.
You see, I had been living my life as though I was desert-dry. Spiritually, I was parched and very thirsty. But he offered me the water of life—water that regenerates and gives a new spiritual life. It was water that created faith in my heart. It led me to know and believe that this man standing before me was the Christ, the one whom God chose to be the sacrifice for my sins. This man standing before me was the Savior of the world!
And sure enough, some time later I heard what happened in Jerusalem. I heard about Jesus’ unjust trial. I heard about his wrongful sentencing. I heard how he was crucified like a common criminal. But I also heard how he had risen from the dead and appeared to all of his dearly loved followers.
Having sorted through my thoughts on this unique experience for quite some time now, I have realized that this occurrence was no coincidence. God had intended that this happen all along. Jesus really was waiting there at the well for me the whole time because God chose me to be one of his own dear children! Amazing!
You know, your story really isn’t that much different than mine. Sure you aren’t a Samaritan. Sure you live 2000 years after me. Sure you don’t have to draw up water from a well. But your story is still the same.
God has also chosen you. He has chosen you from before the creation of the world to be his very own child. Lost in your own horrible sinful actions, you too were spiritually parched and thirsty, desperately in need of some water.
But God has given to you life-giving water as well. Through baptism he has regenerated you and given you new spiritual life. He has drowned your old sinful nature. You were witnesses of that happening three times over today! Through his Word, God has created and sustained faith in your hearts to trust in Jesus as your Savior from sin. Jesus has also given to you a drink of life-giving water that will never cause you to thirst again.
My story is a story that needs to be told over and over again. People need to know what Jesus did for me. He showed enough love and kindness that he would actually take time to talk to me—a Samaritan, a woman, a heathen living in sin with many men. He showed love and kindness as he quenched my spiritual thirst and led me to know and believe that he is the Savior who took away all of my sins.
Your story is a story that needs to be told over and over again. People need to know what Jesus has done for you. He showed you enough love and kindness that he would also live and die for you, a sinner. He showed love and kindness that he would quench your spiritual thirst and lead you to believe that he is your Savior from sin.
Other people in this world are desert-dry. They are spiritually parched and desperately in need of a drink of God’s Word. Go share my story. Share your story. Share Jesus’ story—so that others might join you and join me and never again say, “I’m thirsty.”
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Posted on March 20, 2011, in Church, Sermons and tagged Baptism, Church, God's Word, John, John 4, Means of Grace, Regeneration, Samaria, Samaritan Woman, Samaritans, Sermons, Spiritual Thirsty, Thirst, Woman at the Well. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.