Posted on Sun, Mar 23, 2014
March 23, 2014
Third Sunday in Lent
Gospel Text: John 4:5-42 – “Flood our Hearts”
So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common 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.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’
Jesus said to her, ‘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 the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.’
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’
This person named, “John” as in “The Gospel of John,” why did he, or she, feel it was important to write this Gospel? There is a reason and a purpose for someone to write a book that is spiritually called, “A Gospel” a “Book about Good News;” what his/her reason and purpose? As you may have noticed, I call each Gospel writer, “The Evangelist” when I am speaking about them generically. This is a habit I developed from my professors. We may never be sure author’s name was really John, but there is a good chance this particular Gospel was written by the disciples of the original disciple who is often referred to as the “one loved by Jesus.” But the question is, “what was the evangelists PURPOSE for writing these words? They were obviously meant to explain who Jesus was to some certain community, and the texts, like a complicated jigsaw puzzle that humans have found through excavation, have been methodically put together in this particular order and now come to us… but what was the intention of the writer for the reader?
Some people are really afraid of the word, “Evangelist, evangelize, or evangelism.” Thank modern TV and quacks posing as pastors or evangelists for that… but for me, I like being called an, ‘evangelist,’ because it gives me purpose, it is one of the main things that I do. We get the word angel from the word evangelist, and all of this only means, “messenger.” Being called “pastor” is good too, but ‘pastor’ it means ‘shepherd’ and that word carries with it quite a bit of administrative responsibility as well! Being the one who is the messenger of the “Good News of Jesus” is frankly much more personally gratifying when I get to comfort someone with the reality of the presence of God, especially when they are hurting, or when they feel there is no hope left in their lives.
Jesus is heading north back to Galilee, but he must pass through Samaria and he has found himself, in the village of Sychar in the middle of the day. He is tired and sitting beside the well of Jacob. There is no one gathering water because everyone would have come to the well during the coolness of the morning to get their daily supply before breakfast and while they were waiting to drop their buckets, they were surely catching up on the latest gossip. Much like office water jugs of today… The woman wants to meet no one, and be seen by no one. Everyone knows who she is, and that she cannot support herself on her own, but out of survival, she must find a man to support her in any way she can…Life is not often very fair. In broad daylight, she lives in darkness and shame. She must not have noticed Jesus sitting nearby, but when Jesus says, ‘Give me a drink,’ her life suddenly begins to change. Jesus IS the Messiah, but for her, Jesus is the “messenger” of Good News promised to her that she has longed for in her heart for a very long time.
If you would have stood a Samaritan man and Jewish man side by side and asked them the same question of the Torah, they would have probably looked the same, and answered the same… unless you began to talk about the Temple in Jerusalem. They used the same scripture, same language and a similar language and religion; but the Samaritans did not follow the law-like custom of being required to bring your offering and sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem. That means the Temple did not profit from the Samaritans, even though they taught almost the same thing… one of the reasons for their hate for the Samaritans, sadly comes from their inability to profit from the Samaritans…
But she recognized Jesus as a Jewish Rabbi, possibly from something he was wearing, but she soon recognized Jesus as ‘at least’ a prophet when she realized that this Jewish stranger knew everything about her that she was ashamed of and wanted to keep in the dark.
The amazing thing is that she didn’t just take off to her house until Jesus left… She seems to have the real need to process this situation:
Jesus knows her heart and answers her last question gently, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’ Jesus the Messiah to the Jews, and the Savior of the Gentiles, is still the messenger that brings her not just Good News, but Life Changing News!
Several things changed her life, First Jesus came to her; Second, Jesus spoke compassionately to her without any judgment; Third Jesus accepted her and the villages’ hospitality and stayed with them for at least two days.
Remember, Jesus is a Jew, the village is a Samaritan village, they are ‘supposed to hate each other’ but through JESUS’ PRESENSE AND HIS MESSAGE, hearts are changed!
She couldn't keep the news to herself so she boldly told her neighbors about this amazing man who new everything she had ever done, and still accepted her, and he is still here so that they could meet him… She became the messenger, the angel of Good News, the Evangelist! By Jesus staying around to talk, listen and eat together, THROUGH HIS PRESENSE, the people of the village came to believe after she was the messenger, the evangelist that proclaimed to all of her neighbors that there is a Holy Man who has come to their town who truly must be the Messiah! Grace GUSHED forth! Lives were changed, hearts were made new, and from that day on, they knew the True Word of God was not living in a grand temple, a huge box, in Jerusalem, but the Word of God had come to them as Jesus the Christ, and they were able to show hospitality to The Messiah, and therefore they were able to eat, drink and learn more from Jesus before he returned to his ‘home’ in Galilee.
Jesus has come here, Jesus is in this room! Here, we will speak to Jesus, we have found forgiveness, we will sing praises to Him and then we will share a
meal… And Jesus will be the host. Amen.
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