“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (John 4:13-14)
Well (no pun intended), I suppose I should begin with an apology. I had every good intention last week of sending out my weekly email. But Monday came and went, and I was woefully behind. So I thought, “Instead of Monday Musings, I’ll send out Wednesday Wisdom.” But Wednesday came and went, and I was still languishing in the weeds. So, maybe there could be Thursday Thoughts. But it was too late – the week had come unraveled and I thought, as America sang in “Sister Golden Hair,” “…I set my sights on Monday and got myself undressed…” (at least figuratively).
I also had the thought to call the last one “Thirsty Thursday,” since I had endured three days that week with no running water in the church building after the well quit working. But not wanting to propagate some wild frenzy with imbibing spirits, since that is the wrong spirit I am trying to convey, I simply waved the white flag and gave up.
But here we are, with another new week birthed out of the first day of the week, given to worship and rest. But try as I might, I can’t shake off that sense of thirst that having no water brings.
And, like everything in creation, that brings me back around not to the created, but to the Creator. Going without water made me realize how utterly dependent we are upon it. And if I need that kind of water to stay alive, what must I need to live forever? Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well answers that definitively. And I love how Jesus’ draws this woman into his story.
When Jesus meets her at the well, he commands, “Give me a drink.” He may have been thirsty, but he has her thirst in mind, not his. Without anything with which to draw water, he tells the woman that it is she who should be asking him for water. And after Jesus tells her that he offers water that will always satisfy, she immediately wants it. What a deal – she will never have to come out to this well at inconvenient times (since she was a Samaritan) and draw water again. Thus, she has completely misunderstood Jesus.
Jesus then reminds her of the value of the water he offers. She is exposed as an adulterer. The water Jesus offers, borne out of the blood that he shed, will wash away all the filth and defilement that she has, and extinguishes the flames of hell that will burn perpetually against those who will not receive it.
But it offers so much more. Because she is a Samaritan, she has no access to the God of the universe, being excluded from the temple. So Jesus reminds her that the time had come when the worship of God would not be isolated to a temple on Mount Zion, but would be offered to all who would worship in spirit and in truth. And this is when she expresses faith in the truth. “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things” (John 4:25). And Jesus responds, “I who speak to you am he.”
As we make our way through this Advent season, let us remember the reason Jesus came. As we sang yesterday, “Hark! the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King; peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!’…Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
Let us look to Jesus for the water that he gives, so that we will never be thirsty again. This is why he came! May we not just see a helpless babe in a manger, but may we see God the Son come in the flesh, that he might offer up his life for ours. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).