The Woman at the Well: American Island Days 2016

John 4:6-15: Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The 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.) 10Jesus 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.” 11The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but 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.” 15The 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.

We gather here for worship this morning, as a people who come from all kinds of places and backgrounds. Whose lives are most certainly busy, complicated, sometimes full of pain and sorrow, as well as joys and happiness. And each day we have demands being made on us through work, family, friends—through anything and anyone we have some kind of obligation to.

Those obligations, those demands—even the people we love—can draw life from us, much like water being drawn from a well similar to the one in this text from John. There’s a limited supply of life, love, and energy which we can take from ourselves. And when the well has gone dry, we feel empty. Maybe even as though we have failed in our lives somehow, because we can’t draw out that last bucket of water, that last bit of life, to give away to others.

The Samaritan woman…she had her burdens, obligations, hurts, pains, and joys, too. Later on in this section of Luke we read that Jesus knows her story…and yet he doesn’t reject her. He doesn’t expect her to keep on drawing from her own life, in order to make her life whole and easy. And he doesn’t insist that the only life sustaining water is that which comes from Jacob’s well. Instead, he does this: he challenges her and invites her to not look to Jacob’s well for real life-giving water. He reminds her that she will thirst again, if this is the only water—the only source—she looks to, to bring her life.

This invitation and challenge, I think, hold true for us today, too. We’re all looking for things, people, and relationships to fulfill our lives—to replenish the wells within us– when the burdens we face have left us feeling drained and empty. We’re all hungering and thirsting for something. And, even though we won’t always recognize what that something is, it is here for us in abundance.

It is Christ himself. Our Lord and Savior, who draws us to himself, so that we might know and experience the life-giving water—love, mercy, grace—that have been poured out for us in more of an abundance than we could ever understand. It is THE life-giving water that brings, sustains, and nurtures us, so that we don’t have to draw on ourselves to find life for ourselves, or to give away to the people we care for, or to tend to the hurts and the burdens of our lives.

It is our God, whose love, power, and promise of life will fill us up again and again, as we face the days ahead. As we come together as the body of Christ here today, from all places and backgrounds, to worship, to be nourished with this life-giving water. And to be sent from this place, so that we can share with others the life-giving water, which will never run dry, that is the love and grace and peace of Jesus Christ. Amen.