Tuesday, March 29, 2011

“Lost at the Well BUT Found by the Waterer” (John 4:10-15)

S-1241 3MIL/3A 03/27/11, (O) #149; (S) #277; L.S. 308; #301; #344 (C) #31

Text: Exodus 30:17:1-7; Romans 5:1-8; John 4:5-26

Theme: “Lost at the Well BUT Found by the Waterer” (John 4:10-15)

Question: “How thirsty are you?” 3rd in Sermon series Lost and Found


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! The text for our 3rd Sunday in Lent is from the Gospel lesson: “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 nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 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 will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (John 4:10-15).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

You who are the most LOVED of the Lord, there are stories and there are STORIES. If ever there is a story of compassion, love and mercy in Scripture that grips your heart, today’s Gospel is it. Today we behold a daughter of Eve who is lost at a well. This is more than a good story to be told and retold. It is a story of profound and incomprehensible love—LOVE that sees the other’s need and meets that need, no matter what the personal cost. True love will love even when the beloved is deaf, blind, dumb, lost and even dead to the one doing the loving. When the beloved is “unresponsive”, then Jesus who is pure love acts to overcome that unresponsive blindness.

Today, John describes a most unusual encounter between a nameless, faceless, homeless, lost soul and a stranger sitting at Jacob’s well. Jesus is tired and weary. He had been walking in the Judean hills and passes through Samaria. Many Jews would avoid that part of the country like a plague. They would travel 30 extra miles out of their way so that they would not meet the Samaritans. The Jews and Samaritans have deep hatred for each other. Why such hate? In the 9th century B.C., Shalmaneser, king of Assyria conquered Samaria and deported the Israelite elite to Assyria. In their place he populated Samaria with heathen worshiping people. In time the Samaritans intermarried and adopted some of the heathen ways of worship; which of course, made the Samaritans and Jews enemies with each another.

At high noon, (when the temperatures are hovering at 130 degrees) Jesus is sitting at the well and a nameless, faceless, homeless, lost soul comes to draw water. She came seeking water to quench her thirst. She was lost without realizing it. By Jesus sitting at the well she couldn’t avoid Him.

He begins the dialogue by saying “Give me some water to drink!” She is taken back and blurts out, “How dare you a Jew talk to me a Samaritan. You know that Jews and Samaritans don’t talk to each other and besides you are a man and am a woman. That is unheard off, unacceptable in our society! And besides You don’t have anything to draw water with!” Then the sweet words of honey fall from the lips of Jesus that hot day upon the ears of this lost soul saying: 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 will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ Her ears perked up and she now desires this water, so that she doesn’t have to come to this well and draw water again. But Jesus’ water will not be drawn from the bottom of a hole, but from His heart that oozes with love and mercy.

From the heart of Him who is love words go forth to this nameless, faceless, homeless lost soul and probes deeper. It is as if Jesus starts on the outside and peels layer after layer until He reaches the dark crevasses of her lost heart. He first asks her to go get her husband, and she responds, “I don’t have a husband!” And Jesus tells her, “she is right, and she has had five husbands.” She is taking back that He knows so much about her. He then tells her, “that she is shaking up with someone.”

Here is the amazing love that goes forth from Him who is love to a condemned woman by society and by her own heart—that brings her comfort and peace. Here we behold Jesus finding her. He didn’t just help her get water from the well (120 feet deep) but gave her the living water that showed her she is no longer lost. PAUSE.

Her question of this stranger “Are You greater than our father Jacob who dug this well and drank from it” is answered by Jesus, Ego Eimi (Greek) “I Am” the Great I Am of the O.T. I Am the One who provided water to the Israelites in the wilderness and I Am the One who will provide water for you and every thirsty soul who comes to drink from my well will be quenched.

This is nothing but pure grace. The Apostle Paul in the Epistle lesson for today tells us “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). This love is shown by the Great I Am who goes looking for the lost and erring.

What we learn from this great dialog and how things turn out, is that no one is that far down, that far out, that the love of God in Christ Jesus cannot reach down to the deepest well, the darkest corner, or the further portion of the world to save them! God even heard the prayer of a faithless Jew from the belly of the Great fish and answered it. Hear me well beloved in the Lord, Jesus is the One who reaches out to you in the hour of need—the coolness of the morning, the heat of the day or in the darkness of night. He reaches to you with His arms of love and compassion and pulls you to His bosom and quenches your thirst once and for all.

This stranger at the Well is no stranger after all. He is the long expected Messiah who has come to seek and to save the lost. He is the Great I Am who comes with living water that quenches the thirst of ever sinner that seeks Him out. He is even here today, seeking you out at this well to forgive you and give you His abundant provisions of love and mercy. PAUSE.

This faceless, nameless, homeless lost soul is bewildered beyond measure. At first glance it appears she and the stranger has nothing in common. Yet that is not the case. What she has in common with her Savior is what you and I have in common with Him. We are sinners, utterly lost and condemned. He is the God who truly is LOVE and who has sought us from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) to be His own. He would provide for her the streams of living water that is Himself (here and in Revelation 7:17). Yes, here we have a story of true LOVE. Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem for the Passover. He is the very Lamb of Sacrifice. Today we are a mere month from the Resurrection observation and celebration and just 3 and half weeks from the Crucifixion. He was not distracted from my cross, or from yours.

Distraction is the stuff of the human fallen heart. The newly freed slaves of Egypt, grumbled because there was no water that are visible to the several million exiles. They had forgotten the ten plagues and the walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, even though these are very recent events – all the love and mercy…and they are dying of thirst! The woman who had five husbands and now has no husband - she thirsts. She thinks that Jesus can give her a source of water that will take away her shame of coming out to Jacob’s Well at noon-time, rather than in the morning with the other women. She is distracted. How about you? Are you easily distracted?! Are you ashamed of past sins?! Are you hurting today brothers and sisters in Christ?!”

Jesus will give the woman water that is different from that which is hauled up from this well. He will give water from the Rock at Horeb, at the base of Sinai, in the arid desert. He creates life where lifelessness rules the day.

Jesus speaks to the woman and declares that He is The Messiah. He tells her plainly that He is there... for her. He will stay with these Samaritans another two days, and dialog with them. They will see that He is indeed the Savior of the World. Though they know this, it does not stop Him from moving forward to Jerusalem. He does not die this year, but it will be soon. He is the One who shows His great love to us in this, that while we are yet sinners, like the grumbling Exiles, like the sinful Samaritan Woman, like her friends in Sychar - He came to die - for us.

Beloved, I am telling you nothing new. It is familiar. The reason it is familiar is that He has dialoged with us and continues to dialog with us even now. Like a loving husband to His beloved Holy Bride our Groom reminds us that His love does indeed make all things new. Today you may be burdened by a thirst that cannot be quenched by anything or anyone other than Jesus. You have heard not only the testimony of others, but you yourself have heard His Word, you have dialoged with Him and you know that He is more than the Savior of the World. He is your Savior! He has been in the past, and He is yours today and for every tomorrow. He will quench your every spiritual thirst forever and ever.

Today, you who are most loved will have an encounter by the Waterer at His well. Here at Redeemer’s well Jesus offers you His body to feed you. Here at Redeemer’s well Jesus offers you His blood to quench your thirst forever. So come, come dear children so that the GREAT I AM may fill you with His gifts of love and send you away forgiven and in peace. Amen.

Now the peace…

Soli Deo Gloria.

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