Communications from the Pastor 3/19/2020

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JOHN 4:7-15

“Thoughts On Jesus’s Encounter With A Samaritan Woman”

            My Grandfather was born in Lampasas, Texas; he later moved to and lived out his life in Tahoka, Texas where he homesteaded and farmed cotton until he died the mid-1960s.  It is interesting that both places had very similar names, Lampasas and Tahoka, which in the American Indian dialect means “fresh or running water,” (at least that is what my Grandfather told me). 

            Being a farmer, I am sure that the names translated running water were attractive to him since fresh water was an essential element for agriculture.  In fact, fresh water is an essential element for life itself.  Therefore, it should not surprise us that one of the most important dialogues in the New Testament concerned, yes, living water.  As the story goes, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, near the small town of Sychar, approximately one and a half miles north of their location.

            The conversation begins in verse 7 of our passage with Jesus asking the woman for a drink of water.  Jesus’ simple question stirs a whole set of emotions.  It also sets forward an entire series of events which conclude with the woman becoming one of the very first Christian evangelists.

            In response to Jesus’ simple request, the woman answers:  “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”  She must have been quite perplexed that a Jewish man was breaking not only the laws of custom and religion, but that he was challenging long-held prejudices.  Yet Jesus, having compassion upon her, reached across the barriers of human prejudice and treats her as a person of sacred worth, an even more precious gift than a cup of water from Jacob’s Well.  He offers her living water.  He says,”If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ and he would have given you living water.” (ESV)  Misunderstanding him, she continues to talk about Jacob’s gift to her people.  Jesus continues saying, “Whoever drinks of the water I 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.” (ESV) Water is to natural life what living water is to eternal life.  The term “living water” is used to symbolize God’s sanctifying grace which purifies us and transforms our lives.  Living water also symbolizes the revelation of God by means of the Holy Spirit, or even the Holy Spirit which Jesus gives to all people.  The water from Jacob’s Well is the gift of the Old Testament teaching while the living water is sourced in the New Testament teaching of Jesus, enlivened by the Spirit.

            Jesus offers us the living water which wells up for eternal life.  It is the water, if which we drink, will satisfy our spiritual emptiness.  All too often, we seek to assuage our deep yearnings with the things of this world; that is, with that which does not satisfy our deepest thirst, our thirst for God.  God offers us living water — the living water that leads to eternal life.  Will you drink from the flow pouring down from the heavenlys, that only Jesus can provide?

This a prayer sent by my daughter who works for project transformation.

          A Prayer from a time of worry in case you may not be sure how to pray today:¿¿Holy and Mighty LORD, Who turned back the angel of the plague from the dwellings of your people; we ask you to hear our cry for those who are suffering and dying under the visitation of disease. Mercifully bless the means which are used to stay the spread of sickness; strengthen those who labor to heal and comfort the afflicted; support those who are in pain or distress; speedily restore those who have been brought low; and unto all who are beyond healing, grant your heavenly consolation and your saving grace; through Jesus Christ, our LORD, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forevermore. Amen. (Church of Scotland, 1929)