We hear so often, “Come to the Water,” and perhaps in our lives, we have learned ways to dive deeper, to pray, to find God in the silence and to seek His forgiveness and Mercy in confession.
And if you are anything like me, this lesson has part of you saying “YES! I want more of you Lord, I’m ready to drink from the well.”
And part of you might also be like, “woah! Me? Drink the living water? Nah, even after confession, I’m not worthy to encounter Christ in that way. I’m too small, too sinful, and He’s so big and so pure. He could never really offer me water.”
Yet, in the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent, we heard of a woman who maybe had those same thoughts.
Now I’d like you to continue reading and picture yourself as the Samaritan woman.
It’s midday and you are walking to the well to draw water. The jar you carry now is relatively light, but you know how heavy the burden will be once it is full. The sun beats upon your skin, you feel as if you will burn to a crisp. The sand seeps into every part of your body and where there is not sand, there is rock that burns and slices, even with what meager sandals cover your feet. The air is so hot and dry that your lungs scream for relief, your throat yearns for moisture, but you have to reach the well to get it.
And you find yourself, asking yourself yet again, why you are so foolish as to walk to the well in the middle of the day and not the morning, but you ask yourself this every time and the answer is always the same. You can’t go to the well with the other women because your shame is too great. You are exiled by your own people, you can’t stand to go at the same time as them and bear the weight of their stares and whispers. So, you go at midday when the walk is most exhausting physically, but at least your ego, your heart, isn’t hurt so bad.
You FINALLY reach the well where you see a man sitting there, and you can tell He is a Jew though you are from, and in, Samaria.
You are slightly startled when he says to you, “give me a drink.” “A Jew? Asking YOU, a Samaritan, for a drink? How can He do such a thing? But when you say this to Him, He responds in an even more peculiar way.
“If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
This man does not even have a bucket, how then does He expect to get this “Living Water?”
He responds to your remark saying, “everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I shall give, will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Well, this sounds like exactly what you need. If you never thirst again, you wouldn’t have to make this journey every day. So, you respond, “sir, give me this water so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
We know where the story goes from there. Jesus tells her to go call her husband and then tells her all that she has done. He tells her the very reason she walks to the well in the middle of the day’s heat.
See, the woman at the well is a lot like us. As excited as she was for this living water, some part of her thought there was a catch, that there was something she had to do to earn it. She asked for the water and yet some part of her still doubted that she could possibly be worthy.
But then she speaks of the Messiah who will “tell us everything” and Jesus tells her, “I am He, the one who is speaking with you.” So what does she do? She goes rushing back to the town, to the very people who judge and shame her and she says to them, “come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?”
She shares the good news that she has found. She doesn’t know for certain that this is the Messiah, but she knows that He saw the wounds of her heart, and she trusts that His words are truth.
So what does this mean for us?
For us, it means that we get to choose how we walk away today and every day. No one is going to make us dive deeper into our faith each day. No one is going to make us spend time in silence each day, No one is going to make us come to the water each day.
We must choose to do so. That’s what the woman at the well did; she chose to run back into town, knowing that people might laugh at her, call her crazy or think she was only seeking their attention. But she went anyway because she made the choice to believe that He was the Messiah and she desired to share that with others.
But how do we do the same? Some of it, you likely already know: by choosing to go deeper with God, by choosing to pray every day and have that conversation with the Lord, by choosing to spend time in silence when we are surrounded by a world that hates silence (I invite you now to pause and sit in the silence, even if it’s just for 15 seconds) and by choosing to go to confession regularly and seek God’s forgiveness. Just as Jesus knew the woman at the well’s sins, so He knows ours and He longs for us to come back to the Ocean of Mercy again, and again and again.
But above all these things, we choose JOY. We must remember that we have done NOTHING to earn God’s love and mercy. He never asked us to earn it, He gave it freely as a gift.
Choosing Joy means making the choice to remember that gift in every moment of every day. In fact, it means remembering that gift so much, that it spills out of your heart and covers others.
Remembering this gift and choosing Joy goes beyond our understanding of remembering. For this, we have to trace back to our Jewish roots. Every year, the Jews celebrate Passover to remember the night the Angel of Death came and spared them; and how God brought them out of slavery in Egypt.
But this remembering goes so much deeper than our understanding, to the point that when a Jew is asked, often the story is told as if a child is asking WHY they celebrate Passover. The answer is “to remember when God brought ME out of Egypt.” Even to this day, over 3,000 years later.
That is what choosing Joy means; it is a remembrance so deep, that it recognizes that these gifts have been given to me as an individual. It comes from the knowledge that Christ gave His life for EACH of us on the cross.
It’s recognizing that the God who made Heaven and Earth and knows all the stars by name, that same God knew the world could never be complete without YOU; and He knew that He wanted to bring YOU into Heaven to be with Him in eternity.
Just as Christ spoke to the woman at the well as an individual and invited her to ask for the living water, so too He invites us each as individuals.
Just as she chose to respond with Joy and share this news with others, so too are we called to do.
Christ is calling you to come to Him, to Come to the Water…
How will you respond?
It’s Time to come to the water