Jesus – “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – John 4:10
John’s account of the meeting between Jesus and the “Woman at the Well” is one of my absolute favorite stories in the New Testament. I love the way Jesus trashes the prohibitions and peremptory judgments of contemporary First Century religiosity, the way the Master walks all over the sexist and xenophobic mores of Jewish social order, the way God’s Son models progressive, radical theology.
Yesterday, John’s amazing story was the focus of the Saturday morning men’s Bible-study I attend at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. It’s also the subject of one of my favorite etchings by the Dutch Master, Rembrandt. I don’t believe there is another passage in the scriptures that captures the essence of Christ’s amazing gift with greater emotional clarity.
TAKE A DRINK: Thirsty? Parched? Dry? Hungry? Empty? In need of sustenance? Looking for substance? Thirst and hunger represent our great need for nourishment at its most fundamental level. Jesus met the woman at her point of deep longing, and he offered her himself, unequivocal, no strings attached. Jesus satisfies.
In my men’s group, we talked about our own thirst, our own hunger; we talked about the crying need of so many people who we know, or know of; we talked about the resistance that has emerged in response to gross misrepresentations of the message of Jesus; and we talked about what it means for us to offer Living Water, and to share the Bread of Life.
Our most important responsibility, I believe, is for each one of us to live what I like to call “an invitational life.” Rather than criticizing, and grumbling, and complaining, how are we signposts of good news? And, how does who we are serve as an invitation to drink of the Living Water?
I believe with certainty that our faith community, here at WFPC, is a vibrant, alive, constantly renewing, refreshing source of both Living Water and the Bread of Life. But Jesus doesn’t only fill us up, the Spirit of Jesus also sends us out.
INVITATION: And so, as we go, I’m wondering what kind of invitation it is that we offer? Jesus said that, “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.” – John 4:14-15
Is there a spring of living water gushing up out of us? And, if we say that we are believers, does our life stand as a winsome invitation – does mine? Or, does our witness – does my witness – count as simply one more reason not to go to church?
Because He lives – DEREK