The Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42)
Vs 9 - How can you ask me for a drink?
Jesus takes the initiative; he calls us into covenant relationship. Most of us have those moments when we have a deep ache in our guts, that knowing there's more to life than this, that dissatisfaction with worldliness. That's Jesus calling us to more. He takes the initiative.
Vs 11 - You haven't got a bucket or rope
Notice how Jesus' simple request is bounced back to him as if it's his fault. Yes, he doesn't have a bucket or a rope but she could offer hers. Sometimes we're quick to blame God for our lot in life; people who will say there's no God are quick to blame him when a natural disaster happens.
It manifests itself in Church life as we hark back to previous Ministers when life was wonderful. Richard Harris, Geoff Harris, Vernon Cracknell were all far better Ministers than the one you've got today! If only God would send the right one, we say.
Sign of our separation from God. We cry that he is absent or distant but it's usually us who've moved away from him.
Vs 15 - Give me that water
She's still thinking in functional terms. Jesus is offering a relationship not functional. When we've stopped praying, reading scripture then we've from relationship with Jesus to performing duties and functions. How many of us are in danger of losing that relationship? And how often does the Church demand functionality from us instead of allowing relationship?
Vs 17 - I don't have a husband
She's very defensive here. She only tells Jesus a part of the story, but to her surprise he knows the rest. How often do we try to hold things back from God? We open a little of our life to him, and try and hold back certain areas. In our prayers and thoughts we admit to something little in our lives and try to ignore the bigger thing that's eating away at us. On our life's journey we are people who conceal things.
Vs 20 - But you Jews say…
We distract ourselves from the important questions. Here instead of really trying to find out who Jesus is she hides behind tradition and ritual by asking the question about worship. We do the same… rather than deal with the central question of our relationship with Jesus we focus on the hymns we didn't like, or on the length of the sermon, or on Mrs Jones bright red shoes etc. Jesus tells her that it's not about the place of worship, or the style, but it's about heart worship. Spirit and truth are far more important.
Vs 25 - I know that the Messiah will come
Trouble is that sometimes our distractions take us away from Jesus. Many of us grew up with him, we know from Sunday school the basics of the Christian faith, the right way to behave, the morality and the ethics, BUT we do not know the living Jesus.
The Samaritan woman knew her religion but didn't recognise the Messiah. "I know that he's coming and when he does…" And yet he's right there in front of her. Too many people let Churchianity get in the road of their Christianity. Margaret C. Methodist L.P., for whom Methodism was far more important than worshipping God, wouldn't attend any other denomination if there wasn't a Methodist Church.
Vs 26 - I am the Messiah
Jesus declares who he is. One of the most satisfying parts of my Ministry have been the times when I have been a part of someone's conversion; when I've knelt at the altar rail and prayed with someone as they've wept and given their lives to Christ. Notice, I'm just a part; it is the Holy Spirit who confronts people with the facts of Jesus, with the presence of Jesus, and who convicts them of their need for Jesus.
Ultimately we all need to look at the facts about Jesus and make a decision about whether we are following Him or religion; salvation or respectability; eternal life or an earthly satisfaction.
© 2017 Reverend Michael Redshaw