Prayer 556 - Week 4, Friday
Friday - The Living WATER
This morning we will spend one last day thinking about the image of water. It is probably one that you will be quite familiar with. This passage is a small part of the longest exchange Jesus has (and it happens to be with a foreign woman - a conversation for another day!). If you have a hard time not skimming this passage, try grabbing a pen and paper and writing it out.
A Samaritan woman came to draw water,
and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)
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.”
This Samaritan woman would have known about the Hebrew God (and the promised Messiah). But Jesus doesn't say "If you knew about who it is" that is talking to you. He says "If you knew me."
What do you think the difference is between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing him?
Jesus tells the woman that he is the Living water.
What do you think it means that Jesus is "Living Water"? What does that mean in your life?
What parts of your life need the living water that Jesus is offering?
The woman doesn't go to the well seeking out a spiritual experience, she was just looking for water. However, what we know of this story is that she is open, and she experiences an incredible life transformation. She could have told this "weirdo" to stop talking and left with her jug of water.
Are there times when you have settled for a basic drink instead of asking God for his living water?
In confidence of your goodness and great mercy, O Lord,
I draw near to you,
as a sick person to the healer,
as one hungry and thirsty to the fountain of life,
a creature to the creator,
a desolate soul to my own tender comforter.
Behold, in you is everything I can or should desire.
You are my salvation and my redemption,
my hope and my strength.
Bring joy, therefore, to the soul of your servant;
for to you, O Lord,
have I lifted my soul.
- Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
Where have you seen God move in your life this week? Take a moment and name this, then give thanks.
What are you being purified of in this season? Take a moment to confess and ask God to continue his work in you.
After you’ve reflected on where you’ve been this week, invite God to go with you into the week ahead.
Those are the very words that were spoken to me the night I received Jesus as my Savior. “Nick, I have a sense that you know all ‘about’ Jesus, but don’t know Him personally.” Mark Holmes led me to faith in Christ with those words. I was in Munich Germany on a choir tour through Europe. Mark had sung 2 songs that will remain forever with me-“Pass it On” and “Hear O Lord”. That night turned my life around just as it did in the case of the Samaritan Woman. I met the Son of God! I invited Him into my life. I asked Him to forgive my sins and I was “born again”. That moment began a movement. It would be 18 months before I met the Holy Spirit, but as Pastor Kaity says-“that’s a story for another day”. From that night in Germany, I never doubted my salvation and I was on “Fire”after drinking the “Living Water”. I had no Bible with me so I bought a French New Testament at our next stop. When I got home, I shared the Gospel with everyone including my pastor Sturgis Poorman. Subsequently , he had an experience which led him deeper in faith. He began to read Andrew Murray which led him to go to Zimbabwe where he became one of the founders of the Kuwadzana Church we now partner with. Several of my nieces and nephews became Christians. My father’s faith deepened . I heard God’s call to ministry. I went to Princeton. I met Terrie. We came to Cohoes. And it all began in a hotel room in Munich Germany !
Being on dialysis, I know that we need water to live. Because my kidneys do not work, I must limit the amount of water that I take in. But we have not been talking about the amount of actual water, but the living water that Jesus talks about. I have no limitations of the amount of living water that I take in from the Lord. It is so refreshing knowing that I can partake of this living water so freely. Lord, I ask you to fill me to the brim today with your living water.
From my previous reading of this exchange with the Samaritan woman, she went to fetch water at an odd time of the day to avoid others who would ostracize her. There are times I have avoided others due to feeling inadequate. God meets me alone at that place and time. He reminds me that he has made me exactly as He had planned for His purposes.
For me, the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing him is huge. Knowing about Jesus is like "knowing" a celebrity, or even a book character. The relationship is strictly one-way, and it's flat. But when we know Jesus--it's like that book character came to life, or that celebrity liked your tweet or Instagram post. All of a sudden, there's two-way communication, and the person becomes real in your life.
That's how I felt when I met Jesus after a long period of knowing about him growing up, and a dark stretch of time when I had relied on my own very flawed judgment to get through life. He gave me discernment, which I so badly needed, and daily guidance for the ups and downs of life.
For me, this passage reminds me of my recent experience at The Garden church. I was recommended to this church by a pastor/friend who knew the husband/wife pastors of this congregation. I reached out to the pastors seeking a church community. I was looking for living water for my world weary soul. I believe I know Jesus, to the point where the Holy Spirit can help me to discern His presence in the people around me; the believers who know and live The Beatitudes and the Great Commandment. As I met the leaders of the congregation, my daughter and I were treated as outsiders. And, as I volunteered to join them in COVID safety in the garden, to work side-by-side, offering to help make the garden more accessible to people in the community living with disabilities, they were all saying, "Yes" with their words and collaborating to get grant money to fund the project, yet they were questioning my motives behind my back. It was at this point, as I look back through today's scripture study, that I realize I was merely settling for a drink of water without having my thirst for community quenched. Now, here on this faith journey with all of you, I feel as if I've found The Well of living water, drinking alongside others who are quenching their thirst for a community of believers who know and live The Beatitudes and The Great Commandment. I visit the well every morning and ask, Give Me A Drink, please. And together, you each offer a sip of your living water wisdom. Amen.