Emmitsburg Council of Churches


  The holy gospel according to st. John 4:5-42

. . . . 4:7 A samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "give me a drink." 4:8 (his disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 4:9 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.) 4:10 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." 4:11 the woman said to him, "sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 4:12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" 4:13 Jesus said to her, "everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 4:14 but 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." 4:15 The woman said to him, "sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." 4:16 Jesus said to her, "go, call your husband, and come back." 4:17 The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; 4:18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!" 4:19 The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 4:20 our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." 4:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the jews. 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." 4:25 The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us." 4:26 Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you." . . . . . 4:28 then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 4:29 "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!

39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." This is the gospel of the lord . . .

Praise to you o'Christ . . .

This is Your Life!

The modern Christian rock group, "Switchfoot," sings a song called: "This is Your Life," which asks the question, "This is your life, are you who you want to be?? This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be, when the world was younger, and you had everything to lose . . . ?"

It's actually a very intense question, and a good one for all of us to ask ourselves . . ., especially in the light of God's will for our lives. Is your life what "You dreamed it would be right now??" I/you may or may not want to answer this question because we all have various regrets about how things have turned out in our lives and we may wish that things could have been different in some aspects of life.

In our Gospel lesson, we are very much aware that the woman who met Jesus at the well probably would have said that things did not turn out for her as she "dreamed it would be, when she was younger."

But here's where the woman's life story is getting ready to change: . . . .

Notice at first how interested the woman is in talking with Jesus (against the social code). We might imagine she has met other men here at this well on previous visits with her water jar. In fact, remember in your biblical learning – all kinds of interesting romantic encounters (or beginnings) took place at the local watering hole. Jacob met rachel, Isaac met Rebecca . . . you get the idea, the ancient wells or springs served like our modern day truck stops: "Fuel City!" Just park your camel, get out the bucket, and fill'er up! . . . and of course, there are other unscrupulous services offered to fulfill a weary travelers "needs." Ancient wells offered an oasis of opportunity–you get the picture.

And so at first, the woman has a keen sense that her conversation with Jesus could mean more than just getting a drink! However, things turn out much differently . . . Jesus knows what her life has been!! And he knows exactly what her life is now . . . I think we can add, that Jesus knows what her life will become if she does not make a radical change – she needs a huge paradigm shift in her life, a new understanding about God.........Jesus is there to converse with her, in order to give her this new Living Water that will bring a fresh understanding. And the Living Water will not just change her life, but will change her whole community and the world as it has been.

Speaking from his deeply rooted center in God, or as God, Jesus challenges the woman to become part of the new life that he is ushering into the world. It is not the old religion of "have to worship here . . . or do this certain thing, or worship God only over there." But the new understanding is that God is a living spirit. We need to remind ourselves that we are not the summation of our flesh, but that we are living spirits that are in these bodies for a period of time. But in the new understanding Jesus is bringing us, we recognize that our spirit person can flow in this Living Water with God. Because God is sprit.

God cannot be pinned down to one place, or somehow relegated to exclusive access by one people. In fact, Jesus is offering the living water to the woman, not because she is worthy or special or because she has the right knowledge . . . but because she needs the spirit-life God has to give!!!!! Her thirst for God's acceptance, and consequently, re-acceptance in her own community can and will be met as Jesus reveals to her the living water of his life!

Returning to the song, "This is your life, are you who you want to be ?" . . . if we're honest, most of us are not who we want to be, we're never quite satisfied with ourselves, or others aren't satisfied with who we are, or we don't think God is satisfied with who we are . . . . So we find ourselves, just like the woman at the well. . . . We may say we're happy living with "who we are" . . . but God knows the difference!!!! "You're right when you say you don't have a husband, you've had five, and the one you're living with now is not your husband!!!!"

Jesus knows who you and I are!!!! But instead of despising us – or casting us away, he invites us to drink of the Living Water of his life. Jesus says that we need to worship the father in spirit and truth. This is simply being honest with God about who we are. Communicating with God as we would to a kind, merciful parent, and through the conversation of our prayers, knowing that God loves us and is with us, by and through the spirit.

Drink of the Living Water, the Water of Jesus life.


Underlying questions:

  • Jesus as prophet: does jesus know everything you and I have ever done??
  • The woman's life was filled with hardship. Was she argumentative? Promiscuous? Adulterous? Or did she just have bad luck with men in relationships??
  • What kind of life am I living now?. . . does my life have value?
  • Where is the true worship of god?? Here in samaria? Or only in jerusalem? Jesus says that god is spirit, and the worship god is accomplished by spirit and truth.
  • Are you looking for a savior??
  • What do we believe about jesus??
  • How is the church like jesus sitting beside the well?
  • How can we help others to lower their bucket and obtain the living water?

Read more writings of Pastor Jon