Lent 3 (John 4)
Our focus since Ash Wednesday has been ‘seeking Jesus.’ I have asked you to make that a constant prayer focus, in simple and direct ways. “Reveal yourself to me--Lord Jesus I seek Your face.”
Last week we looked at the proper way to seek Jesus based on John 3 and Nicodemus. But in truth Jesus seeks us first. He was sent by the Father to save us.
Today’s Gospel illustrates someone who gets found by Jesus. On a simple narrative level, the plain reading of this chapter provides two straightforward "take-aways".
· Jesus encounters an outcast (In Jesus' culture these are substantial barriers: she is a woman, a Samaritan and a person of ill repute); this is why she draws water in the middle of the day when all the other woman come in the morning and evening.She was an outcast in her own village as well as beyond the social interaction with any Jewish Holy man.
· Jesus KNOWS her situation, yet He offers her life.
· Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus offers us the same no matter what state we are in!
Secondly, we see her response
· Having encountered the Kingdom of God as mercy and promise, she goes and tells others.
· The others come to Jesus and based on their own encounters come to faith as well.
· One viable model for evangelism is to point to Jesus and trust that He will bring people to faith (especially family and friends)
So, understand Jesus loves you dearly and has come for you to offer you life and once you have found life in Jesus wants you to direct others to Him. Simple and neat and clean.
Now let’s do a spiritual reading for deeper meaning.
*Jesus is alone, the disciples are gone. It is noon. He asks the woman to give Him a drink.
See the connections to the Cross? John 19:16-17 ‘they took Jesus and carrying His cross by Himself’ ; John 19:14 ‘it was about noon’; John 19:28 ‘I am thirsty’ The water is His gift from the cross, remember when the soldier pierces His side with a spear? That living water, bubbling up, is Jesus' own life poured out!
See Kingdom/marriage covenant? Symbolically, the five husbands draw to mind the five senses. She is a symbol of the human soul married to the Flesh (carnal) by the five senses. The flesh never satisfies. The last man, who is “no husband” represents Satan. If we are not “married” to God eventually we live with the counterfeit, the anti-husband: Satan. God offers covenant, Satan makes no self-gift in our relationship with him.
The well and thirst are spiritual images of human longing and fulfillment. The shallow wells which we covet and fight over do not quench our thirst, do they. What thirst is deep in you? What do you naturally seek? What is the source of that thirst?
Health? Security? Relationships? Peace? Joy?
Our core desires are never fulfilled. We get angry and frustrated when we drink the stagnant waters of temporary and partial satisfaction. Our parched souls scream out, “I want Living Water!”Jesus offers the living waters. That is the HOPE that can keep us going. Dry and thirsty though we be, there is a deeper well, a well full of living waters, a well that will bubble up within us. It only begins now; we shall enjoy the fullness in the Kingdom on That Day. So take heart. The promise is true, look for Jesus!