Worship Notes

March 15, 2020

 Thirsty for Living Water

It was about noon when Jesus, “tired out by his journey,” sat down at Jacob’s well and said plainly to the Samaritan woman who had come to draw water, “Give me a drink” (John 4:6-7).

The story begins matter-of-factly. It’s harmless enough, right? The sun burns hot, the traveler is thirsty, and there’s a well to which the woman has come for her own household’s needs. John tells us that Jesus’ disciples were in the nearby town buying food, which highlights that Jesus and the woman were alone at the well. Still, simple as it may seem, the exchange between this woman and Jesus pleads for a closer look. Theirs is more than an encounter akin to a modern-day outdoor adventure when the water bottle is empty and we have miles to journey before arriving somewhere to refill it.

Today’s story follows close on the heels of Nicodemus seeking out Jesus under cover of darkness. Like Nicodemus, this woman has questions. She wonders about Jesus’ boldness: he approaches her and speaks to her, violating the cultural norms of the day which put Jewish people and Samaritans at odds with each other. She also verbally disputes with him when Jesus offers a cryptic statement about “living water” (John 4:10).

So, is it the woman’s quick answers and easy banter that pull us into this story? Or is it some developing awareness of the barriers that sometimes prevent us from encountering the one who offers this “spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14)?

The flowing stream of acceptance embodied in Jesus quenched the woman’s thirst for being known, seen, and valued. In turn, her effusive joy demonstrates the power of living water for all who long for acceptance. Receiving this story, may we think of the parched places in our communities, our churches, even our own lives, that are thirsting for living water.


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