© David Penny
|Published by David Penny on Sun, 15 Mar 2020 10:30|
The Water of Life
Irrigation and the Gospel
- The last few weeks rainfall - how difficult for many communities
- Flooding seen as I travelled down the M6 and M40 the other week
- People still affected by those floods, and even though they are out of the news, they are not out of our prayers
- Water shortage in other countries
- The women and children (most often the girls) walking miles every day carrying water from the nearest source back to home.
- Water gets everywhere when it’s so wet - problems we are having at church with water coming in - difficult to know where it is coming in as water tracks and seeps through cracks and comes out in unexpected places.
- Water has always been an important commodity, and in dry countries every drop of water counts - and if you’ve been camping, or had to cope with water being cut off, you’ll know how careful you become with it so not a drop is wasted.
- The bible has a few stories set with wells as the backdrop - some quite romantic. Abrahams servant found a wife for Isaac by a well; Moses mets his future wife by a well as he comes to her and her sister’s aid, driving off the shepherds that threatened them like a knight in shining armour.
- Maybe this Samaritan women was mindful of how a well might be more than a place where the women gathered to chat and support one another. Maybe she is thinking that this enigmatic figure sat by the well is worth getting to know.
- The conversation starts out well - may even be a bit flirtatious. Is he fishing to see if she’s single - why else would he be asking if she was married?
- But the conversation is a bit weird too. He’s talking about living water that quenches thirst for all time; he’s talking about how the worship of God is from the heart and not dependant on going up to Jerusalem.
- Sometimes when the kernel of an idea is at the back of our mind, those times when the truth of the matter is there, but just beyond where we are at present, we ask a question, or say something that helps the truth come forward. The woman at the well searches for the truth in saying she knows the Messiah is coming, maybe at that moment wanting to hear Jesus confirm what she is now suspecting of this person who seems to be so holy, so prophetic that he knows things about her that she hadn’t disclosed.
- She accepts Jesus’ confirmation that he is the Messiah, leaving her water jar, rushing passed the returning disciples and goes to tell everyone she see about Jesus, about the man who gave her spiritual water to quench her spiritual thirst.
- As she is going around telling everyone about Jesus, Jesus talks to his disciples about how the water of life spreads in a way that can’t be seen or understood - much like our leaking roof - but the signs of the kingdom are there - and when we see them we are invited to join in with what God is doing, and rejoice that people are coming to faith.
- Maybe this was Jesus way of preparing the disciples for what was about the happen, a two day stop over in a Samaritan village, a place Jews didn’t readily go to. A not only did they find hospitality they saw what God was doing to transform lives as people came to faith.
- At the heart of the Diocesan vision as we become a church for a different world is this sense of seeing what God is doing and joining in. I was greatly encouraged as I watched the video the first time to note that we are already doing a lot as a church - nearly every example of emerging ministries in the diocese shown I could say, yes we are doing that; but we should never be complacent. We should always be open to see what God is doing in the parish and be ready to join in.
- Like the woman at the well we should use the living water wisely. She was offered the water of life and used it to irrigate her village - and because she didn’t keep the water to herself many people came to drink from the water that Jesus was offering - the only water that can truly satisfy.
- That living water may seep into unexpected places, and been seen in places we we fully don’t understand. But all that God asks of us is to irrigate wisely and generously, joining in with what God is doing, helping others to receive the refreshment and life that only the living water can give.