"The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water!’” John 4:15 CEB There are times in life when we know there is something a little off, something missing, and things are just not clicking. In automotive terms you could say things are just not firing on all cylinders. The feeling we are having is real and powerful and yet we are not able to fully identify what it is that is missing. Over the past several months, and probably much longer than I had realized, I had been feeling this way. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew something was off. About a month ago I had another person recommend a particular book to me, again. The book was The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, by the Arbinger Group. I had heard many of my colleagues talking about the book and it had even been recommended by our bishop. So I decided to order the book and read it. Can I tell you that almost immediately upon beginning this book I knew the content was what I was missing. What I had been missing, what was off, was the need for a greater sense of peace in my life. This book helped me understand that. I am not talking about inner peace in my faith life. I am talking about peace in the midst of conflict. In our current culture conflict seems ever present. There is conflict in political circles, conflict in relationships, conflict in beliefs, and conflict on television and the movies. People are killing each other both literally and figuratively. Conflict seems to be fairly pervasive in this particular moment in life and history. Yes, there is even conflict in churches. So, what I was lacking and what I was longing for was peace. Don’t you long for peace, too? The book The Anatomy of Peace came to me at exactly the right time in my life. I was like the woman at the well who longed for a new reality. You see, this Samaritan woman was longing for renewal and a new start. She was a social outcast who was drawing water at noon. She was tired of having to draw water from that well alone. This is why she is excited about Jesus telling her there was living water. She jumps at the chance to experience what was lacking in her life, that for which she thirsts. This is what is so wonderful about her response to Jesus. She says, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water.” As much as Jacob’s well signified a part of the history of her people, it also represented for her a place of shame and social stigma. If she received the water Jesus offered, not only would her thirst be quenched forever (receiving that which she lacked), but her shame would be removed (never having to return to that well).
What do you thirst for? What are you lacking in your life? Your heart? What is missing for you? What makes you come to the well at noon? We all have moments of shame and guilt that cause us to feel disconnected to people. We don’t have to remain that way. Jesus offers fresh, living water to everyone who will receive. Water that transforms our shame and water that quenches our thirst forever. Jesus knows what our sin and shame is and what we thirst for in our life. This is not generic water from a community well. Jesus offers personalized water to quench our thirst and to wash away our shame. The water is available to all and yet very personal to each person. This is why the woman requests of Jesus, “Sir, give me this water.” Are you thirsty? Today is the day to ask Jesus to give us this water. Today is the day to set aside our shame and seek forgiveness. Today is the day to receive that which we lack and that for which we long. Today is the day we can receive peace. Jesus offers this water freely to everyone. Will you receive? Will you drink? Transformation is just one decision, one question, away. So, let’s drink deeply of the living water Jesus offers. Let’s find peace, find forgiveness, find joy, and find intimacy with Jesus. Today is the day! This Sunday we continue the message series The Heart of Peace. We will discuss how easy it is to move from a heart at peace to a heart at war. I hope you will join us this week and every week. The best is ahead for St. Andrew’s. I can’t wait to see you in church!