Thursday, January 23, 2014

A 7-11 Jesus

The woman at the well is a familiar passage from the bible for most of us. She's used in sermon illustrations about as often as Peter walking on the water, Martha's whining over Mary not helping her with dinner and Lazarus being raised from the dead. So it always amazes me when I revisit a well known story and have a fresh take away.( I guess that is why we call the Word of God "LIVING".)

John 4:
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

We were discussing the Woman at the Well the other night in our small group. The woman had this interesting exchange with Jesus-- the Great I AM-- and asks where she can get this water that will forever quench her thirst. Someone in our group made the comment "I don't think she got it." meaning the Samaritan Woman thought Jesus was talking about literal water when He was actually referencing the spiritual water that only He can give. Of course the Samaritan Woman wanted the water that would satisfy;  "Give me this water so I don't have to keep coming back to draw more water."

Don't we all want the easier way? I sometimes despair as I clean my house because I know by tomorrow the carpet will be in desperate need of another vacuuming, and the bathroom will need another disinfecting wipe down. I wonder if I, like the woman at the well, want what Jesus has to offer, only out of convenience, to make my life easier.

But did Jesus come to take away lifes challenges? Hmmm...... I'm thinking He is more concerned with changing us inside  in order to empower us to deal with our problems with a more Christ like perspective. Yet, here I am, acting like Jesus is some corner-market convenience store I can run to when I am running low on supplies.

I do my major grocery shopping about once every two weeks. I stock up with enough meat and veggies to make the meals I have planned out but in between those big shopping trips, there will be several quick visits to the market on the corner for bread and eggs, or some forgotten ingredient, or when I am desperate for cream in my coffee early in the morning, the gas station-quickie-mart across the road from my house.

I get my big fill up of Jesus on Sunday mornings, soaking in His presence as we worship, taking notes as our Pastor exegesis and it's all good. But if I don't supplement my Sunday with DAILY dips into God's Word, if I don't stop and have some heart felt conversation with my Jesus, if I just coast all week on Sundays message it will be like having pancakes without butter and syrup, oatmeal without milk and--- horror of horrors--- coffee sans cream.

In other words, it won't satisfy.

Too often I am ashamed to admit, I end up treating my Savior like a 7-11 Jesus. I know he's there 24/7 and he's got all the things I need in a pinch. So I dash in and grab the stuff I need like, safety for my husband on the job, healing for all those people on my list-- you know who they are Lord, and please make things go smoothly for my friends who are struggling..... oh, and Jesus, could you make my life go slower so I won't have to do this mad-dash prayer routine? 

Well, that's just nuts but it's a reality thats played out much too often to my chagrin.

I dusted the living room today and shook my head sadly as I wiped particles of dust off my bible. I flipped it open to the card with the Daily Reading Plan many of us in church are following. Yep, its marking the chapter for last weeks reading. Oops. So I sat down and read. I read up to today. And guess what? We are in the book of John and it's chapter 4. The Woman at the Well.

Which brings me full circle. The woman wanted the water that would satisfy so she wouldn't have to keep coming back to draw more buckets from the well. It was a lot of work hauling water home each day and she was tired of the scornful looks she got from her neighbors who knew her shameful past (5 husbands!) and her shameful present (living with a man she wasn't married to). She yearned for her life to be made easier. And Jesus offers her water that isn't from a well. Jesus offers her water that will satisfy eternally; a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

I said I gleaned some new stuff from reading this familiar passage in the gospel of John.

I realized I'm thirsty.

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