Sermon – 10-11-20 – from Lent III – Cycle A
Scriptures: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42
Sermon Title: “God Refreshes Our Belief”
Crashing waters at creation! Water from a spigot at the touch of the handle. Water for crops in dry land by an irrigation system. Clean water from a pump set in a village instead of day-long treks to a river with unclean water. Lakes for recreation. Water for laundry. Water for industry to process food. When we use water, do we realize that there is a limited supply of water on this earth? The same water is used for whatever, then evaporates, forms clouds, and comes down as a gift from heaven and the cycle continues. Some water is wasted and does not become part of this recycling process. Wasted!
Rain and underground sources of water are gifts from God. Water can keep us healthy. Rain can refresh the earth. Rain can douse forest fires. Rain can grow plants and trees. Water can quench our thirst. The image of water can quench a yearning in our souls – to be cleansed of sin, to be free of want and to be blessed by abundance. Oh, the feel of a speed boat either sitting in or water skiing behind. Water is needed for food. Water can refresh our lives. That sparkling, singing, clean brook, the fast-moving river, the exciting waterfall, the ocean with all its power. Then these precious drops of water, representing the cleansing and inclusion of baptism, are a sign from God.
On the other hand, water can also be damaging and can claim lives! Do you have tales to tell of how water affected your life, either in a good or bad way?
My testimony about water and God and myself is that I fear drought. I fear floods. But beautfiul, gentle rain that continues for several hours, gives me wonderful peace. I try to trust God to end droughts and I express my thanks continuously when God sends the rain. Is it God controlling nature or is it nature which God set in motion but chooses not to control? Does God hear our prayers for rain? A big question. What do you think? Tell me one way or the other.
One year we had a drought in the summer. We prayed and prayed for God to send rain. Well, did God ever send rain! A flood. Most of the roads around my home were closed when I really wanted to get from Boyertown to Obelisk on a Saturday night – from one church commitment to the next church commitment. We prayed too much! Ever since then, I am very cautious about praying about the weather. But, I can’t help praying for the drought and the fires on the west coast and the hurricanes and floods in the southeast and southcentral. I pray for the people who are losing everything and not just once but again and sometimes again. I pray for the first responders whose lives are changed by the fires and floods.
In our reading from Exodus, God heard the cry of the Israelites for water. He did act upon their laments. He provided water. That was God providing water from a rock. In our Gospel Lesson we have Living Water from Jesus.
John 4:5-30, 39-42
5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
27Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30They left the city and were on their way to him.
39Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of his word. 42They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
And as Paul tells us in Romans 5:1-11, our baptismal water, the water we witnessed with Gena, the water from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, brings us true saving grace and peace to fill our souls.
Loving God – all three of you, save us from the destructive water and the absence of water. But, we thank you with all of our hearts for the water that is good, especially the powerful but peacefully cleansing water of our baptism in your name. Amen