Yesterday, as a part of my morning "church service", I was listening to a sermon from Bishop Eddie Long. For the record, I don't respond well to tele-evangelicals and mega church type ministers. But, I found his sermon pretty interesting nontheless. The subject of his sermon involved the well-known story of Jesus and His encounter with the woman at the well; found in John, chapter 4.
After referring back to that story, I realized a couple of important things:
This aspect of the story is important to me because it ties in perfectly to the gripes that I've had lately about how we've failed out youth (here and here and here). But the same priniciple applies to non-believers as well. Similarly to Jesus, it's time for us to tear down the barriers that we've created against people and reach out to them by identifing a common bond between us.
(2) The importance of identifying the real thirst quencher: When Jesus asks the woman for a drink, she responds by saying (in so many words), "Why the hell would you, some Jew, ask me for water?" His response was simple: "If you knew who I was, you'd be asking Me for water." Though she compares Him to Jacob; one of the most significant patriachs in the Bible, she had no idea who she was talking to. The Living Water is sitting right in front of her, and she couldn't even recognize Him.
Even when I wanted to call her out on her blind ignorance, I couldn't help but to wonder how often many of us are that woman. How many of us go to well everyday to draw water, without looking to The Living Water, who is sitting right across from us?
It's pretty unfortunate that we rely on the wells so much that they become our livlihood. We rely on water from the well of material, the well of our jobs, the well of success, the well of education, and even the wells of religion. But when Jesus offers us water from His well, we sneer at Him while flashing our degrees, money, marriages, children, cars, and homes in His face. We remind Him that we've already got everything that we need. In fact, like the Samaritan women, we assume that we have what He needs. We think that we're doing Him a favor by giving of ourselves.
The fact is: Jesus doesn't need us. We need Him.
We often find ourselves in a position where we need to keep going back to the wells of our life each and every day. Believe me when I say that the water that we collect can only sustain us for a short while before we either run out of water or before we get thirsty again. At that point, we find ourselves searching for more and more wells from which we can draw; though none of them will ever leave us completely satisfied. We’ll always want more.
What's comforting about this story -- however -- is that despite our ignorance of Him, Jesus is still sitting there waiting for us and offering His water. Unlike all the other things we drink, one little taste of Jesus will leave us completely replinished. We'll be like the writer who affirmed that he "shall not want." Through Jesus, we can find comfort and restoration even if certain things in our life don't materialize the way we want (getting the perfect job, finding the perfect "love", having the perfect family, etc.). As I always maintain, Jesus is inexhaustable and His well is bottomless. He can offer us things that even we don't know about.
Let's see Avian top that.
On an unrelated note, happy belated birthdays to my oldest sis Kim and one of my fellow bloggers Diane...