Monday, October 23, 2006

Lessons drawn from the well

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:


(1) The importance of tearing down the barriers: What was fascinating about this story was the initial establishment of contact that Jesus made with the woman and all the barriers that had to be tore down first. To understand how this is significant, we need to consider the history behind the times. During Jesus' initial interaction with the woman, He tore down three specific barriers; moral, social, and racial. Morally speaking, the woman was a harlot (in today's vernacular, she was a slut) while He was the Son of God. Socially speaking, men did not speak to women in public; nor was it ritualisitic for women to be out drawing water during that time of the day. Racially speaking, He was a Jew while she was a Samiritan (even more interesting because Jesus went through Samaria on His way to Galilee. According to Jewish tradition, He was supposed to go around it). After tearing down these traditional barriers, Jesus reached out to the woman by establishing commonality. In this case, they were both seeking water.

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...

- ACL

8 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

saved_sinner said...

Good post, Andre. You were right on the money with this one!

Diane said...

I agree with saved_sinner, Andre...this one is a keeper. :-)

And thank you for the birthday wishes here and in my comments. Your friendship means a lot to me, my friend. :-)

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Andre ~ My Greeneyed Handsome Man;

;0}

Great post , you still get me to dig deep in that grey Matter :} and my heart .How are you these days ??????I know ,busy , I mean how are you REALLY??????????

I have a couple question for you that is if you do not mind , guess that is the first question LOL,
Where did you learn so much of the Bible , ???self taught , church , home , school? are you able to quote from the bible at will , or do you search out references?

Ok brain picking over ,,,,,,,

I hope your not working all the time , and having more of those refreshing walks like on that Sunday that brought you to your last four post .:}
I always enjoy reading you , (ear to ear) hope all is well inside your heart and mind ,take care in that Big City .
God Bless ,

Greeneyes

Andre said...

@ saved_sinner: Thanks for the compliment Rob.

@ Lady Di: What's up granny? Thank you also for your compliments. I trust that your b-day was rich and fulfilled, yes? :)

@ Greeny: Hey my green-eyed queen: Thanks for stopping by to see a brotha! :)

Things have been insanely busy for me lately. The job and grad school are enough to keep me busy for an entire lifetime; let alone a couple of months. But, I'll always have time to share my life and experiences with my adoring fans. If I can't find any, I'll share them with you guys instead (*joke)

*Crickets chirping*

Anyway, now on to your questions (good ones, by the way):

I wouldn't say that I'm a Bible scholar or anything like that. In fact, I find that the more I think I know about God's word, the more I actually DON'T know.

The things I share with others are a product of what I learned from others; by reading other blogs, listening to sermons and lectures, or just by studying myself. I tend to prefer using student Bibles which include daily application, scriptural breakdown, and historical references.

At church, I always learned basic doctrine (about the Trinity, salvation, the Gospel, etc.). In fact, my former pastor (who died when the current pastor of my church took over) really injected me with an interest in learning about the intracacies of the Bible. I mean, he'd examine the Bible seemingly word for word in both Greek and Hebrew. It was at that point where I realized that understand God and God's word went way beyond reading a few words in a book.

Lately, however, a lot of what I talk about comes from my experiences; from things I read; from exchanges I have with others, and things that are revealed to me by the Spirit. God can found in virtually any situation. It just becomes a matter of us seeking Him out.

Sorry for getting long winded (but is anybody REALLY suprised by that?). But, I wouldn't do your question any justice with a three word response.

Hope that all is well with you.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Andre~My Greeneyed Handsome MAN:}

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions , you are a very interesting person, esp to me !;}your adoring fan #1

I asked because you seem to have a fountain of inspirational insight ,which I find uplifting and each post with this content makes me dig deep , I have always been interested in peoples interpertation of the Bible . A great deal of learning about the Bible was done in schools here ,and families brought it full circle ,it has been changed drastically ,and I find since the change a great deal of young people unless fortunate enough to be from a spiritual family ,lost their belief if ever having any , I have seen a great deal of this with teens today . it is a shame .With all the scandals over the past they needed a change but not a total cut off .I am glad that you have an interest in todays youth ,making a difference even for one !

Sorry to hear your being Slammed , but it is for a good cause , your future will be bright,and sucessful I am sure , and what is you want to be when you grow up tee hee couldnt resist. Do you work on proofs to try and publish them ???
anyway, all is well here , thank you for asking .
I will pick your brain again LOL
Have a great week Andre , and give your Brain a little break , have some fun LOL
Greeneyes

Cynthia said...

Wonderful post, Dre. It really helped me to look at the "things I do for God" and put them in perspective.

It's God who blesses us with things in the first place. How can I then turn around flash it in his face, as if I was the one who did it on my own? Great points you raised here.

My sister has read your blog and agrees with me that you've got an amazing talent for writing. Let us know when you start your book tour! ;->

Andre said...

@ Greeny: You're too kind. *blushes

Like you, I enjoy hearing the way that other people interpret God's word. I think it's important to have the basic doctrine down, however. You'd be suprised at how people can take verses and twist them to satisfy their own agendas (beware of these types). But, as I can't say enough, one of the beauties of the Word is that there is soooo much to be extracted from the Scripture. God is too infinite and too BEYOND us to limit Himself to what's on paper.

It's funny that you mentioned the use of what I'm assuming are parochial schools in your area. In my city, there were a few around but I could never see myself going to one. Call me liberal on this one, but I'd like to see church imbedded into school about as much as I'd like to see scientists at church. I place the responsibility to religiously educate our children on the churches. And, trust me when I say it, the chruch has done a MISERABLE of job of teaching our youth. I think that's a large part of the reason that people are upset that schools aren't doing it. Why rely on my science teacher to teach me about how the Earth was formed when my Sunday School teacher SHOULD be teaching me "In the beginning..." Somethin' to think about. *smile*

Sorry for not responding in a timely fashion. To say that I'm busy is an understatement. It's more like OVERWHELMED! Aaaaagh! I just wanna pull out my hair and eat it!

Hope you're doing better than I am right about now! Until next time, my queen...

@ Cynthia: Hey Cyn. What's hap'n, cap 'n?

It's good to see that you've never lost sight of "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof..." It's pretty easy for us to get consumed by what "we own". But God has a way of humbling even the highest and mightiest of us.

I'll be looking for you and your sis during my book tour at your public library. That's about as far as I'll get.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Andre My Greeneyed Handsome man ;}

It is to bad you are so busy ,at least life is not boring!

And yes the school I attended was an All girls Catholic ,run by Nuns High School ,with the uniforms and all . All of the schools here were divided by religion and the church was about 20 steps from our school and the boys school on the other side !recess was a hazard for the Nuns and Priest to keep the sexes seperate LOL .Our faith was through the day practiced and learned about .We were not taught about religion through a science/math/art teacher , it was through nuns and priest who taught us classes and Masses . It has all chaged in the last couple years , and that unity breakdown has caused a large gap in the youth and their religion and or spirituality .

Thanks for your answers , and I hope you get some relief soon and have time to relax and send EMAILS !!!! LOL
and what I say about you is true , wish I could pick that brain all the time ,lets see Math problem# 1
kidding .
Have a great weekend ,do somethng fun ,God Bless
x
Greeneyes