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Message for Sunday 15 March 2020: “Thirsty Spirit”

Today’s message (John 4:5-32) illustrates Jesus’ social audacity. Jesus visited Sychar, a town in the despised part of northern Israel known as Samaria. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat next to a well and spoke with a local Samaritan woman who had come to obtain water.

To fully appreciate the gravity of what Jesus din in Sychar there are a couple of considerations. First and foremost, many Jews hated Samaritans. The animosity arose from the aftermath of the Assyrian invasion of Israel in 721 B.C. The result was that the subjugated Jewish inhabitants intermarried with the invaders and supposedly polluted the pure Jewish bloodline. The second unusual thing about Jesus’ speaking with the Samaritan woman was that he was alone with a strange adult female, a situation that violated interpersonal norms. But no matter. Jesus had a plan and what he said to that Samaritan woman revealed a spiritual truth still relevant today.

What did Jesus say to that Samaritan that was so important? Jesus initiated conversation by asking the Samaritan woman for a drink. She was astonished because of the violation of cultural protocol, but the situation gave opportunity for Jesus to expand her thinking. Jesus said to her that if she truly knew what to ask for, she would have asked him for living water.  Asked what he meant about the living water, Jesus responded by saying that what he offered was more than just the usual thirst-quenching liquid. Jesus spoke metaphorically of spiritual water, the type that relieves spiritual thirst. After some initial hesitation, the Samaritan woman understood the metaphor of living water. She proclaimed Jesus a prophet and went to tell other Samaritans about her wonderful encounter with Jesus.

Do you enjoy the spiritual, living water Jesus spoke about? Do you have a spiritual thirst that only your faith in God can satisfy? Part of the difficulty is that humans live in two worlds, a literal, material world and a virtual, spiritual world. You know what to do when you are physically thirsty because you can typically obtain a drink of water conveniently from your kitchen faucet or even from fancy bottled spring water in your pantry. But people often overlook their spiritual thirst and seek to fill the void with dysfunctional relationships, addictions, and all sorts of negative thinking and behavior. Sadly, many people continue to thirst without knowing what to do or where to go. In this depressive state people experience an unhealthy, unfulfilled life.

As you develop a direct and personal relationship with the Almighty you can benefit all the more from consuming spiritual water. As you hydrate yourself with soul water you can achieve wellbeing, which is health in body, mind and spirit. You may not sit next to a well and converse with Jesus but you can commune with God, your partner in the transformation that can empower you to change your thinking and behavior. Drink the living water and awaken to a wonderfully refreshing, satisfying life. Solving many of life’s problems involves asking God for the water of deep sustenance. As God’s child, you are on a journey. As with all adventures, you thirst will grow amid challenges as you navigate even the deserts of despair. It’s wonderfully reassuring to know that God will provide what you need to satisfy cravings like nothing else can.

Recognize and accept your thirst. Come to God who can provide you even more than you knew what to ask for. Pray that you’ll meet your spiritual thirst by tapping God’s inexhaustible well, the place of pure living water. Sure, physical bodies will become thirsty again and again. But the good news is that when you experience God’s essence of spirit, you’ll be immersing yourself into soul-penetrating blessings. Drink it up!

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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