Message for 19 March 2017–“Thirsty Spirit” (Third Sunday of Lent)

Today’s message (John 4:5-32) illustrates Jesus’ boldness in speaking with a woman as part of his visit to Sychar, a town in Samaria. Tired from his journey, Jesus sat next to a well and spoke with the Samaritan woman who had come to obtain water.

To fully appreciate this situation, it helps to understand that many Jews hated Samaritans. The animosity arose from the Assyrian invasion of Israel in 721 B.C.  The result was that the subjugated Jewish inhabitants had intermarried with the invaders and polluted the pure Jewish bloodline. The second unusual thing about Jesus’ talk was that he was alone with a foreign woman, a situation that violated social norms. But no matter. Jesus had a plan and what he said to that Samaritan woman revealed a spiritual truth relevant today.

So, what did Jesus say that was so important? Jesus initiated conversation by asking the Samaritan woman for a drink. The woman was astonished because of the violation of social protocol, but the situation gave opportunity for Jesus to expand her thinking. Jesus said to the woman 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.

Have you had 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. 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 a joyless and unfulfilled life.

You can achieve a life of wellbeing!  Look to God, and partner with the Almighty to transform how you think and behave.  Drink the living water and awaken to a wonderful state of wellbeing. Solving many of life’s problems involves asking God for the water of life. As God’s children, we are on a journey. As with all adventures, thirst will grow amid the challenges. It’s wonderfully reassuring to know that God will provide what we need to quench spiritual thirst.

Recognize and accept your thirst and then come to God for a life of renewal and wellbeing. I pray that we will each meet our spiritual thirst by coming to God’s well of life and drinking from the transforming waters. Sure, our physical bodies will become thirsty again and again. But the good news is that when we consume God’s life-giving waters, we satisfy a need that will sustain our journey indefinitely. Drink it up!

–Reverend Hoxey