Advent is here! Today we will have a very special Children’s Service. Our children and youth will lead us in Searching For Jesus. Join us as we hear the Christmas story through the words and eyes of our children. We will continue our Advent series What Are You Waiting For? by reflecting on John 4:4-14, Waiting to be Satisfied. The Samaritan woman was searching for something but didn’t really know what until she met Jesus who offered her living water and eternal life. We too wait to fully experience the living water into eternal life that Jesus offers us.
Waiting to be Satisfied John 4:4-14
December 19, 2021
Have you ever been really hot and thirsty? How about really hungry? Have you ever been sad or lonely? What made you feel better or happy again? Did a glass of water make you feel less thirsty, and maybe a snack made you feel less hungry? How about when you’re lonely or sad, who helps you feel better? Do your parents help, or maybe a friend?
In this Bible story, Jesus is walking with his disciples and it’s hot outside and he’s getting thirsty, hungry, and tired, so he sits down by a well while the disciples go into a nearby town to buy some food for all of them. They leave Jesus alone at the well, still thirsty. A woman comes to get some water out of the well for her and her family. She is a Samaritan woman; do you know what that means? It means that people like Jesus who were Jewish didn’t like the Samaritans because they were only part Jewish.
Jesus is really thirsty, and Jesus loves all people, even the Samaritan people, so he’s not afraid to ask the Samaritan woman for some water. She has a bucket to get water, which Jesus doesn’t have, so he asks her for help. The woman is surprised because she thought Jesus wouldn’t respect her or like her because she’s a Samaritan. She’s at the well alone because the people in her own town didn’t like or respect her either because she has had lots of husbands, so she’s probably pretty lonely too. It’s pretty hard when nobody likes you and Jesus knows this, and he cares about lonely people too, no matter why they’re lonely.
The woman asks Jesus, “We’re so different, how can you ask me for a drink of water?” Jesus tells her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” This is a strange answer. What does Jesus mean when he talks about the gift from God and what is living water? We know that the gift from God is Jesus, this is what we just remembered in the play that you did for us. Jesus is a wonderful precious gift from God who came to save us from our sin by becoming just like us. Jesus understands us and he understands what the woman at the well is going through.
Jesus offers her water. She’s thirsty too, but it’s her heart that is thirsty. Father Dennis Hamm writes that “today's story centers around what we have most in common—thirst for God.” Jesus uses our thirst for water as a sign for wanting God. When Jesus says he has living water, he’s talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John 7, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”
Rev. Dr. David Sapp teaches that, “living water meant flowing water as in a river, not the well water they were discussing. But Jesus told her that his living water was different. He said the living water he would give would come "gushing up into eternal life.” She had been drinking water that helped her when she was thirsty because it was hot outside, or because she was working really hard, but she knew that she would get thirsty again and have to get another drink of water, but Jesus told her about water that would never again leave her thirsty. Jesus knew that what she really needed, what she was thirsty for was for someone to love her and understand her hard life. Jesus knew that what she needed the most was him and so he offered to give her his living water that included love, forgiveness, understanding and acceptance. He got her! He saw her sin, calling it what it was, and loved her anyway. Jesus filled her with hope; he gave her living water and she was satisfied.
We all need people who care about us, this is why Jesus gives us parents, grandparents, and a church family. But still there are times when we are lonely and afraid, times where we think that nobody knows what we are feeling and we’re too scared to tell anybody, sometimes even too scared to tell our parents or brothers and sisters, or even our grandparents. Jesus came, not just to save us from our sin, but also so that we can come and talk to him and tell him and we can trust that he really cares and loves us and understands our hearts.
At Christmas time, we remember that if we want to find deep satisfaction in life, you are invited by Jesus himself to turn to him and drink from his living water and then allow that living water to pour out through you into the thirsty world around us who are seeking hope and grace to help them walk often dark and lonely paths in life.