Sunday, March 27, 2011
Again at the Well
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." John 4:5=12
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In the process of packing I came across a favorite storybook of our children. There are certain stories that children glom onto that somehow resonate with them, as if they have to learn something over and over. And parents who read these stories have read them so often that they can recite the book word for word. "Rikki Tikki Tembo No Sir Rembo Charri Barri Ruchi Pip Perri Pembo has fallen in the well" can be recited automatically by a simple prompting. The story of a boy who has such along name he almost dies after falling into a well. The lesson of the story is simply to keep things simple so we can do what we can. We so often visit the well where we first learned these truths.
And so, the lectionary finds us again staring at the story of the well, where Jesus has the most profound theological conversation with a Samaritan women with a jaded moral history. He has the most profound exchange with an outcast, an enemy, a loose woman. And we return to this story, over and over, because of the importance and depth of it. We gaze down a very deep well and realize the most profound is also the most simple. God love is for the broken down failures, the rejected, despised and forgotten. God's love is for those who aren't welcome in the fancy, high places and for those have to be on the move and are outcasts most often.
Today, I want to remember all the simple, profound lessons I learned as a child. the ones I can recite without hesitation at the smallest prompt. For it is our ability to remember God's love and hold it close in these changing ties which not only help us all to survive, but will bring about the renewal of our villages and communities where ever we find ourselves. May we all have the courage to hold to child like faith so that profound love can transform us all.