Hello and welcome to Friday’s Foundations podcast. And just like that, another week is coming to a close. Next week our team leader Mick Woodhead is sharing, so do keep listening in.
Today we continue with chapter 4 and continue with the story we started yesterday of Jesus meeting a woman at the well. We finished with the words, God’s love is for everyone, even for me. Even for those who feel excluded for whatever reason… God’s love is for those people too.
At that time, because of the way the world worked, this woman was not expected to meet with Jesus. Her gender, race, beliefs, lifestyle were all potential dead-ends and closed doors. And yet God’s love goes through every single one and makes a face to face introduction and gives her a very interesting metaphor about living water. Something that will lead her to never thirst again. She’s intrigued and asks how can she get this water. She replies,
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
And Jesus tells her to “Go, call your husband and come back.”
I don’t know if you have ever watched the TV show ‘Only Connect’, where contestants have to try and find the link between seemingly unconnected things. At first glance these words come out of nowhere. But there is something more going on in the story yesterday that will help all of us to understand the story today.
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
She says, “Where’s the living water? What is this living water?” and Jesus says, “Okay. Let’s talk about your sex life.”
The first few times I read this story it definitely read like Jesus was changing the subject. But as I’ve read around this story a little bit I’ve come to learn that he’s actually showing her what this living water is. In other words, he is saying “It’s what you’ve been trying to find in men, but you haven’t found it.”
She’s known this longing for something in her life. She’s trying to find it in men.
So we pick up the story from today and I’ll read out the first 4 verses for us to hear today and share one more thing.
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
Now there are two ways to take this… It could be that she is impressed at his parlour trick. He worked out her story or he had heard her reputation… she was entertained and wanted to share it with others.
And I hadn’t thought of it this way until I heard someone share about it in the evening gathering at STC a few years back… and I can’t remember who to give credit to (apologies!)… Could she be saying… “Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done… and loves me anyway”?
“Come and see a man who knows my darkest moments, and still offers me this gift of forgiveness and reconciliation… peace with God and everlasting life. I’ve never met a man like this…”
Do you want to know how we know it is the second option?
Because verse 28… She left her water jar and went back into the town… the signal to us she accepted this gift… the image of her thirst and her former life was left there…
You see, when we meet with Jesus there will be great invitations and difficult conversations we need to have with God. For this lady it was an invitation to know God like she had never known him before. In a way that would bubble up and transform her from the inside out. However, Jesus had brought up the uncomfortable parts of her life that needed to be surrendered to him. For her it was her sex life. But it can be anything that we choose to make the supreme things in our life or are unhelpful. He met her at the well. She left her water jar. She became an evangelist for Jesus. Which means someone who talks about their faith with others and then invites them to embrace it for themselves.
They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
What a wonderful story of intrigue, invitation, transformation, and finally, multiplication.
We all are in a story like this. What could God be speaking to you about today? The invitation of Jesus? Is there something to surrender? Or is there someone to tell.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done… and loves me anyway”.
God thank you for this story. It’s a beautiful picture of the saving grace of God. It is a free gift to accept, not a wage to earn. It transforms us from the inside out. Help us with parts of our lives that you wish to drawn attention to. And finally, help us to tell our story to people who need to hear it. Of how great you are and what wonderful things you have done. Amen.
READING: John 4:27-38
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could this be the Messiah?’ They came out of the town and made their way towards him.
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’
But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’
Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’
‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, “It’s still four months until harvest”? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps” is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.’