O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Wanna share cups?
Wanna share cups?
Based on John 4:5-26
Preached on March 23, 2014
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Fellow baptized saints, (Drink the cup of water - and really enjoy it - like really smack your lips and make a refreshing sound - Ahhhh - so refreshing - you thirsty?) By now you've probably realized that Jesus is up to something with all of this water talk week after week. In fact, John records Jesus doing something significant with water for each of the first seven chapters of his Gospel. Chapter One - Jesus enters the water in Baptism. Chapter Two - Jesus changes the water into wine. Chapter Three - Jesus teaches Nicodemus to be born from above in the water of Baptism. Chapter Four - Jesus offers living water to the Samaritan woman. Chapter Five - Jesus heals a man in a pool of water. Chapter Six - Jesus walks on top of the water. And Chapter Seven - Jesus, standing in the Temple on the most important day of a high feast declares, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink."
Today, Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman about water. Now we could talk about how incredible it is that Jesus breaks down all the social boundaries, you know, Jews and Samaritans are enemies, Jewish men don't talk to random women by themselves, and an adulteress, you wouldn't want to be caught flirting with her - but this is not the point of the text. These are only pictures meant to heighten the reality that our holy God now in human flesh is in enemy territory, that He has put Himself at risk in our filth on purpose - and not just in Samaria with this adulteress woman, but with you and me. Yes with our sinfulness.
But, the real point of the text, the real thrust here is about the kingdom - about worship. And you guessed it, it has something to do with water. But it is lost in translation. Our English says "Jews have no dealings with Samaritans," but what it should say is "Jews do not have common vessels with Samaritans." They don't drink from the same cup. They don't have communion. They don't share their drinking vessels. Oh, a Jew would share with another Jew, but never with a Samaritan. To do so would make you ceremonially unclean. Mixed with unclean things. And that means you cannot worship, you cannot go to the Temple when you're ceremonially unclean. And you can't touch your loved ones either, or they too will become ceremonially unclean. Watch out Jesus, this water could get in the way of your worship.
But Jesus says to her, "Give me a drink." He wants to drink from her cup. He wants her to know that He will become unclean for her. That He will mix Himself with her sin. And that would be outrageous enough, but nobody is ready for what Jesus says in response to her protest.
She says, "You can't ask me for a drink! You're a Jew. Well, my dear, I'm God. Can God ask you for a drink? You shouldn't be worried that you're a Samaritan, or a woman, or an adulteress - you should be worried that you are human and I, the one speaking to you, am God. And what's more, if you realized it, you would be asking me for a drink. Jacob gave you this well, and its water keeps you alive for a time, but the gift I give is the Holy Spirit - my living water - and He keeps you alive forever.
What!? Much like Nicodemus last week, the woman is flabbergasted. Her disbelief is all that comes out. "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? She sounds exactly like Nicodemus, doesn't she? It is as if she said, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb?" Jesus replies to this woman the same way he spoke to Nicodemus. Water, water, water - Spirit. Whether it's the educated, "righteous" ruler of the Jews, or the adulterous Samaritan woman - Jesus is speaking to save. Speaking to give faith and life. Speaking to satisfy those dying of thirst.
How many times have you gone to the well? How badly do you long to make things right - do you thirst for righteousness? When will all these demands on you end? That nagging feeling that things aren't right, aren't finished, aren't satisfied? Haven't you done enough? Aren't you tired? No matter what you do, you can never abate your thirst, there is always something more, your mouth is always getting dry.
Because that is the trick. That the way into the kingdom, the way to worship God, the way to make things right is something you do. The moment you act on this trick you have lost all peace, you have put yourself underneath a load that will always get heavier, you have made yourself thirsty. For you cannot do it, not you, not Nicodemus, not the Samaritan woman.
But there is Jesus. Tired and thirsty - looking for you. I have a drink for you, a cup I'd like to share with you. And you need it. For whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Hear my Words. Have my Spirit, for He will keep you trusting - trusting in Me - even to eternal life. No, you cannot do it. But I can, and I will, and I promise that I do it for you. So drink. It will make you clean.
Jesus wants to make a trade. He wants to trade drinks. He wants to drink from your cup, that cup of guilt and shame and fear. That dirty cup of lies and doubts and death. He wants your cup, and He wants you to drink from His - His living water - His Holy Spirit who will move a faith in you that holds onto Him until you stand in His eternal kingdom. Who will wash and clean and purify you over and over again until you swim in His river of life. The Spirit of God quenches your thirst because you were made to have Him. So Jesus gives you His Holy Spirit for your unclean cup of sin, your cup that would have Him cut off from His Father.
Why? Why would He ever do that? "Because," as Jesus says, "the Father is seeking such people to worship Him." Your heavenly Father wants you to have His Holy Spirit so badly - that He would send His own Son to drink your cup. He wants you to worship Him in His Spirit and Word so badly, that He would send His perfect Son to take your punishment. Do you realize how incredible this gift is? Do you have any idea how good God is? The answer is No. We are only just beginning to worship God - to receive His gifts by faith - to have His holiness, His righteousness, His goodness wash over us - this living water that He promises is ours for all eternity.
What else is there to say? Really? What more could be said, than what the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, "Sir, Master, give me this water." In Jesus' name, Amen
Rev. Cameron Schnarr