By Rev. Debbie Allen
Fruitland Park, FL
First, read John 4:5-29
I love to go to the beach, not for the sand or the sun or the people, but for the water. Quite frankly, I could sit on the shore in a chair and stare at the waves for hours and be perfectly content. If I cannot get to the ocean, lakes and rivers make excellent substitutes.
One of the amazing benefits of living in Fruitland Park is visiting the Warren Willis Camp and the Life Enrichment Center regularly to sit on the docks and stare at the water of Lake Griffin. For me, water is calming and restorative. It is life-giving to be able to engage the senses of sight and sound and smell and touch near water.
I love that water plays such a tremendous role in Scripture as witness to God’s relationship with humanity. Every time I officiate a baptism, I treasure the words of the liturgy that remind us of that witness: leading the people to freedom through the Red Sea, and later into the Promised Land through the Jordan River, how Jesus was nurtured in the water of a womb and baptized himself by John. And in today’s Scripture lesson we find Jesus connecting with a Samaritan woman over water.
We might be tempted to take for granted the action of turning on a faucet and having water, this life-giving liquid, be so easily accessible. In Jesus’ time, it was the women of the community who made the trek with large jugs to the well on the edge of town to provide water for themselves and their families. Most went in the cool of the morning or the early evening. From our passage today, this Samaritan woman is ostracized from the community because of her life choices and so she avoids the stares and gossip by going out for water in the heat of the day. This is where Jesus meets her. This is where Jesus was waiting for her.
And what Jesus offers her in this moment, is not simply water to quench her physical thirst, but living water to quench a spiritual thirst; water that will become a spring welling up to eternal life. We need water to survive; our bodies cannot live without it. The living water God offers us in the form of God’s presence and spirit is essential too; our spirits cannot live without it either. On this third Sunday of Lent, we do well to remember that God often takes the ordinary, routine things of our lives and can transform them into something we could never have imagined. We need to remember to seek that which feeds our soul, and find ways to stay connected to God and experience the life-giving water that God alone can offer to us.
1. What special meaning does water hold for you?
2. Where you do go to be restored and renewed?
3. How can you offer God’s living water to another?