The 3rd Sunday in Lent AD 2020
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
Rev. Kurt E. Reinhardt
So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” ( For Jews have no dealings 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 nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but 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 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.
I know that there is a lot of worry, anxiety and fear all around us and even at times within us in these troubled days. The empty shelves in the grocery stores leave you in no doubt about it, even as they can cause it to rise up within your own heart. Added to the concern that you might catch the virus that’s spreading across the world and get really sick or catch it and pass it along to someone else and make them really sick, you now have the somewhat worrisome care that you might run out of toilet paper.
My own mind I know at times runs through all the scenarios trying to solve their problems before they occur. From mentally counting how many chickens we still have in the freezer to holding on to the hope that my hens will start laying again soon, to pondering what people used before the invention of toilet paper. Yes, I’ve gone there. I’ve resisted counting up the toilet paper rolls and counting out sheets for people at the bathroom door, but I have checked out our supply and been thankful for that pre-pandemic trip to Costco.
Faith without question has had a good work out in the midst of all this worry and care, as I have had to press through it myself and encourage others in it with the truth of the loving care of our heavenly Father. A call to repentance? Yes, without question, this whole trial is a call to repentance from our Good God who does not want us to die in our sins but repent and live. Yes, He wants us to turn from trusting in ourselves and other things and trust in Him alone.
As our world in many ways is brought to a screeching halt by a virus, that is no where near as lethal as the plagues of days gone by, the false gods of our age are all being unveiled for the frauds that they are. Money? Science? Technology? Medicine? Political power? Yes, almighty God in His mercy has toppled all of these idols down with this microscopic virus and an empty toilet paper roll. Put not your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save! Yes, the warning cry of the psalmist rings out loud and clear in these troubled days.
The call to faith and trust in God, however, for us as His dear children, rings out even louder from His holy and precious Word today. You might wonder where it is in John’s account of Jesus’ meeting with this five husbanded Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well outside Sychar. You might wonder, because to be totally honest with you I must say that I wondered. Really Lord? I thought. Your people have a lot going on around them and even inside them in these troubled days - a lot worry, anxiety and fear and this is what you’ve got for me to give to them?
The problem of course was that I wasn’t listening carefully or well enough. When I finally stilled my mind and and heart before the Word, the truth practically leapt out at me. So Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” Wearied. Sitting. Thirsty. No, none of that stands out until you think about who it is who is wearied, sitting and thirsting. Thinking of the Son of Mary doing any of those things seems perfectly normal, but do they ever stand out when you realize that it is the Son of God doing them.
Here is a beautiful Word of comfort and strength for faith in these troubled days for us, as the Father sets His Son before our eyes today sitting wearied with thirst in our weakness. Not only has God’s almighty eternal Son become man, He has humbled Himself and hidden away His power and might to journey the road of our lives in the full frailty of our flesh. What the Lord wants you to know in this hour, beloved, is that this weariness and thirst point to the truth that the Lord has faced and passed through every trial and trouble, anxiety and fear, worry and care, that you ever have faced, will face or are facing.
Yes, todays, wearied, sitting, thirsting Jesus, leaves no doubt about the truth that Jesus gets it, no matter what you’re wrestling with, because He faced it for you, so that He could face it with you and see you through it. Your Good Shepherd has walked the sheep path through the valley of the shadow of death, beloved. He has known the fear of what lies hidden in the shadows and the anxiety of what lies in the darkness on the road ahead. His weariness points to it today, as His anxious bloody sweat in Gethsemane testifies to it.
Yes, beloved, Jesus really does get it. He gets you. He gets me. And so we have Friend, a Priest and a King who mercifully understands, which is no small part of the reason why He comes to us in His body and blood, that we might be comforted and strengthened in the truth that He really is with us to see us through all that we are facing. Yes, He is with us as our God who has faced all that we face, except without sin, that He might rescue and save us from it. In all that you’re wrestling with in this hour and will wrestle with in the days ahead, the Lord wants you to see Him sitting wearied by thirst at that well, that you might remember all that He has gone through and done to save you.
To highlight that truth He wants you to see Him sitting there wearied by thirst around the sixth hour, because that will draw your heart and mind to another sixth hour, where your Saviour was sitting somewhere else thirsting in weariness. Yes, beloved, it will draw your heart and mind to the cross. Just as Jesus allowed Himself to grow weary in thirst, so that He might meet the Samaritan woman at the well, so that He might save her, He allowed Himself to be seated on the cross in weariness and thirst so that He might meet you there to save you with His forgiveness.
Yes, beloved, there is a lot of worry, anxiety and fear all around us and even at times within us in these troubled days. But take heart, because the Lord is before you to be with you now and forever. There is nothing that can snatch you out of His hand. He is here for you and so repent! Turn from every other god, including your own strength, and fall into His arms and let Him carry you. Amen.