Where have you found living water?

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by Louise Johnson / March 26, 2014

I was moved by our worship service last Sunday.  It featured a biblical character who was anything but holy.  She is the infamous “Woman at the Well,” whose checkered past included 5 husbands and a sixth man who was not her husband. Modern media would have a heyday with her story!  Real housewives of Samaria?  This woman had an amazing encounter with Jesus.  Here was a man who knew her past, yet he could see beyond her circumstances.  He treated her with respect, as a person of value. She had a “come to Jesus meeting” with…um…Jesus.  He first told her who he was – Israel’s long awaited Messiah – the one sent from God with living water able to quench the soul’s thirst.  This, in turn, revealed something deep and profound about who she was.  Her soul was indeed thirsty, and here was a long, tall drink of living water.  She drank.  It changed her life.  It made her new.  The living water that was Christ flooded her life with grace, joy, and peace.  She did not keep this good news to herself.  Instead she shared it with her whole village, becoming the most effective evangelist in all of John’s gospel.  What a story!

But that was not the most moving part of worship.  What was truly inspiring were the three people (Loraine Huchler, Lynn Dorsey, and Tom Baker) who shared how their own faith was ignited and fanned into a flame. It is powerful to hear real life stories of real people that you know, testifying in real time to the real difference Jesus still makes.  Living water, overflowing, bringing health and healing, purpose and meaning, hope and a fresh perspective.  Living water…where have you seen it bubbling up?  What’s your story?

2018-04-14T11:37:46+00:00March 26th, 2014|Blog--Lent, Pastor's Blog|

4 Comments

  1. Bob Sinner March 26, 2014 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    How Can a Christian Share the Faith?
    The common theme in church this week was, of course, LOVE. Love is the gift of God.
    So why do we keep falling prey to fear, to hate, even among God’s Own peoples? When I think about witnessing; about sharing the faith, I keep wondering why the worshippers of the great one God have so much trouble accepting each other. Why we often abuse or even kill one another. Is that how Christ calls me to witness? I think not.
    As a historian and a teacher I can intellectually understand why Christians, Muslims and Jews cannot achieve a common goal. After all, heresy is always the most dangerous threat to any orthodoxy. Near believers are always more suspect than nonbelievers. But why would God want us to react this way. I don’t believe he/she would.
    Thinking on this and my involvement with PCOL’s Peacemaking Committee brings me back to the basic selfish tendencies of that frightened creature we call “homo sapiens.” People fear what they don’t understand. We often fall prey to our own “psychology of enmity,” creating our own demons. As reporter/ author Sam Keen presented so effectively in his book and television series “Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination,” we construct our own “Enemies”:

    “How to Create an Enemy” by Sam Keen (#1)
    Truth in every word – dehumanizing the enemy is a very dangerous game.
    Start with an empty canvas
    Sketch in broad outline the forms of
    men, women, and children.

    Dip into the unconsciousness well of your own
    disowned darkness
    with a wide brush and
    strain the strangers with the sinister hue
    of the shadow.

    Trace onto the face of the enemy the greed,
    hatred, carelessness you dare not claim as
    your own.

    Obscure the sweet individuality of each face.
    Erase all hints of the myriad loves, hopes,
    fears that play through the kaleidoscope of
    every infinite heart.

    Twist the smile until it forms the downward
    arc of cruelty.

    Strip flesh from bone until only the
    abstract skeleton of death remains.

    Exaggerate each feature until man is
    metamorphasized into beast, vermin, insect.

    Fill in the background with malignant
    figures from ancient nightmares – devils,
    demons, myrmidons of evil.

    When your icon of the enemy is complete
    you will be able to kill without guilt,
    slaughter without shame.

    The thing you destroy will have become
    merely an enemy of God, an impediment
    to the sacred dialectic of history.

    “Do we Christians and Muslims and Jews worship the same God?” (#2)
    Some answers came up on a discussion on CNN:
    “The “same God” question is one theologians have hammered at for as long as there have been enough religions for the query to make sense.
    The question is hardly academic, though. In fact, a number of politicians, religious leaders and scholars have expressed hope in recent years that a convincing answer on the God question might dampen the violence committed in His name.
    Last year, for example, Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf edited a book titled “Do We Worship the Same God? Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue.”
    In the introduction, Volf explained why the title question matters:
    “To ask: ‘Do we have a common God?’ is, among other things, to worry: ‘Can we live together?’ That’s why whether or not a given community worships the same god as does another community has always been a crucial cultural and political question and not just a theological one.” …
    In 1076, Pope Gregory VII wrote this to a Muslim leader: “We believe in and confess one God, admittedly, in a different way…”
    But like many other religious leaders on all sides of the argument, Gregory insisted that his version of the Almighty is the one whom the others are unknowingly and incompletely worshiping.
    A less exclusivist set of religions might shrug off the differences. But all three claim to have the only “True Faith.”
    So do all three faiths actually worship the same deity, whether they call him God or Allah or Adonai?
    God only knows.”

    Yes, only God Knows and I pray to him every day, Bob Sinner

    1. Sam Keen, Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination, Harper & Row,
    Publishers; 1991

    2. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/01/do-christians-muslims-and-jews-worship-the-same-god/

  2. jeffvamos March 27, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    I appreciate Bob’s reflections here…thanks!

    I have to say that I’ve experienced my bucket being filled whenever I’ve been in a context in which I must share who I really am with others, in an environment in which knowing and being known seems to happen in the spirit of God. It’s also been the case that when this happens – God is not even named.. So – I wouldn’t say I’ve either received or shared faith in the somewhat superficial way we often imagine. The drive-by, “who’s your Lord and Savior” conversation. No. I’ve found in circumstances when people slowed down, divested themselves of distraction, and somehow found a true sense of community, Christ emerged in the to-and-fro, in the sharing of the “disowned darkness,” as well as the rejoiced-in delight of being frail and human together. It’s often in that way I’ve known most intimately the spirit of God and – perhaps – have been able to share it.

    I spoke in a recent sermon about a “T-Group” that I experienced many years ago. This was indeed my experience. As if the outer layers of my persona – the mask I show to the world – were peeled away in that week-long experience, which consisted simply of one room, where 12 people simply talked all day. For a week. After a while, there was a feeling of being vulnerable, exposed – not only to other human begins, but to my own fears, inadequacies, and weaknesses. But instead of judgment, there came love. It was a most profound experience, an experience of what Rudolph Otto calls the “mysterium tremendum.” The experience of the holy. All simply through the conscious and careful being together of human beings, through which people really shared their lives. There was Christ indeed, filling our buckets with living water.

    I reflect about how I’ve also often tasted that through the life of the church – perhaps not as deep a drink, all at once. But in definite ways, and ways that keep my bucket filled. Just looking out among the gathered faithful on a Sunday morning. “Ah, that’s a nice cool drink. We’re all here.” In the ways people love and serve each other here. In the counter-cultural way we are together in the spirit of Christ. In the creativity that the spirit brings when people share their lives, give of themselves and there time and treasure. That is to me living water. There is Christ.

  3. Jerry Luckie March 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    I so appreciated worship on Sunday and this blog about the woman at the well. Perhaps that is what is most striking about Christ’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well is that Jesus breaks throug the barriers: He saw beyond her culture, her gender and her string of broken relationships. He saw a woman who was worth dying for and that would bind her heart to His, all her heart. I love the thought of her running to tell the others. Jesus treats us as individuals, accepting us with love and compassion.

    It was so meaningful to hear Loraine, Lynn and Tom share pieces of their faith stories. When we think about evangelism, as Louise commented previously, it scares us off. But taking our masks off as Jeff recounts, and speaking the truth in love takes vulnerability and is a great gift we have to give each other. Telling our stories is a mirror of our souls and allows us to see life from a different perspective. Sharing how to experience God’s presence is meaningful and provides a lense into God’s amazing grace and love for each of us. And it seems to me that is sharing the true Living Water so no one will be thirsty again.

  4. John MacDonald March 25, 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Louise – Your blog only used the pronoun “I” once. Then you wrote about others. You have the essence of Christianity. Remove ego. Direct your thoughts towards “thou” (God) and “you” (your neighbor). That is the living water. Simple.

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