manicure modern lives so that we don't have to be inconvenienced. We manicure our modern lives so that we don't have to do certain things. And we manicure our modern lives so that we don't have to cross paths with certain types of people. We tend to stick very close to our own people, however it is we describe our own people. That might be our friends; that might be our family; that might be our socio-economic group; that might be people who belong to a club or people who go to a school or that sort of thing. Point is, we live very manicured lives. And when we read the scriptures, especially when we read the gospels, what we discover is that Jesus is constantly taking people from the fringes of society and placing them right at the center of the gospel. And if I'm honest with myself, I discovered that many of the people in the gospels would not naturally cross my path because of the way I manicured my life. And so if I'm going to live the gospels, I have to un-manicure my life in certain ways. And more importantly, I actually have to go searching for the people that god wants me to interact with for my sake and for their sake, probably more my sake than their sake. In today's gospel, this Sunday's gospel, we see a perfect example of this. And it's not a short reading this week. So I'm going to go through it and we'll make points as we go through it rather than doing the reading and then coming back. So Jesus came to the city of Samaria near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. And so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. So this is the setup, right. This is the setup of the story, the setup of the reading. And what's the takeaway? Takeaway could be Jesus was thirsty, so he stopped by the well. But the author of John's gospel is trying to tell us much more than that. He said, so he came to the city of Samaria. Okay, so what's the [reader?] telling us? It is a particular place, at a particular time, because that city wasn't always called that. So he came to a particular place at a particular time. And to give a little bit more detail, he says the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. And to give even more certain, he says, Jacob's well was there. What is the author of John's gospel trying to do here, trying to do what all the gospels do, and that is, place Jesus as a particular person in a paricular place at a particular time in history. Why? Because from the very beginning, one of the great challenges, one of the great criticisms has been, this Jesus guy, figment of Christian imagination. We dreamt him up, or he's like a mythical figure but didn't really exist, or he's like an archetypal figure but he didn't really exist, or this sort of people like Jesus is in all sorts of cultures. And over time, and certainly in modern times, the pressure on this is more and more. But what we see over and over again through out the scriptures and through other historical documents, Christian historical documents and non-Christian historical documents, whereas a person we know as Jesus, lived. He actually lived. He actually walked this Earth at a particular place, at a particular time. And so very often when we see the setups of these readings, we think, "Oh, yeah. Jesus is thirsty." But the author is actually giving us much more than that. But also, yes, Jesus is thirsty. There came a woman of Samaria, to draw water. And 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 you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Okay, so interestingly, the woman is enforcing the prejudice. So the Jews had this prejudice against the Samaritans, right? They didn't have any dealings with the Samaritans. So usually, it would be the Jew enforcing the prejudice, who would stay away from the Samaritan and would have nothing to do with the Samaritan, wouldn't talk with them, wouldn't interact, nothing. But actually what we have in this case is the woman enforcing the prejudice which is being committed against her, on herself. Because she's perplexed, right? Because the prejudice has been there so long, so she's perplexed. 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-- it's so human, right? It's just so human. She said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with. The well is deep. Where do you get that living water?" She's basically saying, "What, do you think I'm a food? You've got nothing to draw the water out of the well with. The water is very, very deep. Where are you going to get this living water from?" Very practical, right? Very human. Then she goes further, right? "Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?" Again, what's she doing? She is placing this situation in history. And Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water I shall give, will never thirst. The water that I shall give will become in you a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Who doesn't want that? Who doesn't want that? Who doesn't want to never be thirsty again? However it is you define your thirst, whatever your thirst is at this moment in your life-- your thirst could be many things. It could be many things. It could be a physical thirst, could be emotional thirst, could be an intellectual thirst, could be a spiritual thirst, could be a psychological thirst, could be anything. But whatever your thirst is, isn't that our desire, to never have that thirst again? And do we believe that that is possible? In this life, I think we know that it isn't. And now we come to the reality that we spend so little time thinking about the next life. But the woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw so she's still in the practical realm, right? She's like yeah, "I got to haul myself out here every day to this well to get water to take it back home. Not I'm only thirsty but I'm tired and I'm sick of coming out here to the well and that's a lot of work. So yeah, give me this water," she says to him, "so that I may not thirst," but also so doesn't have to come and draw any more from the well.
And 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 him you are with now is not your husband. This you said truly." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you're a great prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
And Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither 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 now is here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
What's Jesus saying? Everything is about to change. Everything is about change. In fact, he's saying everything is changing right now. You are at a moment in history-- he's saying to this woman, "You are at a moment in history. You have no idea the magnitude of this moment in history. Everything is changing right now and it's changing right now because I am who I say I am."
The woman said to him, "I know the Messiah is coming, he who is called the Christ. When he comes, he will show us all things." And Jesus said to her, "I who you speak with I'm he." One of the very rare instances in the scriptures where Jesus just says it to somebody, where Jesus says, "Yes, I am the messiah. I am the Christ. I am the game changer. I am the one everyone's been waiting for." He just says it to her.
Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman but none said, "What do wish or why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar and went away into the city and said to the people, "Come. See the man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" So what does she do? She encounters Jesus. She has this conversation. She has this experience of him. And what is her initial reaction? Is to share the good news. To share the good news. And how often do we hold onto the good news? How stingy are we with sharing the good news very often in our lives when God works powerfully?
So the people went out of the city and they came to see him. Meanwhile, the disciples besought him saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat which you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him food?" What do we see here? We see the disciples, like the Samaritan woman, they're stuck in this very world-bound practical reality. And Jesus is saying to them, "Hey guys, I've got food." And they're saying, "Well, who gave him the food? I mean, we went into the city to get him and then we come back and he says he's got food. Where did he get the food from? Who gave him the food?" And Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work."
All right, if that was your food, how hungry would you be? Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of God and the work he sent me to accomplish." Okay? If your food was to do the will of God and the mission he has sent you in this world to accomplish, how full or empty would you be? "Do you not say there are yet four months then come the harvest? I tell you, lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already ripe for harvest. He who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit for eternal life. So the sower and reaper will rejoice together." Many Samaritans from the city believed on 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.
Constantly searching for God's presence in our work. And at first, the Samaritan woman doesn't recognize the presence of God. She doesn't recognize the presence of God in Jesus. Once she recognizes him what does she want to do? She wants to share the presence of God with everyone she knows. And then what do they want to do? They say, "Stay with us." they beg him to stay.
When is the last time you asked God to stay with you in a situation? When is the last you begged God to stay with you in a situation? And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words, the woman's word, that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and we know that this indeed is the savior of the world." Indeed he's the savior of the world. But we live manicured lives.
With manicured lives, there's no room in our lives for the Samaritan woman. There's no room in our lives for Lazarus. There's no room in our lives for the blind man. We need to go out and meet them. They are not just going to cross our path. Jesus is constantly taking from the fringes of society and placing them at the center of the gospel and saying, "This is where the center of our lives should be."