March 15, 2020 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Verse: John 4:15–4:26
Christ Lutheran Church
March 15, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever should drink of the water which I will give him will never thirst again; but the water which I will give him will become a spring of water welling up unto eternal life."
The woman said to him, "Sir! Give me this water so that I will not thirst, nor come here to draw water."
Jesus said to her, "Go! Summon your husband and bring him here. The woman answered and said to him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "you have spoken well in saying that you have no husband; for you have had five husbands; and he whom 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 Jerusalem is the place where one must worship God."
Jesus said to her, "Woman! Believe me that 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 do know for salvation is of the Jews.
But, the hour is coming and now is here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth. For God seeks such to worship him. God is a spirit and those who worship him must worship him in Spirit and Truth."
The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I am. The one who is talking to you." (John 4:15-26)
In today’s gospel the main characters are talking past each other. They use the same words but mean something different by them.
When Jesus said he would give the woman water he was talking about the cross. She was talking about wells and buckets.
When Jesus said to the disciples that he had food they were unaware of they thought someone had fed him lunch. But Jesus meant doing the will of his Father which was his meat and drink – may it be ours as well!
In the words of the hymn:
“Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.”
Today’s gospel is a deep well of Living Water from which many sermons could be drawn; but for now let us settle on one word only, the word “HERE”.
In V. 15 the woman says to Jesus, "Sir! Give me this water so that I will not thirst, nor come HERE to draw water." Later he tells the woman to summon her husband and bring him HERE.
What does the Lord mean by HERE? He means himself.
By today’s gospel Jesus redirects us to the one place where God can be rightly worshiped; and where his grace can be found to help in time of need.
But we don’t connect with Jesus simply in our thoughts or emotions, instead he established the church, the Word and Sacraments; the rituals and practices by which we enter into intimacy with the Maker and Monarch and Savior of all.
This is part of what feels so strange about the sterile arrangements that we must endure for a time; because to become intimate with our Lord in Holy Communion also involves a certain intimacy with one another. To sit in close proximity. To kneel elbow to elbow at his rail. To speak face to face, shake hands and embrace one another as a sign of the warm love that Christ extends to us.
That warm afterglow that we all experience for a few blessed moments immediately following worship is not just social conviviality! But the running over of our cups with Christian gladness. No one has to order it or command it, it just happens – and one would be hard pressed to try to stop it.
But we should be careful to note that “HERE” does necessarily mean a particular building. Wherever the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and the Sacraments administered according to the gospel – there the church is. There Jesus is. There is “HERE”.
When Israel was making her way from the slavery of Egypt to the Land of Promise she stopped at a place called Rephidim. But there was no water there. And so the people rebelled against Moses. They cursed him for leading them out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness of thirst.
We all know what happened from today’s Old Testament lection. The LORD told Moses to take the wooden staff he had used to turn the water of the Nile River into blood. To strike the Rock at Horeb with it; and water would gush from that Rock as though it were a mighty river. A flood of Living Water would rush out to quench the thirst of his congregation smack in the middle of the desert.
The water gushed.
The people drank.
And all was well again.
But do notice that in V. 1 of our Old Testament reading that Israel is called “congregation”. This assembly was not a political movement, but the church in the Old Testament. It was a prophecy of this congregation that we are sitting in now all snug and secure and at rest in Christ.
The Staff that Moses carried was a Sign of the cross which was still 14 centuries in the future.
And the Rock … That Rock was Christ/
“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
He is the Rock of Ages. The Firm Foundation on which you can build your house so that it wells up into eternal life, and you will never thirst again.
Unlike the Congregation of Israel, Christ Lutheran Church has never worshiped in the barren wilderness, but has always enjoyed her communal intimacy with Jesus in luxurious surroundings. It was true of our old sanctuary, and of this one as well whose future is now in question.
And so fix firmly in your frontal lobe that wherever God’s people assemble for the Word and Sacraments there is Church. There is the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise, “I in the midst of them.” There is HERE.
Also fix this firmly in your mind, that all the things that Jesus said and did for our salvation are embraced in Christian liturgy. In the Holy Communion we celebrate HERE. All else that the church does: instruction, aid to the needy, visitation of the sick either leads HERE, or proceeds from HERE. But HERE is the place we want to be. The Blessed Sacrament is our Polaris. Our Northern Star that. like a powerful magnet, draws us home to God.
And so lift up your hearts; lift them up the Lord. Amen.