Sermons 2008
Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Lent 3C 2008 Exodus 17:1-7; John 4:5-42

Water. Water has always been one of the three most important elements of human survival: air, water, and food. Second in importance to air if ranked by how long one would live without it.

We don’t really have the fundamental importance of water brought home to us until we are in times and places where access to, and use of, water becomes highly restricted. Soldiers know of this first hand – they are taught water discipline in the earliest stages of their training. In jungle and desert alike, safe drinking water is something cherished and protected dearly. Especially in the two canteen a day Army in Vietnam of which I was a member for two years.

Here in the Northern Neck – and in other parts of the country this summer – it was brought home to us during the fierce summer’s drought how precious is our water. I heard increasing amount of dark murmurs against industrial plants in nearby Maryland for sapping the aquifer from which we draw most of our deep well drinking water. And not a few comments about Smurfit-Stone at West Point. And an unpleasant odor of sulfur compounds seems to be stronger at times.

I took a bucket into the shower with me and used the water to save selected shrubs and plantings. My daughter told me that many of her Atlanta friends hard done the same during the water restrictions there. And indeed, formerly water rich Southeastern States – Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee – became embroiled in a struggle over water rights. Answering a Georgian claim that its true border was along part of the Tennessee River, the Governor of Tennessee declared that his state would not hesitate to defend its borders.

And in the Far West water law is perhaps the most significant body of jurisprudence, especially as developer turn huge swathes of desert into green lawns and golf courses. The Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers no longer flow unbroken from source to mouth as exploding populations fulfill their demands for water.

In ancient Palestine as today, access to water made settlement possible. Moses found his life threatened by thirsty Hebrews who had drunk all their water. There are increasing numbers of predictions that future wars will be fought over water. Today especially a major issue between Palestinian and Israeli concerns access to the waters of the Jordan River.

Water is mentioned almost 800 times in the Bible. We should not be surprised that we find Jesus moving generally close to the See of Galilee and the Jordan River and the settlements and towns fed by its water table and aquifers and wells reaching down to life nourishing, life sustaining water.

And so the stage is set for the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well in the Samaritan city of Sychar. It’s an interesting situation. For his disciples two things were anomalous and difficult to accept. First was the fact that they were in Samaria, whose people were considered heretics beyond the pale of forgiveness or accommodation.

Second was their revered teacher, a famous Jewish rabbi, sitting alone with not only a woman, but a Samaritan woman. Gasp! How could this be? Violations of Jewish law and custom everywhere that day.

And they could not believe what they were hearing Jesus saying. Gasp! Gasp! He was offering the Good News to these.. these Samaritans, those people! He was actually offering the living waters of salvation to these worse than untouchables, the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth.

The more things change the more they remain the same. Too many who call themselves Christian leap to heap judgement on others who do not agree with them. Like his disciples that day in Samaritan Sychar. Quick, let’s put Jesus inside our fence and shut him up in our little box so he can’t reach his arms around people of whom we do not approve.

But the water of salvation flows where it will, and the Holy Spirit moves and shakes where it will. And the dear Lord loves us all. Drink deeply of the living water.


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