“All who are thirsty come”

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1

The eye-witness account by the apostle John (and also of a disciple named Philip) relates the true narrative of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. jacobs-well

 The well and the field surrounding it were gifts from Jacob to Joseph.  (And you will remember Joseph. He is the one who received good gifts from his father ~a coat ~ and bad treatment from his brothers.) I have no doubt that the well was, pun intended, well-known to many who traveled though the area. 

This oasis would be on the minds of those seeking to quench their thirst, thirst brought about by the day’s relentless heat.  John’s Gospel account tells us that as Jesus was traveling from one place to another he became tired and thirsty. He stopped outside the town of Sychar in the region of Samaria to rest at the well.

 As Jesus sat down on the edge of the well he told his disciples to go and get some food in the nearby town. Being midday the sun was directly overhead and the heat was stifling. The group was thirsty and hungry from their long walk.

Jesus had no means of retrieving the water from the well. Imagine someone being even thirstier when they know that water is just out of reach.

 As Jesus sits resting a woman from the town of Sychar approaches the well carrying her clay jar (I am assuming some things here.).  The woman comes to the well in the middle of the day because, I suspect, no one else will be there during the hottest part of the day. She has her reasons for not wanting to be around the other women of the town:  she sleeps around.

From John’s Gospel account Chapter 4:

 Jesus spoke to her.

“Give me a drink,” he said (The disciples had gone off into town to buy food.)

“What!” said the Samaritan woman.  “You, a Jew, asking for a drink from me, a woman, and a Samaritan at that?” (Jews, you see, don’t have dealing with Samaritans.)

“If only you’d known God’s gift, “replied Jesus, “and who it is that’s saying to you give me a drink,” you’d have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

“But sir, replied the woman, “you haven’t got a bucket! And the well’s deep! So how are you thinking of getting living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, with his sons and animals?”

“Everyone who drinks this water, Jesus replied, “will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I’ll give them won’t ever be thirsty again. No: the water will become a spring of water welling up to the life of God’s new age.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “give me this water!  Then I won’t be thirsty anymore, and I won’t have to come here to draw from the well.”

“Well, then, said Jesus to the woman, “go and call your husband and come here.”

“I haven’t got a husband,” replied the woman.

“You’re telling me you haven’t got a husband!” replied Jesus.  The fact is, you’ve had five husbands, and the one you’ve got now isn’t your husband.  You were speaking the truth!”

“Well, sir, replied the woman, “I can see that you’re a prophet…Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain.  And you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

“Believe me, woman, replied Jesus, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you don’t know.  We worship what we do know; Salvation, you see, is indeed from the Jews.  But the time is coming ~ indeed, it’s here already! ~ when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and in truth.  Yes:  that’s the kind of worshippers the father is looking for.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”

“I know that Messiah is coming,” said the woman, “the one they call ‘the anointed.’  When he comes, he’ll tell us everything.”

“I’m the one ~ the one speaking to you right now, “said Jesus.

Just then Jesus’ disciples came up. They were astonished that he was talking with a woman; but nobody said, “What did you want?” or “Why were you talking with her?”  So the woman left her water-jar, went into town, and spoke to the people.

“Come on! She said. “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did!  You don’t think he can be the Messiah do you?”

So they left the town and were coming out to him.

Meanwhile,, the disciples were nagging him, “Come on, Rabbi!” they were saying. “You must have something to eat!”

“I’ve got food to eat that you know nothing about, he said.

“Nobody’s brought him anything to eat, have they?” said the disciples to one another.

“My food,” replied Jesus, “is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to finish his work!  Don’t you have a saying, ‘Another four months, then comes harvest?” Well, let me tell you raise your eyes and see!  The fields are white!  It’s harvest time already!  The reaper earns his pay, and gather crops for the life of God’s coming age, so that sower and reaper can celebrate together.  This is where that saying comes true. ‘One sows, another reaps,’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t work for.  Others did the hard work, and you’ve come into the results.”

Several Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus because of what the woman sad in evidence about him: “He told me everything I did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked to stay with them.  And he stayed there two days.

Many more believed because of what he said.

“We believe, too,” they said to the woman, “but it’s no longer because of what you told us.  We’ve hear him ourselves!  We know that he really is the one! He’s the savior of the world!”

 This passage from John’s account thrills me every time I read it.  The passage overflows with Kingdom of God thirst quenchers.

Is it me or is there a bit of snark in the woman’s reply to Jesus’ request for a drink?

“But sir, replied the woman, “you haven’t got a bucket! And the well’s deep! So how are you thinking of getting living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, with his sons and animals?”

Jesus doesn’t respond to the snark or try to pull rank.  He speaks directly to the Samaritan woman who is at the well, thirsty herself:

“Everyone who drinks this water, Jesus replied, “will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I’ll give them won’t ever be thirsty again. No: the water will become a spring of water welling up to the life of God’s new age.”

The woman, maybe with a little more snark, says, “OK, give me some of that! water and I won’t have to come back in the middle of the day (to avoid the gossiping women).”  (my unauthorized color commentary)

Now Jesus pulls rank:  “Go get your husband(s).”

 “Oops, I’ve pushed this guy too far!” the woman thought. (more unauthorized color commentary from the bleachers)

The woman, like most of us, wanted to deflect any accounting of her sinful life.  She became polemical and quickly changed the subject.  She pressed Jesus about a heated religious and geopolitical issue of the day – our mountain or yours, our religion or yours.

Jesus poured out some fresh Kingdom of God water:

“Believe me, woman, replied Jesus, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you don’t know.  We worship what we do know; Salvation, you see, is indeed from the Jews.  But the time is coming ~ indeed, it’s here already! ~ when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and in truth.  Yes:  that’s the kind of worshippers the father is looking for.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”

Here Jesus reminds the woman of the “truth” (the non-denial) she spoke about herself earlier and about the spirit who is to come so that all who believe can worship the One True God in Spirit and in Truth.  The rivers of living water are beginning to flow freely.  The extremely costly water bill will be paid in full by Jesus.

Now, what did the disciples think when they returned to the well and found Jesus talking to a woman, A Samaritan woman, a well-known (pun intended again) harlot Samaritan woman?  Nobody asked.  “Zip your lip, Peter!”

Jesus begins to talk about harvest time as he sees the Samaritans come running out to see what the woman was talking about.  The fact that the woman, a harlot, told them that Jesus told her everything she had done, made a impression on the town gossipers and on the wives whose husbands had betrayed them with her. It was no easy thing to tell the people of the town her ‘secrets’ but Jesus was like no other.  “Come and see” she told them.

Jesus:  “Well, let me tell you raise your eyes and see!  The fields are white!  It’s harvest time already!  The reaper earns his pay, and gather crops for the life of God’s coming age, so that sower and reaper can celebrate together.  This is where that saying comes true. ‘One sows, another reaps,’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t work for.  Others did the hard work, and you’ve come into the results.””

Fast forward:  the ‘anointed one’ has been crucified.  The resurrection has occurred.  Jesus meets with his disciples and at least 120 people have seen him.  Jesus breathes on the assembled disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit.  Jesus ascends to the Father. The Spirit, in the form of wind and fire, descends upon the praying assembly of eye witnesses.

 All of Jerusalem is now afire with the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God come to earth. Thousands believe the words of the apostles, of Peter and John and the others. The response:   “Brothers, what must we do?”   Peter: “Turn back ~ Be baptized every single one of you ~ in the name of Jesus the Messiah, so that your sins can be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the holy spirit.  The promise for you and your children, and for everyone who is far away, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

At this point the religious SuperPac of Pharisees did NOT like the media message:  Jesus, the Messiah-King, the “King of the Jews”, whom they had crucified, was raised from the dead!  This had to be stopped or they would lose their powerful standing. (sounds familiar ~ today’s political world)

Persecutions began in full fury.  And, a different unequivocal message had to be sent out to counter the Truth. 

The message was sent via Stephen. Stephen, a man said to be full of the grace and power had testified to the Facts of Jesus before the Super Pac. He held nothing back. So, he was quickly shut up by being stoned to death.  His last words:  “Lord, don’t let this sin stand against them.” Saul, the soon-to-be Paul of missionary fame, was the eyewitness of Stephen’s martyrdom.

Immediately after Stephen’s death a Christian Diaspora began.  Christians, except for most of the apostles, fled Jerusalem. Philip goes to Samaria (see The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 8).

The word and the living water gets around. Remember Samaria?

“Philip went off to a town in Samaria and announced the Messiah to them.  The crowds, acting as one, clung to what Philip was saying, as they heard him and saw the signs he performed.  For unclean spirits came out of many of them and several who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that town.”

Rivers of living water” began streaming throughout the world ~ God’s Kingdom on earth.  Souls are being replenished with waters from the deep well cut out of the Solid Rock . Do you see why I find this Samaritan woman’s story so brimful of Kingdom Thirst quenchers?

“Well, let me tell you raise your eyes and see!  The fields are white!  It’s harvest time already!  The reaper earns his pay, and gather crops for the life of God’s coming age, so that sower and reaper can celebrate together.  This is where that saying comes true. ‘One sows, another reaps,’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t work for.  Others did the hard work, and you’ve come into the results.””

As Christians we must “Come into the results!” The message of the Kingdom of God is inclusive:  it is for Jews and Greeks, men, and women ~ for anyone who receives him.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”  (John 7:37)

One last thought:  Jesus was poor.  As the above story reveals, his poverty, his hunger did not overcome him or preoccupy him.  He, instead, before all else, willed to do the will of the One who sent him.  That was his food and drink.  That was enough.

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