Sermon — Pr Tony Sikora — Weary Ones at the Well
John 4:5-30, 39-52
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. John’s gospel account the fourth chapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
Departing from Judea and heading toward Galilee the Word made flesh travels through the region of Samaria. Rather than tread the eastern banks of the Jordan, One greater than Jacob pursues His lost love in a land where most Jews upon exiting shake the dust from their sandals. Such was their hatred for these spiritual half-breed samaritans.
Our Lord, however does not despise the dust of the earth, nor is He ashamed to be numbered with the fallen. His journey takes Him into and through the land of Samaria. He is weary, though not tired. He thirsts, but not for water. He sits by the well, but not to rest. Jesus is there for her. He is there for you. He is there for all. The disciples are sent away, that He alone may speak, that we may hear our Savior’s heart work His wonders near the pit. For we also are there. We are there in the land of dust and hunger and thirst and heat and sin and death. By the sweat of our brow have we labored in the heat of the day with nothing to show for our works. Yes, beloved, we are there with Jesus, there in the person of this Samaritan Woman.
She too is weary. She also thirsts. Her soul is unaware of its depravity, though her heart has its suspicions. It is the heat of the day, high noon, not a good time for women to be at the well. She comes at noon because she is an outcast, an adulteress, a woman with five husbands and the man she is with is not her husband. She lives in sin. She needs a Savior. Yes, beloved she also is weary and thirsty and in need of what this one who is greater than Jacob has to give. She needs living water, water only Jesus can impart. What she needs, we need lest we be left to draw from a well that leaves us thirsting again, and again and again; a well that can only get us through today, preserve this life, without providing for the next. Therefore, listen beloved, as the lover of your soul pours His watery Word into your ears. Listen and believe!
Listening to our text we hear the Savior seek after the woman’s heart. He asks for a drink, but His quest is not for a cup, He already has a cup from His Father from which He must drink, drink to the very dregs. His thirst can only be quenched by her faith. She does not know the gift of God, nor who it is that asks her. She, like so many of us at times and so many in our world remains fixed upon the water in the well, not realizing the Eternal Spring sitting before her. With eyes upon this life and this world she is forced to go back and forth, hither and yon, forced to gather what cannot truly satisfy the heart. Why? Because she does not know the gift of God.
How often does our behavior mimic the woman in our text? How often do we fill our hearts from a well which cannot quench our thirst, looking to this world for a life which only endures the moment? How often indeed do we allow sin to replace holiness, immorality to be a source of pleasure and stability? Is that not what the woman seeks after as she goes from man to man? Is that not what many these days pursue as they go from boyfriend to boyfriend, girlfriend to girlfriend, living together here, having children there, clasping a life which is apart from the Lord, bound to a pit which cannot satisfy thirsting souls? Is that not what many Christians chase after as they move from one “spiritual” fad to the next, nursing their soul with an emotional, sentimental, purpose driven concoction of their own? We too have suffered the fate of this woman. We have been with too many husbands. We’ve betrothed ourselves to the world’s morality accepting society’s standards as our own. We’ve allowed these false bridegrooms to serve as our head and lead us this way and that without ever providing for our deepest needs. They promise us life, but they give us torment. They promise us freedom, but they bind us to death. They promise us fun, we end up ashamed of who we’ve become. Sin ruins lives, poisons wells, and dries up life. We become weary, tired, thirsty. We need a drink, if only we knew the gift of God, the man sitting before us.
Beloved, do you know the gift of God? He journeys into your land, your world, to meet you and offer you living water. “Give me a drink!” He says. It’s not water He’s after. It’s you, your heart, your salvation. These are the words of your true bridegroom, the one who can deliver on His promises. For on another day it was at the sixth hour, when the sun should have been at its highest, that the sun paid homage to Jacob’s God. Darkness covered the land from the sixth through the ninth hour. And from the beams of that hallowed tree, the weakness and folly of God thirsted once more. Again, it was not water he longed for. It was your salvation. This is the gift of God hung upon the beams of death for His bride, for you and me and the world. Knowing all that we’ve ever done, He takes the cross upon His shoulders, bears the consequences of our sins, suffers the death we deserved. He drinks His Father’s cup, the cup of wrath, the cup of judgment. He drinks it in our place so that we may drink from another cup. He pours out His blood that we may be bathed in holy water. He cries, “It is Finished!” that we may hear the forgiveness of our sins. He is the faithful bridegroom. Unlike those pretending to be our hearts desire, Jesus does not forsake us. He does not shack up with us for fun. He’s not in it for Himself. His commitment to our salvation is sealed with holy blood. His devotion joyfully accepts the cross. He does what Adam did not do, He dies for His betrothed! His Love is preached in His death. His strength is revealed in His weakness. His power is made known in His humility. His heart is proclaimed in suffering.
“I thirst” he says. Indeed He thirsts, for this woman, for you, me and the entire world. Give Him a drink beloved. Surrender your heart. Repent and pour into His ears the confession of your sins. Forsake the many drinks of this world, drinks which cannot slake the soul. And draw living water from the eternal spring of the Son’s heart.
The woman supposes that Jesus has nothing to draw with, no means of gathering to Himself. But this Jesus promises to draw all peoples to Himself when He is lifted up. He and His cross are His well and from His hallowed side pours blood and water upon the earth, upon His church. “Believe me, Woman,” Jesus says. He calls for faith. Through water and the Word Jesus gives the gift of God to all who believe. Through bread and wine, that gift is hidden for only the eyes of faith to behold. Through preaching, teaching, reading, and learning God’s Word the Spirit of the Lord, calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies and keeps the whole Christian church on earth. He has the means with which to draw your heart. Repentance and faith are the way to receive the gift of God. It is the gift which your Jesus longs to give you as He forgives your sins, nurses your souls, and nourishes your heart. It is the gift for which He offered up His life into death and was raised again on the third day.
Beloved in the Lord, the weary one sits by the well this morning seeking after weary souls. He thirsts, but not for water. His thirsts is to quench our thirst. Listen and believe the Words of this Galilean. Are you wearied by your sins? Return to the promises first spoken at the font. He is there for you. Are you discouraged by the cross you bear? Look to this cross, hear Him as He pleas for your mercy. He is there for you. Does your soul hunger and thirst for the holy, for God? Rejoice! Your bridegroom prepares a feast! He is there for you, there in body and blood, there to forgive, restore, encourage and uphold until your final days. He does not despise anyone, nor is He ashamed to be called your God and your Savior. His love is for sinners. His love is for you. Listen! And believe! Drink deeply of the cool and refreshing Word of the Gospel! Allow your heart to be drawn by His cross. Stand beneath His sign of love. Lift up your heads and open your mouths as He showers His righteousness into your heart. Drink beloved! Drink deeply! Drink of Him unto everlasting life. For now you know the gift of God and who it is who asks you for a drink. Listen! And believe! AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heat and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!