Sunday, August 06, 2023

Isaiah 55:1; John 4:7-45; The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost; August 6, 2023;

Isaiah 55:1; John 4:7-45; The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost; August 6, 2023;

Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MN;
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1, ESV)
Grace and Peace to you from Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

There is no getting around it, life is hard. Oh, I know, we don’t always think so, but it is true. It’s not just church things that make it hard, family things, money things, time things, work things, retirement things (that’s not working things), all things. We’d like life to be easy, without stress and without worry. There are good days when we relax and enjoy the people and world around us, but usually they are few and far between. Life is hard. We want it to be different.

Jesus dealt with that kind of trouble. He called it thirst.

Jesus was sitting at a famous well in the town of Sychar in Samaria. A Samarian woman came to draw water in the heat of the day. That was unusual, most people would draw water in the cool of the night. Jesus knew who she was and what she was about. He said, “Give me a drink.” She was set back, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”

Jesus, knowing her true thirst replied. “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.”

She was confused, “You have nothing to draw water, the well is deep. Where will you get that?”
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
“I want that water,” she said, “so I don’t have to daily draw water in the heat of the day, and not be thirsty.”

Our Lord seemingly changes the subject. “Go get your husband.”

“Don’t have one.” she said curtly.

“Yep, in fact you have had five, and the guy you’re with now isn’t your husband.”

He gets to the heart of the matter. Her guilt and sin have brought her to the well in the heat, to avoid contact with the other people in her town. Her sin and shame have brought about a thirst that can’t be quenched.

Life is hard, but we make it harder. That’s what sin does. It destroys relationships. Her relationship with the people of Sychar is strained. She wants to be able to come to the well at any time of the day, her thirst for things to be different will never end, without what Jesus has to offer.

Everybody knows this thirst. Our plans fall apart. Our loved ones die. We must interact with people who seem to be wandering around without a clue. Hostility reigns in the world. From customers hassling servers, and neighbors not being good neighbors. Not to mention the growing hostility to Christians who confess biblical truth.

We are especially thirsty when it comes to our families. We grieve over our children having to learn life lessons on their own, because they don’t listen to our advice. Our spouse, who God has called us to love unconditionally, at times, makes us very thirsty.

We are thirsty when we deny Holy Communion to those who don’t confess the truth of scripture. We want the divisions in the Church to end.

But don’t forget, our thirst is mainly because we break all the commandments on a regular basis. If you think you haven’t, all you have to look at Jesus interpretation of them. You may be able to control yourself on out outside, but in your heart, you know that you don’t do what Jesus says perfectly as the law demands. “In thought, word and deed.” We say in our confession.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

The woman at the well has all these. She is human. She has sin, hidden and in the open. Just like you and me. She is very thirsty. She must have been shocked at Jesus’ insight. “I see you are a prophet.” She says and pushes back on another source of thirst, the relationship between Jews and Samaritans. “You people tell us we aren’t worshiping properly because we worship on this mountain.”

“… the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Is Jesus answer.

In other words, “it’s not the place, it is the object, and the truth that God brings in his Son.”

“When the Messiah comes, he will tell us the truth.” She confesses her faith in God sending a Savior. Jesus says it plainly.

“I who speak to you am he.”

“I’m speaking the truth of God to you. You have sin that makes you thirsty. Trust in me and your thirst will have an answer.”

She drops everything, she has forgotten her shame and guilt. She goes to the people that shame her. She wants them to know what she heard.

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”

Because of her actions, and Jesus’ confrontation with the truth, many people of Sychar came and received living water to end their thirst.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony,

I don’t have to ask if you are thirsty. It is a fact of human existence. We thirst for things to be different. Jesus has an answer for it. He answers on the cross. Sin is the root cause of this thirst. Our Lord deals it to death there. At his feet we receive the living water of forgiveness. It’s easy to blame everyone else for our problems, but it is our sin always involved. Like the soldier at the foot of the cross (John 19:34, ESV), living water from Jesus side flows over us and washes us clean. His blood flows into the chalice of the Supper. We drink it deeply and receive his gift of life. Our thirst is quenched. We are at peace with God, our sin is dealt with. We have a relationship with the Father through Jesus. A relationship that pours out living water continually. A relationship that is founded in the cross and confirmed through the life-giving water of Holy Baptism. When we remember God’s promises and gifts given to us in this sacrament, we can drink deeply and revive, and quench our thirst.

Does it make a difference? Yes, of course! Baptism connects us to the Holy Spirit. He promises his presence every day of our lives. When the thirst threatens, pray this simple prayer. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. The Spirit causes living water to flow again, and we are refreshed.

In one sense, Christianity isn’t complicated. It’s simple. Come to worship to hear God’s word and the preaching of forgiveness of your sin. It refreshes. Live in your Baptism. Claim the promises there. They refresh. Receive the body and blood of Jesus at this altar. It quenches thirst.

And there is more, with God there always is. Jesus not only gave his life on the cross, but remarkably he rose from the grave to life. There are promises in that action that make this recurring thirst bearable. With his resurrection, Jesus, promises you and me a resurrection from our grave. The Revelation of St. John describes that new life this way:

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:2–4, ESV)

It is the promise of God to his people. All tears, mourning, crying a pain will be past. That means and end to “thirst”. In God’s presence, there will be complete joy, and no more thirst. So, as we now constantly need to be refreshed, through Word and Sacrament, then we will no longer need these things. Come, Lord Jesus, soon! Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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