Monday, February 26, 2018

Journalling Toward the Cross: Second Week in Lent, February 25th - March 4th

This is meant to be used for devotional purposes during Lent. Grab a journal, read the passage, pray, look at the questions, think about your answers and then journal.

Thought for the Week:
What does it mean to have faith in God?

Day 1: Psalm 121
What does it mean for God to be your help?
Is it hard to trust God with everything in you life?
Can you trust God ALL your goings out and your comings?
What would it look like for you to trust God with everything?

Day 2: John 3:1-17 and Matthew 17:1-9
Is it hard for you to believe (have faith in) the miraculous (heavenly) things talked about in the Bible?
How are you like Nicodemus? How are you like the disciples?
Is it hard to believe that miraculous things can happen in your life?

Day 3: Genesis 12:1-4a
Is it hard to do the things that God asks of you?
Are there things that God asks you to do that are as opened ended as when he asked Abraham to, “Go … to the land I will show you?”
Is God calling you to simply, “Go,” without knowing
Where might God be calling you?

Day 4: Romans 4:1-5,13-17
In what ways have you trusted God?
How is trusting God (having faith in God) righteousness?
How do you live faithfully trusting God?
In what ways are you righteous?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Missionary Speaker

As a pastor it is always wonderful to have the privilege to listen to someone else preach. I love hearing how other preachers translate the word and bring it alive. It is great to see how someone else crafts a sermon and makes scripture come alive.
This morning we had Rev. Daryl Ireland come and share with us about his time in China. He started in Romans 10:10-14, speaking about the imperative to share the gospel. How will they know if  we do not tell them? He weaved stories about Christians in China with a break down of the Romans passage. He masterfully not only brought the passage to life for us, but he also showed us the strength and resilience of Christians who literally live half a world away. I am so thankful for the way he ministered to our congregation today.
I was also so pleased at the end of his sermon he invited the congregation to respond to the gospel they had heard and be anointed for healing. I am so thankful for the way he literally touched my people not only with his words but with this simple action of the Christian faith, reminding them of the power God has in our lives, and over sin and its ability to ensnare. Such powerful words in the face of the of the darkness we so often face in our lives.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Journalling Toward the Cross: First Week in Lent, February 18th-24th

This is meant to be used for devotional purposes during Lent. Grab a journal, read the passage, pray, look at the questions, think about your answers and then journal.

Thoughts for the Week:

What is sin? What does it look like in your life?

Day 1: Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
This passage is familiar to us all, sometimes it is important to carefully read the passages that we know best, to see what they actually say as opposed to what we think they say.
What does this passage actually say about Adam and Eve?
What does it say about the serpent?
Why does it say about sin?
What does it mean to be human?
Can you imagine your life without the shadow of sin?

Day 2: Matthew 4:1-11
What does it mean to say and know that Jesus was tempted to sin?
Can you relate to any of the temptations that Jesus was presented to Jesus?
In what ways are you tempted to sin? In What ways do you sin?

Day 3: Romans 5:12-19
We know we all sin, we all fall short of who God is calling us to be. What does that look like in your life?
How does it feel to think so much about the sin in your life?
What does it mean to you that Christ’s righteousness allows you to be righteous?
How does that change how you live?

Day 4: Psalm 32
What does it mean to confess sins? What does it look like?
Is it hard for you to confess your sins to yourself?
Is it hard for you to confess your sins to God?
When you don't confess your failings to yourself, or to God it eats us from the inside out, you “waste away.”
Are you living with unconfessed sins?
Take time to confess your failings, your shortcomings, your sins to God.
Know you are forgiven.

Lenten Series: Preparing for Death: Jesus is with Us

At one point we sat with our dead, we waited with them through the night, we looked them in the face and we knew what it meant for them to be gone. At one point we washed them and cared for them ourselves, as an act of love, as an act of grief. We said goodbye slowly, as we made sure they looked their best, we let them know one last time that they were loved. Now we shrink back from this kind of burial preparation, we have separated ourselves from the stink of death. We have closed it up in small rectangular rooms. Trapped inside beautiful boxes. Once a loved one has passed, we are removed from them, they are removed from us. It is suppose to make death easier. It is cleaner and more sanitized. And that is how we all feel. We grieve, but it must be clean and sanitized, contained nicely in that room, closed carefully within that box, buried deep in the ground so we can get on with the business of living. We can't look death in the face, care for it, sit with it, we must get on with life, move on, get back to “normal.”
Well that is the society around us that uses anonymously written poems, funeral directors, and homes to deal with our dead. But we are different we are Christians, sure we do better. But as Christians we are just as bad. We may choose to bring our loved ones into the sanctity of a sanctuary, we ask our pastor or priest to perform a Christian service, and we expect something Holy out of the service. Yet, we often call them “Home going Celebrations” or “Celebrations of Life.” We talk about how as Christians we are called not to grieve the loss of a life, because we have hope in the resurrection to come. We believe in life eternal, so any separation felt is temporary and should be felt as such. It is not said exactly like that, but without words, we are told that our grief should be stunted, that is should not be so sorely felt, that we should be glad that our loved one is walking on streets of gold with Jesus; singing in angelic choirs and experiencing life, abundant life, eternal; unhindered and free, as it should always be. We tell ourselves we are happy, we tell each other to see the glory in a life lived wholly and completely for Jesus. We tell each other to rejoice and be glad and to feel the joy that can only come from the hope of the resurrection.
But let's put the “Church-y” show aside, let us take off the happy face make-up and be real. NO ONE is ever happy when a loved one dies. NO ONE ever truly “rejoices” that a person we held dear is now living life eternal. We may know these things in our heart, we may know them with our faith that is strong and true. But when someone dies, when they are gone, and we are left here to continue on. We grieve, we hurt, we cry. It is not a pain we feel mutely, because we know Jesus and the truth of eternal life. It is a pain felt acutely, down to the bones of ourselves. Death is real. It is not imagined, it not an apparition, death is what it means to live here on this earth. And the pain, the sorrow, is not temporary, it goes on, and on, and on.
Perhaps some may think that saying these kinds of things makes you a “bad Christian.” But I am being truthful. Besides I do not think any of this makes you “bad Christian” at all, quite the opposite. And all of us who know grief, have felt the horrible sting of death upon our hearts, who know the gut wrenching pain, the terrible sense of loss, and the sorrow that feels like it will have no end, we need to know that none of us are “bad Christians.” In fact the way we feel is quite “Biblical” and very much “Christian” in the true sense of the word.
In the passage before us this morning, we meet two grieving sisters. Mary and Martha. You may remember Mary and Martha from the story where Jesus comes to their house to teach. Martha is busy doing all the work, and Mary is sitting and listening to Jesus. Martha gets upset and Jesus intervenes and tells Martha that Mary is doing a good thing and while Martha may choose to be responsible, she can not fault Mary for wanting to listen and learn.
So here we have the same two sisters and their brother Lazarus. Lazarus is sick, so the sisters send for their good friend, teacher and known healer, Jesus. But Jesus does not come. He waits two days. One commentary I read this week proposed that he was praying, because later when Jesus approaches the tomb he thanks God for hearing his prayers. The conclusion of the commentator is that instead of rushing to Bethany, Jesus spent two days praying for Lazarus and the miracle we see here at the end of the story is the end result of two days of prayer. But I digress. Jesus waits two days and then makes the two day journey to Bethany.
By this time the women are in the depths of despair. There is nothing to be done, Lazarus is dead. All hope is lost and Jesus is still not there. Four days and he is finally within reach, they hear that he is coming this way. And it is Martha who comes first. While he is approaching town but not yet there, Martha runs out to him and later Mary as well. “Where have you been?” “We needed you!” “If you would have been hear this would not have happened.” “You could have stopped this from happening!” Both sisters say the same thing when they first see Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” Words fraught with pain and emotion. They know Jesus to be a healer, they have seen him restore the sight of blind-men, relieve the fever of Peter's mother-in-law, make lame men walk, and cure lepers. They know that if he had been there he could have healed their brother. But he was not there, Jesus did not heal, he could have, they know he could have, but he did not. He did not heal their brother.
Martha does express a little bit more faith in Jesus than her sister, she does add to her accusation again Jesus, “even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus and Martha have a very nice conversation about the resurrection to come, Jesus asks her if she believes this. She says yes, but that does not for even one moment negate the pain she feels. Jesus does not tell her not to weep, or not to mourn, nor does he chastise her for the great loss she feels. He reminds her that this pain will not have the final word, but does nothing to try to sanitize that pain.
When Mary comes to Jesus, she is weeping and the scripture tells us that Jesus is deeply moved by her pain. He sees the pain these two sisters are feeling. And since Lazarus is his friend and these two women are his friends, he feels their pain, no he knows their pain. Their loss is real. The sorrow they feel is real. It is not negated or lessened because they believe in the resurrection to come. Their faith in Jesus does not fill that gaping hole that has been torn into the very fabric of their beings from the loss of their brother. They have faith, Jesus affirms their faith but their grief remains, it is still gut-wrenching-ly real.
When they come to Jesus their pleas are honest and raw. And the things they say to Jesus are the kinds of things we all want to say to Jesus when we know the pain of death. They are real things that real people say. They are not worried about saying the “right thing” to Jesus. They are not holding back at all. This is not some white washed children's Sunday school story, where all the bad, scary and sad parts are left out. These women come out to see Jesus and lay the hurt, the pain and the betrayal, all the ways they really feel, at his feet. “Where were you Jesus, you were not here! You could have done something, instead you did nothing! You let this happen! How could you let this happen. Why were you not here?”
We know these women. We are these women. We understand their cries. We understand their hurt. We know the place from which their pain, hurt and grief come. How many times have we thought these very words, even when we dared not say them out loud? How many times have we at the very least wanted cry out to God with these very words, even when did not have the courage to do so? “Where were you, God?” “Where are you?” “If you would have been here . . .!” “You could have stopped this from happening! Why did you not intervene? Why did you let this happen?”
When we feel this way, when we have these questions, when these are the cries of our hearts, we are in good company. Mary and Martha, these women whom, the scripture tell us, Jesus loved, they felt this way. So I think that perhaps it is “ok” to feel this way. It is “ok” to question God this way. Their cries, our cries, our pain, our grief, our sorrow, are not unreasonable.
But not only are they not unreasonable, not only are they understandable, they are “Christian.” Their pain, their grief, their sorrow, are very much and very truly Christ-like. I know this because of what Jesus does next. Jesus weeps. Not only does it say that Jesus was deeply moved by these women's grief, not only did he see their pain and feel for them in their pain, not only did he have empathy for them, but he was also in pain. Jesus experienced grief alongside of them. He knew not just their sorrow, but HIS OWN sorrow. Jesus stood outside that tomb and cried, just like you and I do when we stand over a grave. When we see our loved one still and stiff and not quite looking like themselves there in the coffin and we weep tears like we had never known before, when our bodies shake with the pain, the sorrow and the torment that only death can bring, that is how Jesus felt outside that tomb that day. Jesus felt the hollowing shell that death creates out of us.
Sorrow, pain, grief, in the face of death is Christ-like. Jesus himself stood outside the tomb of a man he was about to raise from the death and wept for the loss of him. Jesus felt the same way I felt when I stood by my father's grave, he felt the same way you did when you stood by your mother's grave, your daughter's grave, your husband's grave, whenever we stand by the grave of anyone we have held dear we are standing there with Jesus, and Jesus is standing there with us. And Jesus is not saying, “chin up remember the resurrection.” He is not saying, “Do not sorrow because you will meet again. He is not saying, “Rejoice in a life well lived, in a life given over to Jesus.” No Jesus is standing there weeping. There is nothing more Christ-like at that moment than to weep, to cry, know the sorrow that only death can bring. It is what Jesus did and we should never be ashamed or come to believe that our grief is not “Christian.” Even when Jesus knew that resurrection is immanent (although temporary – we must not forget that poor Lazarus had to die twice), even then Jesus wept, in grief and in sorrow.
We see three people in their grief and their sorrow that day, Martha, Mary and Jesus. First we see Martha and Mary, who come to Jesus with their accusations and their pain and each one says almost the same thing. “Where were you? You could have stopped this!” We are these women. We know their pain. We know their hurt. They give voice to our thoughts and our feelings. “Jesus, if you had (truly) been here my loved one would not have died.”
When Martha speaks, she does not stop. She continues, even though she feels hurt and abandoned by her Lord. She still reaches into herself and continues to express faith in his actions and his abilities, saying, “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” She might not know what Jesus is going to ask of God, she might not even dare hope that there is anything to be done, but she still trusts him. This is the hard place to get to. Even when we feel alone, even when we feel abandoned by our Savior and our God, even when we are in the deepest darkest place of grief and sorrow, hurt and pain, to seek and find God. Even as we give voice to the way we feel, to still trust, to still have the tiny shred of faith that says, “I know that God can still act.” “I know that something can still be done.”
Because of her faith, because of her trust, Jesus is able to build on that faith. He talks to her not only about the miracle he is about to perform, but also the truth of the resurrection that is to come. He gives hint to his own resurrection, but also gives voice to the one that can be found in him. He gives hope for a life that is to come, a life that one day will be. He reminds her that death will not have the final word, that death will not hold victory; not over him, not over her, not over anyone who find life in him. In fact, we include these words, which Jesus speaks to Martha, in our funeral service, “I am the resurrection and the Life, those who believe in me, even though they die will live.” There is a new kind of hope, which is above and beyond the hope of a healing, a miracle, or being raised, in the here and now, from the dead, only to die again. There is a deeper, more profound hope. And because of Martha’s tiny mustard seed of faith, she is given more, to add to that which she already has, her grief and her response to her faith is so very Christian. Her grief is not negated by this hope, she still knows that sting of death, she still feels its victory, no matter how hollow, as it scoops her out and make her hollow as well. But even in her grief and her pain there is hope and through that hope she still knows the sorrow.
But we all are not Martha; many times we find that we simply cannot be Martha. We find ourselves to be more like Mary, hurt, torn and overcome with our grief, inconsolable. We turn our hurt filled eyes upon Jesus and cannot find it within us to even dare to trust. There is no hope to be found. We simply are unable to join Martha in her declaration of faith. We cannot see how Jesus can make this better. What can God do now? Our hurt and our grief are real. There are times when we are Mary, raw, hurting, and crying out to God, from a dark place in our lives. Jesus finds Mary in this place of hurt and sorrow.
Mary's pain and Mary's grief are never spoken against. Her response to the death of her dear brother is how Christians sometimes think and feel in the face of death. And sometimes we find that we are very much like Mary in this story. And this too is Christian.
Jesus saw Mary and those who were with her weeping and he was deeply moved by their grief. What happens next is important. Mary cries out to Jesus in her hurt and pain and then Jesus sees that she is weeping. Jesus does not chastise Mary for not being like her sister. She is not told to hope, or have faith. Jesus sees her grief, her sorrow, the pain which has brought her to his feet. She sits there weeping, those who are with her are likewise distraught, caught up in the pain and sorrow that comes with such deep tragedies as death. Jesus sees her there and hears her cry of pain and he begins to cry with her. Where is Jesus in her grief? Where is Jesus in her pain, in her sorrow? He is right there with her. He is greatly disturbed and deeply moved. She is crying, everyone there is crying and Jesus joins them in their sorrow and their grief. But not just “joins” them, Jesus knows their pain, he is also experiencing the same loss and grief they feel.
Jesus is so very much like us in his grief. Jesus lets us know (here in the shortest verse in the Bible) that to grieve is Christian, to know the pain and sorrow only death can bring is “Christ-like.”
Before this long chapter closes, Jesus demonstrates his power, over even death. Jesus calls to Lazarus beyond the one-way-veil and does the impossible, brings Lazarus back to the land of the living, when such a thing is beyond all hope. In an act of utter compassion, in response to the grief and pain exhibited by these sisters and in what is, quite possibly, the culminating sign of his divinity, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead. And we leave with the image of his sisters and his loved ones unbinding him, in what we can only assume is unimaginable joy.
The miracle at the end of this chapter might be the place most people focus when they think of this passage, but this passage is not ultimately about Lazarus, but it is about these women. Jesus meets them where they are in their place of loss and despair. When they find Jesus, they are beyond all hope. There is nothing left to call out for Jesus to do. And Jesus meets them there. Jesus joins them there. Jesus is there with them.
In this passage we not only see the ultimate sign of Jesus' true divinity, but we also see Jesus in all his humanity, standing next to these two women who are his friends, whom he loves very much, outside of the tomb of their brother Lazarus, who is so very dear, not only to them but to him as well. We sees them there and is with them weeping, grieving, as all of us who are human do.
Jesus wept,” it is one of those verses we memorize, as a child in Sunday School, but it is also an important verse in scripture, a verse that reminds us, throughout our lives, that when we find ourselves, like these women, hurting beyond all hurt, that no matter what it seems, no matter how we feel, when we begin to ask ourselves, “where is Jesus now,” we can know that Jesus is right there with us in our sorrow. Jesus is right there with us in our grief. When we are at a loss, when we are drowning in the pain and grief, we know because of death and its real hold in this world, we can know where Jesus is when we are grieving. He is outside the tomb of our lost hope, weeping, grieving with us. Jesus grieves in the face of death, Jesus sorrows when one his loves is locked inside a sealed tomb. Jesus cries when he knows the darkness inside that only death can bring. When we are lost there too, we can know that the giver of all life is there with us. In the face of death, Jesus weeps, and we can find solace in knowing that we are not alone, in the face of death we can catch a glimpse of the one who is the truth and life, standing there beside us, grieving with us.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

John 4:1-42 - Jesus is Water

I think most of you know by now that I love the woman at the well. While, Mary is the first female gospel preacher, preaching the good news of the resurrection to everyone else,  and is, in fact, the very first person to have ever preached on the resurrection, this Samaritan woman is the first woman to preach about the Jesus being the messiah. She is the first female preacher we find in the gospels and she is a powerful evangelistic preacher. Following her talk with Jesus there at the well that morning, she goes back and preaches to her whole town. And, “Many came to believe that day because of the woman's testimony.”
But what was she so excited about? What drove her into the village square to proclaim that the messiah was outside of town and they all should come meet him. What happened that got her so excited?  She went to draw water from the well. A pretty mundane task. And there was a man at the well. Again, this is not an unusual occurrence. Abraham servant, when he was sent out to find a wife for Isaac, met Rebekah at the well. Jacob met Rachel for the first time at a well. Moses met his wife Zipporah at a well. It is at a well where God meet Hagar and makes promises to her and later provides a well of water, when Abraham and Sarah had cast her out out of her camp. And there is even a scene in 1 Samuel where Saul meets several young women at a well. We can conclude that meeting people, even men at wells was a fairly common occurrence.
So she comes to the well, as part of her daily routine, and there is a man there, still not anything out of the ordinary. As she gets closer she notices that he is Jewish. Probably a little more out of the ordinary, but still probably nothing to go home and tell the family about. But then after she has begun to pull the water out and fill her jugs, something a little odd happens. He looks up at her and asks her for some water. This in itself was not so odd. After all the well was deep and he did not seem to have anything with which to retrieve water, and she clearly did. But the problem was that he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jews did not go out of their way to talk to Samaritans. Not to mention that they would not share a jug, much cup with a Samaritan because Samaritans were unclean and therefore anything they touched was unclean, and for fear of becoming unclean themselves, they simply would not share anything much less a cup with a Samaritan.
Not one to beat around the bush or completely ignore social constructs even when others might, she asks him how it was that a he a Jewish man was asking her, a Samaritan woman.  And then Jesus answers her by telling her, if she really knew who it was who was asking her for a drink she would ask him for a drink.
But she is not taken in by this kind of foolish talk. He does not have a bucket to retrieve the water, why on earth would she (someone who actually did) ask him to get her some water. That was simply ridiculous! And she says so.
But then she noticed that he mentioned living water. Now although “living water”might not be a phrase with which we are familiar (you know outside of this passage), but “living water” was a phrase that had particular meaning to this woman to other people at this time and its' meaning not mystical and not at all religious, its' meaning was entirely practical. Living water was a common way of talking about a fresh spring; clean water, straight from the place from which is burst from the ground. In her attempt to figure out what this strange man is saying to her, she takes his reference to knowing a fresh spring, in the vicinity to this ancient well to which her peole have been coming for, forever, as some kind of insult to her and her people; because you know, the people who had lived here their whole lives might have notice that. So he asks him if he thinks he is better than Jacob, who found this water source and dug this well.
It is now that Jesus lets her know that he is not speaking of a literal spring, but is instead speaking more metaphorically of a water source from which one might drink and never be thirty again.  Water from this spring will burst forth and give eternal, abundant life. Life that is full, that is rich, filled with all goodness, all mercy, all wonder, all beauty.  The image Jesus gives her is of living water is the water that sprung up from the ground at creation, the rivers that flowed through the land of Eden. It spoke of life as it was at creation, life lived in communion with God. In that moment she knew that the life Jesus spoke of was life as it was meant to be. It meant living as she was created to live. In that moment she knew that she and every human who had ever walked the face of the earth had lived with a deep longing, a yearning. That life had always been live searching for a source of water, a sense of being that seemed to never be found. She was a deer, searching for water, longing for its coolness and suddenly she had burst forth from the underbrush and found it. And it was sitting there on the edge of that well she knew so well. When this water looked into her eyes he saw her, really saw her, and he knew her in ways that she did not even know herself.
When he told her about herself, when we revealed that he saw her, truly saw her. He did not simply tell her about the men in her life, about her sadness, her weakness, her failings. He did not simply speak of her place in society,  her living situation or even the reason she was there at the well at noon, instead of in the morning or the evening when her sisters from the village would be at the well, all the things she already knew, all the things he might have surmised or even heard in rumor or gossip, no when he spoke, when he told her about herself, he told her things she did not even know. When he looked at her suddenly she knew that he knew things that she had previously not even known. He showed her who she really was, showed her who she really could be, showed who she was meant to be, who she was created to be. In his look, in his words, he told her everything. She knew who she was. But not only that she in knowing who she was she saw who he was. The conversation went on from there and when he told her what she now knew to be true, that she was indeed speaking to the messiah, he was indeed the messiah, she could not contain herself. She left her jar there at the well and ran back to town and told them everything, “There was a man outside of town, he knew everything, he told her everything about herself. He knew her and and she knew herself. And, and, I think, possibly, maybe, he can not be, can he? I. .I. .I think he just might the messiah!
She had met a man, who water, living water, water that washed over her and revealed herself to her. She met a man and he was the messiah and he was water, living water in which she had bathed and had been washed clean, had been renewed, in whom she found she could be who she was created to be. She met the messiah, and he was water, living water, and when she drank from him, she found that she would never be thirty again, that the longing inside her soul had been quenched, that which she had lived her life in search of, had been found. She met the messiah and he was living water, which had sprung up inside of her, filled her to over flowing, it was bursting forth from within her, and she could not contain it. So she went into town and told them everything, told them all about the messiah at the well, the water in the man, the living waters, that was flowing forth, just outside their town, just waiting there, to be found, to find them, to show them who they were, to reveal to them everything they had never known, to show them what it meant to live eternal life. Come, come, come to the water, come to the well, come meet the messiah. Come discover who you are, come see who you can be, who you were meant to be, who you were created to be. Because when you meet the messiah, when you drink of the living water, Jesus changes everything. When we find relationship with the one and only living, son of God, we find that we are not who we know ourselves to be, we are so much more! When we find relationship with the one who died and lives again, we see, finally see who we were created to be and find that we can actually be that person, that when we are washed in the water, when we live in the water, we are able to be who we could never be on our own, we are changed, but not into someone we are not, into the person we were meant to be, we are changed into who we really are.
We have stood too long in the road of live, allowed the dust has settled onus, we are covered in mud spatter, it has covered our skin and our clothes, it has dried and is caked on. We have walked through life so long, like this that we have come to believe that we are the color dust, that our skin is truly made of scales of dried mud. We look at ourselves, and say this is who I am. This is who I know myself to be, I have always been like this, this is me.
Then we encounter the living water, her reaches up and wipes one small portion of our face clean, we did not even know we were dirty, we thought that was our face, we thought that was who we were, but now we see our skin, right there on our cheek and we are amazed. In that small space who we really can be is revealed. And we have a choice we can continue to live as we have always lived, we can continue to walk through life, dust covered and mud cake, or we can allow ourselves to be cleaned, to live as we were created to live, to be who we were meant to be.
We can allow Jesus to keep on scrubbing, to keep on cleaning to peel off the scales and reveal to us who we are. Or we can continue on, living life the way we are.
The thing most dangerous thing to say to ourselves this morning, would be to say, “I am clean. I do not need to be cleaned.” Or perhaps even, “I have been cleaned before. I am no longer need it.”
We all need to be cleaned, we all need to remain with the living living, water, our thirst is quenched, we are clean, we know who we are, our lives are eternal, full and rich and lived as they were meant to be, but as soon as we step away, as soon as we go anywhere, the dust from the road on which we walk comes up, the mud from passing wheels sprays us again, we move through life and without even noticing, without even paying attention, we move back to who we once were.
But Jesus invites us to partake of living water, water that will clean us, that will continually change us to who we can be, that will allow us to no longer be thristy again. To be truly washed clean, but that means living with the living water, that means dwelling with the one who will continually fill us, continually wash us, continually create us and recreate us, who will always remind us who we were meant to be and always be changing us so each minute, each day we are the person we can be, that each minute, each day we are closer who remaining the person we were meant to be, that each minute each day, we are made over into the person we were created to be. Holy, pure reflections of the the very one who cleanses us, examples of the holy pure love that called to us and pulled us out of the mud, who  created us from the dust of the earth, by living with the living water, in relationship with the living water, daily emerging ourselves in the living water we become holy women and men, who see ourselves for who we are, who we can be, who we were meant to be, who we are created to be, and know we can live into that person, that we can truly be the holy people God is calling us to be, because those the people God created us to be. We can live eternal lives, holy lives, sanctified lives; lived wholly immersed in the things of God, reflecting perfectly the image of God, sharing the love of God. We can be this woman, so full of all that Jesus had to tell her that she could do nothing else but go tell everyone she knew, invite her friends, her family, the people around her, to come see the one whom she met. When we are washed clean, when we are see who we really are and see we can actually be the people we were created to be, when we truly come to know the messiah, when we are daily made holy, sanctified, then we can not help but share what we know, WHO we know with those around us. Our lives become living testimonies to the goodness, the greatness, to the very love of God. We become aware of when to speak to people in our lives about spiritual things, about water, about life, about who we really are and to whom we belong. It becomes our passion to allow our lives, our words, our actions to be witnesses of the messiah we know, of the way life can be lived, of the riches, the freedom, the joy we know. That is just what holy people do. When we like this woman encountered Jesus, and find that suddenly we know who we are, when we are washed clean, sanctified, made holy, learn what it means to live as we were created to live, then we will be this woman. And not to put too fine a point on it, but if we call ourselves Christians, if we believe we have met the messiah, if we look down at ourselves and see that we are washed clean, that we have been made holy, sanctified and proclaim this to be true in our lives and do not find that we are a spring of living water,bursting forth with the good news that Jesus is the messiah, with the truth of the living water, with the good news of eternal life and the amaizing nature of being washed clean and made holy, then perhaps you have not really met the messiah, or perhaps you have not yet been washed clean, perhaps you do not know holiness. But the good news is Jesus is here today! The spring of living water is here this monrning! Come, meet the one who told me everything, who showed me who I was, who I am and who I can be! Come drink of the water, wash and be clean! Come know what it means to be holy! Know what it means to be THIS woman so full of the water that you can not help but be a fountain overflowing on the world around you.