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"You too can have a new beginning..."

John 4: 1-32

Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so, Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.1

7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “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.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? he gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoeverdrinks 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.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 you worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvationis from the Jews. 23 But 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. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

Scripture From - English Standard Version

Two farmers prayed for rain. One of them went out and prepared his fields to receive the rain. The other just waited and watched his fields. Which of the two farmers had faith that the rain would come.

We are in a season of new beginnings. A time to start over and see what the Lord has instore for us as a congregation and personally. Finding faith in this world is tough. It can be at times painful, but never forget the dying words of John Wesley, “the best of all, God is with us.”

Often times our past sin and mistakes can get in the way of our understanding of who God is in this world. It can affect our ability to commune with God and keeps us from peace which we need so badly.

This world is crying out for God and sadly people are not turning to the Church for answers. They are turning to money, politics, security, and power. They are shedding faith for the temporal comforts that will soon vanish.

Our story today is of Jesus and a Samaritan woman. Samaritans were considered less than. They were considered by the Jews to be filthy dogs. Jews did not travel to Samaria unless it was absolutely necessary.

In this case it was necessary for Jesus because he had to meet this woman—let’s call her Maria.

Maria had a past; An unpleasant past that had left her in a state of depression and despair. She like many in this world sought the comfort of temporary relationships. She was rejected by her community. Not even the women of her town would be caught drawing water from the well with her.

She was alone. She had no one. She was on her own with a man who was not her husband.

Jesus takes a risk. He speaks to her asking only for what she has to offer, a drink of cool water.

She answers him in contempt and begins a theological argument with him. She speaks of Jacob and this well that he gave her ancestors.

Jesus continues the conversation.

Jesus doesn’t shame Maria or condemn her. He shows mercy and grace and leads her to an understanding of who God is and can be to her in her time of need.

There is an old saying, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Lately the discourse of the Church has been volatile. Hatred, anger, and pain have been shed at the expense of others who are trying to follow Christ.

Arguments over doctrine and theology are thrown around as if they are Gospel. Yet they fall short of honoring God.

How do we respond to a world that has lost faith in God, humanity, itself?

Do we argue? Cuss? Scream? Stomp our feet and walk out of a room, relationship, a Church?

The answer is no. The answer is to stop and extend a cool drink of water.

We pause and consider the other persons position and try to build a consensus.

We work together otherwise we are no different than the Samaritans and the Jews.

Two groups of people worshiping God, kept unto themselves with no hope of resolution.

I said at the start of this sermon that this was a season of new beginnings. As we enter fall in this new sanctuary, let us not worship the beauty of this space. Let us not mourn what we lost in the process of creating this new space. Let us worship God in spirit and truth.

That means we need to start with repenting of our sin. We all have it; we all feel the pain of it and regret our transgressions. What do we do?

We come corporately and individually to the Communion feast bowing our head and seeking God. We pause and reflect on the salvation that is represented in the shed blood and body of Jesus.

We realize that this story that we have heard is our story. We realize that this building, this sanctuary is where we come to worship, but as we exit the doors, we enter the mission field.

We go to our friends and neighbors who have given up on faith, God, community, Church and share the gospel of Jesus and that is that God is for all persons. Regardless of their sins, past, or their hatred for another person. We show them what God has done in our lives and we become evangelists.

We don’t brow beat them with scripture. We love them into relationship with God. That is what we are all about. We “Seek, Serve, Share God with Others.” Let us never forget that as Christians we are called into a life of service one to another. God help us if we ever forget that.

Two farmers prayed for rain. One of them went out and prepared his fields to receive the rain. The other just waited and watched his fields. Which of the two farmers had faith that the rain would come. Which Farmer are you.

Faith Journey United Methodist Church is preparing for a harvest. We are preparing for the rain to come and fill our field with crops of people, families, and children. We are in a process of beginning a fresh. The work is much and there is a long way to go and we will never get there without your help prayerfully and financially.

There is more coming to this building than even I can imagine. This is truly the beginning of Faith Journey United Methodist Church.

It’s time for a cool cup of water from the wellspring of Jesus which leads to eternal life.

Let’s share in this Lord’s Supper as we repent corporately, individually, and lift our hearts before heaven and see Jesus do what we cannot do in grace and faith.

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