John 4:27-30 + 39-42
Early on in lockdown, I came across one of those pictures with a quote that you sometimes see on Facebook. It was posted in several locations, and on that particular day, it really grabbed my attention. The text read like this: In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth returning to.
In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth returning to.
I wonder which things are going to change and which things will go back to being just about the same as they were before. Will our society be fairer than it was? Will the smog descend again over our cities? Where will the goats in Llandudno go when the cars go back? Will the spirit of Captain, now Colonel, Tom survive him? Will we keep our compassion for the lonely? Our gratitude towards the hardworking low-paid keyworkers?
It is often the case after a life changing event that we have to reassess our outlook and our values. So too, it seems for the woman at the well. Reading through the passage earlier, I was struck by this little fragment of a verse: “Then the woman left her water jar…” (v28)
You’ll remember that yesterday we talked about the two parts to repentance: A change of mind and a change of behaviour. There are times that call for a shift in what we value. When that happens, there will be some action to back it up.
In the rush to return to normal, will you take your old water jar, or are you looking for something more, something better?
The woman, having had a fair few of her ideas challenged, seems to have come to a point where the same old mountains were no longer worth trotting around. It was time for a new journey. Her encounter with Jesus completely changes not only her mind but her actions: From dragging the same old water jar down a dusty road to a hidden-away well out of sight, she seems now suddenly to be carried on a bubbling wave of eternal water straight into a career as a village evangelist: “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?”
As she rushes into town, the Holy Spirit prompts the other people in the village to come and see for themselves, and as they invite Jesus to stay with them, their faith becomes personal. They no longer have a hear-say relationship with Jesus but one in which they KNOW He is the Saviour of the world.
What, if anything, is weighing you down and holding you back in your life and witness? What are you holding on to other than Jesus?
If the time for mountains has passed, is it time, too, to put down your water jar?
Repent, the Bible says, and (then) believe. Something has got to be put down before something else can be taken up. A change of mind, a change of direction – and a real, living encounter with Christ to fill us to the brim with living water.
I would encourage you to ask God what parts of normal are worth returning to. And I would encourage you, too, to ask Him to fill you afresh with His bubbling, powerful Spirit to carry you forward and enable you to do all that He has called you to do.
For all that lockdown has brought out the best in many people, the bad news is that we cannot create heaven on earth by our own efforts and best behaviour. It is safe to say that history shows that we are capable of both good and evil. We cannot heal our own heart disease. The Good News is that through faith in Jesus we can have the Holy Spirit working in us and through us, until God brings heaven to earth. And He will. At that point, our hearts will be fully healed.
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Rev 21:2)
Put down your water jar. Jesus says: “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
If for any reason you have drifted from that, here is something that really is worth returning to. And sharing.
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