Sunday, March 23, 2014 (Lent 3)

The texts we will be looking at this Sunday are Exodus 17:1-7, and John 4:5-42. The title of my sermon is “Thirsty”. A good verse to focus on as you prepare for Sunday is John 4:42, which says “They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” 

Both of these scriptures are about thirst. In the first, the people grow thirsty in the wilderness, they grumble to Moses, and God meets their thirst by providing water from the rock. In the second, Jesus has grown thirsty from the efforts of his journey.

The human condition is marked by thirst. The wilderness wicks moisture from our bodies simply through our act of breathing (and we’re all in a wilderness of one kind or another). So it is, that when we listen to our bodies and find the courage to admit the limitations imposed upon us by our humanity, we find that we thirst.

The temptation all year (not just at Lent) is to live as if our physical limits are the most defining. We thirst, therefore we grumble until our thirst is quenched. And even if the quenching water comes straight from a rock in the desert, even if God Himself provides a miraculous stream in the thirstiest of places, even then all we can do is drink, knowing that by its nature, the wilderness will bring us back to this point of merciless thirst.

No one can drink enough water at one time to carry them through the desert. No one can even take enough water with them to carry them through the desert. Water is like fuel…you use it as you go, and you need to replenish on the journey.

The same is true of our spiritual thirst. We have trouble acknowledging this deeper level of our thirst though, don’t we?

Jesus can help us, however. In the story from John, Jesus is the one who thirsts. He sits by the well, and asks for a drink from the hand of a Samaritan woman. And in the encounter that follows, he exposes the spiritual thirst that she carried, as all of us do.

We thirst for acceptance. We thirst for affirmation. We thirst for fulfillment. We thirst for healing. We thirst for change.

In the most surprising ways, God rises to the task of quenching. He brings water from rock; physical stones in the desert become the source of life-giving streams, and hearts that are hard as stone begin to weep spiritual moisture from the depths of their being.

We are human, therefore we thirst. What do you thirst for? What desert are you in? How might Jesus be inviting you to taste the living water which only He offers?

We hope to see you Sunday!


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