Thanksgiving – Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017  

John 4:5-26

Jesus transforms reality.

A commentary I read on today’s gospel said we are presented with “A text that from beginning to end transforms conventional expectations and challenges the status quo. The setting of this narrative in Samaria is a scandal that may have lost its force for modern readers, but would have been noted by first-century readers. Jesus openly challenges and breaks open two boundaries in this text: the boundary between the “chosen people” and “rejected people,” [the boundary] between male and female” (The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 9, p. 571).
This was all accomplished because Jesus wanted something to drink. He was thirsty.

I have preached on this text before. I have explained the enmity between Samaritans and the Chosen ones. The two groups had been at odds for years, for decades, for centuries. Their battles began because they couldn’t agree on a location for worship. Samaritans built a shrine on a mountain, the Israelites destroyed it, believing the center of worship ought to be in Jerusalem, in the temple.

And then there is the gender thing. A Jewish man was not supposed to start a public conversation with an unknown, Samaritan woman. Nor would a Jewish teacher have such a conversation (TNIB, p. 565). Interacting with a woman publically invited ritual contamination (TNIB, p. 566). They were unclean.

Jesus was breaking all kinds of rules when he asked for water. So was the unknown Samaritan woman.

The transformation began when the need Jesus had, to get a drink of water, became the need the Samaritan woman had, to drink the living water Jesus offered her. His thirst became hers. But they were drinking two different things.

Jesus was thirsty. It was as simple as that. He wanted something to drink. There, before him was a well he could drink from. He had nothing to get water with. So he asked the Samaritan woman to help him. His thirst was physical.

The Samaritan woman didn’t know she thirsted until Jesus described the water he could give her. His was “living water.”
At first she thought he meant the water was fresh, running water. Later she realized he spoke of life-giving water. She realized she wanted, she NEEDED the water he gave.

We gather to give thanks for the transformational power of Jesus Christ. Jesus transforms our reality. Through the waters of our baptisms, Jesus freed us from our sin. And he gave us the most incredible gift, he gave us the promise of the resurrection. He gave us the hope of eternal life.

With Jesus in our lives, in our hearts, we have his power to transform reality. When we take his gift of love, his gift of life, and we share it with the world, the world changes. Enemies become friends. Enmities are forgotten. Boundaries are erased. Masters become servants. Teachers become students. Opened hearts open hearts.

For this we give thanks.