If the worship planning team does its job well, there will be a line at the water fountain after worship this week. Or maybe there should be a water break in the middle of the service, or someone passing through the sanctuary with cups of cold water.
We’re thirsty this week. That’s the point. Thirsting for the living waters that Jesus spoke about to the woman at the well. And not simply a one time or easy but unsatisfying spiritual refreshment, but a recognition of the deepest thirsts that we have and how we seem to always be thirsty, no matter how often we drink.
Water is a theme for the week. Find images for projection of water flowing. Set up a worship center with blue cloth spilling out over the table onto the floor and down the aisle, if possible. We are speaking of the abundance of God here. There is enough. Even while we struggle on this earth with water rights, drought conditions, and clean water projects, the living water Jesus offers is plentiful. Not to diminish the real needs in our world, but to speak of a God who provides. And then to participate in equitable use of the earth’s resources. This might be a good opportunity for the creation care team in your church to help shape worship. What projects in your community could you emphasize as a way of lifting up the abundance of God?
This is not to diminish the spiritual call to drink from the water of life to know redemption and forgiveness and acceptance. This is a necessary call as well and the subject that Jesus shares with the woman at the well. But the lectionary places the Exodus story of thirsting in the desert alongside the story of Jesus at the well, suggesting that there might be a connection between physical and spiritual thirsts. Or that like the woman, once we have received this water of life, we want others to have their thirsts quenched as well. The water of life fills us and sends us out into the world to be thirst quenchers.
Let’s once again drink deeply of the water of life and pray for eyes opened to see the thirsty ones around us every day. So that we, like the woman at the well, can run and tell what we have found.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.