Have you ever been so thirsty that you walk by the 7-11 cooler full of water and you eye the gallon jug thinking that it might just be feasible to dink the whole thing in one gulp? The situation is made worse by the screaming 90 degree heat outside and the sweat just dripping off of your body. This is just about how thirsty I was this past weekend when a friend and I decided to ride our bikes 100 miles “Just for fun” around San Diego County. Now I am not an athlete that takes on a task like this without being prepared. In fact, I had already drank over 80 ounces of fluid at this point, but it seemed that no matter how much I took in, it was just not enough to cool me down. Thirst. We have all experienced it. The longing for water to refill the body, and make us feel right again.
The Sunday after our random accomplishment of 105 miles, I was sitting down to eat my breakfast and get ready for church. “Oh how I need church today,” I thought. I felt parched spiritually and needed a drink of that life that only comes from God. It dawned on me that I was running the visual media at church that morning, and just for a split second, I thought “bummer, man. I won’t be able to worship since I’ll be running the lyrics on screen” Just like I was so thirsty on that ride, I was thirsty for the Lord and I needed a drink.
Funny how God speaks so audibly some days. I opened up the scripture to John and read about the moment when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at Joseph’s well. I noticed something in the text that was truly amazing to me.
“So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:5-10 NASV)
This woman was thirsty and Jesus says to her, “Give Me a drink.” This seems counter intuitive right? Jesus asks this lady that came to the well…possibly as thirsty as I was last Saturday…to serve Him a drink. In these times, women were only allowed to draw water during the noon hour at the heat of the day. Talk about compounding the feeling of thirst! I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think about when I am thirsty is rehydrating myself. If there is a little fluid left over, then I share. Jesus flips the script here. If you are thirsty, “serve Me first”.
The thought of all this was brought home during the sermon that Sunday. When this scripture was mentioned:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Are you thirsty, weak, troubled? He tells us to serve. No free passes here “Take My yoke upon you” implies effort on our part. But through this He promises rest. Strange huh?
Through the passage in John I really noticed was how he wants to use us regardless of our imperfections. My first excuse is often how unworthy I am of his grace, and how unfit I am to be his servant. In this story, we see Jesus once again breaking the rules.
Typically Jews travelled at great lengths to avoid Samaria which was considered a region of unclean people, and trouble. Jews and Samaritans were not supposed to interact with each other. In fact, by drinking water that was served by a Samaritan, a Jew would be considered unclean. But here we see Christ in the heart of the area, at a well at the noon hour, when only women would draw water, asking to be served a drink that could compromise his cleanliness. If you want to compound this even further, when we read on in the story, we find that this lady was considered immoral as she had five ex-husbands.
Strange Jesus would ask for a drink from her of all people. Why wouldn’t he just draw out his own water?
Because he wants us. He is the embodiment of love and forgiveness. No matter what our situation, he wants us to serve. He wants us to become like him, every day through his example of servanthood.
With all of these thoughts rolling through my head, I served that Sunday morning. I fired off the lyric slides and praised him. I began to cry. I could not stop. How could I be so selfish?
I am thirsty Lord, what do you need me to do for you? Fill me up. I am here to serve.