Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Year A Proper 14 WED 2020 Chance Encounters

 Year A Proper 14 WEDNESDAY, 12 August 2020

Video Service from St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA

“Chance Encounters”

Collect: Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

John 4:1-26

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he,the one who is speaking to you.’

We all have moments when we are different after they happen. Some of them are expected or planned, like the birth of a child or a wedding where we are the ones saying, “I do.”

But I have experienced many a time when a cosmic collision took place, unexpected, unplanned, and my life has been redirected (mostly for the better). 

I think the Gospel story this morning is exactly that, when God’s hidden strings directed Jesus and this woman at the well to be at the same place at the same time, and both left differently.

This Sunday’s Gospel is much the same way, and I look forward to hearing what Harrison will share with us. Another chance encounter which leave both parties changed.

We see the woman coming alone in the heat of Noonday to get her water, not in the morning with the other woman which would have been the norm. Many read into this that she wanted to be alone.

Jesus is tired, and just wants to be alone. He sends his disciples into town to get some food while he waits.

When the woman shows up, he asks her for water. She is surprised, not that a man would ask a woman for this, but rather a Jew would even recognize the existence of a Samaritan woman.

He is longing for water. She is longing for meaning, a far harder thirst to quench. 

Both leave changed.

Harrison and I will soon be gathering to prayerfully seek our theme for the year. Last year we were led to “Lead Holy Spirit into the Depths of God.” Little did we realize what Depths we were going to be plumbing. God knew, I believe. And I am still learning. The Holy Spirit leads and guides us to these moments. Trust that. Find encouragement in that, even when it makes no sense in the moment. Hindsight, they say, is 2020. 

I think that phrase will soon find a quick death, but it still works for now. Lead Holy Spirit where you will, may we have the faith to follow, even into the Depths of God. Amen

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Blessings, Rock