A CONVERSATION OVERHEARD

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A
JOHN 4:5 – 42
MARCH 19, 2017
ST. AUGUSTINE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
MORROW, GEORGIA
THE REVEREND BARRY GRIFFIN

When I was a kid, our home had one telephone.  For younger people that may be hard to imagine, but in the early 1960’s one telephone per family was not uncommon.  Now, some people also had phones in their bedrooms, but most people I knew had only one phone.  It was usually located in the kitchen/family room area, and it was attached to the wall.  That’s where ours was.  Ours had a very long extension cord so you could both talk and move around the kitchen/family room area at the same time.

Again, this may be hard for younger people to imagine.  This was long before cell phones and smart phones, Androids and I-phones.  This was the age of the rotary phone.  You actually dialed the phone number.  You didn’t punch it in. Confused?  Ask your grandma.

Anyway, when there’s only one phone in the house there’s not a lot of privacy.  When somebody’s on the phone, everybody in the kitchen/family room hears everything, for better or for worse.

My mother loved to talk on the phone.  When we got our extension cord she could talk on the phone and cook dinner at the same time.  She would hook that receiver under her chin, talk up a storm to her girlfriends, and fry the best fried chicken you ever tasted in your life.  It was something to behold, and something to taste.

Like I said before, when there’s one phone in the house there’s not a lot of privacy.  People talking on the phone sometimes forget that others are present in the room.  Those on the phone sometimes share things that are personal, and others can hear every word, whether they want to or not.

That’s how it is for me in today’s gospel.  Today’s gospel is a very private conversation.  It’s a personal conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman he met at a well.  In fact, it is the longest conversation Jesus ever has with anyone in the New Testament. 

Have you ever shared the story of your life with someone you’d never met before, someone you’ll never meet again?  That’s not uncommon.  It happens on airplanes.  It happens when strangers come together for a brief time, then part forever.

That’s what happened at Jacob’s well.  At Jacob’s well we learned who this Samaritan woman was.  And we heard Jesus reveal himself as the Messiah.  It’s the first time he claims that title in the gospel of John.  Imagine that.

When we hear this gospel we listen to an intimate conversation.

What kind of intimate conversation would you like to have with Jesus?  And would you want others to listen in?  I would not.  Like the woman at the well, too many of my sins would be revealed.  I would be ashamed.

But this Samaritan woman was not.  She was no longer ashamed.  Despite her past, her failings, her regrets, she was somehow healed.  Her intimate conversation with Jesus changed everything.

Would an intimate conversation with Jesus do the same for you?

Why not find out?  Why not go to Jacob’s well and hear Jesus tell you the story of your life?  Why not drink some living water for a change?

You can do that.  It’s not hard.  It’s not hard because Jesus meets us on our own terms.  Just be intentional.  Do something simple and specific.  Take a walk and invite God to walk beside you.  Shut off the TV, the computer, and the phone.  Invite God to sit beside you on the couch as you pet your cat, or read a book, or snooze.  Invite Jesus into your dreams.

If you trust Jesus, why not invite Jesus into your dreams?  For that matter, why not invite Jesus into every part of your life, even those parts you regret and for which you are most deeply ashamed?

I know this: Jesus is not afraid to go there.  Jesus in not offended by going there.  Jesus waits there.  He waits for you at the well of living water.

Amen.

If you would like to respond to this sermon or receive future sermons by email, contact me at barryqgriffin@earthlink.net

Leave a Comment