The Generous One
So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.
To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob's well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.
A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, "Would you give me a drink of water?" (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)
The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, "How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" (Jews in those days wouldn't be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)
Jesus answered, "If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water."
The woman said, "Sir, you don't even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this 'living water'? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?"
Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life." // John 4:3-14
The interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan is one of my favorite stories in the whole of the Scripture. There are so many layers. I could probably write three or four days worth and not even scratch the surface, and that’s just the theological stuff from this story. The applications of this story in our lives is almost overwhelming.
What really struck me this morning is when Jesus says, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am…”
If we could grab hold of the reality of the God’s generosity it would transform the way we interact with the divine.
I think so often of God as stingy or hard or strict or even absent. I know that I shouldn’t admit to those things because I’m a pastor and all. Here’s the deal, us pastors, even though we have the intellectual knowledge that such things are not true, we still wrestle with them.
For some reason it’s easier to believe that God is not generous. Why? Probably because when we put ourselves in God’s place we would really struggle with being generous. Each of us know our own sin-sickness. We know how far we fall short of loving well, loving God, loving our neighbors, and loving our enemies. If we were God, we’d probably have sent some brimstone hurdling from the heavens. Ha!
It’s so much harder to believe that God is generous in the face of our imperfections. God is always faithful. God is always forgiving. God is always gracious. God’s generosity knows no bounds.
In the face of such overwhelming generosity we feel inadequate, we feel self-conscious, we feel undeserving. Yet, God’s generosity and grace will not be swayed. This generous God lavishes grace and mercy and love on those made in God’s image.
I’m learning that central to the life of faith is embracing God in all the beauty and goodness that flows from the Divine. To live by faith is learning to rest in God’s generosity as opposed to living as though God was stingy, hard, and cruel.
As we come to terms with the reality that God is lavishly generous then we are free from the fear of entering into God’s presence. We are free to enter in and drink deeply of grace, the very living water that offers life!