John 4, 1-26
At this time, the Lord became aware that it was rumored among the Pharisees that Jesus was finding and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, though his disciples did.) Therefore, he left Judea and went back again to Galilee.
Now he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the plot of land Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was also there. Jesus was weary with the journey, and he sat down by the well. It was about midday, the sixth hour.
Then a Samaritan woman came to draw water. And Jesus said to her, “Give me to drink.” For his disciples had gone into town to buy bread.
Then the Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Samaritan woman?” For the Jews avoided all contact with the Samaritans.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew how the divine world now draws near to men, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me to drink’, you would ask him, and he would give you the water of life [the living water].
“Sir,” the woman said to him, “you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where will you draw the living water? Are you greater than our Father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his flocks and herds?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I will give him, his thirst will be quenched for all time. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up as true life for eternity.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may never be thirsty again, and need never come here again to draw.”
He said to her, “Go call your husband and show him to me.”
“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You have well said that you have no husband. Five husbands you have had, and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews say that only in Jerusalem is the place where one should worship.”
Jesus answered, “Believe me, o woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship a being you do not know; we worship what we do know. That is why salvation had to be prepared for among the Jews. But the hour is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father with the power of the spirit and in awareness [knowledge] of the truth.”
Then the woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming who is called Christ. When he comes, he will teach us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I AM he who stands before you and speaks to you.”
2nd June Trinity
June 18, 2017
John 4, 1-26
Human beings have always visited sacred places in order to honor the divine. At first, they were simple stone memorials at a place where a great spiritual event or visitation had occurred. Then gradually temples were built as gathering places for honoring the divine with story, song and ritual.
Christ meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob's 2,000-year-old well. She asks him about places of worship. Should humankind worship on a mountain top, or in a temple? Christ answers that the sacred space will be within the human heart and mind. "the hour will come, and it has come, when the true worshippers of God will worship the Father," He says, "with the power of the Spirit and in knowing awareness of the truth." John 4: 23
We can imagine that a kind of soul altar exists within each human heart. And when a group of human beings come together to enact a ritual of offering, the walls of each heart expand. They fill the room, so that hearts work among hearts, within hearts. Together they form a greater heart, the common heart of the community. Hearts offer themselves in a common spirit, out of a communal truth. As e.e. cummings said,
seeker of truth
follow no path
all paths lead where
truth is here*
* e. e. cummings, in Complete Poems 1904-1962 p. 775.