John 4:5-15, 24 “Do You Have a Bucket?” JUMC 03272011

4:5 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.”
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” -nrsv

The Bucket List is a fun, dramatic, thought provoking film where Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman challenge each other to do all the important things they hoped to do in their life time before they “kicked the bucket.”

In this Lenten Season, we challenge each other to examine how we live out the live God has entrusted to us.

I continue to hear people talking about what they had given up for Lent. Frances and I had the great opportunity to cook with Chef Robert Irvine and Chef Lee this week. One of the other students in the class, seated next to Frances, would not eat any of the dishes containing meat. Frances asked her, why did you come to a cooking class if you are not going to eat the food.

Let us remind each other and others around us, that this season is a time to take on spiritual living and not simply give up something.

Yet our acts and practices of piety and self-denial do tap on part of Jesus’ message in this text from John. The body is not our greatest concern.  The bucket is not contain our salvation.

The woman at the well in Samaria, Sychar at Jacob’s well, asked Jesus if he has a bucket to reach the water. Jesus replies, in a matter of speaking, asking her, does the bucket you call your life reach deep enough to heal your own brokenness, sins, hurt, grief, and pain?

When we see a toddlers to young students absorbing knowledge, language and their environment we call them sponges.  Holy and able to take on more than themselves.

When we talk about the end of life, we move to a hard, solid, bucket with no holes and study handle. What happened along the way?

“Orbiting the Giant Hairball”, MacKenzie asks school children from kindergarten through sixth grade if they consider themselves to be artists. While the enthusiasm for creative free expression seems to run freely for the youngest children, the author notes some attrition from the idea starting with the second graders, and full-blown shame for artistic expression by the time he speaks to the sixth grade. The take-away from this exercise, says Kelley, is that we are all born with a high level of innovation, but it is the cultural norm to have these aspirations and pleasures flattened at a surprisingly young age. Kelley assures his audience that it is, indeed, OK to be an artist.

-in Kindergarten, everyone is an artist.  by second, not everyone, by sixth grade, only two hands go us. The kids raising hands looking to see if they are judged by the piers. Some one has told you its not ok to be an artist. Go home and remember its ok to be an artist, even if it causes people to raise their eyebrows.

Which gets us to the heart of the text: vs 24 of the 4th chapter of John’s Gospel of Jesus is the heart of the chapter:  24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

To know God, to know about God, to worship God, to be with God is a spiritual activity.

Jesus’ question to this woman is a question to us as well:  What are you doing to care for your spirit.

Cool, clean, ionized, vitamin-enriched, refreshing water will not quench the thirsty of the spirit. What are you feeding your spirit?

The conversation between Jesus and this woman at Jacob’s well continues with the self revealing of both characters.

In Jesus’ spiritual bucket, she is known, AND accepted, even though her spiritual living had been starving

Jesus’ reveals himself as the long awaiting Messiah, to a Gentile, woman, in public/day-light, in Samaria..

Exercise of Self Revealing: Stand in front of the mirror, alone, just you and God in your birthday suit.. and say, what a beautiful bucket God has made.

What am I putting in this earthen vessel?

What am I putting in my body?

What am I doing with the spirit that this body carries around?

What am I doing with the life God has entrusted with my care?

Confess our sins, and go tell our friends, neighbors and enemies…(put your closes on first)

Yes you have a bucket, is it enough? no. Is it pretty enough? strong enough? tough enough? perfect enough?

NO. Better focus on what goes in the bucket, first. That’s what’s most important to God.

Do well for your spirit and Leave the buckets for the well and tell everyone Christ lives in you!

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