John 4: 5-42 3-19-17 ACCUCC Rev. Tony Clark
…”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.”…
a woman arrives
dusty from a day in the desert
dry-mouthed she approaches
the mouth of life-giving water
who promises life
not just the day-to-day drudgery life of a divorcee
not just life-less life supporting yet another man’s life
but a life-giving life beyond today,
beyond tomorrow and beyond all time.
she of shame–
ashamed by divorce,
a shame to her community–
she of shame shamefully speaks to a man,
who promises life
not just a same-old-same-old day-to-day lifeless life
in another broken marriage
but a life-giving life built on a relationship of wholeness.
She of many relationships
that all ended the same
that all ended in shame
divorced by four or five men
marriages arranged then rearranged
at the mercy of patriarchy,
at a well, abandoned, alone again.
he, a desert preacher
healer, rabbi, teacher
he, who crossed boundaries of race and gender,
offered living water
to those born to the wrong race or the wrong gender,
he, who spoke life to those living life-less lives,
offered a spring of water gushing up to eternal life
to the dusty dry-mouthed desert divorcee.
Are you? said she.
I am, said he.
Are you the One? said she.
I am he, said he.
Are you the Messiah, said she?
I am the bread of life, said he.
I am the vine, said he
And we are his branches.
I am the light of the world
And the doorway to God
I am God’s resurrection
And I’m the good shepherd
I am, said he,
the way the truth and the life.
Life he promises.
Not life of day-to-day drudgery and dullness
but life beyond these days
life that is full of
wellness, fullness, and healing wholeness
life beyond today’s divorce and shame
life beyond tomorrow’s marriages
either arranged or rearranged
life beyond all days
a spring of water gushing up to eternal life
I am the Way the Truth and the Life
I am the Way
on which the lonely are liberated
and the secluded included
I am the Truth
speaking relation to isolation
where love is celebrated.
I am the Life
that offers living water
into dry dusty desert drudgery
and if you come, you shall not thirst.
For those whose throats are dry with delusions:
Here, I offer living water, a well of wellness
for those who thirst for love and inclusion:
Here, I offer living water, a fountain of fullness
for those who live broken lives:
Here I offer living water, a spring of wholeness
for those driven by dry desert desires:
here, I offer living water, an eternal gush
Those who thirst for wholeness
will not stay parched
and the thirst for justice,
shall be quenched
And those left lonely abandoned alone
Shall find fullness in life with the One.
I am, said he, the water of salvation for this thirsty world.
In this world, we thirst and thirst and thirst unfulfilled
I offer water and eternal life,
your thirst quenched, your life fulfilled.
she of desert desire, of thirst and shame
spoke words that we would claim
she said, “Sir, give me this eternal spring water,
that I may never again come lonely or ashamed,
that my race may not be declaimed
that my gender not be slandered
that the boundaries I cross to be in this place
be brought down by God’s life-giving grace
Sir,” she said, “may this spring,
provide life-giving water for our thirsty world.”