In lieu of my sermon today I wanted to share this reflection.
Today I was planning to reflect on John 4:5-42. It is commonly referred to as the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
It is one of those stories rich with possibilities for reflection and learning. But, as you can imagine, in recent days I have asked myself, what can we hear in this story about how we experience God or hear God in times of disruption?
In this story Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. During the ensuing conversation Jesus says he offers living water. I do not read this as saying what he offers frees this woman from needing water from that well. Her body still requires that water to survive. But spiritually: for her connection to God and to her community, from which many have suggested she is estranged. She is in need of so much more. And that is what Jesus is offering.
We are in the midst of a pandemic. For many of us, including yours truly, this is unprecedented ground. It can feel like we are making things up as we go along as we negotiate our way from day to day. But this is not unprecedented. We have experienced other health crises throughout our history. I am reluctant to name those outbreaks and crises because I don’t want to compare what is happening now to other points in history, for fear of inflating this moment or perhaps minimizing the experience of others. I mention this to say that we have survived and learned from the moments of disruption that interrupt our lives.
We are currently experiencing a moment of disruption during which many things we take for granted are being taken from us, even if it is only temporarily. It might be forms of entertainment, such as live theatre, or sports, or the closing of schools and churches and limiting visitors at hospitals and homes for the aged. Travel is now discouraged. Some of us will be forced to go without work for a period of time. How we come together in groups is under stress. It is only natural to ask a great many questions. Hopefully we resist the urge to panic.
Somehow, in the midst of all of this we need to find ways of supporting one another, of remaining connected to our communities. How do we remain a supportive community that does not let others be forgotten? We cannot take our physical health or that of those around us for granted. We must be cautious and respectful of the health concerns of all in our community. But let us not forget the spiritual health of our friends and neighbours.
I have spoken many times about how we are connected through Christ. Jesus speaks frequently about how he draws us together, or how he offers us true life. I am the vine, you are the branches (John 15:5). I am the bread of life (John 6:35), and finally, I offer you living water (John 4:10). Jesus calls us to a life connected to one another and to God. I believe we are truly connected to God through our connections to one another. For me, Christ is the foundation through which that connection is built.
Finally, let us work through this time of disruption knowing life continues. As I said, it is a time of disruption and change. Some things may not return to how they were before. For many this might be a time of pain and mourning. At this point we can only speculate what we might need to say goodbye to. It is important to remember what is truly important. Let us remember we are a part of the body of Christ. We belong to God and we belong to one another. May we live through this time of disruption remembering to love one another, to serve one another, and that we are not alone. We live in God’s world.
May you continue to feel God’s blessing. Always remember: we are blessed that we may be a blessing to others.
Rev. Warner Bloomfield