Running on Empty

July 4th, 2010

Introduction: As a teen in the70's one of the classic songs was Jackson Brown's Running on Empty. Listen to it with me.

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels

Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields

In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one

I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on

Running on, running on empty

Running on, running blind

Running on, running into the sun

But I'm running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive

Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive

In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own

I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on

Running on, running on empty

Running on, running blind

Running on, running into the sun

But I'm running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go

People need some reason to believe

I don't know about anyone but me

If it takes all night, that'll be all right

If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels

I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels

I look around for the friends that I used to turn to, to pull me through

Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Running on, running on empty

Running on, running blind

Running on, running into the sun

But I'm running behind

Honey, you really tempt me

You know the way you look so kind

I'd love to stick around

But I'm running behind

Running on

You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find

Running behind

Running into the sun but I'm running behind


Jackson Brown's classic song from the 70's points to one of the great paradoxes that I can think of in my life. In a country where there is unbridled spiritual freedom so many people are running on empty.

It's the fourth of July and we're celebrating the Freedoms we have as Americans. And in the Bill of Rights the First Ten Amendments to our constitution, the very first, says this.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... "

The Free Exercise Clause is the accompanying clause with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

And they guarantee that as Americans one of our basic rights is the freedom to pursue spiritual fulfillment.

The government can't tell anyone how to do, nor can they prevent us from seeking it, or having discovered it sharing it with others.

So here is the paradox, we live in the place where people are the free to pursue spirituality in its fullest. Yet for many instead of discovering spirituality in its fullest, they are "Running on Empty."

It's actually hardly surprising. When the Forgiver, Jesus was in processing of proclaiming freedom, he regularly met people running on empty.

I want to take few moments and look at a story of a woman running on empty, I want to take a look at her encounter with the forgiver and see how he addressed her Running on Empty.

John 4:6-42? I reading from "The Message."

6Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

7-8A 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.)

9The 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.)

10Jesus 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."

11-12The 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?"

13-14Jesus 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."

15The woman said, "Sir, give me this water so I won't ever get thirsty, won't ever have to come back to this well again!"

16He said, "Go call your husband and then come back."

17-18"I have no husband," she said.

"That's nicely put: 'I have no husband.' You've had five husbands, and the man you're living with now isn't even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough."

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