Summary: We all want satisfaction and fulfilment - happiness is not enough. Jesus tells us how to know joy in our lives, joy that is with us whatever happens in life.
Opening jokes - notice sheet howlers
1. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
3. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
6. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
7. The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
8. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 P.M.-Prayer and medication to follow.
13. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. please use the back door.
14. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7pm. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
15. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
It’s good to have a laugh isn’t it? I wonder whether the woman in our reading could have done with a good laugh – maybe the one about the Jewish rabbi and the Samaritan woman.
We may not feel that we have much in common with her, but there’s a surprising amount. Like us, she was looking for happiness, love, fulfilment and meaning. But here she is on her own getting water under a scorching hot sun.
And what does Jesus tell her – he tells her about living water… living water which satisfies our thirst so that we never need to drink again …living water welling up to eternal life. Now, does that sound good to you? I’m sure that it sounded good to her.
And before you know it, they have talked about the fact that she has had five husbands and is now living with a man who is not her husband. And she recognises that Jesus is someone special, because he was able to tell her about her own life.
And then they’re talking about worship – and it seems to me that Jesus is saying that:
Joy comes in true worship of God
When Jesus talks about worshipping God in Spirit and truth, he is talking about the living water that really satisfies, the living water that wells up to eternal life. Because it is in worship that people meet God, and God is the only one who can really satisfy us and give us joy…. God is the only one who can really satisfy us and give us joy.
And the Bible tells us that worship is not just singing songs – worship should be the whole of our lives, and offering to God in praise of his name.
But let’s think for a moment about the worship that happens in our churches.
Just as our faces light up when we see someone that we care for, so Christians are pleased to spend time with God – the more that we get to know him, the more we want to be with him… whether on our own, or with other Christians.
C.S. Lewis said, ’There’s too much rigidity in dealing with sacred matters, too much speaking in ’holy tones.’ And the tragic loss in all this pious gamesmanship is to the individual in the pew. He begins to feel that in the midst of all the religious razzle-dazzle he himself can’t get through to God. Joy is more than earthly pleasure and more than what we call happiness. Joy is the enjoyment of God and the good things that come from Him. If the Bible provides us the wonderful words of life, joy supplies the music. If the way to heaven is an arduous climb, joy sets up the chair lift.’
And that leads on to my next point:
Joy is not the same as happiness.
There is a note of joy in the way that the Samaritan woman went off to tell everyone about Jesus. Jesus was very happy to have met him. But happiness comes and goes, whereas joy does not go. Tomorrow she would wake up and Jesus would not be there, but would anything be different?
Ever notice how some people go through incredible difficulties yet still have joy, while others who don’t go through half as much struggle to keep their heads above water? What’s the difference? These people have a well within that they draw from daily; a well that can’t be drained by what’s going on around them.
Nehemiah said, ’...the joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10).
And it is the fact that the joy of the Lord shines through in times of trouble as well as in happy times that shows other people that the joy of the Lord is something real. My wife was attracted to Jesus because she saw something different in the lives of Christians. And John Wesley was surprised by the joyful way in which a group of Moravian Christians worshipped God – which led to his conversion.