Summary: Jesus engaged in people's real life questions, issues and challenges. As followers of Jesus we are challenged to engage in caring conversations with others in order to share God's love and grace.
John 4:37-30, 39-42 “Speaking the Truth
One of the gifs of the technological revolution is that of communication. We are now able to communicate over greater distances, with more people, in a shorter time, than has ever been possible.
• No more five day mail service via the Pony Express between St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California
• No more tin cans and string
• No more snail mail letters between parents and college students, or family and service personnel (though it is difficult to send care packages via email)
• No more Post-it Notes on the refrigerator
Today we have conference calls, Skyping, email and texting.
With all the marvels of communication, in today’s society, still one of the most precious gifts is personal conversation—sitting down with someone over dinner, coffee, or a drink and simply talking. We long to be able to share with significant others on a deeper level than sports, weather, or politics. We crave to be known and to know.
The greatest conversation that has ever taken place was God speaking to humankind in the person of Jesus of Nazareth—the Christ.
In the conversation between God and humankind, God revealed himself to us. We saw God clearly, and understood him in a deeper sense. We knew God more intimately. Our beliefs about God were changed, as we discovered God’s steadfast love, overwhelming grace, and unconditional forgiveness.
During that conversation, God also gained a clearer understanding of the human condition. Jesus was true man and experienced life in the same way that we do.
This conversation was earth shaking (literally) and life transforming.
A WALK IN THE GARDEN
One of the most favorite hymns of all time is, “I Walk in the Garden Alone.” While some people may consider this hymn rather schmaltzy, it does convey our universal desire to have a close, intimate, personal relationship with God our creator.
In our gospel text today, we observe Jesus and a woman from Samaria having a “garden moment.” Jesus helps the woman to see who she really is. She is a sinner, but more importantly she is a forgiven sinner. The woman also sees Jesus for who he is—the long awaited Messiah. This garden moment was life changing for the woman.
Like the woman at the well, Jesus has personal conversations with us. In the quiet of our prayer closet, Jesus whispers assurances of his love in our ear. Jesus strengthens us in difficult times, and comforts us in times of grief. He points out areas of our lives that are not pleasing to him, and directs our paths.
We are not the same, because of our “garden moments” with Jesus. The Holy Spirit uses those times to mold us into the image of God.
CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHERS
It is important for us, if we are to pass on our faith, to have caring conversations with others. In our hustle and bustle world this is not easily done, because there is no time for it. Also, we are hesitant to share our faith. It is often as uncomfortable a topic as sex and finances. The kingdom of God, though, is spread through personal relationships.
There are times when simply listening is what makes a conversation great, and the experience transforming.
Sometimes conversations are accomplished in total silence. At other times, conversations take place during various activities. No matter what the shape of the conversation is, it is an opportunity for lives to be touched with God’s love and grace. St. Francis’ exhortation is as valid today as it was hundreds of years ago, “Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary use words.”
After talking with Jesus, the woman at the well returned to her hometown and talked with people. She did not cajole them, or even preach to them. The woman simply told others what Jesus had said and done to her.
We have a mouth to share the story of Jesus, two ears to listen to the story of others, and hands and feet to back up our words with action. When all of these are a part of our caring conversations, the faith is passed on to others, lives are changed and God is glorified.