Sermons

Summary: As we meet God on our journey, he changes us and the reaction is to bring others to him.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

<Read the scripture> John 4:1-26, 39-42

Personally, I love the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. It is such a powerful story of transformation. She has an incredible awakening in the presence of the Lord.

Think about the first time you really realized you had enough of a life addicted to alcohol, drugs, porn, caffeine, nicotine or double stuffed Oreo cookies. It is not the brightest moment in life is it? Whatever, the drug of choice, it has removed choice from our lives and we are no longer free. In fact, those first two questions every person in recovery needs to be asked ring loudly: Have you had enough? And are ready to go to any lengths including listening to the directions of another, even when you think it’s stupid, so that you can stay clean and sober? It’s in this moment that life is dark. Darkness symbolizes being low, depressed or evil. However, in reality it is just the absence of a light. Even the smallest light can be seen clearly when it’s dark. I can remember flying over the African jungle and seeing a single fire some 30,000 feet below. They couldn’t see me. Probably couldn’t even see the plane, but I could see that light. It is in this darkness that we probably see the light in the distance most clearly.

The story of the woman at the well means more if you know more of the background so let me give you a slice. The woman at the well was a Samaritan. She was considered unclean because when the Jews were deported to Assyria, her ancestors inter-married with the gentiles. This made her parents and all their off spring tainted. Samaritans were half breeds and while they may have believed in the God of the bible, they were considered traitors to God and His plan for the Israel nation. In addition, the woman from the well had been married 5 times. This created another problem. A failed marriage would have signaled to the community that the woman was incapable of fulfilling her wifely duties and it was shameful. For a woman to have been married and divorced multiple times, she would have been a social outcast. Most would have thought of her as whore who was giving herself to any man to avoid starvation. In a society, where woman had very little rights and was considered property, not many would have spoken to her unless they wanted something from her. This makes Jesus willingness to approach, talk, listen and share himself with her so astounding. It also makes his action on her behalf, nothing short of a miracle. He was her light in a life of darkness.

We all have seen the miracles of a program of recovery. We’ve seen the addict recover and regain a life even after so many people had written them off as a waste. Go into any recovery meeting and see people who were cured from a hopeless state of mind and body. The miracles sit before you. They might have been crazed and insane but today they look like: lawyers, bankers, tradesmen, truck drivers, stay at home moms and responsible business people. Their lives shine the same way Jesus’ miracles where shining. Their shine tells us there is a way out! It is this hope that the program of recovery begins, and then rejuvenates itself over and over again. A good friend who died with 39 years of sobriety said to me, “Recovery is a program of unlimited spiritual growth.” On the path, there will be many different levels. Some you will rest in for a while. Some you will climb quickly because the path is bright. Others you will struggle because you are getting rid of some baggage you didn’t need. In all cases you will be growing. I loved hearing him saying this to me. Partly because every time I experienced a new level in spiritual growth and thought it was the coolest, I realized there was still more.

The woman at the well had a spiritual awakening and once she did, there is no being silent. She couldn’t help but go back to the village and share her excitement about her time with Jesus. In so doing, others wanted to meet him and he ended up staying for two days.

The steps build to this same type of awakening and once you have the Holy Spirit in your life, the power gets unleashed to propel one on to even more activity which is then nurtured through the steps and as a result, we change. You become more willing to serve and less worried about who knows. You mature in your understanding of God in such a way that you serve, not because you have to, but because you want to. AND you want to, not for selfish reasons but in gratitude for what God and others have done for you. In many ways, this is also the path many in this room have followed. The program that saves your life becomes the program you volunteer in as recognition of the gratitude you have for your unmerited gift of life. Let’s face it – many of us are walking dead in this room if we ever got what we deserved. BUT we didn’t. God gave us something we didn’t deserve - a life in which we can hold our heads high because He loved us enough to forgive all our sins, help us set our life straight and allow us to help others as a show our gratitude.

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