Summary: When the fellowship between two persons is broken, the love between them impels the Lover to offer repair in order to restore fellowship and reunite Lover and beloved.
We continue our sermon series, “Falling in Love Again.” And I’m excited to keep learning and seeing more of how God loves us, and how we can love Him.
On Ash Wednesday, we heard that there was “A Falling Out” between man and God. If there hadn’t been a falling out, then we wouldn’t need to fall back in love. And we heard that the Father longs for us to return to Him. On the First Sunday in Lent, we learned that, although it may not always feel like God loves us, He truly does love us. And we must “Believe in Love” that He has for us in order to resist the devil. I regret that I couldn’t be here last Sunday, when we heard the Good News that God sent His only-begotten Son to save, not condemn, us.
As we continue our sermon series, “Falling in Love Again,” we learn today…
“When it all falls apart,” love repairs broken fellowship. Who hear has fallen in love with someone before? Let’s turn back the clock to school days: Who has fallen in love, but had things fall apart? It’s awful. Your heart is torn out and you feel hollow. If you still loved that person, what did you do? You tried to repair things. Now puppy love is a faint, faint shadow of the love of God; imagine how much more He yearns to have us back when we have things fall apart.
If you recall what we’ve already learned, by our Baptism God grants us “union with Christ in his death and resurrection, [and] birth into God’s family the Church” (BCP, pg 858). Baptism makes us children of God; we become His children by adoption. He does this by grace, and we accept His grace through faith. That is the relationship. And within the relationship, we share fellowship, which is the active life of the relationship in which we connect, one person to another, one heart to another.
We can break fellowship with God the Father, just like I can strain my relationship with my earthly father, breaking fellowship with him. But the relationship that we have with God is unbreakable, just like I am always the son of my earthly father no matter what I say or do. Even if we disown our Father in heaven and take another false god—be it money, power, or whatever—our true Father is God. And He longs for our reconciliation. “When it all falls apart,” love repairs broken fellowship.
“When it all falls apart,” Love sees what’s wrong. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, He did not dance around her life and her choices. Women did not draw water at noon, unless they were outcasts. It was clear to anyone that she wasn’t part of “normal” society. But Jesus knew more than what the outward appearance showed. Her previous five marriages had failed; her life had fallen apart, and she had thrown in the towel. And she was shamed for living with her boyfriend. While the Lord clearly rejected that as an acceptable choice (lifestyle, as we call it today), He went the next step past seeing what’s wrong.
“When it all falls apart,” Love provides what is needed for life. Life is not fed by condemnation, blame, and fault. Life is messy, make no mistake! Life after the Fall is messy and, where there are relationships, fellowship eventually is hurt or even broken—like that high school sweetheart that crushed you.
But Love provides what is needed for life. Life dies with condemnation and blame and fault. I bet this woman had heard constant criticism and blame. But life can be resurrected with reconciliation and compassion and sacrifice. She was probably surprised and annoyed at Jesus’ presence at the well. She knew what His assessment of her must have been. But Jesus opened the door to life.
Israel quarreled with Moses, demanding water. And Moses told them it was not him they were testing, but God (Ex. 17:2). God knew that His people needed water; He wasn’t blind to their physical needs. But when He tested them, they tested Him in return. The Lord told Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink” (Ex. 17:5–6). God gave what the people needed for life. (But Moses used the same staff that turned the Nile to blood, warning the people against rebellion.)
Jesus asked, “Will you give me a drink?” (Jn. 4:7). He broke the wall between Jew and Samaritan. Not only that, He broke the barrier between man and woman. Eve gave Adam the fruit; now Jesus, the new Adam, asks a woman for a drink. When Eve offered the fruit for Adam to eat, death was at work. When the Samaritan woman gave Jesus a drink of water, a spring of eternal life broke out.