July 23, 2023, Wells Are Not Rivers, Pentecost 8

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again,, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP:
Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.
Holy Spirit, come alongside of us, fill us, comfort and counsel us, speak through us, and empower us to do God’s will. Amen.

HYMN Hymn of Promise, 707
Hymn of Promise – sung by Yusica Elbasia (Indonesia)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb_k2asJ6EE

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − Dear Lord, This morning as I contemplate a new day, I ask you to help me. I want to be aware of and filled with your Spirit—leading me in the decisions I take, the conversations I have, and the work I do. I want to be more like you, Jesus, as I relate to the people I meet today—friends or strangers. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Fill My Cup, Lord, 641
Fill My Cup, Lord – Jessy Dixon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPyz7fR-e6A

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Wells Are Not Rivers
Text: John 4:5-41, 7:37-39, Galatians 5:22-23, 6:7
Series: The Greatest Story Ever Retold

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Wesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

John 4:5 So he came to a city of Samar’ia, called Sy’char, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 There came a woman of Samar’ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar’ia?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

27 Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, “What do you wish?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the city and were coming to him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. 36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

John 7:37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. 38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

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HYMN 367 He Touched Me
Gaither Vocal Band – He Touched Me [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W-MQFVSEXc

BENEDICTION The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Wells are not rivers.

Some of you will understand this picture very well. This is an aerial shot taken in Oregon. And you see those circles? You may not know what they are, but those are irrigation circles. There is irrigation equipment inside the circle that rotates and brings water. And wherever water flows, life grows. Oregon has an area called the high desert. There’s very little rain there. But wherever the water flows, life grows.

Now, on the sign out in front of the church, you’ll see a question, “What does God want from us after Pentecost?” And I was thinking this week that this picture of irrigation circles is probably the most beautiful picture of what God wants from us after the holiday, the holy day of Pentecost.

And here’s what makes those circles. You see, this is called center pivot irrigation. It was invented in 1940. And there is a center pivot, and this arm goes out, and as far as it can reach, it sprinkles water on the ground. And wherever water flows, life grows. Now, the center of our life is Jesus Christ. But the living water that comes to us from God is supposed to flow out from the center where Jesus is, on out all around us. Now, the circle around Jesus was probably bigger than the circle around you or me. But what Jesus wants from us after Pentecost is still this: we want to let the living water flow because it doesn’t take much living water to change the world.

You’re looking at a picture of what is called a superbloom. You see, in the desert, seeds sit and wait for the rain. They’re all ready to bloom and grow, but they sit and they wait for the rain. And in the desert, when there is all of a sudden a time of rain, all of a sudden, it will bloom into flowers in a very short time. It doesn’t take much living water to change the world around us.

Let’s take a look at John 4. I want to tell you this is a complicated and beautiful scripture. We could talk about it for eight hours, but we won’t. We could probably talk about it for several days. But we won’t. But that means we have to take a quick look at just a little bit of it.

John 4:7, “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water at the well. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink,’ for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. And the Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you- a Jew- ask a drink of me- a woman of Samaria?” Now, here’s my first observation. This woman was feisty, okay? Here she is all by herself at the well, far outside of the village, alone with a man who could be a murderer. And she wants to start an argument with him and say, “How is it that you, a Jewish person, even want me to do something to help you? You think that we are unclean because we’re Samaritans.” “Well, Jews have no dealings with Samaritans,” it goes on to say, but Jesus does.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” And she continues this feisty discussion with him, and Jesus explains it a little further. He says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. The water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Now, if you live in this desert economy, for you to have your own well, for you to have your own source of water, that is a great experience of wealth. And they continue their argument, but basically, this is what Jesus is offering her: I’m going to provide you with all the water you’re going to need.

And I’ve been thinking about this because it occurs to me that there are a lot of people who– and I’m not quite sure exactly how to put it, but they are customers of God. They are customers of the church. They come to church because they want to receive what they need. And there’s nothing wrong with that because that’s how we all got here.

But it occurred to me– and I’ll be frank with you. It occurred to me when I was trying to talk to my son about following Jesus Christ. It occurred to me that for most people, once their needs are met, they’re very happy in that about the highest that they perceive the value that Christ and the church can give them is to meet their needs and the needs of their family.

But wells are not rivers.

You see, a river is an abundance of water. And it is an abundance of water because somewhere, a well overflows. As Jesus literally says in verse 14, the water that Jesus gives us is intended to become within us not a well where we can go for what we need, but it is intended to become a spring of water that wells up and overflows to eternal life.

And you see when the water overflows, it looks like this. Now, that’s not much of a river. but when water overflows, it looks like this. Now, the previous verses came from John chapter 4; these come from 3 chapters later in John 7. In the middle of one of the most important holy worship services held in the temple on the last day of the feast, the great day. My imagination is that Jesus stood up in the middle of the sermon or in the middle of this service when there was a time of silence and shouted out to everyone who was there, “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.”

You see the difference? Wells are sufficient for you and I, but wells are not rivers. What God wants is for the living water to overflow. Now, the very next verse, verse 39, the scripture connects this with the day of Pentecost: Now, this Jesus said about the spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive. You see, when the Holy Spirit is received, the living water begins to overflow. Yet, verse 39 goes on to say, “The spirit had not been given because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus was not yet risen from the dead.

Now, the term living water refers to flowing water. Not just water that makes you come alive, but it refers to flowing water, and it again is another statement that the spirit is meant to be within us, but then to overflow because the living water is the presence of the Holy Spirit.

So what does God want from us after Pentecost? Well, here’s what flows when the Holy Spirit overflows; it flows out of you and me to everyone who surrounds us. What flows is love and joy and peace, patience and kindness and goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

And some of you, probably on the inside, are shaking your head and going, “No, that’s not what overflows me!” But what I wanted to suggest is that’s what will flow through you to others if you allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you. And when the Holy Spirit overflows, what grows in other people are these things that flow through us, love and joy and peace, faith and hope and love. And this is how God works in the people around us.

Now, sometimes, the living water is best served in individual portions. The picture you’re looking at on the screen right now, if I remember correctly, it’s from Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s on Christmas Day, and the wind chill is 30 below. This man, on Christmas morning, is handing a hot cup of coffee to a homeless person living on the street in that kind of cold, even the smallest portion of living water. (And I especially like mine in the form of coffee.) But in even the smallest portion of living water, God’s love flows through one person into another.

But one of the ways that you can help the living water to flow is to start by noticing the people you talk with weekly. Now, I wouldn’t want to say to anyone for you not to pray for anyone over the whole world. In fact, if you could, it would be great if you could pray for every single person in the whole world, billions and billions of people. But certainly, the people you talk with every week, the people you see as you walk to the mailbox, the people you run into in the line at Walmart or at a ball game, certainly the people you encounter every week, you could begin to pray for those few people. Maybe there’s just a handful, a dozen, maybe a few more. And as you pray for them, the Holy Spirit is going to flow out of you into their lives and more than likely answer your prayers. Because the truth is, when you begin to pray for other people, it creates a spiritual connection, a spiritual relationship between you and the people you’re praying for because you begin to care for what happens to them.

And I think it’s a beautiful testimony when we surround ourselves with prayers, almost like a network connecting the people that we encounter. Because, as I said before, it doesn’t take much living water for a desert to bloom. And it doesn’t take many answers to prayer to change the lives of people around us. Now, some of those people will desperately need hope because they’re having a very hard time. But God can also touch the heart of a person who’s going through a time when everything’s going perfectly right. Both people need the Holy Spirit. Both people need our prayers.

And as we begin to pray for people, the Holy Spirit begins to spread living water on their lives. And just like in the desert, seeds that God had planted, perhaps years before, will suddenly begin to bloom. Because it doesn’t take much living water for a desert to bloom.

And so, consequently, remember those circles? I want to ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit to rise up out of that place in your soul and begin to flow outward to people around you. And there are all kinds of ways that God can use you, but for you to allow God to use you as a little bit more than you reaching down into your well to take what you need, it’s to allow God to use you to meet the needs of others … sometimes not by asking you to do much of anything.
Because your prayers are sufficient to release the power of God not just in your own life but in the lives of others.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to overflow you, and you’ll begin to see God change people in that circle around you. And there will be things that happen, just like Kim described with her brother in our sharing time. Prayers will be answered. And that will make you happy, I promise you. Let the Holy Spirit fill you up and flow out, and let life come to people all around you.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, when the Holy Spirit does something, sometimes we’re not that certain of what it is. We don’t always know what the Holy Spirit is trying to do. Sometimes we feel like we should say something. Sometimes we feel like we should say something, and we don’t. Sometimes we feel like we should pray, and we’re not certain what to pray for, but, Lord, you can answer our prayers exactly as you wish. And so, Lord, even if our prayer is little more than, “Thy will be done,” we are so thankful, Lord, that you can bless all the people that we’re in touch with because we pray for them. Lord, may your Holy Spirit flow out from us to the people in the circle around us. And we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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