In the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus is traveling from Jerusalem in the south to Galilee in the north. Jesus and his disciples take a quicker route, passing through Samaria. Tired and thirsty, Jesus sits by Jacob’s Well, while his disciples go to the village of Sychar, about a half mile away, to buy food. It is about noon, the hottest part of the day, and a Samaritan woman comes to the well at this inconvenient time to draw water. It’s the longest one-on-one chat with the Lord recorded in Scripture. Jesus makes a simple request: “Will you give me a drink?”
This is a “no-no” here – Jews are not supposed to speak to Samaritans; men are not permitted to address women without their husbands present; and rabbis have no business speaking to shady ladies such as this one. Jesus is willing to toss out the rules, but the woman insists, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” She focuses on the law; Jesus focuses on grace. Instead of insisting she pour him a drink, Jesus offers her living water. She points out the obvious: “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” To quench her spiritual thirst, the Lord first confesses the truth about plain H2O: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again… Whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst.” In one sentence Jesus shifts from everyday life to everlasting life.
Jesus offers grace – breaking down the barriers of judgment and hostility. Jesus crosses over the cultural demarcations to extend God’s grace to all. It is the marking moment for the mission of the church – to extend God’s love to all.
Hayes Barton United Methodist Church is established to be THE WELL, offering living water to all. The well for a community is the gathering place where nourishment is found and then that water is taken out into the community to sustain it and empower it to be strong and vibrant. THE WELL at Hayes Barton is the gathering place for all who come here to drink from “the spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Shaped and nurtured by that living water, we send forth others and even go forth individually into a community in need of the living presence of God.
At the well, all cultural boundaries resolve as a people of faith drink from the living water. THE WELL at Hayes Barton offers Christ, Community and Compassion to all