Unbusy: Reconnecting with an Unhurried God – Living Water 3-23-14

March 23, 2014

Unbusy: Reconnecting with an Unhurried God through Living Water

What is it that makes us so busy, so consumed by busy-ness? Many people think pastors are the busiest people around. People – at least in this congregation – give me a lot of slack, some deserved, some not, for my busy-ness. Folks give me credit for praying non-stop for everybody in the congregation and responding to every need, and demand. I wish I was as attentive and helpful as you sometimes give me credit.
You know the busy person I really appreciate? the single mom with 2 kids who is working full time and going to night school. I cannot imagine how some people manage to do everything that needs to be done! Laundry at the laundromat, writing a paper, making dinner, dealing with a sick child who needs to be picked up in the middle of the school day.
There are times in our lives when we can’t help being busier than is healthy. There are reasons for some people to take on, for a season, more than is ideal. Kids, an important life goal, a personal or family crisis – these are the real reasons for understanding someone’s need to be busy.

And even then, maybe especially when we are legitimately too busy – planning some time for prayer, taking time for a Sabbath retreat, having personal or family rituals that make life a little more sane – are pretty near essential.
I like being busy. Being busy makes me feel important. Being busy makes me feel wanted. Being busy strokes my ego.  Those are terrible reasons to fill life up to the brim.
Sometimes when I’m most legitimately busy, I feel the most need to take that important time with God to sustain me. Sometimes when I’m only somewhat busy, I fill the times when I could be reconnecting with an unhurried God with busy work, or busy play – checking Facebook, playing computer games, watching mindless TV or whatever.
I tell myself that those activities help me unwind or slow down, and sometimes they do, but sometimes they are just noise. They keep me from focusing on what I need to focus, whether that’s on my family, my health, or some deeper need of the Spirit, the breath, the wind.

In last week’s reading from John, Jesus had a conversation with Nicodemus in which they kept misunderstanding each other – most significantly, confusing “born again” with “born from above.” Nick wanted status points, while Jesus invited him to live in the present.
Today’s reading also shows Jesus challenging someone to grow past their limited vision. Last week it was a learned Jewish man, and insider, who comes in the night. Today, it’s Jesus who takes the initiative, with a Samaritan woman, an unnamed outsider, minding her own business at the town well.
She is shocked that Jesus would even talk to her, let alone, that he would ask her for a drink. She’s even more befuddled when, in response to her questioning look, Jesus pushed her to recognize him and to ask him for “living water,” water that will always quench your thirst, from a well that will never run dry. Even as she takes him literally, and as she recognizes Jesus only as a prophet, Jesus treats her with great respect and patience – unlike his shortness with Nicodemus. Jesus works with her to help her reach for this living water that brings real life.
Jesus’ respect for her and her knowledge of her, the way he sees her, convinces her that he is the real thing, not just a prophet, but a savior, a representative of the Living God. She begins to spread the word herself of this anointed One, the Messiah.

As we have gone through this sermon series in Lent, I know that some of us have been trying out turning of cell phones, fasting from Facebook, or other ways of unbusying our lives. I know I have found it really useful to slow down. One thing we want to recognize is that we can turn off all the games, keep Sabbath time religiously, and fast regularly. The point of doing it though is to be open to an encounter, to be able to recognize the Living God, to taste the living water that will nourish us for Life.
When I think of the word Savior, I tend to think of a once in a lifetime life-saving experience. Many people experience an encounter with Jesus in that way. The woman at the well may have even talked about her experience of the Messiah at the well that day as a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a Savior.
When Jesus talks about living water though, I think of the kind of refreshment and renewal that happens every day, that happens whenever we slow down enough to notice God’s presence in the moment, in every heartbeat, in every spring flower, in every sip of cool, clean, refreshing water, in every breath of life-giving air.
Most of us are too busy to notice. As a pastor I feel blessed to count it as part of my job to notice. I love though, how Jesus wants especially to reach out to the outsider, to the single mom who is so busy and distracted she doesn’t know what to do.
And the way Jesus reaches out to “save” her is to give her something more to do. He asks her for a drink of water. That’s how busy people are, I notice. You can hardly get their attention until you ask them to do something for you.  That’s how most of us are I guess. Jesus asks her to get him a drink, and she adds it to her to-do list, and then finds that from that one experience she notices day by day the taste of the water, the smell of fresh air, the love of a community.
May we too be saved.  This is God’s good news.

Responsive Hymn:  2132 You Who Are Thirsty