Okay, so I have been called out. Now what?

The Spirit of God has called to our spirit – “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

Last week’s Old Testament reading was about Abram being called by the Spirit.  “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

So, Abram took everything he had, family, and possessions and left, not knowing where he was going or what he was going to do but responding to what he believed was God calling him.

The Greek word we translate as ‘church’, ecclesia literally means “the called-out ones”, in other words, the gathering of believers; what we call ‘the church’. We too have been called – all of us.

We, like Abram, have heard the Spirit ‘calling to us. We saw what his response was. He said, “Yes, I will go.”

And don’t forget, he didn’t know where he was going, just that he’d heard a call, and something inside told him that he had to follow.

So, what exactly are supposed to do, now that we’ve heard the Spirit call? Now that’s an excellent question.

Our reading this morning in the Old Testament is about the Israelites who were told to leave Egypt, and “they left now knowing where they were going” – sound familiar? Remember Abram? Right!

Like Abram, they responded to the call of God by following it. And guess what – they got lost! Hey, it happens. We’re told ‘they wandered in the wilderness of Sin’.

I kid you not, that was the actual name of the place, ‘the wilderness was Sin’. Anyway, they traipsed around in the wilderness of Sin trying to figure out what to do with their calling. It’s ironic, isn’t it?

They weren’t much different from us, were they? We kind of ‘wonder as we wander’ around, trying to figure out how to follow this calling of the Spirit.  Sometimes we grumble, we complain and sometimes we question, just like the Israelites did in the wilderness.

It’s not always because we don’t want to be obedient. Sometimes it’s just because we are confused, and it would be nice to have some clear direction. Somebody, please, just tell me what to do!

Ah! Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? Sorry… Like Abram, we must keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when we don’t know where we’re going.

Like the children of Israel sometimes we must simply live through times of confusion and darkness but keep following that call.

The Spirit of God has called to our spirit – “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman at the village well. And, you know, if you read it at face value, he was kind of rude.  Jesus was getting into this woman’s ‘stuff’, making her feel unsettled, almost like he was trying to pick a fight.

They’re carrying on a conversation, which was a little strange to begin with, and out of the blue he says: “Go get your husband and come back.” And, the woman answers: “I have no husband.”

Jesus says: “Yes, I know. You have had five husbands and the man that’s with you now is not your husband.”

And, she looks at him and says: “how do you know all this stuff, and by the way, why are you talking to me?

I’m not only a woman, but I’m a Samaritan woman. Jews don’t have conversations with Samaritans.” In other words, ‘Just who do you think you are to talk to me like that!’

And the disciples were probably scratching their heads too. I’m sure they were wondering: “Why in the world is he talking to this woman?!

We can pretty much tell what kind of woman she is just by looking at her. And besides that, Jesus – we don’t talk to Samaritans anyway!”

Jesus says to the woman: “Let me tell you something. The water that you are going to get at this well is going to satisfy your physical thirst, but it will not satisfy your spiritual thirst.”

Wow. It’s like an arrow shot straight to the heart. Suddenly, it’s clear that Jesus isn’t trying to irritate or embarrass either this woman or the disciples. He is being used by the Spirit to call to her spirit.

She hears the call, all her defensiveness and leaves, and she responds: “Where can I find this water that will satisfy my spiritual thirst?”

That’s a cry from the heart. A desire for life to have meaning. 

The Spirit of God has called to our spirit – “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

Where do we find that water that will satisfy our spiritual thirst, that desire for meaning in life?

Jesus says: “The water I bring to you will satisfy your spiritual thirst, and if you drink of this water, the well that springs from within, you will never thirst again.”

What he’s saying is, only the Spirit can satisfy your spiritual thirst. But – how does that happen? The story continues:

After the encounter with the Samaritan woman, the disciples come to Jesus. Jesus, you need to eat.  We know you must be hungry. You need to take care of yourself.

Jesus says: “I have bread you don’t know about.” That gets their attention, much like he got the woman’s attention.  “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to complete his work.”

That’s the bread and water that satisfies his spiritual hunger and thirst, that gives meaning to his life – doing God’s work.

And then he offers them the chance to participate, “For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

What a beautiful picture of the church! A picture of those who’ve heard the call of the Spirit, those of us here today along with those who were here 50 or 100 years ago, who’ve all come together to do God’s work, the best we know how, to work together, serving others – and in doing it to find meaning in life.

The Spirit of God has called to our spirit – “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

God’s spirit calls to their spirit, they follow, and while they’re following, God uses them to call to others. And on it goes. It’s a beautiful plan.

Because everyone wants to hear a call that promises to lead them to meaning in their life. Abram did, the children of Israel did. So did the Samaritan woman at the well and the disciples. So, do we. So, does everyone we know.

Just as we come to the Eucharist table every Sunday morning; to take and eat by faith with thanksgiving that we might be made whole. Jesus wants to feed your soul and satisfy your spiritual thirst for your day by day journey.

The Spirit of God has called to our spirit – “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

We need strength for the journey, wherever it may lead us. Next week we will talk about how that journey will find some stability and structure.

But, for this week let’s make a commitment, once again, to be renewed daily by the Spirit of God and the Word of God…and to share that spiritual bread and water with each other and everyone we meet.

The Spirit of God has called to our spirit – “Come with me, I have a plan for you, somewhere for you to go; something for you to do.”

Amen

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