Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shepastor: "The Power of Connection..."

John 4: 6b-7
6and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”

There is power in connection. In order for electrical devices to work, they have to have a power source. Even if you don’t have an electrical cord, you can still operate some items with a battery. But without a battery or a cord, the device will not operate because it is not connected to a power source. The power source provides a current that flows from the source to the device and that is what gives the device energy, functionality, operating power – the current flows from the source to the device. Without the current from the source, the device lays dormant or dead. Connection is critical not only for inanimate objects such as computers or iphones, ipads, televisions and even some cars, but connection is important for us as human and spiritual beings. Jesus provided for us some basic examples of how to reach or to connect with people.

We like to think about the miracles that Jesus performed as a way of reaching or drawing people. But the Lord knew that we as human beings would not have those specific kinds of abilities. So He gave to us some practical ways of connecting with others. In our text for today, Jesus gave us a powerful example of connecting.

Consider a woman who became a witness for the Lord as a result of a simple, yet profound connection. Although from a cultural and human perspective she was an unlikely candidate. Consider her plight in general...Women were thought of as property. This was a time when Jewish men would stand in the temple and thank God that they were not born a dog or a woman in that order…back to the time when the “clean” women went to the well early in the morning and only despised and shamed women went during the heat of the day. This was a time when men did not speak to women unless they were accompanied by their husbands or brothers or fathers. What about this woman in particular – this Samaritan woman who was despised, rejected, used and probably abused.

Think about all of those things and then consider Jesus’ example of the power of connection.

We don’t know what happened in this woman’s life that made her behave in the way that she did. We don’t know why she had five husbands and was living with a man that wasn’t even one of them! This was a shamed woman. She was outcast from society. She was among the dregs of society. She was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were a people that were a mixed race. They were the product of the Jews who became involved with persons from pagan cultures during the diaspora. She was not a “pure breed” if you will and they were despised by the Jews. She was a woman – that in and of itself was problematic. Women were last class citizens. They had no rights. They were property. They were used. They were frequently depicted as wicked, mischievous and to be avoided. And she was promiscuous. We don’t know what happened to her to make her this way, but this was her lot.

Jesus, however, looked beyond all of that – all of her shame, all of her rejection by others, all of her promiscuity and saw that she had a need for a connection. He saw that even though she’d had six men, she was lonely. Six men, but she was uncared for. Six men, but she was unconnected, alone at the well to fend for herself.

She needed a connection. Many are like this woman…many and varied relationships, but no true connections. Some have been molested by those they trusted. Some have been ignored and/or treated as objects. Some have lived lives that are less than holy and pure and therefore a cloud of shame rests over them. They, like this woman feel ostracized, criticized, despised and rejected. But just like Jesus said, “I have to go through Samaria,” Jesus continues to come to “Samaria” to have a talk with those in need of a connection. Jesus wants to connect with them through us!

If you are consumed by shame, consumed by low self-esteem, consumed by things that happened in your life that you had no control over – it can make you feel like you don’t have a connection. Not just any connection, but the living water connection! The power connection…the peace connection…the healing connection that you can only get from a connection with Jesus.

Many are looking for a connection but they may not even realize or understand what they are looking for. We like Jesus must learn how to connect with those who are broken and or lost. We must learn how to meet people where they are and not judge them, not look down upon them, not criticize them, but lovingly, prayerfully find a way to begin a conversation with them and connect. When people realize that you are doing more than just exchanging pleasantries (“Hey, how are you doing,” as you casually keep walking), but that you are looking into their eyes, looking into their hearts, offering yourself as a listening, praying caring ear and heart they will feel your sincerity and become open to a connection.

Connection is powerful. Connection helps you to share energy. Connection helps you to find intimacy. Connection helps you to discover your identity. Connection opens the door for deliverance and healing. Connection opens up opportunities for greater. God uses the power of connection to produce and reproduce life. Our navel or “belly button” reminds us that we were once physically connected to our mothers, receiving blood, nourishment and protection while growing inside of her.

We cannot survive without connection. Jesus connected with this woman by speaking to her in a language that she understood. He used the simple method of asking her for something that he knew she had – some water. She was familiar with water, had come to get some water and understood that without water we cannot live.

That is how we connect with others…identifying where they are, engaging them in conversations about things that are important to them and using those same things as a way to draw their attention to the light of Christ.

If we want to learn how to connect, then we’ve got to spend time ourselves connecting with Jesus. Jesus is our power source. Without that connection we will lay dormant. We cannot have the kinds of connections the Lord wants us to have with others if we are not connected, plugged into Him. When we connect with Jesus, the current of His Holy Spirit flows through us and we then become a powerful witness. As Martin Luther said, God’s holiness, God’s sacredness, God’s Holy Spirit will invade our very being and we won’t “do witnessing” we will, “be witnessing.” In other words, the love of Christ, the power of His Holy Spirit, the blessedness of being in connection with Him will invade our very being.

May we seek daily to get and stay connected to the ultimate power source, Jesus.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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