Third Sunday of Lent - A Well In The Wilderness
This year we are experiencing a very different kind of Lenten journey. Our theme is "Wilderness," which is appropriate on so many levels. First, it's appropriate because Lent is essentially a symbolic way for us to enter into the story of Jesus' 40-Day preparation in the wilderness prior to launching his public ministry.
But it's also appropriate because it feels as though we have been traveling through the wilderness over the past year, can I get a witness?
Here's the cool thing, though... and this is what we hope to lift up throughout this entire journey together... There is life in the wilderness. There is growth in the wilderness. We get a chance during these wilderness wanderings to become the people we long to be.
Today we are going to focus on what it means to tell the truth in the wilderness, but more importantly, telling the truth about ourselves.
And what does it mean to tell the truth about ourselves? Let me illustrate this in a couple of ways. First, I'll tell the truth about some things that I need to face facts on, just to show how it's done.
I will never be the coach of the Denver Broncos.
I will never climb Mt. Everest.
I am too chicken to go sky-diving.
I will never be the lead singer in a rock and roll band.
I will never fully appreciate tennis.
I will never win the lottery.
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Being known gives her the freedom to know.
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
The truth changes her---turns her into a witness, sets her free.
The wilderness is where we can tell the truth about ourselves because it is there that we encounter the One who truly knows us, and loves us.
So, what have you been telling yourself that isn't true?
The Samaritan woman had a narrative for her life that had defined her, it left her in shame, isolation, uncertainty...
What thing in your life has left you with that story?
Story of a man haunted by the people he killed in WWII
Story of a woman torn apart because of her resentment of a husband who was dying.
Story of a friend who called his mother on Mother's Day high on crack.
Here's some truth that you need to hear right now...
You are not your mistakes. You are not your missteps. There is no condemnation--no judgment... Just truth, reconciliation, mercy, and love.
You may have been wandering in the wilderness with your story... but you are not alone. The One who meets you in the wilderness when everything feels lost is the One who not only knows the truth about you, but also the One who sacrificed everything to set you free from that story... to set you free to speak the truth about yourself... and to know that you are covered in grace.
The wilderness is a place to tell the truth.