Too important not to share.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you always.  Let’s join in a word of prayer: Lord God, You know all there is to know about each one of us.  You reveal all that we need to know about You to receive salvation. We gather here in fellowship to receive your living water, and to be reassured of your great love for us.   We worship You and we praise You for this great love.  Guide our time together so that we may be encouraged by your message for us. Gracious heavenly Father, hear our prayer in the name of our risen Lord Jesus.  Amen.

A while back, a Mercedes-Benz TV commercial showed one of their cars colliding with a concrete wall during a safety test. After viewing this advert, someone from the press asked a Mercedes engineer why their company didn’t enforce their patent on their car’s energy-absorbing car body. The Mercedes’ design had been copied by almost every other car maker in the world in spite of having an exclusive designer’s patent.

The engineer replied in a clipped German accent, that I couldn’t copy, “Because in life, some things are just too important not to share.” (King Duncan, Collected Sermons,

 What a great statement. ‘Some things are just too important not to share.’

      As Christians we believe that the good news of Jesus Christ is one of those things that is too important not to share. We accept that Jesus Christ should be shared with our friends, our neighbours, the world. The work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ is simply witnessing our faith. Most often we do this with our attitudes, our words and our actions that quietly demonstrate our faith as we live our ordinary lives. But faith in a Saviour who is anything but ordinary.   

      At times, Christian faith has been advanced more intentionally by people who were willing to step outside of their comfort zones to witness the good news of Christ.  Even with our best efforts to make a difference with our witness, I want to reassure that we are not always going to get it right.  And that is OK.  God can use what we give to his purpose and advantage.

     John gives us an example of the pattern for witnessing the good news of salvation by our faith in the Son whom God sent.  If we remember, last week we spent some time with Nicodemus.  A man in the know, accustomed to being at the heart of things in the Jewish world.  A leader of the Pharisees, and a person of learning.  When Jesus spoke to this reluctant believer, it made all the difference for Nicodemus. ‘Some things are just too important not to share.’

     This week, in John’s Gospel, we spent some time with the very opposite of Nicodemus.  An unnamed Samaritan woman, accustomed to being on the outside of society.  Being controlled by the various men in her life, and serving at the whims of chance.   

     When Jesus spoke to her, she showed unexpected wisdom, and Jesus made all the difference in her life.  ‘Some things are just too important not to share.’

     Nicodemus came to Jesus with uncertainty, to discover the source of his authority in the world. Jesus explained that his source is the Holy Spirit,  a mystery that eludes human understanding.

     The Samaritan Woman came to the well with a certainty born of pain.  Then Jesus spoke to her and awakened within her an excitement held captive by circumstance.    

     In our lives, whether we come to Jesus with a certainty of our circumstances, or the uncertainty of our future, Jesus makes all the difference.  We can approach our Saviour in the words of Scripture, the gift of the sacraments, or even the quiet prayer and praise in all the times of our lives.

     Like Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman could only relate the words of Christ Jesus to the human experience of life.  Remember, when Jesus confronted the inquiring spirit of Nicodemus with the words,  “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit,”? Nicodemus’ immediate reaction was to plant this reality next to the human experience of being born in blood and flesh.  And to raise a new question.  “How can this be?”

     When Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Applying this eternal truth against her human experience, she said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

     In dialogues with both Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman, the questions raised seem to be left without answers.  But Jesus reveals himself as the answer:  ‘the way the truth and the life’.  ‘The very thing that is just too important not to share.’

     So often, when we confront Christ Jesus with the questions that plague us, it seems that he is silent in our presence, as he reveals himself as our answer:  our way, our truth, our life.  And that reminds us that we are so often asking the wrong question.     President John F. Kennedy in his inauguration speech, said some famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.” 

In  the dialogue with the Samaritan woman, we might hear the unspoken words of Jesus, ‘Don’t ask to be given living water.  Rather believe in the Messiah who has come, and receive the living water of the Holy Spirit, by faith in me.’

     Jesus approached her with an intimacy that speaks of friendship, of compassion, of understanding.  How refreshing that must have been for her.  In response to this witness from the source of light and life, this unnamed Samaritan woman returns to her village and witnesses the Good News of the Messiah that they were waiting for.

      It is significant for me that she left her water jar behind.  Far more concerned about the living water that Jesus offered her. And that made all the difference for this remote Samaritan village. After all ‘Some things are just too important not to share.’

Because of her witness, pagan and Jew alike came  to Jesus and believed in him. As John writes, ‘Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.   And because of his words many more became believers. 

 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”’   When important things are shared, we might suspect that no one really cares.  But the Holy Spirit can take the things we share and use them to make a difference.  We may never know the result of the kindness we share, but this woman at the well saw the result.

In our daily lives, we follow the patterns of work and responsibility, of leisure and rest, with maybe even a bit of time for Scripture and prayer.    

But we rarely expect to encounter Jesus, interrupting our routines.  Confronting us with ultimate concerns over life and salvation.  Calling us to be his witness in our small corner of the world.

And yet, God’s Holy Spirit seems to choose the most awkward times to engage us.  Just as Jesus did with the woman at the well.  

It seems so exciting and yet unsettling, when Jesus takes time from his eternal care and kingship over the entire creation, to dialogue with us individually. Through thoughts and intuitions that almost seem foreign to our human nature.  And yet, God in his eternal presence in the world always has us in his sight, and always cares for us. 

This is a mystery that will intrigue us until we are with him in eternity.  Even from his cross, Jesus thought of us.  “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!”   and “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Jesus was speaking to every repentant sinner, every faith-filled believer, every inquiring mind, when he spoke these words.

And yet, we shouldn’t be surprised.  In those times when we most need a reassuring word from someone, Jesus speaks to us.  He speaks through the Scriptures, through our intuition, through our quiet moments of prayer, through our friends and family.  He speaks with the same intimacy, friendship, compassion and understanding.    

Jesus has much to teach us in this encounter.  We can come to understand that our witness in this broken world is important.   But it is the Holy Spirit of God, who touches the hearts and minds of people through even our simple witness, and through the word of God, and through sacraments.  That makes all the difference in our lives and our world.  So, it is true that  ‘Some things are just too important not to share.’

May the grace and peace of God, which passes all our human understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the calm assurance of eternal salvation in our living Lord, Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Rev David Thompson.