Tag Archives: woman at the well

Putting Down Your Jar – Sermon on John 4:5-42

You can find the script for this message here. This account of the Samaritan woman at the well was first preached in 2014, a few months after I began an appointment as First UMC’s pastor. Three years later, this text fit quite well in the Unbinding Your Heart sermon series. On March 15, 2020, this was the last message preached in an “in person” worship service before First UMC moved all worship and activities online due to the COVID pandemic. I changed appointments in June, 2020, before in-person worship resumed. 

Sometimes, a first-person story gets to the heart of the matter more effectively than a description of events. Sometimes, talking about the Word doesn’t mean as much as simply speaking the Word from inside the story. So on this fourth Sunday of Lent in 2017 (third Sunday of Lent in Year A, if you follow the lectionary cycle), I put on a scarf and told the story of the Woman at the Well from her perspective. UPDATE: In 2022, Willmar United Methodist Church had also been reading Unbinding Your Heart together, and it was time to hear from Photine (that’s what Orthodox Christians call her) once more. Here’s the video.

As you meet Christ at your own personal well, may you recognize what the people from Sychar recognized: Jesus is the Savior of the world. That means he is the Savior of you.  Believe this Good News!

Putting Down Your Jar (Living Water) – Sermon on John 4:5-42

Video from March 20, 2022

Note: This is a first person narrative, told from the perspective of the Samaritan woman Jesus meets at the well in John 4. While most messages can be given by either a man or a woman, this one needs to be heard in a woman’s voice.

[Wear a scarf that covers all hair, carry a ‘water jar’ containing about a cup of water. Have the baptismal font placed in the center of the chancel, and have two large stone jars on the altar or a table near the font, one empty and one with some sand/pebbles in it.]

I live in Sychar – you also probably know it as the city of Shechem, in Samaria. I don’t really live in Sychar, but just outside of town. Jacob’s well is about a mile from Sychar, and I probably live closer to the well than the town square. You can actually see the well from my doorway.

One day, about lunchtime, I saw a group of men walking toward the well. I could tell they were Jews, even at a distance. They looked like they had come a long way, probably taking the shortcut back to Galilee from Jerusalem.

Most Jews crossed the Jordan and traveled around Samaria, so Sychar wasn’t really “on the way” between Jerusalem and Galilee, unless you were trying to avoid the crowds on the roads.

I could tell that they didn’t have anything with them to draw water. They probably had no idea how deep the well was. Anyway, I picked up a water jar and headed toward the well. If I hurried, I could get there first, leave the jar for them, and be out of the way before they got there.

But I wasn’t fast enough. Continue reading