Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (John 4.7)

by Rev. Kevin Kraglund on January 26th, 2015

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Braemar Baptist – Jan 18, 2015
 
As we enter into this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it’s both my pleasure and privilege to offer these words of welcome on behalf of the Edmonton & District Council of Churches (or EDCC for short).  This coming week is one that embraces what we, as a council, are all about and defines who we are. 
 
In the statement of purpose from our bylaws, the Edmonton & District Council of Churches is an association of Christian churches, organizations, and individuals which seeks to express the essential unity of the body of Christ through worship, fellowship, dialogue, cooperation, service and prayer.
 
From the Canadian Council of Churches website: “The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is held from January 18 to 25, each year.  This eight day period (or “octave”)—first proposed by the Franciscan Fr. Paul Wattson in 1908—begins with the feast of the confession of St. Peter and ends with the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.  By finding ways to pray together during this week, we join with all people around the world who are praying, reflecting, studying, and even eating and drinking together to celebrate and pray for Christian unity.”
 
This year’s theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is from John’s Gospel:  “Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’”  By itself, this theme begs the question, “Jesus said to who?” 
 
After leaving Judea and while enroute to Galilee early in his ministry, “Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well.  It was about noon.  And a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’” (John 4: 5-7).
 
If we were to pick just one story that shows us the most about who Jesus is, it’s this encounter with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well.  During this worship service, we’ll be hearing about and reflecting upon this encounter.  And in our hearing and reflecting, we’ll surely discover that this story is, at its heart, a story of unity.
 
Introducing this theme and this year’s focus on Christianity as it’s lived out in Brazil, the Canadian Council of Churches offers these words: “The biblical gesture of offering water to a guest as a way of welcoming and sharing is something that is repeated in all regions of Brazil.  Refreshing glasses of water, chimarrão, coffee, and tereré are trademarks of acceptance, dialogue and coexistence.
 
“Give me a drink compels us to recognize that persons, communities, cultures, religions, and ethnicities need each other.  Diversity needs to be recognized and presented as our common heritage, with regard to humanity and the whole of creation.  Give me a drink compels us to change our attitude, to commit ourselves to seek unity in the midst of our diversity through our openness to a variety of forms of spirituality and religious expressions.” 
 
At the heart of Jesus’ request to the Samaritan woman, “Give me a drink,” he recognized that they each needed something from the other.  And so do we.  Amen.



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