Sunday, August 05, 2007

Living Water by Julie Smith

This was not the kind of woman that a decent person would have as a friend. This was a woman with a “history”. You know, a history with many men. In fact, this woman was so despised by the respectable people in her community that she would only go to the common well for water during the heat of the day when no one else was around. It was on one of these trips that she met a most unusual man.

The story in John 4 tells us that she was a Samaritan woman. Through her conversation with Jesus we learn that she had been married five times and was currently living with someone who wasn’t her husband! Now that sounds pretty normal for this day and age, but it was more than scandalous during the time of Christ.

Samaritans were despised by the Jewish people because of their religion and their race, yet Jesus saw in this woman an unlikely candidate for Gnosis. Maybe it was because of her situation that her heart was open and receptive. She had already lost her reputation, security, and status in the community. She was on the bottom rung.

The story continues and we find that Christ opens up to her—a woman, a Samaritan, and a blatant sinner—that He is the promised Messiah and that He came to establish a kingdom within people’s hearts. He promises her a legacy of “living water” that would replenish and nourish her soul in a way that no earthly ritual could provide or satisfy.

To the most unlikely and unworthy, God’s secret plan is revealed. It shows us the condition our hearts must be in to truly open up to the spiritual gems available to us through the Spirit. As long as we hold on to our spiritual pride and sense of already having everything we need through our religious forms and rituals, we will never progress any further down the spiritual path.

We will stay trapped in formalism, religiosity, and legalism. It matters not which faith tradition you come from—the result of spiritual pride is complacency and a powerless religion. Sadly, that is where many of us live and never even know that the “living water” that we seek is obtained only by the indwelling Christ power.

The promise given to the Samaritan woman was that the living water would be like a spring, bubbling up new and fresh every day. This is what the path of Gnosis is all about—it is about a living relationship with the Spirit—one that constantly grows and nurtures us into spiritual maturity. The path never ends and continues on into eternity.

As a Christian Gnostic, you never “arrive”. You are never content to sit back on your laurels and contemplate your great spiritual understanding and successes. Christ reminded us that we are to be servants—not lording it over others.

There are many who desperately need our service of love and ministration. There is no place in Christianity for arguing over doctrine, debating truth, and criticizing the “church”. The true Spirit of Christ is about sharing the love of the Divine and reconciling a fallen planet back to Source. We can only do this when we are filled with the love of God and our hearts are channels for that amazing love to flow out into a hungry, hurting world.

If you are tired of a powerless religion, if you are thirsty for living water, if you crave the meat of the gospel commission—I invite you to a deeper path of knowing Christ. The Apostle Paul’s prayer for spiritual growth in Ephesians 3 shows us the way:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”