John 4:1-42 Jesus said [to the Samaritan woman], “Please give me a drink.” The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water… a fresh, bubbling spring, giving you eternal life.” [Later he said to his disciples] “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”… [The people of the village said to the woman] “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Jesus ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Enmity between people in the same land—people who claim to worship the same God—is at least as old as Israel and Samaria. Jesus didn’t let that deter him. He both used and broke through accepted social conventions because he saw this woman’s heart. He understood her story. He saw her need. And he used her cultural setting (the well) and custom (drawing water from the well) to offer what he had to give, living water.
Hmm, sound like a description of missions? In the Anglican tradition, today is World Mission Sunday. Having grown up in Guatemala as an MK (“missionary kid”), I’ve never known life apart from missions; it frames the way I think and understand everything—maybe that can help you make sense of things I say. For me, borders between countries are in a sense artificial constructs imposed on this world God loves. His family—our brothers and sisters—live in every nation. It’s as impossible for me to embrace one country as being “first” as it is to imagine God having favorites among his children.
I thought it would be fun to share a couple of worship songs from countries I have lived in. Don’t worry about understanding the words; just try to enter into their spirit, their heart.
From Guatemala: Julio Melgar died in 2019 at age 46. Here’s an example of the worship legacy he left, Tus Cuerdas de Amor (Your Cords of Love), recorded in 2018 in the middle of a two-year fight with cancer (Lord, you never lost control...Your cords of love have fallen on me… this is my security, my peace… your love sustains me…).
His son Lowsan later sang this song like this.
From Brazil: When she was a little girl, Dave took board games as gifts when he stayed with Ana Paula Valadão’s family on visits to her city of Belo Horizonte. Ana Paula and her group, Diante do Trono (Before the Throne) has had an incalculable influence on worship in Brazil. Here’s one of my favorites, a song first recorded in 2002, Águas Purificadoras.
Oh! I just found this video of Ana Paula singing Águas Purificadoras last year in English!
Living water… a fresh bubbling spring.