Welcome to our congregation! Open Arms presents basic Christian faith. If you are investigating Christianity, or if you are a follower of Christ who prefers contemporary worship, these services are designed especially for you. While we use up-to-date language, music, and drama, our Bible-based message is as eternal as the revelation of God's love through the life of Jesus.
John 4:5-11, 13-15, 25-26, 28-30, 39, 41-42 God's Word
[Jesus] arrived at a city in Samaria called Sychar….Jesus sat down by the well because he was tired from traveling. The time was about six o'clock in the evening.
A Samaritan woman went to get some water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink of water." (His disciples had gone into the city to buy some food.)
The Samaritan woman asked him, "How can a Jewish man like you ask a Samaritan woman like me for a drink of water?" (Jews, of course, don't associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus replied to her, "If you only knew what God's gift is and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked him for a drink. He would have given you living water."
The woman said to him, "Sir, you don't have anything to use to get water, and the well is deep. So where are you going to get this living water?...
Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life."
The woman told Jesus, "Sir, give me this water! Then I won't get thirsty or have to come here to get water."…
The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us everything." (Messiah is the one called Christ.)
Jesus told her, "I am he, and I am speaking to you now."…
Then the woman left her water jar and went back into the city. She told the people, "Come with me, and meet a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could he be the Messiah?" The people left the city and went to meet Jesus….
Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman who said, "He told me everything I've ever done."… Many more Samaritans believed because of what Jesus said. They told the woman, "Our faith is no longer based on what you've said. We have heard him ourselves, and we know that he really is the savior of the world."
This meditation follows the format of Daily Bread, a Community of Christ resource that is available for daily meditation. It includes a short message, a short excerpt from the Daily Prayer for Peace, a spiritual discipline, and a statement of a peace covenant.
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." —John 4:10–14 NRSV
In the center of our town is a fountain surrounded by shops. Often, one will see people sitting on benches that surround the fountain chatting with others, some watching people walk by, while others wait in expectation for someone to arrive.
Every once in a while, someone tosses a coin or two into the water, and they pause to watch where the coin lands, probably offering a secret wish for something they want to come true. Once in a while, the fountain stops showering water because someone has had fun and poured liquid soap in the water, so it doesn't spray water but rather thousands of bubbles. The pool of water and the fountain are taken over with bubbles!
Jesus asked a woman for a drink, and her response was practical: "Sir, you have not a bucket, and it's a deep well. What do you want me to do to give you water?" Jesus replied to her question with a statement that if she only knew who was asking for a drink, she'd make sure he received one, and what he offered would take care of her thirst forever.
There are fountains in cities, towns, and villages around the world. Some of them provide nourishing water for life, some are for decoration, and some keep water from becoming stagnant so it can be used in more productive ways. Each one has an agitator to keep the water moving to keep the water alive. Jesus doesn't say he's the water; he says he knows what keeps it moving for life—the Holy Spirit—and it is available to move in everyone's life.
We drink the living waters as we receive and respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we sit and rest, sometimes we share with others around the water, and sometimes we celebrate the bubbles!
--Larry McGuire of Gilbert, AZ, USA
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Visit the Daily Prayer for Peace page to find each day's prayer and be a part of this practice of peace.