April 26, 2020 – Dave Fields
I. Lovers In A Disrupted Time
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”
- Song of Songs, 8:6-7a
Real love is bold – it requires deep commitment and courage
A disrupted moment like this can lead to significant growth and depth and joy for families and marriages. I say can – because it’s not automatic. Like almost anything that grows and flourishes in the midst of pressure – the stress usually does something else first: it reveals the fault lines, shows us where the cracks are and where we aren’t doing quite as well as we might have thought.
II. We’re Talking About God
Song of Songs – at one level it really is about human connection and marriage and sexuality, and that it’s awesome – but scholars have pointed out that although it never mentions God, even once, it is a God-soaked book. In fact, that it also points us to God, and how God relates to us, his people.
- In poetic form, it points back to the very beginning of the Bible, to Genesis 2 where there was a man and a woman, married, perfectly open to God and open to each other. They are completely vulnerable to one another – just like in the Garden of Eden; they are naked and feel no shame
- The Bible – both Old and New Testament – describe God’s relationship with his people like a Bridegoom relating his Bride. In the Bible we see a marriage ceremony right at the beginning, and then at the very end of the book, we see another marriage ceremony – but this time it is the wedding of God to his people. Then right in the middle, we have this poetic portrait of these lovers; a picture of the goodness of marriage that’s reflecting how God loves us, his people.
Whenever we talk about love, we’re talking about God
III. Living Water
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” – John 4:16-18
Why does Jesus ask her to get her husband? It’s a loving way to help her see that she’s been trying to quench her thirst for love…but the well always leaves her empty…the well always dries up.
- Jesus is genuinely interested in her – has compassion on her – and he’s genuinely interested in you too.
- We are longing for the divine love of God because we were made for that to be our first love.
IV. Broken Cisterns Or True Life?
“My people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols”
- Jeremiah 2:11b
An idol is a ‘god-substitute.’ It’s anything – even good things – that we make our ultimate in life. An idol is anything, apart from God, we look to for our deepest sense of meaning – our ultimate source of identity.
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
- Jeremiah 2:13
V. Live In The Spirit
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”
- John 7:37-38
On the cross, we read in John 19, Jesus’ has a spear that is thrust into his side, “bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” It happened, yes, but it also points to the bigger reality Jesus has been talking about. To believe in Jesus is to put our trust in his saving love – his work for us on the cross. It’s to receive the never-ending, living giving presence of God into ourselves by the Holy Spirit.
“Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see the man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
- John 4:28
- She isn’t filled with shame after her interaction with Jesus, but has a sense of levity and joy as she goes and wants others to meet him too. That’s what meeting Jesus does!
- She leaves the jar behind. And we need to as well. To drink in the living water, it means leaving behind the old patterns – our trusting in anything or anyone other than God for our ultimate source of identity and worth.
Imagine what your relationships would look like if these things were more and more evident in you: in your marriage; in your friendships; in your approach to dating; in your relationship with your kids, or parents.
“But the fruit of the Spirit – what the Spirit produces in you – is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
- Galatians 5:22-23
Life Group Discussion:
1. What are some of the biggest joys for you this week? What were some of the primary challenges – even relational challenges?
2. Take a few moments to mull over this text from one spouse to another in Song of Songs: “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away” (8:6-7a).
a. How does that ring true for you?
b. What does the intensity and ‘boldness’ of love mean for how we approach our relationships and how to think about them?
3. Pastor Dave pointed out how relationships are often strained in times like these – times of disruption – but our choice is how we will respond in terms of what will we do with the opportunity and to what or whom will we turn.
What have you learned about yourself during this time? How has the COVID-19 moment challenged you personally? How have you seen God maybe giving you opportunity for growth?
4. Take a few minutes to read and reflect on John 4:1-18. Jesus is revealing this woman’s need to tap into God’s love as her source of life. Why is it important to have a Source of life if we are to flourish in a marriage or other significant relationship?
5. Read again what the Holy Spirit produces in those who are open to his work in us in Galatians 5:22-23.
- Which of these do you see God wanting to grow in you?
- How could growth in this area aid in the quality of your primary relationships?
Take some time to ask God to bring about this fruit in each other more and more. Lift up any particular needs of our city and of your Life Group.