What’s Your Problem
1 Samuel 7:6 – “So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there ‘ we have sinned against the Lord.’ And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
What is your problem? It is a question that takes many forms isn’t it. It can mean you are being rude, what is wrong with you or it can mean I care about you and I can tell something is wrong. Or it can mean just about anything in between. So what is your problem? We all have one don’t we? If the truth is told we have more than one, but perhaps the root of the problems are the same – sin.
It is a word that we don’t like yet it is one the effects our lives each and every day. John Owen said that “our sins are like an iceberg, we are only aware of 10% of them,” sadly enough he is right but his number may be too high. Sin fills up our lives. Jesus certainly shows us this in two of His more famous exchanges in the Gospel of John. The first is with Nicodemus and from the outside Nicodemus looks like a pretty good person. He is the person that you want moving into the neighborhood. A good man, a religious man, an upstanding member of the community. Yet when he comes to Jesus, Jesus just simply tells him, “you must be born again.” In other words Nicodemus you must change. Why? Because Nicodemus, this good, upstanding, religious person is full of sin. So Nicodemus if you are going to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, you must be born again.
Next, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at the well. She is just the opposite of Nicodemus. He is wholeheartedly religious, she is religious as well, but just a little bit. He is an upstanding member of the community, she too has a reputation but its not a good one. In fact she comes to the well at a time when many people wont be there. She doesn’t want to face people, she after all is one of the people that other people like to talk about. Nicodemus seems to be a pretty good person, she is filled up with sin (he is too but from the outside he doesn’t seem to be). What does Jesus say to her? Come partake of the Living Water. In other words you are trying to fill your life up with all sorts of things as you search for meaning and as your search for joy, but those things aren’t going to give you fulfillment. You must change. It sounds a whole lot like what He told Nicodemus doesn’t it, especially when you break it down.
So to a good, religious person Jesus said, you need to change and to a woman with a bad reputation Jesus said you need to change. What is His message? That we as people need to change. We are filled up with sin. Timothy Keller points out that Nicodemus’ sin was pride and position, while the woman at the well’s was the pursuit of pleasure. These seem to be very different sins, but they have the same root, the root of idolatry. They were seeking to glorify themselves. Nicodemus by having the power and prestige and social position, the woman at the well through her relationships. They had made idols of themselves and they needed to repent. They needed to lay their sin down if they were going to be a part of the Kingdom of God.
In 1 Samuel 7, the people gathered together and drew water and then poured it out. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to us in the 21st century does it? Why pour the water out? The answer is really simple, it was symbolic of repentance. Symbolic of emptying yourself, so that you could be filled up with the Spirit of God.
Emptying yourself, so that you could be filled up with Living Water. Emptying yourself so that you could be born again. Born not just of water, but born of the Spirit of God by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are to drink of the Living Water, we are to be born again. How does that happen? Through us emptying ourselves (repenting of our sins and idolatry) and being filled with the Spirit of Almighty God. Then and only then can we be a part of the Kingdom of God, and then and only then will we find the peace and the joy and the hope that we all are desperately and frantically searching for. We find it at the foot of the cross. To God be the glory!