Address the Sin and be Plenished by the Well

By Axel Kazadi
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Born in the Congo and raised in Zambia and New Brunswick before moving to Toronto, Axel Kazadi is a ThM graduate of 2018 and current PhD student at Wycliffe College. He works also as Assistant Professor of Bible & Theology at Kingswood University. In addition to his academic pursuits, Axel served as a youth and young adult pastor at Milliken Wesleyan Methodist Church in Markham, Ontario from 2015-2020.

The twofold question I have been contemplating is: (1) how should the Church deal with its own limitations, divisions, frailties, and sins during the “Time of the Virus” which has brought the transitoriness of life, value of connectivity, and life’s overlooked treasures into sharp focus? And the other is: (2) how should the Church come together and be plenished after confronting herself truthfully? The story that has helped me reflect on this twofold question has been the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

A story that illustrates a profound truth

The story of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1–42) is, in fact, my favorite episode in the Gospel of John. It illustrates the truth that the Father did not send the Son “to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17). Though the church is God’s transforming presence in the world, we also recognize our own faults, frailties, weaknesses, and sins in Christ’s gracious embrace of us. The Samaritan woman had a past, and Christ knew that. In fact, Christ truthfully addressed her past (John 4:17). When we are encountered by divine grace, Christ truthfully addresses our sin in a direct way. Yet Christ did not condemn her, but he offered her a life of abundance, which she could only find in Him.

Moreover, her community also drank and was plenished by Christ’s living water (John 4:39–42). Though the woman’s past history may have created friction between her and her community, they were able to joyfully feast together in the presence of Christ. Christ is the bread of life and living water who plenishes us abundantly. He is the one who can plenish the Church, heal her wounds, and mend broken relationships within His body. As the Body of Christ, we are exhorted by our Lord to extend grace to each other and also address the sins truthfully that wound the Body of Christ. However, all of this should be done in a God-honouring and redeeming way.

How can we show Christ to one another?

In other words, how can we show Christ to one another? In the presence of Christ, there are no other fingers that are worthy to point at someone else except Christ’s. We should embody values of humility, honesty, contrition, truthfulness, and forgiveness in our life together in Christ. Let us—as a Church—be Christ to one another during this time of instability, unpredictability, anxiety, uncertainty, and chaos.

Let Christ be the source of our revitalization and renewal as we address truthfully the sin that wounds our life together as the Body of Christ. In our own personal lives, let us also not indulge in sin and be laxed in our holy living during this time. Let us be honest and truthful in our confession, and seek consolation and spiritual renewal in Christ. Amen.