Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/21/16 – 576 – Jesus & the Woman at the Well
Yesterday we read about Jesus breaking the ice (and along with it a couple of strong social taboos) by asking a <gasp> Samaritan woman for a drink of water! Let’s pick up by re-reading the last few verses:
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) NIV
You’d think we’d learn, wouldn’t you? After all, Jesus gave us this and so many other examples. To me, the saddest thing is not even that people thought like that before Jesus came to earth, but that by and large we have never changed.
I would daresay that if we picked about any culture at any time in the last 2000 years, we would find a culture, or at least a group of people within it, that looked with prejudice upon another. I’m not sure why this is, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was related to the very source of our sin nature – that same self-centeredness that caused Adam and Eve to feel that they were justified in their desire to be like the God Who created them.
It seems to me that if we want to feel better about ourselves, we have 2 basic choices. We can
- Become better people or
- Do our best to keep other people down, so we look like we’re better without actually having to do the hard work
Unfortunately, all too often we seem to pick option 2. Too bad it doesn’t work. If anything, it just succeeds in keeping everyone from becoming the people that we were meant to be.
Then Jesus really goes beyond the boundaries of accepted behavior. He actually has an entire conversation with her – and offers her a chance at eternal life!
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” NIV
Isn’t it amazing how this simple Samaritan woman was so willing to accept Jesus’ word? She couldn’t have been completely ignorant, as she knew enough about her heritage to ask about Jacob. Yet she believed Him when so many of His fellow Jews refused to – even when faced with undeniable evidence (like miracles). Hmmm. I wonder if her acceptance of Him could have had anything to do with His acceptance of her.
Let’s pray today that the Holy Spirit would convict us – give us that tap on the shoulder when our thoughts or speech turn toward the condescending, or prejudice against others simply because they are different. Ask Him to help us to become the person that we were created to be – the image of God Himself. The image of love.