Lenten Devotional: April 1, 2014

Every day during Lent, members of Oconee Street UMC will write a Lenten devotional and share with the congregation.

Jesus knows everything about me and he loves me anyway.

by Hal Turner

April 1, 2014

John 4 7-15   NSRV     7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[b] 10 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.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Dust off your History Lessons.    As a child, at the downtown Woolworth’s 5 and 10, there were two water fountains. You see Whites did not share things in common with Blacks.  Always the rule breaker I got a drink from the one that I was not supposed to use.  Guess what! The water tasted the same.  Water is wet, and water is water.  Water is the same black or white, straight or gay, Jew or Samaritan.  Water is scarce in some places especially like the arid plains of Samaria, but Jews do not share things in common with Samarians.  Jacob the ancestor of Israel and Judah had given the Well to his descendants for all time.  And the water 135 feet deep in that that well tastes the same as the water you and I drink today.

Jesus ought to know that Jews don’t share things in common with Samaritans.  He oversteps common decency by approaching a woman, a stranger, a loner and asking her for a drink.  Was her reaction shock or humor?  She knew that Samaritans don’t share things in common with Jews.  Even if the water was the same, they don’t share ropes, buckets, cups or other items. Her life would be frankly easier if they had maintained the polite truce, each minding their own business.

But she had a deeper need that was clear to Jesus. She needed to be loved, accepted and treated as a human being. So the simple obtuse act of asking for a drink became the conversation that allowed Jesus to demonstrate that he knew everything about her but loved her anyway –  The living water that we all crave.    Physical water meets a physical need and that’s important as a starting place.  But living water is a metaphor for acknowledging someone as a unique creation of a loving God.   Even the most cantankerous loner wants and needs affirmation and acceptance.   That requires no bucket, but it does require a willingness to share things in common.    Not just shared items and resources, but shared joys, pains and hopes.

When I walk into a fast food place on the wrong side of the tracks I know I don’t belong, I see the stares.  People worried that I represent trouble.   It takes only a smile or a greeting to communicate “I am just like you.”  “Yes I am different.” “But I am really just the same. Just a human struggling to survive in a hard world.”  Sometimes I don’t even speak the same language, but a moment of eye contact to make a connection and demonstrate “I am one with you.”  Now that’s living water.   I imagine that if either George or Trayvon had taken just one second to do that the outcome would have been so different.

For better or worse we are the wells of living water.  Jesus knows everything about me and he loves me anyway.

Prayer:  Spring up o well.   Even when I am tired or angry, keep the water flowing. 


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