John 4: 1-26 ... paraphrased by me
How often is it we discover that when we construct barriers, boundaries to indicate who is in and who is out, whether in our lives or communities... Jesus seems to be out side our little circles. This Samaritan woman came to the well in the scorching heat of mid-day because she had been pushed outside the boundary of this community. The community knew things about this woman's past and present. The other women came to the well in the morning before the sun had risen, and while the air was cool they shared stories, talked about family and kids. But they also talked about the woman...who wasn't quite good enough to join there conversation, and fellowship.
There is no doubt the Samaritan woman longed for some kind of fellowship...something as simple as someone to talk to. But alone, she would journey out to the well...knowing well, eyes would be peering through kitchen curtains at her. On occasion she would see some one pointing a boney finger in her direction, the chatter of gossip sounding like a flock of mocking birds. The reality, she knew what kind of person she was...but everyday the community would reminder just in case she forgot.
But one day, alone, tired and hot...she meets Jesus sitting beside the well. He could have gone into the community and hung out with the folks who had life all together...the inner circle. But, Jesus sees a life that is broken, not broken beyond repair as the community sees her. Jesus sees her with the eyes of his redemptive imagination. He sees her the way His Father sees her, the same way when he created humanity, and said, " It was good." But, Jesus must help her to see herself like that.
Jesus crosses all our " do not cross " lines to get into this woman's life. Women didn't talk to men in this culture, and Samaritans didn't have much to do with Jews. There are absolutely no boundaries that will keep Jesus out.
Interesting to how we make our " religion " a barrier, sometimes not even conscious were doing it. We all have our little wells ( my church, my denomination, my beliefs, my rules ) that we drink from...and where everyone else's is a little tainted in our eyes.
So Jesus asks the woman for a drink. The woman tells him this well is deep and you have nothing to drink with. Jesus tells her if you know who it was that was asking you for a drink...you would ask me for water. The woman is a little taken back, so she says to Jesus do you know the story, the tradition behind this well. This was Jacobs Well, generations had drank from this well. Jesus, knows that our " religion ", despite how deep the traditions are... will never quench our thirst. Jesus knows " religion " will keep you coming back...because the water isn't pure...and it's from wells dug by men.
Jesus offers a drink that will quench her thirst forever, she won't have to keep coming back to the well of religion. In fact Jesus tells that if she drinks what he has to offer, it will well up inside her like a fountain that will bring real life...a gushing fountain forever.
The conversation then takes a twist. The woman begins to talk about God. She asks Jesus, where is the right place to worship God. She says, we Samaritans worship God on the mountain top, and you Jews in the temple in Jerusalem...where is the right place?
Jesus tells her, It doesn't matter...a time is coming when you will worship in spirit and truth. Those are the worshipers my Father is looking for. For the Father is spirit and seeks those who worship in spirit and truth.
Jesus then looks deep into her heart, well past the surface...well past what the town folk saw and judged and condemned. Go get your husband, Jesus says. She tells Jesus she hasn't got a husband. Jesus says, yes I know...your living with a man, and in fact you've had 5 husbands.
Her life, the wounds, the screw-ups, the scars, the hurt, the pain, the loneliness, the isolation...all the masks she has worn have been exposed. All the barriers, fall around the womens feet like a pile of rubble...a broken life.
Now Jesus can heal...now this woman can drink in the redemptive imagination of Jesus. The reality of the Jesus' Kingdom has been revealed...a life has been re-created, and made new.
The woman says, I know that the Messiah, called Christ is coming. When he comes he will explain everything to us.
Jesus declares, I who speak to you am he.
Jesus crosses all the " do not cross " lines to get into this woman's life. There are " no " barriers around the reality of the Kingdom. We can construct barriers around our communities...keeping safe those who are " in ", and isolating those who are " out." We soon discover the Kingdom is with those outside our circle.
We can construct barriers in our lives, drugs, lies...costumes and masks...anything so people don't see the real us. Jesus too, crosses all those barriers to find the real us. We can drink from wells of religion, thinking they will make us better...but we we will always thirst for something more in life.
Eventually we come face to face with Jesus, and we can drink, have our thirst quenched and find real life... ... ... or