Racial walls, gender walls, cultural walls, socio-economic walls, political walls, religious walls. These man-made boundaries harden our hearts. They prevent us from caring for one another. They make it impossible to listen to one another. They breed hostility. And they don’t look at all like Jesus.
Continuing with our story from John 4:
He was Jewish. She was Samaritan.
He was male. She was female.
He had never sinned. She had lived a life of sin.
He was a single Rabbi. She … well, we will learn more about her later in the story.
We can learn a lot about the woman simply because she arrived at the well in the heat of the day (the sixth hour). It was the responsibility of women to gather water for their families. So they would meet outside their homes early in the morning while it was still cool and chat as they walked to the well. However, the woman in our story arrived much later. Perhaps she had been ridiculed or ignored so many times that she chose to gather her water when no one else would be around. Rejection is painful.
We can also learn a lot about Jesus. Single, male, a Rabbi…all reasons why the Jewish culture of that day told men to avoid any public interaction with women.
In a culture where men held all power and authority, Jesus evened the playing field with a simple question…“Will you give me a drink?” He drew the woman into a dialogue by revealing himself as a person with a need. He humbled himself and asked for her help. He made Himself vulnerable to being rejected by her.
We could all learn from His example.
The question obviously surprised her because she responded, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”
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.”
And the door opened for dialogue. Curiosity was aroused. Who is this man? What is He talking about? Where can you get this living water?
Jesus ignores ridiculous man-made walls. He humbles Himself and meets with any sinner willing to engage in dialogue. He makes the teachable curious. And then He begins revealing Himself. He says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 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.”
Thoughts to ponder:
What walls have I erected? Am I willing to demolish those walls and if so, what steps must I take?
With whom do I need to allow myself to be humble and vulnerable?