Friday, July 13, 2012

The Woman at the Well & Me

Guys, I just read the story of the woman at the well for the first time since probably late elementary school.  It was so illuminating.  Mostly because, as it turns out, I'm exactly like her.

The story is found in John 4, and here's The Message version, which is sort of funny because Jesus gets sarcastic in it.  Read it over for a refresher, and see if you have any of the same things in common with Woman At The Well as I do:

1.  We're suspicious.  When strangers talk to me, I immediately go into I-will-cut-you-if-you-come-any-closer mode.  Woman At The Well was wary right off the bat too.  Jesus said, "Would you give me a drink of water?" (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)  The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, "How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" (Jews in those days wouldn't be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

2.  We're judgy.  Upon first meeting, I tend to analyze everything someone says to see if I can use my first impression skills to decide on the spot if I like them or not.  Like I said, I'm judgy.  The woman said, "Sir, you don't even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this 'living water'? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?"  AKA "Who do you think you are, boo?"

3.  We have pasts we're not proud of.  When you're talking to Jesus, there's not much you can hide...
He said, "Go call your husband and then come back."
"I have no husband," she said.
"That's nicely put: 'I have no husband.' You've had five husbands, and the man you're living with now isn't even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough."  <--sarcastic Jesus!
I haven't had five husbands (thank goodness), but I did go through quite a slew of boyfriends before I finally found the right one.  WATW knows all about that.  She's been burned before:  abandoned, widowed, divorced, we don't know, but we can surmise that she knows what it's like to feel the pain of heartache.  I relate, completely.  The amazing part?  Jesus knows all about it, and totally puts her in her place about it.  I wish I had met up with Him sometime between boyfriends 6 and 7 and had the same conversation.

4.  We use smarts to prove people wrong.  Okay, I'm not really proud of this about myself, but I looooove to correct people.  It's awful.  Between grammar, pop culture knowledge, and directions, my corrections come out of my mouth before I even have a chance to stop them.  WATW is cut from the same cloth. "Oh, so you're a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?"  She totally tries to put Jesus off by letting Him know she's got the knowledge on the Jews, okay?

5.  We get excited when we see famous people.  I live in one of the greatest cities in the world for celebrity spotting.  I keep my eyes peeled for them at all times, and I've been known to stalk reality stars.  When I have a sighting, I love to brag to people.  So does WATW!  Back in the village she told the people, "Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?"  She immediately went back to town and told everybody who she saw.  Bragging rights, people.  You gotta claim that.  If it had existed at the time, she would have Tweeted it.

6.  We needed to hear what Jesus had to say at the well more than we knew.  Of course, the entire point of this incredible encounter in the Bible is to share what Jesus told this woman, who was by all accounts a fallen woman and an undesirable.  Jesus tells her:  "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."  Yep, that's the way God wants us.  As who we are.  Suspicious, judgy, slutty, smart-alecky, fame-hungry, whatever we were in the past and whatever we struggle with in the present.  It's the intention of our hearts that matters before Him.  Woman At The Well, homegirl, sister from another mister:  I feel so wholly comforted by these same words that were spoken to you.  I can bring my heart to lay down at His feet, and leave the rest at the door.  It's already been taken care of.