Friday, October 7, 2016
There are some people I only connect with through social media, and I know all about them: their Cabo trips, yoga sessions, and poolside pedicured-feet selfies. What more is there to know about a person? Surely nothing about the large fry they just ate at McDonalds.
Although most of us fear revealing our truest selves on social media, in all of our messy and unsavory glory, I think humans generally like the idea of being known. Not just known, but known and accepted.
Long before the internet, there was a woman who also feared revealing her truest self to the world. In fact, to avoid people, she’d collect water from a well during the hottest part of the day, when not a single soul was around.
One day Jesus cut right through her town, Samaria. Since Samaritans were considered outcasts, half-breeds even, good little Jews typically went out of their way to avoid Samaria. But not Jesus. There was a certain Samaritan woman who needed his company.
I must say, I find it rather interesting that Jesus - on purpose - went to Samaria. It proves God’s plan of salvation is for everyone everywhere, for every culture and for every nation. That’s a whole lot of YOUs and MEs!
Now what started out as a simple request for a drink of water, became the longest recorded conversation Jesus had with an individual, a conversation in which Jesus offered the Samaritan woman, not well water, but living water, “a fresh, bubbling spring within...giving eternal life.” (John 4:14b, NLT) Why, a long conversation with a gal like me? What devotion. What single-mindedness.
And like any world-weary girl today, whose face would brighten at the thought of being gifted a day of spa treatments, the woman at the well was intrigued by the offer of fresh, bubbly, eternal-life-giving springs. “Please, Sir, give me this water!” she said. (John 4:15a, NLT)
Not only did Jesus initiate this grace and hope-filled chat session with our nameless friend, he knew going into it she’s had five husbands and wasn’t even married to her current guy. Jesus knew beforehand about her rather complicated past, yet he still sought her out.
She must have wondered, “How does he know me like that? He didn’t even rub it in, didn’t explore a single sin, and here he’s offering living water, whatever that is?”
And in the course of their extensive conversation, a conversation she tried making more about theology and religion and less about a life-changing relationship with her God, the realization of who he was transformed before her, going from being a “Jew” to “Sir” to “Prophet” to “Messiah,” brilliantly arriving at “Savior of the World.” (You can find the entire story in John 4:1-42.)
I’d imagine if our Samaritan friend was on social media, she’d also stick to posting pictures of her funny cat and acai bowls. But since we don’t always make our brokenness accessible to the world, we can rest in knowing we are fully known and accepted by the one whose living water is always accessible, for his spring never runs out because it is always bubbling.