Thursday, October 22, 2015

skip the seminar; hang out at the well

The Word for today:
John 4:27-54
What was Jesus like? I mean, if you happened to meet him, what was he like?
Chapter four gives us a glimpse.
Pretend you're the woman at the well in Samaria.
A man approaches. He asks for a drink. He strikes up a conversation.
This is nothing out of the ordinary today, but it was revolutionary on the day Jesus met her. A Middle Eastern man would never speak to a woman in public. And no Jew would converse with any "half-breed" Samaritan. And no man of God would ever speak to a person of disreputable reputation. But Jesus, speaking to the woman at the well, did all three.
And he was nice. But he wasn't playing nice. He listed her sins. He told her she didn't have a clue about spiritual matters.
And he said crazy things about living water. But he wasn't crazy. Not at all.
He even told her that he was unique in all the world. She'd no doubt heard that line before. He was what she'd been waiting for. She'd heard that one, too. But he was humble, even simple, as he said such grand things.
Jesus was able to stay right on an edge between things that seem contradictory.
He revered God, while holding established religion in contempt.
Authority, bureaucracy, status quo, tradition, conventional thinking, and established institutions were under threat when Jesus came to town. Yet he was respectful, even gentle. Children and puppies knew they were safe, while money changers fled the scene.
When he fed 15,000 people, food materialized as he thought about it. But on a personal level, he knew hunger, thirst, and weariness.
I should be teaching you all about Jesus the evangelist, who converts the two most opposite people in the world--Nicodemus, the renowned religious expert in chapter 3; and the notorious woman at the well in chapter 4.
They held a seminar once at a neighboring church, something about a thorough analysis of the evangelistic techniques of Jesus as demonstrated in John chapters 3 and 4. That kind of thing makes me so sad.
Because it's the inexpressible about Jesus, the things between the lines--his unconquerable bravery, his uncontainable joy, his broken heart--that save and sustain us.
Skip the seminar and go to the well, just you and Jesus.
You'll find that he's funny, sometimes. He can be trusted, always. He keeps a secret, forever. He stores your tears, each one, in a bottle (1). Then he fills your cup with living water.
(1) Psalm 56:8

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