I’ve been thinking a lot about grace and the Samaritan women who met Jesus at the well since we landed in Isaiah 12.
The more I consider her story, the more it rocks my universe. Like most things that Christ does, this one story pokes holes in my churchified self righteousness, like a big balloon that you just can’t resist sticking that pin into.
Think about her. A women that couldn’t be more likely to make a list, and certainly not the candidate for the town’s citizen of the year contest. As a Samaritan, hated by Jews, she knew discrimination. As a woman in a world ruled by men, she knew what condescending meant. As a divorcee, she knew what it meant to be avoided by people. When you consider the fact that this had happened to her not once, but four times, you get a picture for how welcome she was in her own town. To add insult to injury, she’s with a guy that’s clearly not the leading citizen either, he doesn’t even care enough about public opinion to want to marry her.
In our day, she would be the woman who lives life with her mad on half boil. Lots of time on the stool at the neighbourhood watering hole, husky voice, and a dress cut low at the top and high at the bottom. Definitely not the poster person to be leading the neighbourhood Bible class.
That should be your first clue that Jesus is going to blow up the expectations of those around him. Look at what He does.
He takes the woman that wouldn’t even be welcome in the circle of the self righteous and puts here in charge of not just the class, but the evangelization of the whole town. John 4 tells us that before the day was over, she made sure the entire town knew about the man who claimed to be God. Just like that, the kindness he showed to a woman at a well transformed a town.
Think about this the next time you gather with your church family, when your tempted to be critical of someone that doesn’t meet yourexpectations or your benchmarks. You are no different. You weren’t just sprinkled with forgiveness, you weren’t just spattered with grace. In fact, you have been submerged in mercy, the kind that you did not deserve, at all.
Think about that. The same God that found you full of garbage, changed you with his love and filled you with His grace wants to do that to the whole world. Will you choose to reflect His glory as you tell His story? Or is your story playing too loudly for His to be heard?