Easter 2017: Sometimes You Just Have to Leave Your Water Pot
Today is Easter.
Most of the posts that I write concern education reform. However, a handful are holiday posts– like this one.
Since it is Easter, in this post, I focus on Jesus Christ. It is certainly up to you to decide to continue reading. No coercion here.
I find that one of the most thought-provoking stories in the bible is Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day (John 4). The story fascinates me on several levels. The first is that Jesus was a man, in a culture centered on men, and yet he held a full conversation with a woman, a conversation that he initiated.
Second, this woman was not even a Jewish woman. She was a Samaritan, and Jews hated Samaritans and vice-versa.
Third, the time of day that this woman came to draw water– noon, or the hot part of the day– indicates that she was an outcast among her own people. Notice that she also comes alone. No other women come with her, and no others are mentioned as being at the well during the meeting between Jesus and this woman.
Fourth, the likely reason that this woman is an outcast among her own people concerns her lifestyle. During her conversation with Jesus, the woman tells him that she has no husband, to which Christ responds, “You are right to say you have no husband because you have had five husbands, and the man you currently live with is not your husband” (my paraphrase of John 4:17-18).
Even in modern America, people do a double take when a person has been married five times– and not an affirming double take, at that.
So, if one considers the cultural norms in place at the time, the fact that Jesus holds a conversation with this woman is a profound statement about His character– and about his desire to help this woman find the real water for which she thirsts: a relationship with Him.
And He initiates.
All the while, Jesus’ disciples have been on an errand to find lunch.
When they return and see Jesus speaking to this nothing woman (in their estimation), they are shocked, but none are bold enough to ask him why he did so.
One could flip this disciple surprise around and note that Jesus was willing to risk what others thought of him in order to connect with a social outcast.
All He wanted to do was assure her that none of her failure mattered to Him and that to Him, she was valuable.
He told her that He is the Messiah.
It made such an impression on her that she left her water pot and ran home to tell others about her encounter.