John 4:27-42 (NLT)
Just then his disciples arrived. They were astonished to find him talking to a woman, but none of them asked him why he was doing it or what they had been discussing. The woman left her water jar beside the well and went back to the village and told everyone . . . Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay at their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many of them to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe because we have heard him ourselves, not just because of what you told us. He is indeed the Savior of the world.”
It’s as if she can sense it as they approach; it’s why she leaves. There is a disdain so obvious it transcends body language. They try to be better — they can’t help themselves. “They were astonished to find him talking to a woman,” read ‘a woman like her.’ She’s not going to get the same deference from them as she did from Jesus. He has a way of naturally giving what is difficult for others.
Jesus values her, a Samaritan, a women shall we say who has been around, perhaps even passed around. It couldn’t have been easy, not by this point in life. Jesus knows. His heart goes out to her. The risk to reputation be damned. Jesus extends His hand, His life, His love. His disciples have their reputations, and they are, at best, self protective.
The disciples know Jesus’ values so, “none of them asked him why he was doing it or what they had been discussing.” She feels the value. Still, there is a load of intimidation. It’s a funny tension: The more she allows His offer of worth, the more acute is her awareness of shame. He knows about the men, but it doesn’t change His offer.
Pain and shame: They shape how we live, what we are drawn to, what we shy away from. Jesus wants to reshape the way we live. Jesus wants to give us new stories of encounters with Him reshaping our futures. It’s an offer of value only He can give. It’s a value we can share with others as the woman in this story does. “We believe because we have heard him ourselves, not just because of what you told us. He is indeed the Savior of the world.” One encounter after another, that’s how the story goes.
Jesus, may I so value encounters with You. Let my life-stories be reshaped. Amen.
Dialog discuss: What do teachers make? I can make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face. How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best. . . . I make parents realize who their children are and who they can be. You want to know what I make. I make kids wonder. I make them question, I make them criticize. Teachers make a g**d*** difference now what about you. Taylor Mali- Teacher, Poet