"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who will you meet at "The Well" today? (John 4)

Much of our time this week will be spent on the conversation that takes place at the Samaritan well between Christ and the local woman as she draws water.  The key theme from this passage centers on reaching others through compassion and instruction, as it is here that Jesus clearly points to her (our) need for the "living water" that only He can provide. Pastor David showed us great insight around this central message and we will do our best to look for application and further understanding.

As a kick-start to the week, I would like to encourage us to consider the very first point to this passage; breaking through cultural barriers to engage all.  When you think about the example that Christ gives us, it was first and foremost one in which he disregarded racial, social and religious prejudice to embrace someone in need. A point we don't always pick up from this scripture, but one that shouldn't be overlooked.

For a first century Jewish Rabbi, the Samaritan woman was regarded as "a dog" for her ethnicity (inter-married Jew and Babylonian). In fact, to better understand this bitter hatred, think about the Good Samaritan story as another lesson on compassion over prejudice.  Also, she was a "she" and would not have been approached like this by any other.  Lastly, she was likely scorned in her own village as evidenced by the very public personal life and current living condition. The scripture says that "at the sixth hour she went to the well” (v6).  It was the custom of that time for water to be drawn twice daily, once early in the day and once later in the day.  This likely indicates that she intentionally avoided the heavy traffic periods and did so for very specific reasons.

Any of the above reasons would have been enough to ignore this woman.  However, it would have also given His disciples, and each of us today, the wrong impression of how we should respond.  Worst yet, it would not have led to the outpouring of the community that came to see and know Him following this encounter and her testimony (vv 39-42).

May we be open to conversation and compassion for those that cross our path this week.  May our hearts be free from prejudice and our eyes open to opportunities that allow us to love, serve and witness to all.

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