Saturday, April 22, 2006

thoughts on the woman at the well

Have you ever watched somebody fall in love? When it's YOU, you're so enraptured that you really can't see it, but watching the process from a distance is educational. One thing I've observed: Love makes people brave. When you fall in love, nothing else matters except that this amazing person also thinks that you are amazing, and that knowledge gives people the strength to do what they couldn't do before. And whether you stay there or not, the experience marks a person. You can't go back to seeing the world the way you did before you fell in love.

I have been thinking lately about Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well (John 4). I have read it over and over, feeling as though I'm on the cusp of a deeper understanding that, so far, has eluded me. Even so, I love the respect that Jesus showed the woman. Not only did he tell her who she was, he also discussed theology with her. I wonder, before that day, had any man ever discussed anything important with her? Did her ex-husbands ever know she had an opinion? Before that day, had she ever talked to a man that she didn't hate or fear? The Pharisees couldn't squeeze an argument out of him. Every question was either returned or answered in riddle. But this woman, despised for her race, gender, and lifestyle, became Jesus' confidant.

The Pharisees were looking for a politician, and the disciples wanted a rebellion. Jesus befuddled them both. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, told stories, respected women. Nobody got what they wanted, but everyone had what they needed, if they were willing to accept it. Only the desperate were willing. Jesus came to turn the world on its ear, and I love him for it.

And, like the Samaritan woman, that love changes me.


Heather said...

I love this story and your thoughts on it, Steph.

Liz said...

You know, to tell you the truth, I have never watched anyone actually fall in love. Sure, I know tons of great people so wonderfully in love - but I have always known them like that. What I have seen is the other side - people being abandoned and crushed by love. And as sad as their stories are, there is a beauty in that too. A different kind of beauty, one that show utter vulnerability and dependance on something far greater than human love. The pain of love opens a part of the heart no one ever wants to explore, but that makes so much room for grace and redemption.

Stephanie said...

elizabeth - that's the truth, now.