Are you still with me or have I lost the three people that did read this blog 🙂 Last post on this, don’t worry.
John 4 talks about Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well in Samaria. First of all, Jews didn’t travel THROUGH Samaria! They took the long way round and most of the time Jesus did as well, but this trip He went through. I love how casually the Biblical author treats this moment but I have to wonder if there was so much more happening 🙂 Jesus asks the woman for a drink, Jewish men did not talk to Samaritans, especially the women. I have to wonder if she ignored Him the first time not even realizing He was talking to her and He had to ask again a bit louder. The woman looks around, realizes He is talking to her and just stops in total surprise – “Are you talking to me?” completely incredulous!
Notice how often and how quickly the woman tries to get in little verbal slaps if you will. “Are you greater than OUR father Jacob who gave US this well and drank from it HIMSELF and HIS SONS?” She’s a Samaritan, not fully Jewish yet she is trying to claim more of a connection to Jacob/Israel then she thinks Jesus should have. After all, the patriarchs had nothing to do with Jerusalem!
Jesus ignores her verbal slap and answers her heart directly and truthfully. He’s not going to get pulled in to this argument. He’s come for her heart, not to simply argue with her and prove her wrong in her opinions, although she is wrong! Don’t forget the hatred between the two groups, the years of bitterness that has been building up. The Samaritans have been waiting for their Messiah as well, only He definitely won’t be Jewish in their opinion!!
In verse 19 she tries one more time to ‘slap’ Him or change the course of the discussion. “OUR fathers worshiped on THIS mtn (which mtn – Mt Gerizim) but YOU JEWS claim the place we must worship is in Jerusalem!” We read that verse so calmly but there is so much emotion and hurt and anger behind that statement. Remember the Jewish King destroyed the Samaritan Temple and it was never able to be rebuilt.
I LOVE Jesus’ answer. He tells her the truth! He doesn’t hide the facts from her, the reality of the situation is – the Jewish people are right! You are to worship in Jerusalem at THAT Temple. BUT, there will come a day when that won’t matter bc everyone will be able to worship through ME! So, yes you’re wrong and they are right, but soon that won’t matter! The amazing thing is, this Samaritan woman has just been told by a Jewish man that she’s wrong (!!) and that the Jews are right (!!!!) but soon it won’t matter (?!?!) and she stays! She doesn’t walk away, she doesn’t argue, she stayed and then went into her town and said “I think I found the Messiah” (and He’s JEWISH!) But that’s ok for her now. Why??????
I think the key is “yes Jesus told her the truth, but He told it to her in LOVE.” I know, I know we hear this harped on all the time but it’s still not in my brain. Truth and Love, not just truth and not just love, you need both! I once heard a semi famous believer state “it’s better to be kind than right” and I wholeheartedly disagree. There were no either/ors with Jesus. He was BOTH. He was both 100% truthful and 100% loving at the same time and that is how we believers today are to live.
I struggle with this, I want everyone to like me. I like being known as the ‘nice girl’ that everyone can be friends with and enjoy. So, the ‘loving’ part can come across pretty easily. But loving my co-workers or friends enough to tell them the truth, well, that’s more difficult. What if they don’t like me anymore? We’ve all seen the people that have no qualms telling the truth (and it ticks me off to that they’re are usually right) but man, the love in their words is not there!
If Jesus was 100% both I believe He calls His followers to the same standard. We must love, but we must tell the Truth or our love does squat. It’s not an either/or situation but a both/and – to be 100% loving towards your neighbor and 100% truthful with them as well. Jesus did this, and I must learn to do the same. Thank goodness Jesus is in me or it would be hopeless 🙂 Well, then may He increase and may I decrease.