Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black Sheep of the Family (10/03/13)
Our society defines being a black sheep as something that is negative. But in the book of Genesis black sheep are used by God to fulfill a covenant promise. In chapter 30 we read a story about Jacob. Because of his deceptive ways he had left Canaan, his homeland. He arrives in Haran only to be deceived by Laban, his father-in-law. Jacob spends 20 years as the caretaker of Laban’s livestock. God’s covenant promise to Jacob is that Jacob will return to Canaan (Gen.28:15). Jacob presents a plan to Laban so he can return home. “Let me pass through your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats and such will be my wages” (RSV Gen. 30:32). When the flocks come for water Jacob places tree branches in the troughs. Susposedly this influenced the genetics (color and size) of the animals. Thus, Jacob’s flock flourishes and Laban’s becomes weaker. Now Jacob is wealthy enough to leave Laban. When he returns home he buys a parcel of land in Shechem.
Almost 2,000 years later Jesus enters Sychar. Nearby is the parcel of ground that Jacob had purchased. Jesus, weary from his journey, sits on the well. A woman comes to draw water. Jesus asks her for water, but then He offers her the “living water.” The woman questions Jesus, “Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” (John 4:12). Jesus replies that His water is everlasting life and those who drink of it will never thirst again. When Jesus reveals the woman’s past, five husbands and her current live-in relationship, she perceives that He is a prophet. She leaves her water pot, returns to the city, and urges those to come and meet the Christ. This is a down on your luck woman, the black sheep of the family, who comes and meets the Great Shepherd. With joy she returns to the city, for now she knows, things aren’t as bad as they seem.
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