TITLE: The Bad Samaritan. March 24 2016
By Daniel Rae
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The Bad Samaritan.
She awoke before he did.
The sun blazed through the tiny window like a flame, stifling the cluttered room.
She looked at him while he still slept, an unattractive man, older than he'd looked the night before, and then again, the night before that. But after all, this was a recurring scenario. Waking up in another mans home, barely used to the surroundings, when the necessity to move along, overcame her. Married men seemed to have at least one thing in common; the inevitable determination to reunite with their wives, after the thrill of adultery turned sour.
Her heart sunk deeper into her chest, into the very core of her being, as she silently slid from the bed, and out into the adjoining room.
She moved in complete silence, dreading the possibility of waking the man she'd woken up beside. She needed to avoid the emotional scene that accompanies final goodbyes. As she pulled her wrap around herself, and straightened her hair with her hands, she was startled by the entirely unexpected. A woman clearly older than her, sat in the high back chair, almost invisible in the early morning light. And even as she saw her, she heard her. A guttural sob that seemed to shudder the room ; A manifestation of the broken hearted.
Not a word was spoken as she grabbed her few belongings, and fled for the anonymity of the streets outside the door.
*. *. *.
We'd been travelling with The Master, all the way from Jerusalem, en route to Galilee. There was a short cut through Samaria, and Jesus insisted we took it. The sun was high in the Galilean skies, and scorching in the noon day heat. Jesus alone, stopped to rest and to drink at Jacobs Well, while the rest of us disciples carried on to the town of Sychar, to purchase provisions.
*. *. *.
She was truly concerned for her life now, as she hurried through the streets to the little hovel she called home. Adultery was a capital crime, a virtual death sentence. She was already known throughout Samaria as a home wrecker, a divisive adulterer, a bonafide pariah. This latest indiscretion would surely be her last. The man with whom she has shared these last few weeks, had grown tired of their illicit arrangement. She was no longer able to cripple his fortitude with a lascivious look, or the curve of her hips. He was just like the others before him, initially enslaved by her brazen sexuality, but eventually no longer entertained by it, longing for something deeper.
At the onset, he'd concocted an unlikely story, and dispatched his wife, back to her family home outside Jerusalem. He professed his love elaborately, bombarding her with gifts and travel. But then, seemingly out of the blue, he distanced himself, unmoved by her beauty and uninspired by her vivacious charm; the foreshadowing of a man ready for change. She'd heard him talking quietly to a friend, expressing regret, and pining for the wife of his youth.
Then last night, he officially stated his case. His wife was coming home, and the woman would have to leave. "And, by the way, please don't ruin my life by talking about our relationship. It's a mistake that I need to put behind me".
Words truly spoken by the man that has no further use for her.and even as she scurried through the streets towards home, those same words pounded away, at her remnants of self esteem.
*. *. *.
As in all first century cities, the Well was the traditional center of activity. Every household, rich and poor, depended on the Well as its source for potable water. Early morning and late afternoon, would find the well crowded with people, lined up to fill their jugs and ceramic containers. But there was one time of day that the Well was predictably unattended. And that would be Noon, the hottest hour of day, as well as the traditional meal time.
Jesus was alone, and it was utterly by design, that he rested there in the heat of the early afternoon. But he doesn't help himself to water, or command it to appear in a cup before Him, a doable convenience. Instead He thoughtfully waits there for the Bad Samaritan ; For the woman to show up at the Well.
*. *. *.
She's languished in her spartan home, perspiring and thirsty, waiting for the noon day hour. She's wracked with anxiety. She knows she can't risk the busy circumference surrounding the city Well. Not while the crowds are still there. But she also knows, from years of living in the shadows of shame, that the mid day heat would allow her the time to get to the well unnoticed, fill her earthenware jug, and hurry back to the refuge of her tiny abode.
As she arrives to draw water, she's taken aback by the presence of a single man, His back against the stones of Jacobs Well. .
*. *. *.
Jesus and the woman engage in a truly befuddling conversation, the gist of which is access to 'Living Water', something Jesus refers to as 'water that forever more, quenches the thirst'. The woman recognizes Jesus, at first as a prophet, then ultimately, as the long awaited Messiah. As her heart overflows with enthusiasm, she runs back to the town, eager to share her testimony, her shame and her grief eclipsed by her moments with the Lord. In the process she leaves her water pot behind, already demonstrating her Spiritual transformation. It is the ' Living Water' that has now become her priority.
*. *. *.
Jesus is never anywhere, ' coincidently'. His decision to rest at Jacobs Well was based solely upon His calling. The Jews and the Samaritans were openly hostile towards each other, the Jews considering the Samaritans to be an inferior race, a hodgepodge of interracial breeding. But Jesus was there with a glorious purpose. He was showing that in Gods eyes there are no favourites, that all are Gods children. And most importantly He was there to do what only He can do. To forgive and transform lives. A brief conversatlon with a woman of ill repute, would ultimately change a Nation.
*. *. *.
The Samarian woman was a unanimous outcast. But Jesus crossed the lines of race and culture, treating her as no different than anyone else, offering her the same 'Living Water' that still cleanses the souls of the repentant, even today.
When told about the ' Living Water', the only source of eternal life, the rejuvenated Samaritan, ran straight back to the village that scorned her and exclaimed what she had just witnessed. That the one they waited for, the Messiah, was already there, at the edge of their town.
But does this not defy human logic? A harlot, a societal cast off, running back into the town that despised her, convincing them to go and see the Savior they long awaited, the Messiah of their Faith?. And they dropped what they were doing, and followed her lead. How could that be?
Well there's only one explanation. Her meeting with The Lord had transformed her so much, that even the people that spurned her, now recognized her as a viable witness, a messenger of Our God. That's the impact that Jesus can have, on every one of our lives.
*. *. *.
Ultimately the Samaritans did what Jesus own people, The Jews, would refuse to do. They accepted Him for who He was ; the Messiah they'd long awaited .
And the woman, the Bad Samaritan, was the crux of her people's recognition of The Lord. The impetus of their inspiration to follow Him.
If even she can speak for God, surely so can we.
*. *. *.
So Jesus stayed two days, teaching the Samaritan people about the Kingdom of God. When he left, the people told the woman, "... we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." (John 4:42, ESV)
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