Pause for thought
The Lord is good and does what is right,
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.
The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
Bible Reading: John 4:5-7
Jesus came to a town in Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.
It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
"Will you give me a drink?"
It’s very easy to judge by appearances, and to get it completely wrong. Helen and I were fortunate to have a holiday in Australia some years ago. We were at Airlie Beach, just north of Brisbane, walking along the coast on a boardwalk in the evening. Coming towards us were two well-built youths drinking from cans of lager. We weren’t afraid, but we were a little wary. ‘G’day’ they both said as they passed us. Which was more than we said to them!
Jesus had no such prejudices, indeed quite the opposite; he welcomed those who seemed to be on the outside. The woman at the well, here in this story, is one such example. In every way she was something that Jesus wasn’t. Apart from being a woman, she was of a different ethnicity and a different faith. She was also most likely an outsider in her own community, for there would be a reason why a lone woman would be drawing water from the well at the heat of the day. Jesus would learn later that she had had five husbands and that the man she was now living with was not her husband.
The love of God reaches out to everyone. I wonder where we shut down potential relationships because of our own prejudices or our insecurities, whether it’s gender, race, sexuality, religion, age, class, politics or disability.
I find it interesting that Jesus starts his conversation with this woman with a request. There is something both disarming and affirming about asking her for a drink of water. She had many needs in her life, but Jesus didn’t start by trying to fix them, that would have been patronising. Instead he started by asking for her help. The conversation would develop over time and the gospel would be shared, but it all began with a simple request from one stranger to another.
Forgive me, Lord when my actions are tainted by my prejudices.
Give me the grace to see the strangers I meet with your eyes
and the humility to build a relationship based on mutual respect.
Let us build a house (All are welcome)