Saturday, 18 March 2017

Come, Drink with me and Walk with me.

It is daytime and Jesus travelled from Judea to Galilee through Samaria. In this story, it is apparent that Jesus could have chosen to avoid the Samaritan people, but he intentionally travels through that place that many others in his day avoided whenever possible. The Samaritan woman is an outsider, but not only is she an outsider but also her whole community lacked power and position. In today’s terms, they were the hated group over there, they were the refugees sent to Manus or other such places if you like or the poor, or the homeless or those of another faith that might taint us.

Jesus meets the woman at Jacob’s Well and he meets her where she is and engages her where she is located, calling her back to God. Similarly, today, how can we encourage people that what Christ taught and the truths of Christianity exercised in and through God’s love are the essence of life. How can we pass this love on if we are nowhere near the people who need Christ’s love in their life? If we are not in their location, how can we meet them? Only by walking with them and alongside them can we find the best opportunity to fulfil our mission of reaching others and inviting them into the Christian community.

To walk with them is to be where they are and to be willing to really be with them. Just think of your life and the reason you learned to worship and love God. Wasn’t it because someone was willing to meet you where you were to show you the way? Then you developed a relationship with God and sought to place God at the top of your list each day and in every way. By being introduced to God, your heart was changed and you began to live a life of love and service as Christ lived. A true person of God makes God first and gives thanks daily for all the blessings we have received, for all that God has done for us.

You know, I find it significant that Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for a while. “They asked him to stay with them,” or abide with them. That word abide is a powerful word. It evokes other times when Jesus talked about abiding in him even as he would abide with us. Jesus needs to be that close to people if they are going to acknowledge their call to serve in love in the world. How could they call him friend and companion on the way if they were not close to him and if he were not close to them?

If we want to use a word to describe what happens the word would be evangelism. Yet this word, has taken on rigid and harsh meanings sadly. Who can call Jesus friend and
Saviour if they do not personally know him? Evangelism helps break through social customs and, it helps one speak to a woman in the street who was an outsider, a foreigner, and even despised in our own place. It allows, as I read recently, a patched Mongrel Mob member in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to be accepted and loved by a community. In turn he was ordained and continued sharing that love that he had received as journey's with others in need. Yet we hear Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, was willing to drink from the same water vessel, and through all this introduced a living water the woman could never have found had Jesus not broken through the barriers to reach her.

Only through personal communication could Jesus and for that matter we tell her or the person we meet in the street “everything they’d done.” And through this love and befriending many do become believers because they heard from Jesus or they heard from us when we journeyed with them. St Paul in Romans 5, puts it in this way, we are no longer enemies of God; therefore, we are at peace with God. We are at peace because of the actions of Jesus who freed us from the power of sin. Jesus made it all possible so that we can pass through the door into a world where grace is a gift to all who believe.

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