Jesus Broke The RulesWednesday, March 13, 2013
Sometimes, I miss the depth and breadth of the passion and love of Christ for all humanity. His love is obvious when He hangs on the cross, spilling His blood so that we might have freedom and eternal life with God the Father. His love is evident when He heals the lepers and brings the dead to life. He is pretty much amazing. This I know, for certain. But today...He gave me a peek into the love that is hidden from scripture and can only be seen when I pause, wait, and look a little deeper. When that happens, my mind is blown.
His love...wow!...is so incredible!
You see, I love the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. In this story, Jesus pretty much defies tradition and rules when He begins to talk to her. She's a sinful woman; so wretched that she cannot even come to the well and draw water with the other women of the city. She is filled with shame, ducking out when the streets are clear, only to be met by a tired and weary Messiah. Most of us know the story, but what I didn't know was this:
In John 4:4, it says that Jesus was on His way home from Jerusalem. He had been traveling far and was exhausted. Ahead of Him, right in His way, was the city of Samaria. Most Jews would have gone out of their way to travel around the city, for the Jews hated their fellow Jews living in Samaria. The reason goes way back, long before Jesus stood on the road, staring ahead, and making up His mind to journey right through the city.
Generations before, after the death of Solomon, some Jews (those in Samaria) continued to serve The Lord but also followed the way of idolatry introduced by Jeroboam. They refused to travel to Jerusalem to worship at the Lord's temple. Instead, they lived by their own rules. Later, the Jews of Samaria intermingled and married outside of their religion. They became 'impure' to the Jews that had held steady to the teachings of The God of Israel. Because of this, the Jews outside Samaria were bitter towards those inside and hated them, steering clear of them and their city at all costs. But not Jesus. He decided that the shortest way home was through Samaria, so He wasn't going around. He was going to walk right in and be, as it turns out, a light to the lone woman He met along the way.
Jesus was not prejeduice. It didn't matter that the Jews of Samaria had messed up and disobeyed. They were His love just the same as those on the outside that honored each law and commandment. He loved them just as much as He loved those that brought honor to His Father's name by upholding tradition and serving Him and only Him. Jesus doesn't have limits. He doesn't have walls. He came to set us all free. Every single one of us.
When the sinful woman came to the well to draw water, He already knew what everyone else thought of her. It didn't matter to Him that a man had no business talking to such a woman, let alone asking her for a drink of water. Jesus ministered to whomever would listen; whomever had a heart to hear. When this woman realized she was speaking to the Messiah, she spread the word and a city that the Jews on the outside avoided, believed in Jesus (lots of them, anyway).
So what would Jesus do today? Would He tell me to avoid the strip clubs and bars filled with violence, prostitution and drug abuse? Or would He walk into the cities of the lost, sit down and ask for a drink of water? And should a broken woman look into His eyes and see something she had been searching all her life for, would He not share it with her? Would He tell you not to give money to the beggar on the highway exit? Would He have you avoid the poor and destitute and only serve and minister to those filling the church pews? Or would He tell you to take church also out to those ragamuffins that may never make it in?
But I'm going to walk with, and LIKE, Jesus. Should He send me (as He has already) into the wretched places, I am going to go like a light straight into the darkness. Because the captives, the ones that are desperate for freedom and love, are in there.
Jesus broke the rules for me. He paved the way. I'm going to follow in His footsteps. I hope you do to.