Lent Reading: John 4:1- 42
A woman from Samaria gathered water by herself, in the heat of the day because the town knew everything she had done. The other women would have travelled together in the morning cool, but this woman’s experience of her community was one of exclusion. She couldn’t be herself – they held that against her – so the easiest way was to not be with people.
Yet when this woman meets Jesus, something happened to her. Was it his request for a drink? Was it his surprising insight into her life and her struggles? Listen to what she says as she runs back to her village: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did” (v29). Her experience of Jesus meant she could be herself and take the risk of running back to the very people who rejected her. Because of Jesus what was bad news in a village, that everyone knew what she ever did, has become great news worth sharing.
Authentic community requires people taking the risk of being vulnerable. It’s the willingness to say, “I love you” first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees, the willingness to ask for help when you are normally able, it is investing in relationships that may or may not work out. Scott Peck wrote,
“If we are going to use the word [community] meaningfully we must restrict it to a group of individuals who have learned to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to “rejoice together, mourn together,“ “delight in each other, make other’s conditions our own”.
When you enter a crowd like our church, do you feel like taking the risk of community? What holds you back? Does knowing Jesus help? Clearly, Jesus made every difference for a woman from Samaria. You can ask him to do the same for you.