By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 8, if you knew… who it is who is speaking with you
One of the murals at the heart of our worship and serving space at Mercy is an image of the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well. This thoughtful, intelligent woman is like so many of us so much of the time: Jesus is speaking with her, but she doesn’t really know who he is—nor does she fully appreciate that the gift of God is present in the other person she is encountering. In a sense, just as in Psalm 95, her heart has been hardened. In the things that cause her to resist the very truth that is also clearly drawing her, we might see how our own hearts and communities resist grace. She says, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ In one sentence, we see that issues of race, gender, and religion are tightly woven into this encounter. These issues, then and now, form very real barriers to seeing the gift of God in our sisters and brothers. But the woman and Jesus transcend these barriers one by one with open, honest dialogue. Their cumulative weight is bearing down upon her and Jesus—and upon us. They are felt in the power of communal shame that has made the woman an outcast, even with her own group. Her encounter with Jesus becomes a safe space where her truth can be told and heard, where the barriers that block our hearts come crumbling down, replaced by openness and mutual respect.
Prayer Jesus, meet us at the well and help us to recognize your grace in one another.