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A WOMAN FINDS ACCEPTANCE

Sometimes the message of my faith can begin to feel commonplace. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The correct answer has always been Jesus. But the message that God became man--not considering equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2)--lived and taught and healed a lot of people, and then died in disgrace, as a failure, is anything but common. It’s extraordinary. Beyond that, He came back from the dead and then gave us the Spirit of God that raised Him from the dead to dwell within us. And all we have to do is believe. It’s absolutely crazy. It is the most unexpected of gifts!


Talking about my faith with others, especially those who don’t share it, makes me come face to face with the wonder of the Gospel. I’ve been in conversations where it almost seems too good to be true to tell people that all of their sins, their failures, their shame, even all their fear, can be taken care of by one simple act of faith. 


One of my favorite passages of Scripture is in John 4. It’s often referred to as the story of the Samaritan woman. In it we encounter a woman who, in the presence of a devout Jewish teacher (Jesus), should be riddled with shame. She’s living with a man who is not her husband. Being a Samaritan is shameful--half Jewish, half Pagan. She approaches Jesus, because he’s sitting at her village well. I imagine she felt pretty nervous and maybe a little confused as to what this Jewish man was doing there. He puts her at ease by simply asking her for water. Interesting how he begins their interaction by being the person in need. 


Culturally speaking, He shouldn’t have been in Samaria. He should not have been talking to her. And He certainly shouldn’t be drinking water from this pagan well. But, unexpectedly, He does all of that. She quickly realizes that she doesn’t need to be afraid or ashamed. Instead, she sees that He is the one she’s been waiting for. She tells him that she and her village have been faithfully waiting for the Messiah--the one who would set them free. Jesus tells her that He is that messiah. He is the one she’s been waiting for. What a pleasant surprise for her that He’s not only the savior, but He’s also kind and open. Because of their interaction, her village welcomes Jesus and He stays with them for three days. 


Can you imagine the thrill? You’ve waited your whole life for this Messiah. He feels almost mythical. Then there He is--eating with you, drinking with you, staying in your home. So a miracle happens. Pagan, idolatrous people become followers of Jesus. He delivers them from their shame and fear and guilt. Jesus does the same for us every single day--we simply must wait, listen, and respond. How will you do those things today?


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