Division changed

We are at a time when divisiveness is what is most important in our society. It is billed a lot of times as standing up for what you believe in. So far it only seems to alienate us one from another and cause more divisions. Not healing rifts, but making them ever more strong. It seems it is more important to recognize someone's race, sexual orientation, economic, religious, and ideological stances than it is to see the person and this is not what Jesus chooses to do in this story. Jesus crosses all these lines and frees this woman to be a witness in the world to God's love active in her life. Let's take a look at the story.

The first division Jesus chooses to ignore is ethnicity. He is traveling through Samaria and sits to rest at a well in the town of Sychar, he will have an encounter with a Samaritan if he sits there long enough. When Jesus begins speaking to the woman who comes she is the one to note the things that should keep them from speaking to one another, even asking for a drink, which just isn't done and she states it, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (John 4:9b). First she picks up on the division of being a woman, so a man shouldn't be speaking to her unless he is a relative. Next she picks up on her ethnic background.

Jesus ignores it all. He asks a deeper question next telling her she should have asked for living water because of who is talking to her. This is the heart of it. Jesus ignores all the divisions and continues with a deeply spiritual conversation about living water and where it comes from. This does not altogether put her mind at ease yet, she asks questions trying to understand about the living water from above.

The next division is one we create in the story. During the questions Jesus decides to reveal something about the woman's life that no one else would know to show her she is fully known and loved by God. She has had five husbands. See we hear this fact and get lost on the division of sin, choosing to highlight this about the woman to the point where we get distracted from the real story. Because Jesus and the writer of John don't use this to highlight sin and forgiveness, Jesus never issues a go and sin no more, as he will in John 8 with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus instead says it as a statement and the woman receives it that way. At that moment she is changed, known deeply, discovered and not found by all the things that would divide her from this prophet.

What are the things that we choose to hold onto as important divisions? Can we find a way forward to allow Christ to break through all of these giving them away for Lent and in the process we may just find we have left our jars of division at God's well of life-giving water for all.