Today Jesus kindof freaks me out as I read John 4:16-26. I have read this story I don’t know how many times but to imagine myself in the sandles of this woman is something I have never done. Well I don’t make a habit of imagining myself as a woman so of course this is a story that would freak me out.
Imagine some random person comes up to you at the store. Not only a strange person, but a person from a different country. Then this person starts t tell you all about your life. I would be throughly freaked out at that point. How did this person know all this? This was pre-technological age and people, especially people that were from different countries, don’t know things about strangers. I think Jesus probably had a good laugh at this point, but this lady clearly knew there was something different about this stranger.
Jesus didn’t judge her though. He knew that she was a woman that was living a lifestyle of sin, yet He invited both her and her boyfriend into His group. This in itself would have surprised me if I were her because religious people did not, and unfortunatly still do not, make friends with people living sinful lifestyles. It’s unfortnate but often times we feel like we are encouraging their behavior if we befriend them. That isn’t the case now or in Jesus’s day. In a moment this woman was speaking about belief systems, and Jesus had the opertunity to teach.
Friendships open our lives to others so they can see us and we can see them as they are. That’s a scary place to be. We like hiding behind masks and walls, with the idea that people will accept us as long as we perform a certain way. Jesus not only saw through the mask this woman was trying to keep over her face he threw it away. Without her mask she was open to Jesus in a very real way she knew she was seen clearly and accepted.
True worship is neither on this mounain or in Jerusalem but is in Spirit and in Truth. She could not truly worship because she was performing, acting, hiding. She was unable to feel comfortable in God’s presence until she stopped acting and the truth was reveiled. I got to thinking about my own spiritual life. I am a quiet person at heart, I do not often let people know what’s on my mind. This irritates my wife, and I’m sure it affect other relationships too, especially my relationship with God. I could act like I was something else and hate myself or I can be honest about myself and find God meeting, teaching, and speaking in me. Honesty is important in every apsect of our lives because it is only in honesty deep relationships can be built. God is so concerned with honesty that he calls us to repent, turn directions and go the other way. Repent is what he was really telling this woman. And in that spirit of honesty you can worship with Him.
Honesty is one of the great pillars in the Friends (Quaker) culture. I believe that this is why worship can be so intense in our meetings for worship. We have nothing but ouselves sitting there with others before God. Nothing to perform or any ritual to hang onto, just you,God, and friends who love and encourage you. You can’t be fake when you have Jesus speaking to you just as he did this woman. This is why silence is so hard as well. We don’t like to listen to that Inner Light because we would rather believe the lies we tell ourselves. But the honest person is a real person in harmony an communion with God. I encourage you as I encourage myself today to be honest and to worship in a spirit of truth!