Monday, August 18, 2008

Meeting at the well

What a clear picture John presents as he describes the meeting at the well. Jesus and the disciples were travelling in Samaria. They came to Sychar. Within it is a famous well named after the Patriarch Jacob. It had been a long walk in a hot, dusty climate. Jesus sits on the edge of the well to rest. This ministry in Samaria is recorded by John to show Christ Jesus as the Saviour, not only of Israel, but of the world. And he seems to have done that one person at a time. What a lesson for those of us who practice Christian Science and want to share it with others. The Samaritans were considered an alien race that boasted of being Israelites. They kept the Sabbath, observed Jewish feasts and other practices. But they held other beliefs about where the temple should be built. Jesus had just heard that John had been cast into prison and he avoided the cities where Herod was powerful.

He arrived around midday, the sixth hour. This was not the time the women normally would gather at the well for the day's water. So this woman may have chosen to come then to avoid them as they would have been rude to her and condemned her lifestyle. Jesus breaks down the barrier and opens the door to a conversation by asking a favor of her, a drink of water. Many times, as we go about our errands and daily tasks, we find ourselves in a situation where we might like to reach out and offer some words of comfort. Many things might hold us back. Not Jesus. The woman is surprised that he has spoken to her. Jesus now can speak to her and lead her to his real message. What he had to offer was the gift of God, just as we do when we share a Sentinel or invite someone to a lecture or a church service. Living water. Refreshment. An unlimited supply of good.

The woman's reply identifies two things that one often hears when someone wants to rely on prayer for healing but has doubts. She considers his offer but does not see how he can deliver as 1. he has nothing to draw with and 2. the well is deep. People want to believe prayer alone can meet the human need but they have to overcome the belief that it can't. That spiritual means alone are not enough to draw upon. That material means and aids are necessary. Just how would he be able to give her 'water' without a bucket or rope or dipper. How can I get this physical healing or meet this demand for supply without some visible source as my answer? Of, this is a huge problem, this well is deep, this is beyond your reach. It is not and never could be beyond the reach of divine Love or outside of the power of divine Truth.

God is our infinite, unlimited, unchanging source of all good. And it is He wish and plan to care for us like the loving Parent He is. What He gives is ours by grace, we don't have to earn it, we can't buy it. We just have to be willing to accept it. And be grateful. And be joyous. If a change of thought is required, we need to be willing to think of things in a new light and not return to old ways of thinking about God and our relationship to Him. What we gain is the understanding of our oneness with the loving Source of all good.

Next time you find yourself 'at the well', don't hesitate to find a way to open that conversation. It is that 'cup of cold water' that someone is desperately needing. It can only bless both of you. This week's Bible lesson shows how we have that same mind that was in Christ Jesus, the only Mind there is. We can walk through our day knowing what he knew. Cheers!

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