Sunday, April 8th, 2018: "Well...I sure could use a drink.” • Pastor Mike Zizolfo
Jesus was the ultimate barrier breaker. He never did what you wanted Him to do or expected Him to do. He constantly challenged the status quo and social norms of His day. As if that weren't enough, He always seemed to stray from the etiquette of the religious "elite". However nothing Jesus did or said was random or by accident. Just because he was deemed controversial and provocative by others doesn’t mean He wasn’t still intentional and missional.
If you grew up in church or have been around it at all, chances are you’re familiar with the story of the woman at the well. As many times as I have heard this story it has been taught in a certain manner. We’re told the woman has had five husbands and the man she is with now is not her husband. So we draw the conclusion that she is a “woman of the night”... that she has a “men’s ministry” and all those other “delicate” ways of saying this woman is an adulterer. We are so quick to paint her in a certain light and I think we do the exact opposite of the very thing Jesus is revealing to us in the text. When we read this story we do exactly to the woman what has continually happened in her story.
This woman is sexualized, marginalized, demoralized and ostracized. She is portrayed as an immoral, adulterous woman whose promiscuity precedes her. So when we hear Jesus say “Go get your husband” we see it as Jesus coming down heavy handed on this ravenous life of sin we believe she is living. But Jesus isn’t there to condemn what she has done. He wants to reveal who He is. Not condemnation, but revelation. Jesus knows that simply trying to modify her behavior would do no good, but having a revelation of who Jesus is will completely transform her life.
You see, the Gospel is the GOOD news… but for some reason Christians have this need to make other people feel BAD about themselves all the time. The only time Jesus made people feel bad at all was when they would carry His name and not His character. When they would claim to know and follow God, but be a complete misrepresentation of who God really is.
So let me share just a few key things I believe Jesus is revealing in the text.
First of all, the people that society deems outcasts, broken, or unworthy are the exact people that Jesus makes a bee line for and we as followers of Christ should mirror that same heart. Jesus was always giving a voice to the voiceless and attempting to bring visibility to the invisible.
Also, we should be establishing the path for others to follow when it comes to breaking down social barriers and through the cultural challenges of our day. We don’t ignore the issues of our day and we most certainly don’t ignore people. If we are not interacting within a loving manner and having healthy conversations with those who are not like us - those who have a different background, upbringing, religious beliefs, set of ethics or morals, or even ethnicity then we are failing. The world does not look at Christians or the Church and think “Wow, look at how well they get along with each other” and honestly, we’re pretty terrible at even doing that most of the time. No, we must model what Christ models by loving all people, especially those who are different than us.
Lastly, and I feel like this is a given, but would you please stop judging people. Everyone is broken and everyone has a past. We’ve all made decisions and choices we regret or wish we could take back. Simultaneously, we’ve all experienced pain and suffering at the hands of another. You may have heard of so-and-so doing this or that, but you have no idea what so-and-so is actually going through or what their story is. So rather than examining the lives and pasts of other people, lets all examine our own lives and past and hear what Jesus is speaking directly to us, rather than assuming He’s speaking to the guy or girl next to us.
What are some of the current day issues we face?
How can I personally have an impact with the challenges we face as a society?
How would Jesus approach those issues today?