He Asked for Help

We know the story well:
John 4.4-7
Now Jesus and his disciples had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
We all know how low this woman was in the social and religious hierarchy. She's a woman. That's low. She's a Samaritan. That's lower still. She's been married five times. Still lower. She is currently living, in an unmarried state, with another man. Lower.

If the Samaritan woman isn't at the absolute bottom, she's got it pretty well in sight.

But here's the amazing thing. Jesus finds a way to place himself lower, to lift her up to the superior position.

"Will you give me a drink?"

Jesus doesn't come to her with answers or gifts or power or miracles or a sermon or a program or an invitation to come to church.

Jesus approaches this woman and simply asks for help.  

He asks her for help. And it blows her heart wide open.

And I wonder if the church will ever learn that lesson as we approach the world.

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4 thoughts on “He Asked for Help”

  1. Yes! And in asking her for help and receiving water from her, maybe he has already given her aionios life. (Matthew 25)

  2. Excellent! This is what spending time in the Gospels does for us. It takes the "religious notion" or the "church talk" of surrender, death to self, placing others above us and every other way the Bible speaks of humility, and puts flesh on it.

    The problem, however, is how many in the church see the divine Jesus as not having to go through the actual humiliation that we would have to put ourselves through in placing ourselves in such predicaments, that there is a reality guided by common sense, the same common sense that helps understand that we "do not really have to give to ALL who beg". In other words, the divine Jesus gives a standard that no one can actually meet, one in which we are allowed to guardedly think our way through, creating for us an "Easy like a Sunday morning" religion.

    Wendell Berry, farmer, environmentalist, poet and prophet, has an essay entitled “The Burden of the Gospels: an Unconfident Reader” in which he wrote, "We are to love our neighbors though they may be strangers to us" a love that seeks to "...be free of the insane rationalizations for our urge to kill one another..." which is what we slowly do when we place ourselves above, or even ignore another.

  3. I have a crazy dream: an androcentric church stopping to ask for directions from women.

  4. I have an Orthodox friend who, perhaps because he has experienced homelessness himself, has a real soft spot for homeless people. He makes a sincere effort to give some money, buy some coffee or food, or just engage in a humanizing conversation with every beggar he encounters. But what really impresses me about this ethos of his is this: whereas his generosity and compassion is a direct consequence of his faith, rather than view these interactions as an opportunity to evangelize to the Other, he asks the other to pray for him. I think he truly believes he will find Christ in "the least of these". He often shares his belief that the homeless people he meets give him far more than he gives them.

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