Gift and a New Social Imagination

We all know the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. I was reading that story the other day and something jumped out at me.

Here's the passage:
John 4.7-10
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
The phrase that jumped out at me was Jesus' response to the woman: "If you knew the gift of would have asked."

If you knew the gift of God you would have asked.

For centuries we've commented on the transgressive nature of Jesus' actions at the well. A Jew speaking to a woman, and a Samaritan to boot, let alone a women deemed to be a sinner due to her domestic situation, was highly transgressive and shocking. So much so the text takes the time to comment on the disciples' shock upon witnessing the conversation.

And yet, Jesus insists that it would have been the woman who would have acted transgressively--"You would have asked"--if she had known the gift of God.

Knowing the gift of God, operating out of grace, creates a new social imagination where what was previously taboo is eradicated. The kingdom's arrival breaks down social barriers motivating us to approach each other.

We take the initiative to violate the social taboos.

If we could but see the gift of God.

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