Gleanings – Equality that Divides

John 4:1-15

“For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

The Samaritans were, what we would call today, from the wrong side of the tracks. They were undesirables, somewhat like lepers. These half breeds would have defiled a Jew. Under no circumstances would a rabbi have anything to do with one. And yet Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” Conventional wisdom has just been turned on its head, again.

Jesus, by example, teaches an egalitarianism uncommon, if not unknown, among men. Conventional wisdom will not keep Jesus from people, desirable by the world’s standards or not. Grace and mercy is for all who would avail themselves of it. Rivers of living water are at the ready for all who thirst.

Are there people you won’t embrace even for Jesus? I took Marta (Atlanta’s subway or tube) home from the airport yesterday. It was revealing. Without exception, in the 45 minutes ride no one spoke to each another unless they knew each other and were with each other when they boarded the train. Perhaps commuting is for most what running is for me, a break from the demands (and command) to engage the world, a bit of solitude? But something greater seems to be at work – a lack of desire to engage others especially those different from us.

Again, are there people we won’t embrace even for Jesus? Have we forgotten the utter equality of all in the only things that matter, being sinners in need of redemption and the rivers of living water being made available to us? Usually we run to race or class as the thing that divides us. But it comes in other ways. For me, I avoid (or would prefer to) the proud, folks who think of themselves more highly than they ought as the Apostle Paul would say.

Blessed beyond measure I am by a dear friend who freely admits that in his past he was cocky, arrogant even boisterous. Now most of the time he speaks in hushed tones, barely audible. What changed him? He was traveling in Africa and kept coming upon extreme life destroying deprivation and found himself helpless to do anything about it. The experience humbled him and made him nearly mute. It made him a contemplative.

I wish I was my friend in that regard. But my resistance to the proud is more a product of what I know God is trying to purge from me. And unfortunately he has his work cut out for him. Too often I am the cocky arrogant boisterous one, even if only on the inside.

Lesson learned? Sometimes it is not the difference but the utter equality that keeps us away from others. In my case pride in others simply confronts the pride in me.

3 Responses to “Gleanings – Equality that Divides”

  • Robert Says:

    Very well said John.

    As you know I commute mass transit everyday of my life nowadays…pretty much. I have found it also peculiar no one speaks to another or even acknowledges others presences unless they’re touched by someone else! We are so dependent on cell phones to connect us to the world on the Metro. But, the world is right there next to us with the other passengers. Will we one day not speak to each other except digitally? I think Jesus would be the one who speaks to much on the bus…what’s that say? Ride the bus again and see the wonder in people’s eyes when you open your mouth, you command the whole room!

  • Robert Says:

    Perhaps a ministry opportunity 😉 “Busing with Christ”

  • John Richardson Says:

    There is that entrepreneurial spirit at work for the Kingdom!

Leave a Reply