27 February 2008

Kicking Social Convention to the Curb

I love Jesus, not just as God incarnate, but the man, how He defied social convention and worldly wisdom, and fought injustice, not necessarily in big actions, but in how He treated people.

This past Sunday the Gospel reading at church was John 4:5-42, which the larger portion is simply titled: Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman.

So what? Jesus talked with a lot of people, what makes it even interesting? It is the defiance of social convention in even speaking to this woman that grabs me. Jewish people (like Jesus) didn't associate with Samaritans. The woman, was coming to the well at noon, not the normal time to draw water, in all likelihood because she was an outcast amongst her own people, and not welcome at the well when others would come to get water during the cool of the early morning and evening. There would also be a question as to any man speaking to an unescorted woman at that time. This is not a person whom He is supposed to talk to for any reason, yet He does.

He speaks to her about simple things, things that she would be able to relate to, water, family, her relationships, and God. He does not chastise her for what she is doing wrong in her life. He speaks to her in a manner to get her attention, and once He does, He finds a way to draw her closer to God, and by doing so He finds a way to use this person to draw her village to God also. Simple, powerful, direct, and respectful.

As Father Denny taught us about the passage, He pointed out something I hadn't heard or noticed before, that the woman starts out with calling Him a Jew (probably as an insult), then sir, then a prophet, then finally recognizing Him as the Christ, and that this occurred ahead of Peter recognizing Him as such.

From the very moment that I first heard of the whole "What Would Jesus Do?" thing, I thought this will last until children start to make decisions based on what Jesus would do instead of what their parents would want them to do. Jesus isn't like the world, He talks to people He isn't supposed to talk to, He goes places He isn't supposed to, and He defies authority in a way the world doesn't think is very smart, in fact it led Him to His death ... and our salvation.

1 comment:

Janna said...

Along those same lines, here's another thing that inspired me:

Back in those days, women were not respected very much at all. They were not allowed to serve as witnesses in any kind of legal proceding; the testimony of a woman was considered to be almost worthless.
Yet, the first people Jesus appeared to after his resurrection.... were WOMEN.
(Luke 24:1-11, Matthew 28:1-10).
He appeared to them first, and asked them to go tell his disciples what had happened.
Yet, when the women did this, the men didn't believe them.
(Luke 24:11) They thought the women were just spewing worthless nonsense. They weren't prepared to accept the testimony of women.
However, Jesus later appeared to the male disciples, too, and he reproached them for their unwillingness to accept what the women had said.
Mark 16:10-14 says he "reproached them for their lack of faith and hard-heartedness." when they kept refusing to believe these reports. I think the word the King James Translation uses is "he upbraided them."
Jesus had to have known that women weren't valued very much in that day and age. Yet he purposely used them as the first witnesses of his resurrection. I believe he did it to make an excellent point.