There are many characters in the Bible that I find fascinating. I’ve written about the Prodigal Son and his father, two of my favorites. A loving father who gave his son some time and distance in order to find himself, but continued to watch and wait faithfully for his return. The other, a truculent youth, who perhaps thought he knew it all, eager to step out on his own, only to fail miserably as he made mistake after mistake, but came to his senses, came home and said he was sorry, offering to live the life as a servant. And the father accepted the apology and loved his son, happy that his son came to his senses. A lesson of contrition, remorse and repentance, and forgiveness.
I can relate to Jonah, the guy who tried to run from his call, who tried to run and ignore his duty, who just didn’t want to go and do what he was supposed to do, and as a result, ended up getting swallowed by a whale. Eventually he ended up going where he was supposed to go in the first place and could have avoided the whale. Several lessons there, I think.
Elijah, the fiery prophet, who thundered and shouted his message, yet had to listen at a cave entrance to whispers and gentle murmurs, learning that not all messages need to be loud and forceful, but can be soothing and gentle and come in the least expected ways, and can be taught and conveyed by the least and lowly.
Peter is one of my favorites because he tried so hard, screwed up, and tried some more. He denied ever knowing his Friend, even swore in his denial, but repented, tried again, and became a leader. A lesson of perseverance, of never giving up or giving in.
The Samaritan Women.
Five husbands, living with a sixth. Traveled a mile or so to a well to get water. Wondered about that. Maybe cast out, ignored, shunned. Seen as evil, a tramp. Seen as having no ethics, no morals.
Yet . . .
The Lord stopped to chat with her. He was thirsty and asked her for a drink of water. Interesting because Jews didn’t get along with the Samaritans. The two groups disagreed with one another, didn’t share the same beliefs, didn’t live the same lifestyle, and didn’t have customs in common with each other.
Yet . . .
The Lord didn’t seem to recognize the differences, the disagreements. The Lord overlooked the disparity in belief. The Lord questioned The Samaritan Woman’s husband(s), but didn’t seem to judge her. And she, in turn, went back to those very people who shunned her, who looked down on her, and invited them to come and listen to a “great prophet.” And come they did. And the Lord stayed two days with these people, these very different people.
Perhaps there is a lesson for us there, too. For all of us.
Perhaps we need to stop judging and start accepting. Perhaps we need to seek to understand those who are different from us, who happen to live a different life and lifestyle from us. Perhaps we need to seek the common ground between those who we see as different, who we see as less than, and accept, talk, converse with them. Perhaps they have something they can share with us, give to us that is beneficial, just as water was given to quench the thirst of The Lord. And perhaps we have something beneficial to share with them. Our gifts, our talents, a hand to help, words to guide, and ears to listen. Something to think about . . .
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