Wednesday, January 16, 2008

But She Still Felt Clean..

I have been reading the whole New Testament for my seminary class this past month and have learned a lot and also have a lot more questions. One of the questions I had as I was reading the gospels, was, what was life like after some of these people's encounters with Jesus.

I think especially on the woman at the well in John 4. This woman had been married quite a few times, and was now shacking up with some dude that she was not married to. More than likely at the start of each of those marriages there was hope that this would be the one. She now was gathering water at the well, probably feeling the pain of hopelessness and despair. "Am I unlovable?? Why can't I stay with a man? What is wrong with me?" those thoughts racing through her head daily. She went to the well around noon which was way later than when the other women of the village would have gone, probably to avoid the looks and the talking behind her back. A social outcast, the village whore, and a woman with no hope. She walks to this well seeing a Jewish rabbi sitting there resting from a journey. Her first thought could have been "oh great, a Jew, just get the water and get back home." Her people and the Jewish people hated each other, so if her own people considered her a filthy woman, what would this rabbi say?

Read the encounter here

The encounter changes her life, she is a new person, she is a hope filled woman as she leaves that well to pronounce to her village, the same people who she was ashamed to be around, she now goes and proclaims hope, redemption and a new life.

What about the next day?? Did she go back to the bed of the man she was not married to? Did she leave the man, did the man get saved and they married?? Although her life was new, and her despair had been turned into hope, she returned home to the same situation she had left that morning. What now??

Desiring God has a great article regarding the shame, and consequences of sin, but the liberation and freedom of the gospel.

They focus on the story of the adulterous woman who was brought to be stoned, here is what they shared, of what could have been after her encounter with the Lord:

As she turned and began to walk toward home she felt clean—cleaner than she could ever remember. How could that be? She hadn’t done anything to deserve to be clean. There hadn’t even been a ritual sacrifice or water cleansing according to the law yet. That rabbi had simply declared her guilt-free, and it was so. No one ever spoke like this man. She heard God when he spoke.

But after a few minutes of walking it hit her: “I have to go home.” Fear shot through her. She wanted to bolt. The rabbi had forgiven her. But waiting at home was her betrayed husband. And her children. And her parents. And his parents. She had shamed the entire family. Her life was like a broken pot; shards all over the floor. Because of her sin. She almost longed to be buried by the stones.

But she still felt clean

Click here for complete article.

Props: Desiring God

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