Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Samaritan Woman and The Next Big Thing

We run into a funny obstacle when we read our favorite familiar Bible stories: we know how they end.

During Bible study the other night, the Bible Study Beauties and I spent some time with the woman of Samaria at the well. As that camped about in my mind the next morning I realized a very simple, but startling truth. She didn't know she was going to meet Jesus that day.

Think about it. The woman didn't wake up, go about her chores, hoist her water jar thinking, "Off to meet the Savior of the world." In fact, I would contend that she was more likely preoccupied with meeting up with haters than True Love.

I reread the account of the woman that Jesus just had to meet (John 4:4). We are so much alike, Sister.

I may have a husband, but that doesn't mean I don't go about my daily tasks with my mind on anything but the Savior. It doesn't mean that sometimes I take care of my kids and console my wearied heart with the empty dreams of what I will do in the next season of my life; the things I will accomplish when my kids are all in school and I am no longer tied to diapers and sippy cups. As though this season is merely a hiatus in an otherwise planned and significant life.

The Samaritan woman and I have been bogged down by the burdens of the day to day, but taken the moments to think about the next big thing.

"I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." (John 4:26)

And then comes the part that blows my mind:

Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."

This foreign woman living in sin deeper than any disgusting well received the gospel from the Gospel, her downcast eyes lifted and opened to a reality that her ancestors longed to see. And she got to speak to Him. See Him. Hear Him.

His words are the same for us day-to-day sinners with our nose to the grindstone and our eyes on the tasks at hand. The ones who in the brief pauses of the tiresome day look forward to the next big thing, not realizing just how big this thing is right here. Right now.

And I like to see that God's sense of humor allows Him to reveal Himself in even the most commercial of arenas. The Samsung Galaxy Translation: The next big thing is already here...

I admit, I'm an iPhone user and a proud one at that. But Samsung really hit the nail on the head with that phrase. (I'd have preferred that they not made us iPhone users all look obsolete, but that's for another post.) It's like they tapped into one of the most basic methods Satan uses to lure us away from the grace and beauty around us- his lie that what we are, where we are, is not as good as what and where we should be.

Jesus meets us at the wells of our lives and hands us the dirty laundry, the full dishwasher, the crying baby, all gifts.We are so busy accomplishing and looking forward to what's next that we miss His presence, reminding us that He is the only big thing, and He is here. Already here.

So let's vow together to look at where we are and see Him here. In His Word. His sacraments. In our service to the least of these. I don't think Jesus would have stressed so often the responsibility of caring for children if it wasn't such a big deal. We see big things people do, famous people recognized for their big works even towards furthering the kingdom, and forget that the biggest ways Christ demonstrated His love for the world were done in the small things. Born in a manger. A carpenter's son in a small town. A small band of common men for followers. A criminal's death on a cross. Even his miracles were accomplished for those who were, or believed themselves to be, the least worthy.

And then there is the perk to rereading those old favorites. We know how they end. With a risen and ascended Savior. So if we are to spend our time looking for the next big big thing, let it be living in anticipation of His blessed and joyous return.