Day 10: Jesus... on the wrong side of the tracks
In our world, we seem to naturally divide. By race, by where we live... even in the same city, we divide by sports teams. Add geography, throw in a railroad track, and well, you know what happens.
I think back to my high school football days. We were all on the same team. I was not a superstar. I was a guy who (I think) worked hard. We were white and black and brown, yet we were the Mariners. Then one day, some of my friends changed their names. Others wore different clothes. It was about the time Cassius Clay became Muhammed Ali. My world changed.
Those first few days, in the locker room, the tone was different. It only melted when we got to the field and started “hitting.” But it was confusing for me. On the field, we were buddies. In the hallways of school, well, we didn’t make eye contact. Before you judge, cut us some slack: we were 16, and the world was changing.
Today, Jesus goes to what some Jews would say is the wrong side of the tracks. Has that ever happened to you? It does not matter if you are rich and end up on the poor side of town, or vice versa—but you knew you were out of place.
The history and geography of the situation has many complex layers. Jesus, a Jew, is in a place where other Jews won’t go. Jesus, a man, is speaking to a woman. Try and find in you the deepest prejudice you have against another group of people… identify them, multiply that feeling by 100, and then imagine you go and hang out with them. That is where Jesus is.
What does He do? He calls her out. He points out that she has been married and divorced five times... rather than judge her. Do you know the pain of divorce? Image going through that five times. Imagine the wound on your heart. But rather than judge her, Jesus puts his finger on that wound.
I am amazed at what follows.
First, she does not erupt against Jesus. Was it his words, his nonverbal communication, his peaceful presence? I don’t know, but somehow, she is penetrated by this truth: He loves, He cares. And she receives his comment.
Second is the conversation's focus. Jesus engages her on eternity. Not on the woes of her life. Not on the pain she is suffering today. No, Jesus engages her on her future. That focal point launches an amazing discussion.
Finally, its Jesus. You see, Jesus cannot be on the wrong side of the tracks. He, God, owns it all.
I am asking myself: do I, like the woman at the well, keep my focus? I know if that if I don’t, I will wrestle against Jesus. I will participate in dividing, instead of living for Him.