Who Let Her In Here; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

We had been invited to a banquet, and by ‘we’, I mean Jesus. We get to tag along and get a free meal. It was hosted by a local Pharisee named Simon.

When we arrived at his home, I looked around for water to wash the dust off my feet. Jesus was only shown the way to the table where others were stretched out. There were none of the basic courtesies for guests or teachers. A rabbi staying or eating with you is considered a great honor.

While we were eating, a woman slipped in and stood behind Jesus with tears streaming down her face. Jesus reclined with one arm propping him up and the other one was free to reach for his food. His feet were stretched out behind him.

The crowd was silent, save for the weeping woman, whose tears began to fall and hit Jesus’ feet. She knelt, tenderly wiping them away with her hair. Then she kissed them, and pulled out an alabaster jar of perfume, broke it open, and poured the contents on his feet.

Simon was turning red, and while Jesus watched her I heard Simon say to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus looked at him. “Simon, I have something to tell you.

Simon, choking back a bit of his arrogance, replied, “Tell me, teacher.”

Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?

“500 denarii,” I thought. That’s more than a year’s wages. You could go to jail or be forced to sell yourself into bond slavery to pay that back.

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Jesus looked towards the woman while still talking to Simon. “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

Simon didn’t take that very well. He turned red, not expecting to be called out for his inhospitality or to be used as a negative example.

Jesus sat up, meeting the woman on her level. “Your sins are forgiven.

The table grew loud. “Who is this who even forgives sins?” “Only God can forgive sins.” What’s he doing?” “This is blasphemy!”

Jesus, ignoring them, reached up and wiped her tears away, saying, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

When we left, Jesus led us from town to town while he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God. We twelve were with him, some other men, and a few women, all who Jesus had helped cure of illnesses and demon spirits.

Mary, also known as Magdalene, had seven evil spirits cast out. Then there was Joanna, wife of Chuza the manager of King Herod’s household, and a woman named Susanna, among others. They weren’t just following Jesus, but also supporting him through their money.

It’s not unknown or that rare to have female benefactors. I had heard more than one critic complain about it. Even doing good and healing people will still get you criticized. These ladies were all in though.

Luke 7:36-8:3

How To Help The Grieving

Anyone close to you hurting? Are you at a loss at what to do? It’s not uncommon in the face of sadness and pain, to feel inadequate.

I got a text asking if I had any words of wisdom for a couple going through a tough time. Not for them, it was at the start of it, any words come off as platitudes. Most aren’t well chosen, hitting like salt to a cut. My words were for the one asking.

What do I do?

You love them. Let them know that they are not alone. Grief and pain isolate because when you’re in it, it feels like no one else understands. Which is true to a point.

The pain from both of our miscarriages is different. Honestly, the second one hurt more. That gives me the experience of the pain, but, it won’t be the same as another’s experience dealing with it.

This goes into the next step, listen to them. There is a lot inside that wants and needs to come out before it boils over. A sympathetic, understanding ear is the best medicine.

Then when you do speak, ask what you can do for them. Love in action. Right now they are broken and need help holding everything together. That’s what you can do.

Love on them. Listen to them. Help them.

Woman At The Well; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

Jesus heard that the Pharisees were trying to cause trouble between him and John. We left Judea to them as Jesus decided to head back home to Galilee. I don’t know why he had to go through Samaria. The three days it took to cut through it were three too many.

Samaria

You see, Samaria is full of heretics and Gentiles–non-Jews–who insist that Moses said we were to worship at Gerazim rather than Jerusalem. King John Hyracanus conquered their country and destroyed their temple about 200 years earlier. Even now as we walked, some Samaritans were insulting us as we pass by. The feeling is mutual.

We got to Sychar, near Jacob’s well, at noon. Jesus was tired and wanted to rest. He sent us to get food, but I wasn’t going to go enter a Samaritan town. I just went a short distance and rested out of sight.

The Woman

Then I heard Jesus say, “Will you give me a drink?” I peeked. He was talking to a Samaritan woman! Why was she alone at noon? Everyone is out of the sun now, I thought, she must be an outcast to not come here with the other women in the morning. I continued watching.

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

Doesn’t he know she’s unclean? Everything Samaritan women touch is unclean.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

One thing I had in common with this woman is we’re both confused. Living water is usually flowing water, but…Jesus is a rabbi. Rabbis love their riddles and wordplay.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

He’s teaching her, I realize. Ears perked, my interest rose. She said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

The well is about a mile from the village, I remembered.

Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.

“I have no husband,” she replied.

No husband? I look closer, no head covering. Married women usually have their heads covered.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.

Only a prophet could know that she had five husbands. Something was wrong with her. Were they all dead or did they divorce her? Now she’s living in sin.

Looking uncomfortable, she deflects, “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

She can’t worship our God, she’s a Samaritan! But Jesus said she would. What’s going on here? He’s including her…he’ll talk to anyone about the kingdom of God. He’s even being as nice to her as he is to us.

Even she must be important.

The woman said,  “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.

He hasn’t even told us that. Wait till the others get back to hear this! Will they believe me when I tell them?