When I was in college, there was a bar in Laramie which was cleverly named The Library, so it usually worked out perfectly for any kid whose mother asked where they had been all night. It provided a place to grab a few drinks with friends, shoot a little pool, and meet some new girls from school. Although a bar is not the most ideal place to meet someone, it’s always been a place where people could get something to drink. In fact, most old timers refer to the bar as the local watering hole. I once met a girl on a blind date, and the first place we went to after dinner was a bar called The Waterhole. It must have been something in the water because we ended up getting married a year later.
2000 years ago, things were a little different. Men rarely spoke to women on the streets as women of that time in certain cultures were considered property, treated like servants, and given no social status. The other thing that was different was that a waterhole really meant a waterhole. Located nearby a city or within a village, there was a well in which girls were usually responsible for retrieving the family’s water in the morning or in the evening when it was cool. So you know what that meant…it was the perfect place for a man to go to find himself a wife. A few men in the Bible met their wives at a well. Men like Isaac who met his wife Rebekah, and Jacob who met his wife Rachel, and Moses who met his wife Zipporah. So what’s the moral? If you’re not looking to get married, stay away from water fountains.
But to get serious, there is another story in the Bible where two people met at a well in Samaria. Now Jews and Samaritans were bitter enemies because of a large dispute over religion, the Jews despised the Samaritans and avoided Samaria all together, even if it meant going out of their way, but Jesus walked right into it. One day around noon, Jesus came to a well in Samaria after being tired and thirsty. Shorty thereafter, a Samaritan woman arrived. She came at this time to avoid the other women who ostracized her for having a really bad reputation in the town. She was an outcast.
When Jesus saw her, he asked her for a drink, and the woman said, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” 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. Everyone who drinks this well 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.”
Just by speaking to her, Jesus did something here that many of us fail to do today. He saw a social outcast, one who had been shunned by her community, and then he chose to treat her with respect, had a conversation with her, and then offered her salvation.
Most of us consider ourselves inclusive people whether it is in our clubs, our churches, or the different organizations in which we belong, but are we really inclusive? Do we really mirror what Jesus did, or do we only welcome people that act and look like the members already in our group? The truth of the matter is, we often come across people in our lives who have been shunned or are outcasts of our society. If an opportunity presents itself to make a small connection or make them feel included, we often look the other way. It’s wrong. I’m not saying we have to like everyone and agree with everyone’s lifestyle, but we should by all means show them love. Especially the people we don’t like.
Are you drinking the living water, or are you drinking something that’s just going to leave you thirsty?