One of the stories we tell around our family table, and one that always teases out a, “I didn’t know!”, from our second oldest son is about the time he “lost” some of his hair.
When he was about six years old, our son came into the house, and my wife and I both looked at him in astonishment. “What happened to your hair!”, we both exclaimed.” “Nothing,” he murmured. “We need to know what happened, son.”, I said. Mom said, “There is a piece missing from your hair, right in the middle!” Our son said, “I was playing on the swings, and it got my hair caught in the chain and it pulled my hair out.”
I wanted to says, “Are you kidding!” For, there was no way this could have happened as there was a perfectly cut chunk of hair cut out right in front. Our son had lied about what happened. After further grilling on our part, he finally confessed he had tried to cut his hair.
After some admonishment from each of us, we decided to drop the matter as history would record this event; his school pictures was the next day. Sure enough, we have used that his school picture many times, on all our kids, as a lesson to tell the truth, and not try to cut your hair when you’re six years old!
It was easy for us to see through our son’s attempt at deception and to get to the truth. And, so it was with Jesus when he talked to the Samaritan woman at the well.
The account of the Samaritan woman is well known and has been preached and taught many times, and for a good reason. However, today, I would like us to consider just one facet of this beautiful gem that God placed in His word. As a quick refresher for today’s salient verses, let’s review them:
John 4:11-12. 15-18
“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?” …
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. 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.”
The woman attempted to level the playing field when she brought up the shared experience of Jacob’s well; both Jews and Samaritans recognized the exalted position of Jacob. She was trying to establish a common ground between them. When that didn’t work she “fudged” her marital history, but Jesus looked right through all these things and spoke life to her. It blew away all disingenuousness, duplicity, and dismissal that she attempted; and Truth transformed her.
This same Truth still lives and lives in us as Christians. How imprudent it is when we try to sidetrack our Lord when He is intent on leading us to truths about ourselves. We are utterly disarmed and without excuse.
Our feeble attempt to suppress a wrong that we need to right or a new path we need to walk is foolishness to Christ. Nevertheless, His love allows us to go down those roads, for a bit, giving us the opportunity to come to our senses and grab hold of Truth, even as the prophets of old grabbed hold on to the horns of the altar.
Let’s make a pact, right now, that none of us will try to level the playing field with Jesus. When Jesus, the Truth (Jn. 14:6), shows us where we must walk, let us walk that path in faith, confident that the love of God leads us and abides with us, for He is “a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1 KJV). Amen.