Reconciliation: Dangerous Water


Fleeing from jealous leaders in his own land, Jesus travels through Samaria and stops at Jacob’s well. While his disciples are in town gathering food, Jesus is met by a woman who has come to draw water. He asks her for some. The religious, ethnic, gender, and class distinctions between them make this a very dangerous request. It breaks a lot of rules that were designed to keep these two apart—rules that prefer self-righteous thirst over kindness or reconciliation. But the interaction leads to a beautiful vision of the kingdom that Jesus has come to establish: Jews and Samaritans, men and women, righteous and unrighteous, gathered together around a well (gathered around Jesus, in fact), all in agreement that Jesus is the “Savior of the World.”

When the thirsty descendants of Adam and Eve drink of Jesus’ living water, the consequences of the fall are undone and rightness is restored: They drop their fig leaves and feel no shame before one another. They come out from behind their trees and step openly into God’s presence. Enemy “brothers” put aside their jealous competition for God’s favor and are reconciled. A “sinner” cast out from her own community becomes the first member of the new community that forms around Jesus. In this community, men and women drop their power struggle and worship freely together. “Painful toil” is replaced by “fields that are ripe for harvest.”