Have you ever felt excluded? Unfortunately, it happens all the time. People can quickly become cliquish, but I don’t think it’s always intentional. It feels safe to be around familiar people, but the excluded person can feel unwanted and their presence inconsequential. Jesus, however, loved to shatter barriers and embrace the world.
Talk of the Town
Let’s take this thought to the extreme, and picture a woman who was the talk of the town. A woman who had a bad reputation, probably no “BFF” (best friends forever) and involved in an extramarital affair. A woman whose ethnicity was hated by the neighboring communities leaving no hope for acceptance–anywhere. The Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well was an outcast. (Audio: John 4: 1-42 or Text: John 4:1-42)
The Samaritan woman was partly Jewish, but that wasn’t enough. She knew about her ancestor Jacob, but that wasn’t enough. She worshiped at Mount Gerizim, but that wasn’t enough. She knew about the God of Israel, but that wasn’t enough. She was still an outcast.
Have you ever felt inadequate? Perhaps you feel you don’t have enough skills, education, status, or love. Although our reasons may differ, we question if we have what it takes to find acceptance.
On the other hand, this same Samaritan woman had too much baggage. She had too much of a broken past. She had too much immorality in her life. She had too much shame.
I can relate to the “too much” feelings. I sometimes wonder whether I’m too rah-rah optimistic. Am I too talkative, too organized, or too old? Have you ever felt like you were “too much?”
Chatting at the Well
In John 4: 1-42, we find Jesus shattering the status quo by starting a conversation with this woman—a Samaritan. From a Jewish perspective, her mixed ethnicity was enough to condemn her. The woman was alone. The village women would draw water during the cooler hours of the day, but this woman came to the well when it was hot and deserted. Little did she know that Jesus would be there to ask her for a drink and engage in conversation.
The woman is amazed that a Jewish prophet would speak to her. Soon, the conversation turns from natural thirst to spiritual thirst and from well water to living water. Jesus reveals his identity as her Messiah. The woman who was “not enough” and “too much” is accepted and transformed. The shame that kept her isolated was lifted. She sought the villagers to share her excitement and amazement. Her story led the villagers to know the Savior of the World.
In Christ, we are accepted even when the world says we are too much or not enough. #bgbg2
Accepted and Competent
Do you walk in isolation because you feel you’re not enough or too much? Jesus wants to have a conversation with you and remind you that you are accepted. You are loved and equipped in Him. You are competent to live God’s plan because competence comes from God.
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
2 Corinthians 3:5 The New International Version
The Samaritan woman saw herself through Jesus’ eyes–accepted.
In the same manner, when we see ourselves through Jesus’ eyes, we can live accepted. Jesus is enough, and that my friend, is too much good news to keep to ourselves.
Related Post: Why You Shouldn’t be Self-Confident
Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Richards, S. P., & Richards, L. (1999). Every woman in the Bible. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers.
The New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.