Do you carry water for Jesus?
You’ve seen the caution before, haven’t you, that says “Fragile. Handle with Care?” How good are you applying that to your dealings with people . . . . whether through personal interaction with them or just the formation of your initial opinions? I think some extra decades of life should contribute to the seasoning and softening of these responses, but I know it’s not for certain that more age means more mellowing. Some people grow more bitter and narrow in scope. I pray that isn’t you and pray twice as much you don’t see that in me!
A mark of being a Christian and growing in spiritual maturity ought to be the formation of character that more closely resembles Jesus’ character. Yes, of course Jesus was pretty tough on the religious elites, on those who rejected Him, who tried to trick Him, who held the helpless in bondage and eventually saw that He was arrested and killed. They got what they deserved, didn’t they? But do you ever marvel at Jesus’ tenderness in dealing with people, the sick, the grieving, the poor and downtrodden? Jesus would say He gave them what they “deserved.”
John’s gospel in Chapter 4 gives an account of Jesus encountering a Samaritan woman at a well and having an impromptu conversation with her. There is a lot of cultural and religious prohibition that makes this story richer than it appears in print. She had been used and dumped by 5 husbands and now was living with a new man. Try if you will to imagine the desperation a woman experienced when divorced. She was forced to make her own way in life just to survive and was a social outcast, often resorting to a life of begging, ridicule and prostitution.
Jesus could have begun by pointing out what a mess this woman had made of her life and condemning the immoral thing she was doing by shacking up. What did Jesus say? “I sense you are very thirsty and you will not find refreshment from the “well of life” you have been drinking from.” He then offered her a living water that could quench her thirst forever. I try to remember that when I see people on the street or someone of whom I might choose to morally disapprove of and judge. This must be a very thirsty person.
The gospel author John used an interesting descriptor for himself and his use of it may well have irritated the other disciples somewhat. If asked what he (John) saw as his primary identity in life, we might think he’d respond with Apostle, Disciple, Author or Evangelist, but most likely John would say “I am the one Jesus loves.” How would your life change if you were to look in your mirror and make the same declaration? Would transformation occur? What about those struggling with life, experiencing moral failure and making unfortunate life choices out of desperation or ignorance? We might be prone to reject or hold those people in low esteem. (Maybe not you, but I might) Can you imagine Jesus holding out a mirror for them and saying, “Take a good look in there and you’ll see the face of someone I love.” Think About It.