Another daily selection from the HRC:
Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him. – John 4: 28-30, NRSV
The Gospel of John reads like a sci-fi book. Jesus often talks like he’s out of this world…like he’s from a galaxy far, far away. I simply tune out, probably because I like a more fleshy, earthly Jesus.
Then, there’s this story. Jesus crossed into territory no good first century Jewish man is supposed to go. He talks to a woman, an outsider, a woman outsider!
It’s not just any woman. This is the woman many of us have heard has a little bit of a reputation. She’s had some husbands. When people see her, they gossip or whisper or stop talking.
Frankly, this woman couldn’t care less what people think about her. She engages Jesus on possibly the first deep theological conversation recorded in the gospels. She throws down with Jesus on worship, sacred space, who’s worthy and who’s not. She knows her worth even if others don’t. She encounters a person in Jesus who finally sees her with the dignity she deserves.
This is even more evident in vs. 28: “She went back to the city and told people to follow her.” If she had the reputation the church has claimed for hundreds of years, why would people from the city follow her? John says the entire city came out to see Jesus. This outsider…this unworthy one…this person of ill repute is the one who holds the center of the Gospel!
People may make up their own narrative about you, your sexuality and your identity. But you know who you are; You know your story. Most importantly, God knows who you are and sees you. God knows the power of your story to transform the world.
Go ahead. Run through this world. Shout at the top of your lungs, “Come and see… I’ve got a story to share!”
Rev. Lydia Muñoz is the lead pastor of Swarthmore UMC, an internationally inclusive reconciling congregation of the United Methodist Church outside of Philadelphia.