It was quiet that day.
Humidity as thick as the shame the woman felt.
That’s why she went to the well, after all.
No one else would be there.
No one cat-calling. No one spitting at her feet. No one turning the other way to avoid her. No one carrying invisible signs that read “slut,” or “worthless,” or worse.
There were no crowds.
To be sure, the man who met her there created and moved crowds on occasion. But when he really wanted to change a life, he picked a time no one would notice, except of course for the one who needed him most.
He looked in her eyes–first time anyone had done that in a long time. It unnerved her, that deep, gentle stare.
She had to turn away.
But he refused to leave.
I’m talking about Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. (Click to read about it in John, chapter 4.)
And I want to be more like that.
No shouting. No name-calling. No talking over people who think differently from me. No turning the other way to the hurt and shame of others.
Especially these days, when fury seems like the new standard, the resting posture of so many of us.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence I felt led to make 2 Corinthians 10:5 my memory verse for the second half of January. I need to take every thought captive more than ever. And I’m learning I have to get drastic to do so. I took all social media applications off my phone. I made a pact with myself to check it once a day, twice at the most, but only for messages–not to scroll and fall into the fray. I figure anyone who really needs to get ahold of me knows my email or my phone number, and that’s enough. It’ll have to be. This isn’t something everyone should or even wants to do. But for me, well, I’m finding that the more time that passes with this new quiet, this new posture, the more I feel peace re-entering my heart.
The less connected I am to the world, the more re-connected I am to Him.
(This is the great conundrum of course–how to be in the world, but not of the world; how to reach out without falling in. All we can do is try to find a balance the best we can, with the Lord’s help.)
I wonder what we’ll have to say for ourselves in five, ten, twenty years.
I hope we’ll be able to say we were kind in spite of the times; that we were still able to hear the birds singing in the morning; that we still noticed the small green spears of crocuses and daffodils emerging this spring; that we held banners of love high above signs of hate; that our children were able to watch us and learn swords of grace and mercy work best against hate.
I sure hope.
I know for sure I can’t do it by reading and listening to the soundbites and the news feeds and the home pages anymore. And I can’t do it at all without turning my focus, my eyes, and my heart on him, the man at the well.
Like I said, I fail. And I will again, because I’m human, and because it’s hard not to hear constant, deafening outrage.
But there is a voice calling, even and still in this wilderness,
and it’s filled with words like those found in Philippians 4:8-9:
Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things in daily life, and the God who is the source of peace and well-being will be with you.
The source of peace.
The source of well-being.
Center your mind.
Implant them in your heart.
That’s my prayer for me first, since I fail at this worse than anyone I know.
It’s my prayer for you, too.