Two people, one encounter.
When Jesus meets the “woman at the well” in the gospel of John, we find both of them not only crossing the boundaries of their cultures, but leaping over those boundaries. Knocking the walls down. [It’s such a great story, but too long to include in total. You may read it here.]
Both Jesus and the woman show courage. One brave and thirsty person asks for water from someone whose gender, race, religion, and background make her the “wrong” person to give it. One brave, generous, open person gives water to someone whose gender, race, religion, and background make him the “wrong” person to receive it.
Encounters, by chance or by design, have the power to change us and help us grow. And they are sometimes challenging. When another person makes a request that is uncomfortable, they force us to make decision we might prefer to avoid.
When a refugee or immigrant asks for protection, shall we offer help even when such help challenges the barriers of our assumptions and culture?
When someone seeks equality and points out the inequities of our social system, will we be prone to knock down walls—even in such a way that requires us to give up our own privilege in order to ensure that all have the same rights and opportunities?
When a group or individual requests access to affordable health care, will we be brave enough to help make sure it is available to them, overcoming barriers set in place to block such access?
When a lonely person asks us to join her for lunch or coffee, are we willing to set aside the time regardless of our busy schedule?
When life requires unusual action, are we willing to break down the boundaries of our own comfort zone to do the right thing?
There is much at stake when we request, or hand over, that metaphorical cup of water.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the things that support life. Don’t be afraid to share the things that give life.
This giving and receiving are more than a thirst-quenching cup of water; they are our fountain of life, our diving into the ocean of the eternal.
© 2017 Melissa Bane Sevier