Lemonade

Talk about opposites. His name was Nicodemus. Hers was never said. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. She was a Samaritan outcast. He sought out Jesus at night. Jesus met her during the day. He was from Jerusalem. Her people were considered enemies of the Jews. He worshiped at the temple. She worshiped at the mountain. He was at the top of his religious game. She wasn’t allowed to play. He was successfully married. She had never known a successful marriage, in fact, five husbands divorced her and her boyfriend refused to propose marriage. He was a religious leader who was risking his status and position to meet Jesus. She was considered spiritually bankrupt and had nothing to lose. But they both had an appointment with Jesus that changed absolutely everything.
I don’t know about you but every time I’ve ever heard the story of the woman at the well, it went something like this: Normally, women would visit the wells in the cool of the morning, but the woman at the well went in the afternoon because she was not welcome among the other ladies because they believed that her bad company would corrupt their good character. But Jesus was a nice (and thirsty) guy who wanted to offer her forgiveness for her sins and some living water. He got a drink, she met the Messiah, and they lived happily ever after.
The thing of is, if she was such a spiritually bankrupt sinner, then wouldn’t she have avoided the topic of conversation being religious in nature altogether? Why did she ask about the place where God was worshiped and use terms like prophet and Messiah? So let’s set the story straight:
The woman at the well had been married. Her husband divorced her and kicked her out of the home she was supposed to live in for the rest of her life. This happened not just once, but five times (Women were never allowed to ask for a divorce, so they were always on the receiving end one). So by the time the boyfriend came along, she had felt the sting of rejection from men that had promised to love her but didn’t. For whatever reason, the boyfriend didn’t propose marriage, but he did provide for her a home and food. Perhaps she chose not pick up the day’s water in the mornings because the other women used the time for gossiping and she was tired of being their favorite topic of conversation. Sure, it was hot going for water in the middle of the day, but at least nobody would call her names. Now Jesus was the sort of guy that just knew things, he knew what people were thinking and how people felt. So when he got to the well, he waited for her. He knew that there was more to her than her history and that it need not define her future. Their conversation reveals that she was indeed spiritually sensitive and curious just like Nicodemus. She didn’t have any formal training or education, but had always heard the stories about how God (the Jew and Samaritans worshiped the very same God, just in different ways) provided wells for His people. Now Jesus was telling her about a well that would never run dry.
‘Making lemonade out of lemons’ means to take a bad situation and turn it into something quite pleasant. The woman at the well did just that, but so did Nicodemus, he wasn’t handed the same lemons, but he had climbed up the ranks of a spiritual system that ultimately didn’t satisfy his questions. Jesus told him about being born again, not into a kingdom of chosen people – insiders by blood, but a kingdom of believers where all were priests, even the woman at the well would be included. Both stories are essential and intertwined. One without the other only tells half the story. For too long, we haven’t known the whole message.
Jesus broke barriers, disregarded rules, and trampled traditions, what mattered to him was the person, not the system that they lived in. It’s time to make lemonade, it’s time to ask the difficult questions, and learn the truth – it’s the only thing that can free us.

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One thought on “Lemonade

...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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