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Adjust to Conditions: He Gets Us

Updated: Feb 17

Our family loves football. Well, let me rephrase that—the men in our family love football. The ladies they are married to might enjoy watching the game, or they may enjoy a good book during it, but love of the game might be a reach. So, on Superbowl Sunday the main event for the boys in our family is the game. The main event for me? The commercials. Some years they are better than others.

This year, I laughed at a few (that one with Arnold Swartzenager trying to pronounce neighbor, but saying neighbaa – cracked me up. The Dunkin Donut commercial with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon and Tom Brady – hysterical. The extended cut on YouTube – even funnier). There was one that captured my attention and my heart, though. Yep, it was the "He Gets Us" commercial. For me, it was a simple reminder of what it looked like to be a follower of Jesus.

I was shocked to wake up the next morning and find my Facebook Newsfeed full—and I do mean full—of controversy over this commercial. The hot-button had been pressed from all sides. To be honest, I've been relatively surprised by some of what I've read. So, I thought I'd throw my own perspective in, too.

Someone asked, would Jesus really be seen at, or wash feet outside of, an abortion clinic? When I read the comment that there was no way He'd go near an abortion clinic, I was reminded of how He went out of His way to meet the woman at the well. It wasn't geographically necessary for Him to go through Samaria to get to His destination of Jerusalem. Shorter, yes, but necessary? No. Yet, Scripture states "He had to go through" it. I believe He had to because He knew there was a woman who needed to know that she mattered enough to go out of His way to meet her. Interestingly, water was involved in their encounter. Upon her arrival they discussed her life.

Her messy life.

The other women from town had made their way to the well hours earlier. Why had she come to the well during the hottest part of the day, rather than the wee hours of morning when it was cool? Many suggest it was because she wasn't welcome to join the other women. After all, she had a messy life. If she came alone she could avoid the crowd. The looks. The glares. The whispers. The condemnation for her pattern of moving from one guy to the next. She did, as Jesus pointed out, have five prior husbands and was now living with a man.

But on this day, Jesus was waiting at the well for her. It was hot and Jesus had walked quite a distance. So, He asked her for a drink. To some, this ask might simply be seen as a "typical man expecting a woman to serve him." Or possibly, just a guy without the means to fetch the water needed to quench His thirst. What I see is His humanity—He was indeed thirsty. I know that thirst.

Nonetheless, this was during a time when it wasn't cool for a man to be seen alone with, or talking to, a woman in public. Especially, a strict Rabbi. William Barclay notes, "A Rabbi might not even speak to his wife or daughter or sister in public." Barrier one – broken when Jesus the Rabbi spoke to her in public.

When He asked her for a drink, she replied with suspicion. Why wouldn't she? Her entire life she'd heard the narrative of how the Jews perceived those of Samaritan descent – "Impure." Why would she not question his motives when there was a 400 year old feud between the Jews and the Samaritans? So great was this hate for one another that Jesus, as a Jew, would have been considered "unclean" when He accepted the cup from her. It's difficult for me to grasp that kind of prejudice, but it was there. Racial tensions carried in the winds of remembrance through hundreds of years. Barrier two – broken when she saw Jesus compassion and kindness rather than criticism and condemnation.

Their exchange led to a conversation about Living Water. They had a conversation. He spoke His truth and she spoke from her experiences of life and what she understood to be true. They conversed on spiritual things. What she believed to be true, and what He knew was the Truth. At the heart of this conversation was the truth that there is a thirst inside each one that longs to be filled with the spring of fresh, Living Water that only Jesus knew came from Him. Barrier three broken – a conversation that led to spiritual freedom and a release from shame and condemnation.

Jesus wanted this woman to know she could experience this Living Water along with everybody else. So He met her at the well. And He washed her soul. And when He washed her soul He set her free.

All the other women of the town missed having a personal conversation with Jesus at the well that day. They'd come and gone. They were living their lives, holding things together for their family, going about their daily chores. They probably weren't thinking about this woman. The woman known to us as "The Woman at the Well." She wasn't the one we take to lunch or find it comfortable to talk to. She wasn't the woman you'd want to be seen out and about with because, you know, her life was messy and all.... Nope.

Yet, Jesus waited for her. Met her where it was unseemingly. He held no protest sign, instead He held out His hand and asked her for a drink. "Please quench my human thirst and I will quench your spiritual thirst." What transpired from their interaction moves me to desire to be more like Jesus as I break the barriers religion places in front of me.

Jesus was safe. He formed relationship with everyone. He sat with the sinners and the saints. The sinners received compassion, mercy, and healing, while the saints received an adjustment to their theological understanding. They had the Orthodox down, but what He wanted them to understand was the Orthopraxy part. Get love behind The Law and you'll see the God of mercy and everlasting love. Jesus shows us how to bring The Law of Love into a world that needs to be loved.

Transformation began at the well when Jesus asked for a drink and it continued through a compassionate conversation that led to a release this woman's burdened and broken soul. In explosive joy she ran back to town and invited everyone to come to Jesus. So do I think He'd show up for the woman outside of an abortion clinic? If He had to. But I think He'd hope that someone would meet her before she felt the need to go to one.

The He Gets Us campaign could have addressed numerous parts of Jesus life, but choose the call to wash feet just as He called His disciples to do. Are you a disciple? This applies to you. Washing feet requires action. So, go meet someone at the well.

"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me'" (Matthew 25:35-36, NET).

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