She was an outcast of all outcasts.
The lowest class. The lowest race. The lowest religion.
She was a member of the lowest community, and even among that community, she was rejected.
The woman at the well is one of my favorite stories in Scripture (John 4:1-45).
She’s a woman living a life where nobody wants her in a place where nobody wants to live. Jesus’ own disciples never seem too excited to be there. When John narrates Jesus’ arrival into the woman’s town he notes, “he had to pass through Samaria” (John 4:4).
Samaria was a place to pass through. To avoid. The place where you play the license plate game with passing cars hoping the time passes by faster than the cars.
The place that’s in between where you are and where you want to be.
Do you know the place?
The place that’s in between where you are and where you want to be?
- The place where you feel most alone and most rejected.
- The place where your starter home never quite turns into your forever home.
- The place where the person you’ve been waiting for never quite walks into your life.
- The place where you feel stuck between what you’re doing and what you were made to do.
The woman at the well knew the place. She lived that place.
Yet for all its brokenness and frustrations, it’s precisely the place where Jesus chooses to meet her. That’s not a coincidence. It’s also not a one time thing. Jesus does this a lot…meeting people in the in-between places.
And in those in-between places, Jesus is always doing more than sitting down to have a drink.
He is always extending the same offer he extended to the woman at the well: the chance to become fully alive in a world of death. The chance to experience life, life with God and life with others, as it was always meant to be experienced.
It can be very hard to truly be content. I know very few people who have mastered the task. For the rest of us, we need to be reminded, often daily, that Jesus meets us in the in-between places.
Whatever your in-between place looks like, no matter how dull or never-ending it may seem, there is the divine offer of life swirling around you.
It refuses to rise above the monotonous details of your current position. Instead, Jesus saw fit to weave his life-giving offer into the very details that you and I allow to beat us down.
So on the very worst of days, when we feel most alone or rejected, most stuck and paralyzed, the offer to experience real life is all around us.
One of my favorite parts of taking that offer, taking that drink from Jesus, is seeing the in-between places disappear.
Don’t get me wrong; they’re still there. But instead of seeing them as holding grounds for the life I’m really supposed to have or the work I’m really supposed to be doing, I see them as the places in which Jesus wants to sit and meet with us.
We just have to take the drink freely offered.
Are you thirsty?