When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
John 4:7-10 NIV
Social distancing has been practiced for various reasons in all cultures at all times. This familiar story from John’s gospel reveals not only the space that was expected to be kept between Jews and Samaritans, but also men and women and even hints that the woman was isolated from her own village because of her sinful life.
Jesus first closes the distance and then offers her living water that leads to wholeness and a new life. She breaches the social distance imposed on her in her village and before long “many Samaritans from the city believed in him” and “they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.”
I realize we are practicing social distancing for very good reasons during this virus, but maybe it can help us reflect on people we “keep our distance from” for other reasons during normal times. Are those the people, like us, who really thirst for living water? When this is all over, when we have had a small taste of how isolation feels, will our eyes be opened to the lonely or marginalized and will we narrow the distance between us?
Dear Living Hope Family,
I hope you are all doing well during this unsettling time. It is amazing how something invisible can disrupt our lives and cause such anxiety and suffering throughout the world. If anything, it has shown that we really are connected in one big community and that isolation from events occurring in other countries is not really an option. As we pray for our local community and nation let’s also remember that God loves the whole world and pray for their relief too.
One of the advantages of being a smaller church is that it is easier to keep up with everyone during times like this. One of the disadvantages is that we all miss all of us! I always look forward to our Sunday worship and being able to see you and share what is happening in our lives. You really are my family, so not having us all together will be difficult. Let’s pray for this situation to resolve quickly and that we may all remain healthy -- physically, emotionally and spiritually and be back together soon.
In the meantime, let us take advantage of the situation and grow! We have had to radically slow down our pace and I believe that presents us with many opportunities. Last Tuesday when it was nice I went for a run on Constitution trail, a place where I regularly run. But this time, instead of a few people here and there, it was like running an obstacle course! There were so many people out! The young and old, families, parents teaching young children how to ride bikes, people walking dogs, or just couples sitting on benches. Everyone was friendly and smiling, despite what was going on. It seems many were already taking advantage of the change in routine to spend time with those they loved. It was wonderful to see.
This slower pace can also help us be more reflective, spend more time in prayer and the Word, read some books we’ve had on our shelves for too long, write or email some people we need to catch up with or just simply be on Sabbath for a bit. When every moment of our day isn’t scheduled out for us we can take some big, deep breaths again. Let’s be careful of exposure --not only to the coronavirus, but also to all the dire information, true or false, that can rob us of trusting in God and actually growing and enjoying through the next weeks. We have no control over how long or how far-reaching this will be, but we do have control over how we will approach it and take advantage of it for our own good.
So! Beloved, God is near, spring is on the way, we will not only get through this together but we will also grow through this together! Grace and Peace through our Lord Jesus!