Have you ever experienced an awkward moment when someone says something about you that, though true, makes you queasy, lightheaded, or determined to hide your face?
Does the Samaritan woman feel that way when Jesus refers to her dating history and marital status? Since John includes this information in his Gospel, we all know her truth about having five husbands and a current boyfriend. Awkward?
Over fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. The obligatory “happily ever after” endings that Disney movies and romantic comedies bank on are not the case for more than half the number of couples who make a marital commitment. We try not to talk about divorce, but Jesus does.
For the Samaritan woman, Jesus’ vast knowledge of her life becomes a sign of his authority. She calls him a prophet. A potentially awkward moment becomes her awakening. They dive into the taboo topic of religion without looking back. After she shares her religious experience, he says that God has an employment opportunity for her: the Father seeks such as these to worship him (v. 23). The authentic worship Jesus invites her to experience is not rooted in a physical location, but a spiritual one.
Worshiping in spirit and in truth is easier than we may think. The congregation’s size or carpet color does not matter. As the Samaritan woman realizes, we need not wait for a church business meeting for Jesus to be fully present and for us to be fully seen. If God’s presence with us is not enough in our worship services, then recognizing that awkward reality might become the awakening we need.
What conversations with Jesus would be awkward for me? Why?
God, may I see this story differently and lean into the awe of discovering it anew. Help me to believe that the truths of my life are not awkward to you, just known and accepted. Amen.