No, really, I’m curious. Seriously, I want to know. What is it that you experience through your five senses that causes you to volunteer or apply or simply jump in the middle?
I know what causes me to say, “Yes, I want to be a part of that!” So, how about you? I hope at the end you’ll add a one word descriptor in the comment section. Look around. Listen to a couple of headlines. It’s more important than ever to try to figure out how to invite someone to connect rather than to isolate.
My husband, more of an introvert, answered my question in one word exactly as I anticipated. His answer? “Nothing” Laughing, I pointed at him, and said, “Yep, right on cue!”
Yet, I had to challenge him just a bit because he actually does choose to join in from time to time. He’s joined church congregations, a college, marriage and family, neighborhood gatherings, volunteer activities, the coffee drinking world, and (knock me over with a feather) Facebook.
What was it that caused him to say yes to joining?
My dear man and I toss the participation topic around quite a bit because we are polar opposites. I am typically on the lookout for a community to join. I’m generally tempted to say yes, if I receive a genuine invitation. And where I sense an atmosphere of mutual encouragement, especially among women of all ages, I’m ready to jump right in the middle!
My question today draws my thoughts toward the story of the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well found in John 4. As Jesus sat resting at the well while the disciples went to town to buy food, a woman arrived with her water jar. She was alone fetching water in the heat of the day.
Jesus pursued a conversation by asking the woman for a drink of water. This was scandalous behavior! The very non-kosher situation caused her to just blurt out the obvious, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.”*
I think, the woman had become so accustomed to being ridiculed and shunned that isolation had become her only peace. With a surprise Jewish visitor, she must have anticipated the worst. I imagine her emotional fists were up and ready for a fight.
What would cause the Samaritan woman to join?
Then Jesus made an offer she couldn’t refuse. He responded to her retort with an offer of a gift – the gift of God, no less. He intrigued her with the gift of living water.
I wonder how many times previous she had been enticed by the offer of gifts from a man? Jesus would soon reveal to her that the man she was living with currently was not her husband, and that she had been married five times before. She inquired of Jesus’ authority with skepticism, but He knew her heart desire was for life.
Jesus openly offered His living water this time. He told the Samaritan woman that His water was available to anyone who would receive. The one who would drink of His water would never thirst again. Better yet, His living water would produce eternal life for the one who receives.
That was it! She wanted to join. “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”**
Jesus wasn’t finished with her. His offer was far greater than she could even imagine. Jesus was offering eternal salvation, forgiveness for all her sin and freedom from all her shame. He wanted her to know that she could join Jesus for eternity AND she could join in her community completely redeemed and purified.
As their conversation continued, the veil was removed from her eyes and she recognized Jesus as Messiah. Immediately the Living water she drank in faith cleansed her of all guilt and shame. Then the miracle of her new faith went into action. She became the one who engaged her neighbors; inviting them all to come meet Jesus, Messiah, and to join in drinking His living water.
When my dear man heard my invitation to go to California, he was not excited about the prospect. Only because he loves me and wanted to see my face light up with adventurous delight did he say “Yes.” He took a chance and now he’s glad he joined me for the adventure.
That’s the way I see it. And I’d really like to know…
What makes you want to join?
Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,
** John 4:15