A Life-changing Experience
The Samaritan woman had a truly life-changing experience. Jesus, a Jew, asked her, a Samaritan, for a drink of water. By this act, a break from custom, he showed that he accepted her for who she was—a fellow human being, worthy of dignity and respect. This encounter with the Messiah changed her profoundly.
Unlike the Jewish leaders who did not understand who Jesus was, she recognized and accepted him in awesome wonder. It is possible even today that profound and lasting changes would occur if we treated every person of every color, creed, social class or nationality as worthy of dignity and respect.
It is significant that Jesus asked for water, used not only for drinking, but also for washing and for religious purification. Using water as a metaphor, Jesus offered everlasting life—water that quenches thirst so that one is never again thirsty. Each of them, the Jew and the Samaritan, possessed something life-giving which could be shared and offered to others, life-giving water for the body and water for the eternal soul. Dignity, respect, and opportunities for self-respect also have life-giving qualities. Like the living water, these gifts may be given freely to all.
—Rev. Bill Webb
- What was the most profound or life-changing event you have ever experienced? Who was the person most influential in bringing about that experience?
- Did that change come about because of different circumstances or things or because of a change in attitude on your part or on the part of others toward you?
- Have you ever denied anyone dignity or respect that you are aware of because of their different beliefs, social class, or race?
- Do you have the power to influence someone you know in a life-changing way?
How Do I Act
- List people you know who have been stripped of their dignity by loss of health, a job, or simply by virtue of being different from most of the community.
- List what you can do or say to any of these people to help them to feel loved or accepted and give them dignity.
- Pray for courage; act upon the ideas you have listed.
- Pray for God’s healing in tensions within our community, or nation, and between groups in conflict around the world. Pray that Christian people will lift up all people by treating them as Christ would have done.