At Jacob’s Well, Jesus converses with a woman about water, husbands, and abundant living. And if you look deeply, no pun intended, you will see that Jesus listens to her humbly and hospitably — and that was outrageous.

Most Jews would not have gone through Samaria. Jews considered Samaritans impure because they had intermarried with non-Jews and created a mixed heritage and faith. It was also customary for Jewish rabbis, like Jesus, to avoid speaking with women, especially alone without a father or husband present. Some would not even gaze upon them, and covered their eyes when meeting women on the street. But Jesus chose otherwise. He went through Samaria, sat at Jacob’s well, and asked her for a drink.

Did you catch Jesus’ humility? The maker of lakes, rivers and oceans, asked a social outcast to get him a drink. Jesus then said that he had life-giving water, and the woman asks for some. Jesus told her to get her husband, and she said she has none. Jesus amazed her by saying, “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband” (v. 18). Jesus must have said this lovingly, not judgmentally, for the woman rushed to town to invite people to come meet Jesus. Would she have done so if he had spoken down to her?

How do you listen to others who seem different from yourself? Do you humbly put aside your status and give them undivided attention? Do you listen non-judgmentally so that they feel understood and safe?

Father God, thank you for the example of Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not lord it over people during his earthly ministry, but humbly and hospitably welcomed women, children and men to learn from him. May we listen to others in a similar way, despite our differences, so your love can shine through us. Amen.

Today's Challenge: Ask God to point out someone today who needs your loving attention and understanding. Boldly offer that to him or her by listening to their story while putting aside your own agenda, status or prejudices. If the Holy Spirit prompts you, tell them about Jesus.

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