Labels 🏷

Conservative, Liberal, Progressive. Straight, Gay, Queer, Transgender. Vegan, Vegetarian, Meat-Eater. Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish. Whenever we meet someone we put a label on him or her as if the person is an item in a grocery store and we need to know in which aisle they belong.

In John 4, Jesus went through Samaria on His return to Galilee. Scripture states, “He had to pass through Samaria,” a route normally avoided by Jews due to their dislike of the Samaritans. Jesus “had to go” through the region because He had a divine appointment with the woman at the well.

When Jesus met her, it was the middle of the day, the sun shone hot on the stones surrounding the well. Only the cool air coming up the well shaft made it semi-bearable. No one would dare be out doing chores at this time of day. But she was. This nameless woman who had been labeled and shamed by the people of Sychar because of her choices.

She had been married multiple times and was now living with a man. She was tired of the whispering and the glares she endured from the people, especially the women, so she came at mid-day, when no one else would be at the well. Yet, here was this Jewish man, she could only imagine the comments and ridicule she was going to receive. Squaring her shoulders for the torment, she approached the well, ready for an argument.

Jesus did not criticize her, instead he simply asked her for a drink (John 4:7). Instead of kindness, she met his request with attitude. Jesus didn’t respond to the baiting, instead He spoke in truth. If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water (John 4:10).

She criticized Him, asking if He was more important than Jacob, who was revered by the Samaritans. She again, was daring Jesus to get into a debate of whose faith was right. Again and again- Jesus did not take the bait, He just spoke the truth. He asked to speak with her husband, knowing she did not have one. Not to judge her, but to call into the light what was being hidden in the shame and darkness.

He looked past the labels society had put on her. Instead, Jesus saw a woman with a heart hungry for healing, restoration, redemption, and true community without the labels. Soon, this woman who avoided her own community within Sychar, was running into town, to tell them to come and meet this man at the well (John 4:28-30).

It wasn’t the religion the Samaritans followed that brought her into redemption. It was the community of Christ, the relationship with Christ that made her whole. Made her clean.

Only God can do that.

Best Beloved , we are all within a tomb, buried, dead. Without the transformative power of Christ through His own death, burial, and resurrection, we can never attain the freedom from society’s labels that we seek. We can never be given the most precious “label” of all REDEEMED.

We can know the forgiveness and the peace the woman knew that day in Sychar. All we have to do is ask Jesus for it and receive it. Then we will know the feeling the nameless woman knew that Glorious Day.

I was buried beneath my shame

Who could carry that kind of weight?

It was my tomb ‘Til I met You

I was breathing but not alive

All my failures I tried to hide

It was my tomb ‘Til I met You

You called my name and I ran out of that grave

Out of the darkness into Your glorious day

You called my name and I ran out of that grave

Out of the darkness into Your glorious day

Now Your mercy has saved my soul

Now Your freedom is all that I know

The old made new, Jesus, when I met You

You called my name and I ran out of that grave

Bridge

I needed rescue, my sin was heavy

But chains break at the weight of Your glory

I needed shelter, I was an orphan

Now You call me a citizen of Heaven

When I was broken, You were my healing

Now Your love is the air that I’m breathing

I have a future, my eyes are open

‘Cause when You called my name

I ran out of that grave

Out of the darkness into Your glorious day

You called my name and I ran out of that grave

Out of the darkness into Your glorious day

(Glorious Day- written by Kristian Stanfill, Jonathan Smith, Jason Ingram, Sean Curran)

About gretchenr17

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Writer, farmer, fellow sojourner... at every turn I learn a bit more about God's wild mercies.
This entry was posted in maturing in Christ, Walking by Faith and not by sight and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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