A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “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: 7 – 10
I sat in Conference Room 2 at the United Nations in New York City. Before me was a sea of faces reflecting the diversity of culture world-wide.
The issues being discussed were deeply entrenched in these cultures and were many. Underlying the issues ran a common thread: the establishment of a better standard of living by recognizing, valuing, affirming and giving agency to persons. How that should and does get worked out is as varied as the cultures represented.
In the absence of the Gospel, the language is “human rights.” The distinct attitude is “entitlement.” The platform is political.
We do not denigrate culture but follow a Leader Who enters and transcends culture. Jesus walked among and interacted with the Jews, the Romans, the Samaritans, the politicians, the religious leaders and others comprising the world of His day. Jesus lived in culturally troubled times. The issues then were very much the same as they are now: religious and political power struggles, women’s issues, and the yearning for more.
Jesus was not troubled. He was marked by poise—neither because he had elevated status or position nor because he was a silvery-tongued orator who was able to manipulate with his words. He was poised because he knew to Whom he belonged! This deep sense of identity as the Father’s Son and as His ambassador meant that Jesus was free to do the Father’s bidding and love well. His agenda was the Father’s agenda. His platform was relationship.
The language of the Gospel is not human rights: it is incarnational love walked out among those clutching for their own sense of identity and value, often by embracing the externals of life.
Incarnational living is the one real hope for impacting culture so that the change is truly transformational. Do not be taken in by counterfeit measures. Jesus spent time with the Father as his first priority and then moved among men. The rhythm is the same for us. We must sit with and before our Father and then move among men.
Living like Jesus means that our energies and efforts will be single-focused: Knowing Christ results in the fellowship of His sufferings [which we undergo for redemptive purposes in us and through us] so that glory is brought to the Father.
Knowing Jesus brings poise to our walk. Let’s consider this as we learn to lead effectively, love inclusively and serve helpfully. Embrace the journey!