I John 4:7-10 (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

God is Love

How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?

The lowly outcast, a rejected and abused woman of the outcast race of Samaria, encounters Jesus at old Jacob’s well. She has gone at noon because she was not allowed to go earlier when the other women came for water. No one is at the well except this man. Consider the unexpected actions and words in this Biblical story of Jesus’ ministry. No one comes to the aid of this woman, nor considers her suitable to receive help or ministry. The righteous have decided it is their right to condemn and reject her. She is totally at the mercy of the man who has taken her in to live with him to be able to have food and shelter.

Jesus does this amazing, unexpected thing – he talks to her in public. Men did not talk to women in public in ancient Hebrew times. He goes one step further and asks for her help. And so she responds as we might, “Who, Me?” How is it that you ask anything of me, a rejected outcast woman? Jesus planned this encounter. He went to the well at noon knowing only the outcast would come out in the heat. He not only talks to her but honors her by requesting help. He chooses her as the first person he tells that he will be the Messiah and offers her the gift of the Spirit that is the living water that will last forever.

The human tendency is to want things to fit into nice dependable order. Yet, with God, we are called to Expect the Unexpected. We encounter the unexpected in the story of the birth of Christ to an unknown young family in an undesirable situation. God brought Christ to the earth in this way. The Holy Spirit will teach us the true meaning of God’s actions. Christ lived out his ministry reaching out to the poor, the outcast, the disenfranchised, the sick, the hurting and weak and offered them hope, healing, help, love and living water. God seems to reach out to us in unexpected ways and at odd times and places. As you reflect, what are some unexpected ways and times that God through Christ has touched your life?

Rev. Sharon A. MacVean

Prayer: Dear Lord, fill us with wonder and beauty this holy season. Open us through prayer, worship, study and holy music to receive the unexpected gift God has for each of us this Christmas season. Bless, guide and protect us. Grant us the desire to know you better and to follow you in deeper ways. Amen.

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