I am the woman at the well
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Serving vulnerable people around the world may result in us Americans being placed in a position of power, righteousness, and superiority. None of those adjectives are consistent with serving like Jesus did. Jesus, who was sinless and yet became fully human to experience all of the sin, loss and pain of his people. Jesus, who sat with the tax collectors and prostitutes and Samaritans and thieves and the so-called woman at the well. Jesus, who died for me while yet a sinner. ME.
There’s an epidemic in the American church and it goes something like this: the outsiders are the sinners and we, in the church, are the righteous – or so we think. This paradigm of thinking may lead us to believe the residents at Rahab’s Corner are outsiders. Sinners. Fallen women. Women at the well who are completely unlike us. They are broken women and girls who allowed their bodies to be used for sin. We should help them, save them, redeem them.
And we should, but not with an ideology that places us above the women at Rahab’s Corner, for I am the woman at the well. You are the woman at the well. No, maybe you haven’t been prostituted in your lifetime as many of them have, but have you raised your voice in anger? Did you gossip last week? When is the last time you had too much to drink? How about that last cigarette? Or the lust in your heart? Are you sleeping with your girlfriend/boyfriend outside of marriage? Tell any lies lately? What would your kids say? Do you yell at them? Struggling with pride? Jealous? How about the good that was left undone? Are you generous? Are the fruit of the spirit a real thing in your life and not some spiritual axiom that it’s nice to quote? Have you forgiven the wrongdoer? Loved your enemy? Prayed . . . really prayed . . . for those who have persecuted you? Do you share a heart with Jesus?
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1: 8-10
The point is this: none of us is Jesus. None of us is perfectly free from sin as He was. And the reality of that harsh truth and our deep need for Jesus must permeate our thought process in order for us to have a chance of being successful in our missions. Arrogance and egotistical attitudes (the “savior complex”) have no place in serving. When we believe we are superior to others – superior to the residents of Rahab’s Corner – we embrace conceit and become condescending. Jesus condemned arrogance, ego, and conceit, instead focusing on being a humble servant.
I am the woman at the well. Broken, rusty, damaged, sinful me – linking arms with my sisters in hopes of bringing new life where the enemy has had his way. Will you join us?