27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.
28-30 The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves. John 4:27-30 MSG
A recent retreat was literally and spiritually mountain top experience for me and others. Coming home was a bit of a culture shock. It is easy to appreciate spiritual disciplines and a sense of community with God and others in an beautiful but artificial setting. Coming back into life on life’s terms can feel like a bumpy reentry.
But this is where we live and breathe. The key, I think, to understanding if our spiritual encounters with God have been absorbed by us is what happens AFTER the retreat. What changes for us?
In this story, the woman has just had this amazing and intimate encounter with Jesus and that is immediately disrupted by the typical and culturally expected responses of those darn disciples (we are all doing the best we can but sheesh!). In her confusion, which I imagine is a lot like coming out of the snow covered Colorado mountains and returning home to hot and humid Richmond (metaphorically speaking), she forgets her water pot (this is a big faux pax) AND she does something wild and crazy and radically different.
She speaks up. She shares what she knows. She invites others into her experience. She even asks them their opinion, allowing them to consider the situation and make their own decisions.
I have had a series of spiritual experiences that I can either hoard or share. But what I cannot do is coerce others to agree with me. What I will not do is stand silently by without at least inviting others to think about this amazing thing: Jesus sees us and knows us, even the least among us. He is showing up for us. Will we inquire about this mysterious, God-showing-up-for-us or will we just trudge along living life according to our past experiences, our prejudices, our comforting, self-soothing compulsions? Are we willing to CHANGE in the hopes of experiencing transformation? Jesus SEES and KNOWS and without blame, shame or condemnation, invites others to join him in this “gushing fountains of living life”. If this isn’t your life today, then maybe consider making some changes.