March 17th, 2017 by Christopher Caudle
This week, we find in John chapter 4 that the same Jesus (filled with the Spirit at his Baptism) who was compelled into the wilderness to face temptations alone (Luke 4.1) is now driven into Samaria " Now he had to go through Samaria..." to encounter the spoken and unspoken limits of mission.
Which would be preferable to us? Perhaps we would prefer to face our Lenten deprivations as we contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus in the privacy of a wilderness. Or consider our own feelings of anxiety as we enter situations with people whose demeanor, story, and questions can feel overwhelming.
Notice that Jesus is weary, hungry and thirsty in both settings.
Celebrate that Jesus is equally capable in both.
(I sometimes ask the devil for a drink and exorcise difficult people, but that is not ideal.)
Looking again at this familiar conversation at the well gives us renewed opportunities to move a bit closer to Jesus as he guides us in his way towards Jerusalem and the Holy Week that begins to color our horizon.
As we do that, I was reminded of a popular book many of you have perhaps read or appreciated. Tom Rath's How Full is Your Bucket explores the reality of our needs and how they are met through community, our approach to others and the power of affirmation. Much in the book is helpful, and its strategies have been successfully implemented to aid in classrooms, workplaces and families. You can see a 6 minute children's video of the idea here.
You can listen to an excerpt of the original book from the publisher's website here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for "The theory of the dipper and the bucket"
You can read an excerpt of the book and see the idea in practice here.
The woman at the well speaks in terms of buckets and dippers as well. Jesus' replies to her, and our own replies to the people in our lives, have an important choice to make. The path Jesus takes with her and with us turns the wilderness into wetlands, and that same path is open to us as we reach out to our neighbors, friends and especially our families.
See you Sunday,