DayBreaks for 4/16/19: Easter and Rejection
From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:
Can you remember how it felt the first time you were rejected? It may have been that you weren’t “wanted” on the team. It may have been the first time you asked out that little red-headed, freckle faced girl and she turned up her nose at you and said (loudly!): “Eewwww! I’d never go out with you!” Rejection hurts. Rejection hammers at the spirit and the heart and hope. Rejection is a killer.
The woman was from Samaria. She knew all about rejection. She’d been married 5 times – and she’d heard the door slammed behind her 5 times as her husband of the moment threw her out and yelled at her, “And don’t come back!” Even her friends had rejected her – after all, it could damage one’s reputation to hang out with such a woman who seemed not to have any scruples or moral fiber. And so, when she went to the well, she went alone, carrying her water jar on her shoulder. It was in the blazing heat of the day – so strong was her rejection by others that she didn’t dare go in the cool of the morning when other women would go – no, they wanted nothing to do with her, no matter if her heart cried out for someone, anyone, to care.
Only on this day, there’s a man at the well. She wonders if she will be safe. Could he be violent? A bandit, or even worse, a rapist waiting to fall upon a woman alone? She proceeds, and when she gets there, this man looks at her and in a pleasant voice, asks for water, but she still was suspicious that he might have had something else in mind. She was partly right – for he begins to ask her questions that plumbed the depth of her lonely, aching heart that had known so much rejection. He even knew about her past…and yet he spoke to her with a tone of respect. And then he offered her something that could quench the burning, not in her throat, but in her soul.
As the questioning proceeded, she must have expected more rejection once she told him about her checkered past. But she didn’t get criticism or any kind of lecture. Jesus hadn’t come to the well seeking perfection, but honesty. And finally, she said that she didn’t know where to go to find God, unaware He was talking with her that very moment. Can you imagine the smile that crept across Jesus’ face and heart as he heard those words? Here he was, in Samaria – and he’d found a hungry, thirsty heart for God. And, it was not just any Samaritan, it was a woman. And who would have thought that a 5-time “loser” in marriage would be so thirsty for God? Jesus did. This was perhaps the most outcast and rejected person in the area.
And then a remarkable thing happened. Jesus said to her, “I AM the Messiah.” He could have gone to Rome and told that to Caesar and made Caesar bow down when he heard the words. He could have gone to Herod and told him that He was the real King. He could have gone to the religious leaders and told them the truth and opened their eyes and made believers out of them. But he didn’t. He revealed himself to the most rejected, broken, outcast person of all.
But what we often miss in this story is what happens next. The woman got up, raced off and told others. What is significant is what she left behind. She left behind the water jar, to be sure – Scripture says so. This water jar is a symbol of all the burden of shame, guilt and rejection she’d felt for year after year after long, lonely year. She left it behind and ran into the town to talk to others – something she wouldn’t have dared do before coming to the well and meeting Jesus. Why? Because the very One who had the most right to reject her was the One that she discovered loved her the most.
Are you feeling rejected this Easter season? Meet Jesus at the cross. Let the one who was despised and rejected fill you with the Living Water. The one who wouldn’t let this woman be alone in her rejection take you in his embrace and give you the love and welcome that you are so thirsty to find. Let your rejection be healed by his welcome!
Prayer: Hallelujah, for Jesus is the friend of sinners, unafraid to meet us in our loneliness and rejection, the One who speaks words of life into the most shattered heart! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>