Summary: Isolated. Convinced but confined. What if we busted our bubble and shared hope, faith and the source of it all . . . Jesus? It is time to be Bubble Busters!
Pt. 2 - Find Your Field
In 1991, eight people started a two-year adventure which would see them quarantined inside a replica of earth’s ecosystem. A collection of sealed domes and greenhouses were constructed in Arizona, US to recreate earth on a smaller scale. The environment contained an almost 9000 ft. ocean - with its own coral reef, a desert, savannah grassland, and a mangrove forest. During the experiment, the participants were expected to cultivate their own food and drink, while also maintaining livable levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen - all with as little outside help as possible. However, the experiment didn't go exactly as planned. Oxygen levels became dangerously low as the plant life couldn’t keep up with carbon dioxide levels. Any oxygen that was produced was converted into CO2 and absorbed by the unsealed concrete used to make the habitat. Animals and plants started to die at an alarming rate and a lack of resources split the group into two warring factions. One could correctly state that life wasn't sustainable in a bubble.
I would suggest that Jesus knew this long before the construction of this biosphere in Arizona. He refused to live in a bubble and on several occasions took the opportunity to try to force His disciples to come out of the bubble they were living in. I want to look at one of the specific instances today and see if maybe Jesus can force us to bust our bubble as well.
Text: John 4:1-9 (TMB)
Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee. To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon. A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.) The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)
Talk about a bubble busting passage. Jesus is breaking so many bubbles here it is almost hard to keep up.
You are probably familiar with the basics. Jesus, a Jew, is in a place where Jews don't like to be - in and near Samaritans. Samaritans were half breeds. Rejected and despised by Jews. It isn't that Jews wouldn't go through Samaria. It was geographic part of the path. Pharisees were the ones who would skirt this area. They would walk the addition 3 to 7 days and use a longer route to circumvent this place. It is interesting that Jesus who had no need to save the three days He could gain by passing through this ill-regarded province chose to go through rather than crossing the river and going up the eastern desert route. The original name of the place was Sichem, or Shechem, but now the Jews called it Sychar, which name they used as a term of reproach, intimating thereby that it was the seat of drunkards. So, Jesus goes to the wrong place. He busts that bubble.
Then He goes to the wrong people.
You probably also know about the woman. That's right a woman. A man talking to a woman. A Jew talking to a Samaritan. A holy man talking to a woman who is at the well at the wrong time (noon) rather than with the other women of the town (cool of the day) because she has been married 5 times and is currently living with a man. Perhaps she is an outcast and untrusted by the other women. A holy man asking for a drink from the vessel of a gentile would be instantly made ceremonial unclean.
But there is one other piece of this story that I want to draw your attention to that I believe is often overlooked. It is a statement that certainly reveals the humanity of Jesus. However, I think it also speaks to us about busting bubbles. John states that "Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well." Another version says, "He was weary."
Exhausted. Stressed. Needing a break. Ever found yourself there? I know I have. I also know that when I feel like this I don't want to be bothered. Leave me alone. I don't want to talk. I don't want to interact. I just want to Tool Man grunt and rest. And yet zapped of physical strength. Needing a vacation. Wanting a quiet moment. When the opportunity to change not only a woman's life, but ultimately the entire region, Jesus responds. I would suggest that maybe Jesus didn't feel like it. But I want you to know that . . .