A Drink with Jesus: Reflections on Albert Hung’s Sermon “Everyone Matters to God”

by Juan Zung

Hey, so, here’s an interesting thought. What if the Samaritan woman at the well is the new Jacob? [1]

Let me explain.

Here’s the story: Jesus is at Jacob’s Well. That same classic pick-up place where Jacob first met the love of his life, Rachel. And it’s at that same well where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman.

Wilhelm Wachtel - Rachel And Jacob At The Well

Wilhelm Wachtel – Rachel And Jacob At The Well

And, just like Jacob, our heroine is a master manipulator, the trickiest of tricksters.

Don’t see that?

Think about how hard it would’ve been for a woman to manage 5.5 husbands in a world where a girl will get put to death for having 2. And look at how smooth she is with our Lord. She’s no dummy. She’s sizing him up the whole time. Never giving too much info at once, and yet always giving enough info to make sure he knows that she knows. She knows about men. She knows about history. She knows about religion and gods.

But, just like Jacob, this trickster is about to get tricked.

diego rivera - woman at a well

diego rivera – woman at a well

Jacob made a career out of pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes to make sure he got what he wanted. Everyone, that is, until he fell in love. Then, it was like his powers left him, and he was the one who got tricked. But that trick was the best thing to ever happen to him. That trick ushered in a new era for Jacob and his people. That trick united him with the woman, his one true love, who would walk with him into the great future of Israel. [3]

And our lady of the well? It’s the same thing… except different. She is also transformed by love. She also puts down her power plays and allows someone else to hold the power.

But the end result is the opposite.

She doesn’t become the new ruler of God’s new tribe. Her descendants won’t go on to be the great political and military heroes of her people. Nope.

Instead, Jesus introduces her to a world where political and military heroes don’t matter. In this new world there is no her people or his people, no tribes, no more Jews against Samaritans. This is a world where, despite the aghast of Jesus’s own followers, there is no reason why a proper Jewish man can’t sit down for a drink with a disreputable Samaritan woman and talk politics and religion and get personal about their private lives.

This new world doesn’t have a right or wrong place for people to meet God. Doesn’t have a right or wrong time for people to meet God. And there aren’t right or wrong people for meeting God either.

What Jesus is talking about is changing everything. Jesus introduces her to the religion after religion, the religion not of the well nor of the mountain but of spirit and truth. Amen.

—————————

[0] This post is in response to Pastor Albert’s January 19th sermon: “Everybody Matters to God.” The original version of this post is mostly inspired by a rant my friend John went on a couple years ago and is from: (not)apastor: a secular christian’s guide to evangelicalism

[1] John 4. Interestingly, there is a literary genre called Feminist Revisionism that this kind of thing would fit very nicely in. In these works, writers take earlier literary pieces and rewrite them emphasizing a feminist point-of-view. A classic example is Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, which retells Shakspeare’s King Lear from the eyes of Lear’s daughters.

[3] Genesis 29+

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3 thoughts on “A Drink with Jesus: Reflections on Albert Hung’s Sermon “Everyone Matters to God”

  1. Being outsmarted by God is the best thing that ever happened to me. “[The lady at the well] is transformed by love. She puts down her power plays and allows someone else to hold the power.” What a profoundly beautiful way to express what it means to be a Christian. We are simply people who have been transformed by love and who have allowed Someone Else to hold the power. Thanks, Juan.

    • Carl Jung has commented that the opposite of love is not hate but power. I think about that, a lot. That loving someone means declining to engage in a power play.

      I think of this scene as a beautiful rendition of two people gently putting down their will to get the upper-hand and choosing instead to embrace.

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