Sometimes my former career as actress extraordinaire comes around again. Ok – I will be honest: though I did perform some minor roles in plays and musicals, that all went by the wayside by the end of high school. Though I have considered entering that world again, it scares the living daylights out of me.
The worship minister at our church leads a monthly worship experience on the second Sunday of each month. He had asked the pastor huz to do some kind of monologue related to the name of the service – Jacob’s Well – which comes from John 4, a passage that details an encounter that Jesus had with a Samaritan woman of questionable character.
Last night – as an introduction to his monologue from the perspective of the man to whom the woman would return after encountering Jesus who tells her that He knows about her past – the huz and I did a little “what if” sketch which portrays how we thought things might have gone upon her return after talking to Jesus.
He played the man, and I played the woman at the well.
In the sketch, I woke him up to tell him all about what Jesus had said to me. I wanted to share the good news that Jesus had shared with me. Rather than listen to me or come with me to hear Jesus talk, the man refused, became physically abusive toward me, and threw me out of the house while screaming at me.
Leave! Whore! How could anyone ever forgive you? No one will ever forgive you!
As I ran away from him, hot (real) tears streamed down my face. What horrible words to have screamed at you! What a horrible question: how could anyone every forgive you?
When we meet Christ, our lives may not change immediately. And those around us do not forget who we were before we met Christ. Everyone still knows what we have been, how we lived, what we have done…and now they watch to see if our lives change.
We meet Christ at a some “well”, we have a life changing experience. Though we would like to stay there, with Him seeing us for who we are but telling us about eternal life anyway, we have to go back to our homes and our situations. As our sketch portrayed, the woman probably went back to the man who was not her husband. He knew what she was. She might have been “bought” or enslaved to him. How could her life change? What miracles did God have to perform after she met Jesus so that she could pursue a changed life?
What “names” followed her back to her life?
What names follow us back to ours?
It does not matter what I have done, God’s mercy and grace await me. Though I may have some horrible label on me, God washes that label away through the life saving power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Because of what Christ did, I am free from my guilt, saved from my sins, and promised eternal live with Him.
By the end of my man’s fictional monologue, the man begins to wonder about Jesus and His offer of forgiveness to the woman at the well. He says, “If He can forgive her, maybe He can forgive me.”
He can. He does. And it is true – for me…and for you.
PS: Toward the end of the service, we sang Softly and Tenderly, one of my favorite hymns. You can listen to its entirety below. The refrain of the hymn says, “Come home, you who are weary, come home.”
This is not about coming home at the end of our lives. This is now. Jesus is waiting for us to come home to Him so that He can show us mercy and pardon for the wrongs that we have – and continue to – commit.
Is it time to go home?