Morning Meditation, August 31st
“Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself…?” John 4:12
For the Samaritan woman, nothing was loftier than the symbolism behind Jacob and his well. He was a patriarch of the Jews, he represented Israel’s legacy and heritage, he wrestled with God and rose to his feet with a blessing. Who could prove greater than that? Certainly not this man who was striking up conversation with her (Jews and Samaritans didn’t interact much), who had no water and no means to get any water. Finally, after He’d claimed the power to offer living water, she couldn’t take it anymore. She had to ask the question, are you telling me you’re greater than our father Jacob?
The woman at the well asked Jesus a question we’re still asking
“Jesus, are you greater than…?
My friends and I took to the Harpeth River the other weekend with my brother, his wife and their two kids under the age of four—just go ahead and envision how much fun this was. The friends and I were in kayaks and the family was in a canoe. And let’s just say the river was lower than normal. We found this out approximately 27 seconds into our excursion when the current whisked our kayaks downriver then slammed us into boulders—or rocks if you’re less dramatic. My friend April tipped over just enough for the river to enter her kayak, which in scientific terms results in sinking. Several of us appeared to be permanently stranded on mini rock islands, attempting to free ourselves in profoundly unattractive positions. Harper, my three year-old niece, who is typically tough and optimistic and easily pacified with snacks from Trader Joe’s, looked on with horror.
My brother David and his wife Megen assured, cajoled, comforted and passed out popcorn, wielding their ores deftly around protrusions. “Harper, you’re fine”, my brother was on repeat. “Daddy’s here.” This did nothing. She scowled at every passerby, like this was the dumbest “surprise” trip of a Saturday she’d ever heard of: People getting soaked and crashing into things. She cried and asked to go home for the brief span of pretty much the whole trip. David rowed up to my kayak exasperated. “When we were kids, it didn’t matter what the situation was, if Dad was there I felt safe.” Thoughtful pause, “Guess I’m not cutting it.”
Of course he was, this is just a three-year old for you. And it’s just the idea that hitting those doggone rocks had grown bigger to Harper than her Dad’s capabilities, which in reality wasn’t truth. In essence Harper was asking, “Daddy, are you telling me you’re greater than these rocks?”
Or put another way,
“God, are you bigger than my looming circumstances?
The way things have always been for me?
Or as stated by the Samaritan woman, “Are you trying to tell me you’re greater than our father Jacob?”
We wonder if Jesus is really greater than…, or more capable than…, or more loving than…(and this is where you get to fill in the slots for yourself.) For the Samaritan woman, if someone was going to claim the ability to disperse living and eternal water he’d have to be greater than Jacob. Because the belief was, Jacob had dug the thing in the first place. In those parts, he had credentials. And this is where we tend to get stuck: right at that point of believing someone or something—right in the dead center of our lives—is greater than Jesus. Or the reverse, that Jesus is not as great, loving, or powerful as whatever it is we’re hoping will quench our thirst or quell our fears or satisfy our longings.
The answer is yes in Jesus
The woman at the well found Him to be greater. Even than Jacob. Jesus knew the details of her present and the sordid stains of her past, and still His living water washed her clean and new. I pray you’ll ponder the account of John 4. Perhaps consider the personal question:
What appears greater than Jesus in my life?
And then trust He’s greater than the rocks.