We’re too politically correct to understand the cultural divide. But imagine Billy Graham backstage at a burlesque show. Carrie Nation on a Jack Daniels Factory tour. God as the celebrity judge on “So you think you can swear like a sailor?”
Jesus sits next to a well. A woman comes to get water.
Jesus, being God, knows she has a huge gaping hole in her chest. He knows that she has had five husbands. In a town where everyone knows everyone, that’s like a thirty-year soap opera. It’s something everyone’s talking about. It’s something everyone laughs at.
Except, I suppose, her mom. Except, perhaps, the guy she is living with now, who loves her, perhaps, but she’s afraid to commit to.
Except, especially, Jesus.
He could poke her wound with a stick. He could call his disciples together and provide an excellent object lesson. He could do everything we imagine doing to someone we feel better than.
Instead of doing what makes sense to us, he asked her for a drink of water. He asked her for help. And then in the course of conversation she told him what he already knew, that she was hollow, that her soul was parched, that every relationship that she had tried didn’t heal the wound in her chest. He sat there, talking with her.
She later said, in essence, “God didn’t run away when I told him what I did. In fact, he told me everything I had done, and then kept talking with me.”
Confession isn’t telling God what he doesn’t already know. It’s agreeing with him that what we’ve done hasn’t worked to fix our lives. And never will. And accepting that the water of life he offers is better than anything else we could try.