Read John 4: 4-26
Among my favorite bible stories is Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Jesus broke several social (religious, ethnic, gender) rules that needed breaking to foreshadow the coming of Beloved Community. Jesus empowered a woman for discipleship with gifts of relationship and revelation, with truth, with boldness, with gentleness, with love. Jesus empowers us by modeling love and integrity in this story.
I read this stunning encounter with Jesus in the middle of Black History month with James Weldon Johnson’s words of integrity and faith on my heart. These words are often called the Black National Anthem for the powerful truth they proclaim.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us...Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod, felt in the days when hope unborn had died… (The entire text is at #519 in the United Methodist Hymnal).
I read this stunning encounter with Jesus while the “harmonies of liberty” are drowned out by demands for book bans and bomb threats of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
I read this stunning encounter with Jesus as we prepare our hearts for the season of Lent – a season of reflection and penitence. Jesus calls each of us to individual and corporate reflection and penitence.
Perhaps you read this stunning encounter with Jesus on President’s Day. A Monday off at the bank and the post office. In grade school I learned about Honest Abe who walked for miles to pay a small debt, and George Washington, “who could not tell a lie after chopping down a cherry tree.” It was much later I learned Congress wanted to add a three-day weekend in February and George and Abe’s birthdays were a handy reason. (Uniform Monday Holiday Act). Even if the stories of Abe and George, are just that, stories, they do offer for us the notion that those who lead should do so with integrity. Even if we cannot follow presidents, we can certainly follow Jesus and live lives of integrity and love.
Let us pray in more words of James Weldon Johnson:
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who hast brought us thus far on our way;
thou who hast by the might led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path we pray. Amen.