Love Note (Sort Of)

The other day my son drew a picture for my wife.  It said something along the lines of, “I love you.  You’re the greatest mom ever.  Life is incomplete without you.  I believe the children are our future.”  Maybe not that last line but you get the idea.  It was a nice note from out of nowhere that made me and my wife very proud.

And then my wife asked my son, “What about daddy?  Where’s his note?”

A few minutes later my son walked up to me with an almost evil grin on his face and handed me this little masterpiece.

Bad Sinner!  Are you kidding me?  What about the stuff about me being the best dad ever?

It’s funny how you can find gospel truth in a note from your kid.

In John 4 Jesus made a point (v. 4) to meet up with a woman that most other folks looked down upon or simply just didn’t care about.  If you were a Jewish man in Jesus’ time and you took your religion seriously, this woman that Jesus met with was pretty low on your list.  She had filthy Gentile blood in her system.  Her people, the Samaritans, tried to enjoy the privileges of being God’s people while at the same time using their own Bible and temple and writing their own history.

But if the Samaritan’s were bad, this woman was the baddest of the bad.

Because of her less than stellar personal history, she wasn’t even accepted by her own people.  That’s why she went to the town well to get water at noon (v. 6).  There were no crowds at noon.  There was no one to bring up her five failed marriages.  Until Jesus showed up.

Jesus did not shy away from this woman’s sin.  He’s the one that brought it up (v. 16) and the one that would not let her off the hook when she tried to move on from the subject (v. 17).  Jesus had to come to Samaria to meet with a woman from the wrong side of the tracks who had made all the wrong decisions so he could call her out in her sin.

But he doesn’t walk away after bringing this up.  As the conversation continues, you can almost see the woman throwing her hands up in the air in verse 25 and saying, “Look, one day the promised Messiah will come and straighten all of this stuff out.  Nice talking to you but I’ve got to go.  Good day kind sir.”

And Jesus’ response changes this woman’s life.

“You’re right.  The Messiah will straighten all of this stuff out and I’m that Messiah.”

When we’re introduced to this woman at the beginning of the chapter, it seems as though all she cares about is getting her water from the well and getting back to the privacy of her own home.  But after she encounters the Messiah, she leaves her water jar behind and goes to tell the whole community what has happened to her (28-29).  The woman who once spent all of her energy avoiding her past and the people who knew about it now couldn’t wait to tell anyone she could find about the Man who knew everything she ever did and still loved her anyway (39-42).

Bad sinner.  I love you.

If we miss both of these, we miss the gospel.

We may want to fashion for ourselves a God of love who isn’t concerned with our sins but in doing so we create a false God.  To only speak of love without addressing what is a certain source of misery and death is the cruelest form of hate.  Jesus had to meet with this woman to confront her in her sin.

But the fact that Jesus had to meet with this woman is a testimony of his love as well as his hatred of sin.  Who made him have to meet this woman?  This is God, the creator of the universe.  No man makes him do anything.  The reason why Jesus had to meet with this woman was because he loved doing his Father’s will and he loved this woman.

It’s possible for us to be too conservative for the love of God and convince ourselves that all of that love talk is for the hippies and the liberals.  But here again, we fashion for ourselves a God in our own image who votes like us, thinks like us and looks down at dirty Samaritans just like we do.

Bad sinner.  I love you.

The cross is the intersecting point of these two concepts.  It’s the place where I see the seriousness of my sin, a sin so serious that it killed the only perfect Man who ever lived.  But it’s also the place where I see the depth of God’s love.  It’s the place where God “shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Bad sinner.  I love you.