Jesus Breaks the Rules
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Jesus Breaks the Rules
By Dr. Carol J Miller
At the end of the Children’s Sermon, give each child a half-sized bottle of water to drink after church.
Jesus did not always follow the rules, especially rules that told him which people he should speak to and which people he shouldn’t speak to. In Jesus’ day in Israel there was a rule that men should not speak to women in public––that means out where anyone can see. And especially no one––men or women––no one should speak to someone that most people thought was a bad person.
Well, in this story Jesus is talking to a woman in public––they are sitting outside on the edge of the water well that everyone in town used.
And the woman Jesus is talking to is someone who had done many things that the people in her village thought were wrong. Maybe that’s why she is coming to the well to get water at noon. That is the hottest part of the day, and she lives in a very hot country. The other women came early in the morning to get water, but this woman comes at noon. Why do you think she does that? [Accept all answers]. I’ll bet it is because she knows the other women won’t speak to her, and that hurts her feelings.
But now Jesus is breaking the rules. He is talking with her. He asks her for a drink of water. If you were that woman, and Jesus started talking to you, what would you say to him? [Thank the children for their answers]. She says that people like him don’t speak to people like her. She doesn’t understand why he is talking to her. That’s when Jesus says something very strange to her and she doesn’t get it––she doesn’t understand at all.
Jesus said, “If you knew… who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink.'” Remember, this woman does not know who Jesus is. Jesus is God’s Son. He can do special things to show people God’s love. Jesus said, “If you knew me” and then he says the strange thing: “You would have asked me for water and I would give you special ‘living water’.” [Writer’s paraphrase]. She doesn’t believe him! He doesn’t have a bucket and this is a deep well. She sort of laughs at him.
But Jesus isn’t talking about wet water that comes from a well. He isn’t talking about the kind of water that makes the plants and trees grow or that keeps us alive. Jesus is talking about the love and the joy and happiness that is flowing deep down inside of our feelings when we know that God loves us and cares about us––even if we’ve done a lot of bad stuff. Jesus said that the kind of refreshing, life-giving water that he has makes us feel clean and cool and loved in our hearts.
Jesus has already started to give the woman at the well this kind of refreshing happiness. What has he done that other people would have said he shouldn’t do? [Accept all answers]. Yes, he is talking to her; someone is treating her like a friend––no one else did because she was bad. But Jesus is giving her kindness and respect and love. And by the end of the story, do you know what she is doing? She is running through her village telling everyone she sees who the man at the well is. He is Messiah. He is from God! That lady has water that does not need a bucket!
[Give each child a little half-sized bottle of water to drink this afternoon (not now)]
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2013, Richard Niell Donovan