In June of 1986, I stood in line at Stapleton Airport, waiting for a flight that would take me to a distinctly unwelcome destination. I was being shipped off to my Christian aunt’s home for the summer because my mom didn’t know what to do with me anymore.
I had chosen my clothes that day to articulate my opinion of this trip: black leather, way too much makeup, and a dazzling array of macabre earrings in my ears, including a pair of silver hanging men dangling from nooses. No, I’m not kidding. I was not exuding warmth and approachability. The other passengers in line carefully avoided my gaze. Well, most of them did.
What are YOU looking at?
I felt someone watching me, and turned to see a very classy older lady smiling sweetly at me. I smiled back and looked away. She started talking to me, making small talk at first. She seemed nervous. Finally, she asked, “Brandi, do you know the LORD?” I would have gnawed off my arm to get away if I could have! I mumbled something about being Catholic; she winced slightly. I wondered why. She took a deep breath and looked intently at me. “Well, you just need to know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and if you believe in Him He will save you.”
Recently, my pastor came to John 4 in his teaching through the Scriptures, and we spent some time looking at Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. The Samaritan race was despised by the Jews of that time because they were the result of their Jewish ancestors intermarrying with their Assyrian captors. They were considered unclean; no respectable Jew would have associated with a Samaritan, yet Jesus did.
“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans)” (John 4:9, ESV).
Furthermore, a rabbi at that time would have never talked to a woman, including his own wife, in public. The questions that the disciples weren’t brave enough to ask reveal that they, too, were caught up in the prevailing prejudices of the day.
“Just then His disciples came back. They marveled that He was talking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or, “Why are You talking with her?’” (John 4:27, ESV).
Jesus ignored His culture’s prejudices regarding race and gender, but even more shockingly, He demolished all social propriety by associating with this immoral woman.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’ The woman answered Him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true’” (John 4:16-18, ESV).
This lady had come to draw water at midday instead of in the cool of the morning or evening like everyone else, perhaps to avoid the scorn of the other women. That is where Jesus met her and gave her the most precious gift possible: Himself! If Amazing Grace had been written then, she most certainly would have sung it!
Just like me
As my Pastor taught me about the woman at the well, her shame, and the Messiah who sought her out, I remembered the lady at the airport. I didn’t get saved that day, and she probably thought of a dozen things she wished she had said after we parted, but I will always thank God she loved me enough to put her cultural prejudices aside and share the gospel with me. She may have been afraid I would cuss her, or hurt her, but she shared anyway. May the Lord bless her richly for her kindness! And someday, in heaven, perhaps He will introduce us. I cannot wait.