Jesus, Hospitality, and the Woman at the Well

I recently had the privilege to teach at the Wednesday night Bible study meeting of Harrisburg Baptist Church, here in Tupelo, MS. The full audio (about half an hour) is at the bottom.

Here's the basic gist of what I taught.

First, I told a story about a time I was at the mercy of someone's hospitality while on a short-term mission trip to Manali, India, in 2012. I reflected on why it made me uncomfortable to be the recipient of hospitality from someone I knew had less material possessions than I did. I would have much rather been the generous benefactor taking this family to lunch, but they invited me into their home and I was dependent on them for a drink of water (which can be problematic in rural India). 

Next, I retell the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well in John 4. I exegeted the narrative using a leadership essential called Social Identity. This essential breaks down a person's identity into three categories, represented by three concentric circles: Given, Chosen, and Core. (During the Bible study I actually drew this on a flip chart while explaining it.) Given = those aspects of ourselves we did not choose; Chosen: choices we've made; Core: the filters through which we pass our most important decisions (core values). 

Finally, I reflect on Jesus' willingness to submit himself, in humility, to the Samaritan woman. He crossed several important boundaries in doing so. Moreover he made himself dependent on her for a drink of water during the hottest part of the day. This, coupled with his ability to say what she needed to hear - which we can do by being attentive to the Spirit and learning to ask good questions - opened her up for a conversation in which Jesus shared that He was sufficient for her needs. Jesus honored her in a way that broke stereotypes and as a result she testified about Him to her whole town.

We don't need to cross oceans to follow Jesus' example. We have friends and neighbors who likely exist on the other side of some boundary that we can overcome through hospitality for the sake of entering gospel conversations. Hopefully this reflection helps you think about who in your life God is calling you to serve in humility for the sake of showing them what it means that Jesus loves them more than they can know.