It’s a good question, and one not often considered. Why is Jesus the name that makes all the difference? So much violence and so much devotion is sparked by the name, the life, the Person, Jesus.
I think Jesus had this unique ability to look into someone’s eyes and all at once they knew that He knew everything and loved them anyway. This may have invited some and terrified others. I cannot wait to look into his eyes, because I know he knows my history, my future, my fear and failings and loves me anyways. He seeks us out. He took the dangerous route to get to us, to give us all he had: life. The following poem is based on part of John chapter 4, the narrative where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
The Seeker, a poem
He took the wrong route, or so his friends thought.
This road that cut through was dangerous.
Every good Jew took the long way, avoided Samaria altogether.
And the half-breeds who lived there.
A plague of a people. An Assyrian dilution of purity.
And a reminder of their failure.
Who wants to recall that history?
Better off taking the roundabout road home to Galilee.
But he cut through. And the sun rose high.
The long shadows in the morning light, slanted and long
shrunk in the heat of the day
into little pools of shadow that danced beneath sandaled feet.
And stomachs grew empty and uneasy with each step.
They hadn’t planned on this.
Their usual route had inns and safe havens,
places for rest and religious discussion
where the popular Rabbi could perform a
miracle or two.
But this? This was uncharted territory.
A cluster of stones rose from the sand
and the well of Jacob came into view.
A cistern of salvation to the weary traveler.
“Go into town and buy food,” came His instruction.
Dust gathered in the creases of His eyes when he smiled
waving them on.
He watched them go, stretched his legs, waited.
He saw her coming.
He saw her drop her shoulders as his students, friends,
marched by, adding distance
and a convex line with each footfall.
She approached the well seeing only her feet
and the dirt they stepped in.
Hello, get me a drink, please.
And the creases around his eyes shown dusty and long
proving he was a smiling man, friendly.
But why did he speak to her?
The clay pot dropped in the cool pool below
splashing life on its rim
dribbling down its chin
as it bobbed on the line toward the Light.
A cup dipped and held the precious liquid,
a commodity: this water, had started wars,
ended lives, built barriers.
She handed the cup to him and started to turn away.
He caught her soul with gentle words and riveted her with truth.
In the Living Water she saw the reflection of herself, of everyone:
Of need and devastation, desperation and regret.
And the one true thing she craved: Grace.