“Hide and Seek” is a popular game among children. There are those who will conceal themselves, and there is a designated seeker. After counting aloud up to 10, the seeker would shout “Ready or not, here I come!” and then will try to find those who are hiding.
In the Bible, there was a Samaritan woman who was hiding herself. She went to Jacob’s Well about noon time when most people are already finished getting their supply of water. She probably thought that she was alone in the Well but there was Jesus. He was seeking her out.
What can we learn from this encounter?
First, Jesus is teaching us that the color of our skin is not a barrier in reaching out to others.
Jesus is a Jew and the woman is a Samaritan. There was enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews looked down on the Samaritans because they considered them as mixed breed. John 4:9 says, “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” When Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman, He is teaching us that we must reach out to anyone regardless of their nationality.
Second, Jesus is teaching us that our gender is not an obstacle in reaching out to others.
I am proud to be a member of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), a denomination that trains women to become pastors, and also allow them to be ordained. There was as struggle in CPBC at first. But after 80 years of Baptist mission in the Philippines, on March 22, 1980, Rev. Angelina B. Buensuceso became the first ordained woman pastor of CPBC. After serving the CPBC for more than 40 years, she was ordained at the age of 63. Because of this historical milestone, her picture is now in the front cover of a book entitled, Faithful and Free Baptist beliefs through the years by D. Leslie Hill.
The story of Mommy Buensuceso is a great reminder to all of us. There should be no excuses – women and men, young and old – everyone must share the Gospel.
Third, Jesus is teaching us that our past is not a hindrance in sharing the Gospel.
The Samaritan woman had 5 husbands, and the man she was living in currently was not her legal husband. She went to the Well in the sweltering heat of the sun because she was hiding something. Can you imagine the dangerous combination of these three things – Samaritan, a woman, and an adulterer? But when she accepted Jesus, she became an evangelist. John 4:39 says, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…” The past life of the Samaritan woman has actually become her greatest tool in reaching out to others.
All of us have a past that we are ashamed of. If we have Jesus in our lives, then that past is totally forgiven. We cannot totally forget about it but the sting of guilt of our past is already gone. The past has become valuable lessons for us, and an instrument to effectively share the Gospel.
May we become like this Samaritan woman who unashamedly shared the Gospel to others.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
October 2, 2017