“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
One of the things that struck me this week, in the midst of all of the division and turmoil that our country is facing, is how powerful kindness and love are. It’s amazing to watch the change that happens simply because someone decided to be kind. Anger melts away. Hope is restored. Conversations happen. Lives are changed.
Being kind sounds easy enough, right? But what if we just don’t have it in us? It’s hard to be kind to others when we have experienced a lot of hurt ourselves. So many of us are tired, burnt out, and broken hearted. It’s very difficult to spread kindness and love when our cup is empty.
Jesus never should have been in Samaria. During that time there was intense hatred between the Isrealites and Samaritans. This hatred went back 500 years to Israel’s return to exile in Babylon (Ezra 4:1-5). But Jesus saw the Samaritans differently and he chose to go to Samaria. When he arrived in Samaria at noon, he was tired from his journey and sat down at a well to rest. While he was resting a woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus asked her for a drink. She was shocked. “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.) John 4:9
The woman’s water jar wasn’t the only thing that was empty that day. She was an outcast. As a Samaritan she was rejected by the Israelites. She was rejected simply because she was a woman. She had been rejected by multiple husbands. Because she had 5 marriages (rabbis did not approve of more than 3 marriages), she was rejected by her own people.
When the woman went to draw water, she went at noon. All of the other Samaritan women went to the well in the morning to avoid the scorching heat. But as an outcast, it was easier to face the noon sun than it was to face the judgemental glances and whispers of the other women. When she met Jesus at the well that day, her cup was empty.
After interacting with Jesus, the woman’s life was changed. It was the first time in a long time that she was actually “seen”. For the first time in a long time she was valued. Jesus saw her that day and he told her just what she needed to hear; “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
She was so filled with joy after talking with Jesus that she couldn’t keep it to herself. The same woman who waited until noon to go to the well to avoid other people ran back to tell everyone about Jesus! She even left her water jar behind. She didn’t need water. Jesus had filled her cup with living water that would never run dry!
Maybe you feel a little like the woman at the well; rejected, overlooked, unimportant, or unworthy. Maybe your cup is empty. Allow Jesus to fill your cup today. Spend time in prayer and let him remind you of who you are.
Being kind is so much easier when our cups are full. With Jesus, our cups will never run dry! So fill your cup, then just like the woman at the well, run and tell everyone else how kind and wonderful he is.
Dear Lord, thank you so much for your kindness. Thank you for seeing us when no one else does. Please remind us of who we are and how valuable we are to you. Fill our cups to overflowing so that we can spread your goodness and kindness throughout the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.