Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I was sorely tempted to title this one “Lighten up, Cheryl!” But suggesting you might want to laugh here was a better idea, I think.
As I have often mentioned, I love historical and Bible based fiction. It just seems that seeing the things we know so well through someone else’s imagination helps draw me into the story a little deeper. Beth Moore’s Bible Studies do that very well and she is not even writing fiction, just imagining what might have been going on in each scene. You may have noticed that I end my introduction to the blog with the phrase, “Do not fail to use your imagination.” (With thanks to my wonderful Pastor, Tim Baker.)
So, my next question is, what do you see in your minds eye when thinking about the people in the Bible. Are your images, like mine, influenced by the movies and paintings all around us? Do you see everyone as svelte, and lovely or handsome? Do you imagine that prophets were regal looking and that all the women are long haired, graceful young women?
Well, for sure, Walter Wangerin Jr. does not have that handicap. His mind runs to a very real assortments of people: skinny, fat, tall, short, beautifully attired, dressed in the worst of taste, real people, not movie images. They live in my brain so much easier that way.
But it is his description of the woman at the well that really caught me up short and made me laugh out loud. And then I wondered if I should have… was I being disrespectful? Was he? I think not. After all she was a woman who had been married five times and was presently living with a man who refused to marry her because he was “afraid of dying, too.” And her love for the Lord whom she had found was loudly spoken and celebrated right from the beginning of her faith. The thing is that he does not mention her until Jesus and his disciples return to Samaria to celebrate a festival with the followers there:
Moreover, there was a woman here whose affection for Jesus was so grandly dramatic none could not laugh and dance within the sphere of her jubilation.
“You!” she bellowed the moment she noticed him coming toward the city. “It is you!” she cried, and started to run.
She was a human of formidable proportion. She was a globe, an earth, a maker of her own weather.
Jesus stopped, half raising his arms in helplessness. The disciples shrank backward. It looked like a convergence of worlds!
The woman came layered in paints, green at the eyes, rouge on the cheeks, henna in her hair, orange henna on the palms of her hands.
“Yoo-hoo! Teacher! Master!” She waved her great arms over her head, gathering speed. Jesus stood completely alone. His eyes grew large. His jaw sagged.
“Oh, Lord, it has been so long since I’ve seen you!”
At this point you can imagine the ending, or you can read it for yourself in The Book of God. I am LOL all over the place right now. This woman was by no means the Hollywood version of Jesus followers. She was a very real, very emotional woman who was fully in love with her Lord. Oh, that we may be just as jubilant in our affection for Christ. May our love for Him be just as obvious to others and may He use that love to bring laughter and joy into the lives around us! Let us jump for joy as we also run to Jesus every day and every night, for everything.