Gerry Gutierrez' Update
My Sister in Christ - The Lovely Samaritan Woman
This woman came out to the ancient well for water and Jesus asked her for a drink. Knowing that Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, she immediately was suspicious but she spoke with Jesus most likely in hope of relief from the burdensome task of carrying water from the well.
When Jesus confronted her with one of her secrets, she quickly turned to the old theological argument of, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship”. Jesus affirmed that true worship would not be confined to either site because He, the Messiah, had come. After the startled disciples returned, the woman left her water jars and went in to the village. As a result of her witness to the Samaritans Jesus stayed in the vicinity for two days. There at the foot of Mount Gerizim, He began the missionary outreach which was to characterize His church.
I love the Samaritan woman!
The most beautiful man whom I have ever known in my life, the man whom I love so deeply, Gerry Gutierrez, has showered me with the same love as Jesus gave this ‘pure in heart’ Samaritan woman. I believe it is the most breathtaking, awe-inspiring love story ever recorded in history.
She is worthy that we may know more about her…
I heard it said recently, “Grace is doing good to someone when there is no compelling reason to do so, and every reason not to”. And so it is with Jesus and His amazing grace.
Jesus did not need to go through Samaria as we know there were many other routes, no doubt shorter and quicker. I believe He sought out and was planning to be gracious to the Samaritan woman. God sent Jesus to fulfill his plan. Here is the Samaritan woman in the heat of the day, tired and shameful with a broken life. It is clear that she never knew a faithful or caring love.
The Samaritan woman represents me and my brokenness without Him. God pursues us in the midst of our sin. We do not get ‘cleaned up’ to go to Him; we go to Him to get ‘cleaned up”. Jesus saw into her heart and saw the pain, shame and sorrow. He was merciful, loving and full of grace.
Jesus certainly knew of her many adulteress relationships but He did not shame her. He spoke truth to her so that she would see her need. God pursues while others judge and shame. Jesus is relational – this encounter did not ‘just’ happen. She was dead in sin and alive to passions. In her pursuit of men, it was Jesus she was in search of. Jesus knew this - he purposely came to her – he met her need.
The Samaritan woman deserved to be judged, as do I. But the Lord pursues us knowing it means his own death – He will suffer for her sin, and for my sin. As recipients of God’s grace we must actively pursue others, “when there is no compelling reason to do so, and every reason not to”.
Jesus planned, pursued and offered new life. She received amazing grace. She was far more loved than she ever dreamed possible! She made her mark in history and many came to faith in Christ as a result of her testimony. I envision her as a lovely and delicate woman, compassionate, strong and intelligent, though filled with shame and pain and absolute emptiness. She recognized in Jesus deep compassion, authenticity and a magnificent love that gave her self-worth, dignity and a purpose and desire to live.
Can it be the Samaritan woman before her encounter with Christ believed her life came to nothing? Despair and dark confusion of the soul are very real in a broken life. Cries of the heart also are very real. Looking back with deep regret and remorse can isolate and keep us in a state of deep despair. We live with no joy, no hope, no real worth or value. The cry of loneliness is heard from millions around the world. A search for love and acceptance in all the wrong places will leave us empty and thirsty time and again.
It is fascinating to me how Jesus handles the emotions of a woman so differently than that of a man. I believe often times men fear being vulnerable. The candor of womanhood is so very different…
When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus he was talking to a man with great rabbinical knowledge yet he was not able to see God’s transforming power in the human heart. When Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler it was obvious his worship was on his wealth. He could not see his real need. He wanted Jesus to bless his pursuit of wealth and as a result turned his back on Jesus and walked away downcast and full of ‘himself’.
Not so with the Samaritan woman. Jesus opened her heart and from that day to present, we have a timeless lesson! Think about how she talked to Jesus about HER HOPE for the coming of the Messiah and which mountain to worship in. Did she fully understand her real struggle? Jesus gently got her to admit that her life-long rejection was her main focus, and this illustrates how God unmasks our concerns and gets right to the heart of the matter. Behind her nervousness and all of her questions was her loneliness, which was her greatest heartache, I believe.
When the woman who lived a sinful life in the town where Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house learned he was there, she brought her best perfume and washed and kissed his feet; and she wept. She gave her all for Him. The Samaritan woman and this woman have illustrated powerfully something we should pattern our lives after.
We beings long for God. It is He who fashioned our hungers. Only in Him is this hunger of loneliness met. As we recognize this we not only then love the One who is the lover of our soul, we worship Him. My dearest friend in all the world has reminded me, “We have been made by God for God; He made us to love us”. This love was displayed on that day at the well with the Samaritan woman, and no greater love exists.
It is most noble to ask how we pattern our lives to love in this way. We must be authentic and child-like and run to Him. When we sit at the feet of Jesus to be taught, we will begin to understand who we are separate from Him, and we will see the greatness of the One alone who offers life-defining truth. One touch of the Master’s hand and we are soothed. He speaks and we are forever changed. He meets our need and draws close when hearing the cries of our heart. It is all predestined. His plan was in place before the foundation of the world. I am astonished in this truth!
When we seek to love as Jesus loves we will never come up empty. The world can never fill the human need designed by the Architect. Our joy will be dim if we are not nourished by the greatest relationship of all, with God Himself. I believe as we grow older we have even deeper longings of our hearts. We cannot exhaust God – so it is to Him we must run.
The beautiful Samaritan woman received this love and it forever altered her life. She was a changed woman in an instant. Her chains fell off; she walked forward in newness of life. She no longer needed to hang her head in shame and in fact, she ran toward town full of joy. I can just imagine her delicate frame running in newness of life to tell the story of Jesus and His glory - she is to be imitated!
I want to love like this. It is a purposeful, planned and predestined love. It never hinges on human emotion. And how our Father loves to give good and perfect gifts, as was demonstrated at the well. Unless we go higher and walk according to His plan, we come to the end of life and miss the greatest gift of all. Our Lord said, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
In closing I want to share a most sacred and intimate writing to me from the “love of my life”. “Love is not what you say or what you stop saying. Love then is not what you do but what you have become by acquiring a new nature, by new birth, whereby the nature of our Father in heaven makes itself visible in you and through you.”
The Samaritan woman was given a new birth. Her life on earth was complete in HIM. And we also are complete in HIM.
Such love is this!
PS – This letter comes to you as we celebrate August 1 as the day my Gerry came to faith in Jesus - celebrate with us!