Hurting people are all around. And they all need a listening ear.
Darkness and despair emanated from her eyes, sounding the cry for help her lips could not utter. But when I’d invited her, “Come for coffee. It’s not good to stay alone,” I had no idea I was inviting HER. And even less did I realize she was taboo. Not to associate with. No, I didn’t know. I’d never actually met HER before, that woman at the well.
” Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’.”John 4:6-7
It wasn’t Jacob’s well, but I was weary from trying to fix an uncooperative dresser. And tired of waiting for Hubby to find
time desire to fix it. (But that’s for another story. 😉 Let’s just say handyman work is not my husband’s forte!)
It wasn’t a good moment for guests. About the 6th hour, or going on towards noon, and I needed to get that dresser fixed and start dinner. But I try to never turn anyone from my door, much less her! Even though I didn’t know it was her.
To me, she was just an older neighbor who’d recently lost her husband. Our door is always open, particularly to those in need. Sometimes for a meal, or a few Euro. Others just for a listening ear or a cup of coffee.
“The walls were closing in,” she said, staring through those sad and vacant eyes. So I told her she did good to come over, and we started to talk. Or rather, she did. I mostly just listened, as Hubby joined us from the garden.
Different details, but it was her. That woman at the well.
The man, it turned out, wasn’t her husband at all. And with her troubled and difficult background she was lonely, and in many ways alone. She had almost no one. And thinking about it, she never socialized with the other women in that courtyard. Either they didn’t want her, or she didn’t want to go. Had there been a well, she’d have gone only at noon, when others were busy at their kitchen tasks.
Her pitifully small pension left me wondering how she would live and pay rent. So I gave her a sample of soap nuts, knowing they could help her cut expenses. So little to give. A listening ear and a cup of coffee, a little bag of soap nuts.
But she gladly took a New Testament, with a comforting Psalm marked for her to find. She had no idea the Psalms were in the Bible, a book she’d never read. Though she marveled that her son was reading it. “He’s reading the Bible!” she repeated, as though it were the strangest thing in the world.
It didn’t hit me until later that I’d just had a visit from her. That she came near the 6th hour, when few would be out and about to see. That it was possibly one of the few places she could go, and not find the door slammed in her face.
Have you made the mistake of judging someone for their past?
I have. And even avoided contact with them because of it. And even though often subconscious, it was wrong. I sometimes forget that these just people need a taste of life-giving, restoring water. And that often those who need it most are the ones most unaware of their need. Or hindered by their past.
It’s only normal for the thirsty to seek a well. And many of them have no one else to turn to. No listening ear. No shoulder to cry on.
So let them come, for coffee…Or a free meal or bag of groceries. Or just an open ear.
Many people, everywhere, will never taste the life-giving water. They want nothing to do with ‘religion’. Because we’ve often talked the talk, while forgetting the walk. But by opening our door to them, we have a chance to let them taste that refreshing water.
“Jesus answered her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life’.”John 4:13-14
Open your door and offer someone coffee, along with a sip from that spring. And maybe, just maybe, one of them will be like that Samaritan woman. Who will leave her cup of coffee, and run to tell everyone, “Come and listen! I think I found someone who can tell us about the Savior of the world!
Is your door open? There are hurting, taboo people all around us, who have nowhere else to go.