Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Jesus at the Well 

We studied Chapter 3 (Jesus: Lord and Messiah) of Michael Pennock's "This is our Faith" last night in RCIA. I enjoyed the class, we talked much more about the text than about ourselves. We discussed 1st century thought and problems. The instructor let us branch out to side discussions and get off topic if interest led that way. The text was a good guide, although the Bible translations it uses (from the New Jerusalem Bible) are unpoetic in the extreme and often out of sorts with any translation I've heard before.

Example: Here's Luke 3:21-22 (when God spoke from Heaven when Jesus was baptized):

"Now it happened that when all the people had been baptized and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical form, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, today have I fathered you." (Lk 3:21-22)

I don't know about you, but I'm much more used to the voice of God saying, "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased." Our teachers seemed to agree that although we aren't used to such translations, the New Jerusalem Bible is an excellent literal translation so there must be something in the original language text that led them to translated it into those words.

In closing, our instructors also asked us one of the discussion questions, "What is your favorite Jesus story from the Bible."

I chose Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman (John 4). I chose this for two reasons. 1) I admire Jesus for his ability to accept people as equals, even people distant from himself in so many ways, even sinners. Jesus accepts the woman at the well for who she is. This is something I struggle with... accepting people for who they are, warts and all, with love and kindness. So I like the story because it teaches me how I should try to behave, but also, 2) I like the story because it tells us that Jesus knows everything about us and accepts us anyway... the story allows me to put myself in the shoes of Jesus (or sandals, rather) and tells me to work on accepting the lives of others with grace and forgiveness, and the story also allows me to put myself in the shoes of the woman, of someone Jesus approaches with full knowledge of my life's highs and lows, ready to forgive me, ready to accept me despite my flaws and sins.

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