Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done.”
When he was passing through Samaria, Jesus met a woman by a well. Now this was at noon, a time when no decent woman would have been at a well. She was regarded as a whore. This woman also was a Samaritan, of a group considered outcasts by the Jewish people. So in Jesus’s context, she was outcast twice over, because she was a Samaritan and because she was a whore.
But Jesus did not treat her as an outcast. He spoke with her, face to face. He treated her questions with respect. And when she returned to the Samaritan village, the woman spoke in amazement of how this man who claimed to be the Messiah had come to her in friendship.
Jesus knew the Samaritan woman. He knew Zacchaeus, the tax collector, and invited himself to dinner. He knew the apostle Nathanael, telling him “I saw you under the fig tree.” He knew the children, and spoke with them in openess. Jesus met no one as a stranger. Each person he encountered, he knew.
The ideas expressed in the work “Reality Rises Like the Mist” are in no way connected with Christian doctrine. They stand on their own and can be accepted or rejected by anyone, regardless of religious belief. But I say to you that the Christian religion has always been a powerful witness to me that every human being matters. The idea that each person is important and that God knows each person are not, for me, related in any logical sense. I do not think people are important because God knows them; I do not think God knows people because they are important. But for me the two ideas walk beside each other, they hold each other up, they encourage each other.
Because God does know each of us. From our mother’s womb, God knows us. God knows us, right down to the jugular vein, right down to our enteric nervous system. Every thing we’ve done, every thought we’ve had, our deep secrets we cannot tell another human, all these things are plain to God. We cannot surprise God. We cannot offend God, we cannot disgust God, because those things are human emotions and depend on surprise. God sees us coming, everything we do. And God loves us anyway.
God knows the homeless. God knows the sex offender. God knows the terrified. God knows all, even unto the Eleanor Rigbys of the world, those individuals ignored by all their fellow humans. Every one is valuable to God. The hairs of our heads are all numbered, and each number is known to God.
So even as God knows and loves each of us, let us seek to know and love each other, as God loves us. None of us are truly strangers, for we all share a mutual acquaintance.
As Marvin Gaye once sang:
God is my friend
Jesus is my friend
And when we call in Him for mercy,
He’ll be merciful, my friend
All he asks of us, I know
Is we give each other love