Today I had that feeling that you have when a conversation ends too soon. It was that time when you are at the coffee shop feeling a strong connection and your friend looks at their watch and says, “Is that the time? I am so sorry I have to rush and pick up the kids.”
Reading chapter 2 of Pierced and Embraced in the morning sunshine I was transported to the well in Samaria, where a woman of questionable reputation was avoiding her neighbours by drawing water in the noonday sun. At the same time, Jesus was there making witty and insightful remarks which reflected the woman’s longing and the condition of her heart.
The style of the writing works like some modern day T.V. shows such as The Arrow. They tell two stories that are intertwined, one from the past and one from the present. My wife unfolds the well worn narrative of 2,000 years ago and then shows its relevance by being transparent about her own experiences. My wife is not perfect, and although she admits that she once ‘welcomed the label of perfectionism’ she paints a self-portrait warts and all. The shortcomings of the Samaritan woman point to the need for Jesus’ life-giving water, and my wife’s shortcomings do the same.
As she lists labels and lies that we hide behind, or are crushed under, the transparency subtly exposes our own desires to create an image and hide our shame. However, just like the ending of Mark’s Gospel, just as your heart swells with the sense that you have found important truths that you want to hear more about, Kelli’s chapter draws to a sudden close. It has the affect of saying, “Over to you …” In fact, the questions for reflection and discussion at the end of the chapter make that step fairly obvious.
For those longing for more of the life-giving water, an appropriate response would be to pursue the narrative further in the Gospel of John. Kelli’s chapter only serves as a taste. It serves as a step downward into the well. This Bible companion, unlike some, does not promise to deliver ‘everything-you-need-to-know-about-John-4.’ It takes you by the hand and shows you the rim of the well where you might drink and drink to your heart’s content. It has a humility about the women on the page and a transcendence about the Saviour. It’s almost as if it breaks the conversation and rushes into town bidding you to come and meet the man who told me everything I had ever done.