Saturday, August 2, 2008

Needing Rest

In my reading in the Life Journal this morning, I was taken to John 4. John 4 is the story of the Samaritan Woman, also called "the woman at the well." John 4 is a terrific passage of life transformation and stands in wonderful contrast to John 3. Everything in John 3 finds its opposite in John 4. In John 3 we have a man, a religious and secular leader, a Jew, he comes in secret and at night and leaves confused. In John 4 we have a woman, an outcast, a nobody, a Samaritan, she sees Jesus at noon and leaves transformed by the encounter. A wonderful juxtaposition of events in the life of Jesus.

At the beginning of the story in John 4 we find Jesus leaving Judea and heading to Galilee and on the way he stops at the village of Sychar in Samaria. John tells us that he sits down at the well "because he is tired from the journey" and then the encounter begins. One of the interesting theological balances in Christianity is the balance of Jesus humanity with his divinity. Jesus is, according to orthodox Christian theologians, at the same time divine and human. He is, in the old language of the church, the God/Man. That is the point of the incarnation, God became human and lived among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

God in human form needs to rest after a long journey. He needs to cool his tongue from the dry desert air. He needs to have nourishment. In other words he needs to do bodily maintenance just like the rest of us. I find this very encouraging. The truth is, I also need all of these things. I have a responsibility to get proper rest, to take care of this body God has given me and to make sure it is properly tuned and fueled.

Is this another argument for Sabbath? Or is it more a suggestion that we take the time we need to rest, recover, recoup? In a few weeks I am taking two days to retreat (advance) with my covenant group. We plan to come away from our normal routines, to rest, rediscover and grow together. What are you doing to get enough rest for your journey?



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