As I read staggering voluminous accounts of sexual harassment in the workplace and in Hollywood I come away, as you must also, with this overwhelming sense that these are very dark days.
What can we, as people of God, do to push back against this growing night? The “Me Too” and “Times Up” movements are trying to expose and punish the sexual predators? I think that’s a healthy start. Infection is best treated when the boil has been lanced.
But what happens after all this exposure? Will the world really be brighter for having admitted its own darkness? I can’t help but think that when the lights go off and the movements peter-out that other miscreants will creep in to replace those that were exposed and disgraced. What then?
Here’s what I know about darkness. You cannot dispel it by railing against it. You might as well cry at the ocean for its waves. Darkness does what it does because it is dark. It cannot do anything else.
The only way to eliminate darkness is by bringing light into it. And the only light that will permanently dispel the dark goes by the name of Jesus.
On Wednesday nights a group of us are studying “How to Study the Bible.” We’ve been going over the technique of “observation.” As we look at the text we ask, “What do I see?’
Our assignment was John 4, the story of the woman at the well. I asked the class to make observations on this passage.
One question to ask when making observations is this: “What seems out of place?” John tells us that this encounter happened at the 6th hour. The sixth hour was Jewish time for 12:00 noon.
I asked, “What’s out of place?”
Someone said, “That’s too late for a woman to be at a well gathering water. Women gathered water early in the morning.”
“What does this tell us?”
“She didn’t want to be around other people?”
Someone in the room said, “She’d had five husbands and was living with a man.”
So this woman was an outcast. Even among the more relaxed morality of the Samaritans this is a “bad girl.” She’s tired of the snarky comments and cold stares. She’s sick of the judgment. So she goes to the well when nobody else would be there.
Jesus was there and he offered her “living water.” He said, “Drink this water and you will never thirst again.”
Isn’t that interesting. He talks about being living water to a woman that had gone through five husbands. This is clearly a woman with an insatiable thirst.
After the conversation the woman left and went to the village to tell everyone about Jesus.
I asked the class, “What’s out of place here? What’s not normal?”
The class said, “Why would anyone believe her?”
Bingo! Why indeed?
Here is a woman that had lived on the shadows of society, but now she’s raving about seeing the light. Her enthusiasm was infectious. They were drawn to the light in her.
Suddenly I think we find the answer to the growing darkness of our times. Darkness needs light and changed lives make the best light.
Philippians 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,